Local News – Oregon Wildfires; Coast Guard Ancient Keeper; Flo Comp Plan; Non-Pro BBQ Cookoff

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Oregon Wildfire Season Under Way…

The temperature is high, humidity low, and residents of the tiny Southeast Oregon community of Frenchglen are on notice that they may have to move out in a hurry.  Wildfires in Oregon, caused by lightning, erupted in spades over the past few days with five major blazes monitored by the federal Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

Oregon forestry officials say one fire, near Dayville, is contained, but the 45-thousand acre Miller Homestead fire, 12 miles west of Frenchglen near Steens Mountain is not expected to be contained until late next week.  21 structures are threatened; one abandoned building was destroyed yesterday.

290 homes and other structures are threatened in the Longdraw fire, on the other side of Steens Mountain, about 115-miles Southeast of Burns.  As of this morning it’s at more than 450-thousand acres and only 30-percent contained according to officials.

Florence Comp Plan Subject of Hearing

West Lane County residents will have another opportunity to provide input to the Lane County Board of Commissioners on amendments to the county’s version of Florence’s Comprehensive Plan in two weeks.  Florence officially adopted their version of the plan several years ago, but commissioners acting in response to residents living in the Urban Growth Boundary took a hard line on language governing Florence’s ability to annex property.

Another effort to reconcile the two versions began last year and county officials will conduct another hearing at Harris Hall in Eugene.  A remote audio-video link at the Florence Justice Center will be active during the 1:30 PM hearing, July 25th.

Ancient Keeper Title Heads West

Tradition labels the longest serving member of the U.S. Coast Guard Boat Service as the “Ancient Keeper”, a semi-official title.  The current “ancient keeper” is Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Guthlein (GUHTH’-lyn), the commander at Coast Guard Station Castle Hill in Rhode Island.  He’s retiring from a career that began in 1978 and has been the most experienced boatman for the last three years.

That title will move to the Oregon Coast when Guthlein retires today.  On hand for the ceremony and the transfer will be Master Chief Petty Officer James M. Clemens.  Clemens, a North Carolina native has been on active duty since 1985 and is the Officer In Charge of Motor Lifeboat Station Winchester Bay.  He’ll will be the fourth member of the boat service to carry the title.

Amateur Barbecue Cookoff

It’s being billed as a bonanza of barbecue this weekend at Three Rivers Casino and Hotel… the Fire it Up! Barbecue Cookoff this Saturday is for non-professionals only and has already drawn some saucy competition from throughout the area.  Contestants will offer their best sauces, styles and recipes for chicken, tri-tip, ribs and sausage between noon and five Saturday.  There’s no cost to come watch and free taste samples will be offered.  A total of $5-thousand in prize money is on the line… final prizes will be handed out at five Saturday evening.