Local News- Dunes City Septic Ordinances; Reckless Endangerment; Oregon’s Top Volunteer; Dungeness Crab

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Dunes City Flushes Septic Requirements

After hearing a variety of testimony last night the Dunes City Council voted to overturn a 2007 ordinance requiring periodic pumping and inspection of septic systems.  In its place, they’ll implement a program aimed at educating homeowners about proper maintenance as a way to protect water quality.  Ordinance 211A, as it’s called, was approved on a 4-2 vote with Jaime Mills and Richard Kohler dissenting.

A companion ordinance, 210A, was not considered.  It contained provisions requiring inspection and pumping, but called for a variable time schedule based on the number of people in the household rather than a strict five year interval.

The Septic issue drew a large and varied response from residents.  Former Councilors John Scott and Susie Navetta spoke in favor of retaining the existing ordinance.  Navetta also criticized the council for not including more public participation.  Planning Commissioner and Ordinance Review Committee member George Burke advocated for both ordinances.  The Planning Commission endorsed passage of both on a 3-2 vote last month.  Paul Floto testified in favor of 211A, but against 210, saying inspection requirements imposed an unfair financial burden on property owners.

Gunshot draws charges

A Florence man is facing charges of reckless endangerment and being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Police say there were two children in the residence when 27-year old Israel Christopher Garza was invited into an apartment at 1550 15thStreet Tuesday evening.


Israel Christopher Garza faces charges for firing a weapon in an apartment where two young children were present.

The occupant, Carlos Evans, told police he was out of the room with his 3 and 4 year old daughters when he heard a firearm discharge in the living room.  An hour later, when the mother of the two girls arrived, she discovered the incident and called police who say the details surrounding the discharge are “suspicious”.

Garza was taken into custody and lodged at the Florence Jail.  Police say he was the only one in the room at the time the weapon was fired and is not providing any details.

Olienyk Honored

On the other end of the spectrum, a Florence man has received the state’s highest honor for volunteerism and will be honored Sunday afternoon.  84-year old Steve Olienyk was awarded the Governor’s Volunteer Award for Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Achievement in a special ceremony November Fourth.  He was singled out for a 43-year record of service that began in Astoria when he volunteered with several organizations.  Since moving to Florence in 1983 Olienyk has been an active with the Heceta Water District Commission, Siuslaw Valley Fire Board, the American Legion, Kiwanis, VFW, Veteran’s Park, the Library, the Florence Events Center, New Life Lutheran and more.

A reception will be held in his honor Sunday afternoon at Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue from two to four pm.

Waiting for the crab

The opening of the ocean commercial Dungeness Crab season along the Oregon Coast has been delayed until at least December 15th.  The season usually opens December First, but testing of crab to ensure a high quality product shows crab in most test areas do not meet minimum requirements.  The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will continue to do random testing over the next few weeks to determine when crabbers can begin putting out their pots.