Local News: Kayak Portage Facing Removal; Sheriff Seeking Input; School Budget Committee; Live Wildland Fire Training Set

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Local News

Popular Canoe Trail Threatened

The need for repairs, high maintenance costs and the fear of liability issues are shaping the conversation about the future of a popular canoe and kayak facility on Siltcoos Outlet.  The Siltcoos River Trail is a popular water way, beginning on the lake and winding through a three mile forested corridor to the ocean, drawing hundreds of paddlers each year.  But, just over midway downstream is a water control dam that blocks access.

A portage was installed many years ago, but last fall it was learned corrosion damage posed a concern for safety of those using it.  The dam itself is owned, maintained and operated by International Paper.  It’s outside the corporate limits of Dunes City, but several years ago they assumed responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the portage through a license agreement with the Oregon Division of State Lands.  That license runs through 2015, and citing a lack of funding to make the needed repairs, the city recently requested to be relieved of that obligation early.  DSL said no, prompting further discussion by the council last month.

The favored option by officials at that time was to seek removal of the portage entirely.  Another possibility would be to team up with a user group to provide funding and manpower to make the repairs.  The cost of those are estimated at around $3,000.  Dunes City Councilor Ed Scarberry is heading up that effort, he can be contacted through Dunes City Hall at 541-997-3338.

Sheriff Seeking Input From Residents

Sheriff Tom Turner is going to be making the rounds of Lane County for what he is calling “Community Awareness Meetings”.  At each stop he’ll talk about volunteer opportunities within the department.  But, he’ll also discuss the funding challenges he is facing.  Nine different sessions are planned between now and the end of June.  Two of them will be in Western Lane County.  Tomorrow from six to eight pm the Sheriff will be at the Mapleton Lion’s Club.  Then in two weeks on May 16th he’ll be at Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue.   Turner will also appear Wednesday afternoon on KCST’s Our Town.

School Budget Too… 

The Siuslaw School Budget Committee heard from a group of athletes last week who spoke out in favor of returning funding to three varsity sports at Siuslaw High School as well as middle school sports.  The budget committee will meet again tomorrow evening at the Elementary School Library with the intent of hearing from more parents, students and members of the community.  That meeting gets underway at 6:30 pm.  Following the input the committee will discuss what they’ve heard, but are not slated to take final action.

Live Wildland Fire Training Scheduled

Local firefighters will be burning the winter accumulation of downed trees and branches at Ocean Dunes Golf Links later this week.  Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue has joined with the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency for a training burn that is expected to give firefighters experience with wildland fire control.  That’s expected to be completed Thursday and Friday.