Suit seeks compensation from City of Florence; Douglas County investigates Loon Lake homocide; Japanese debris could be culturally significant; Another PERS revision proposal.

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Local News

26 March 2013

Uninhabitable house prompts lawsuit against city

Mike and Colleen Ohran say they’ve written off the house… now all they want is for the City of Florence to pay them to raise the level of their property on the northern edge of town.

The Florence couple filed suit last week in Lane County Circuit Court seeking $180-thousand from the city as compensation for flooding that has occurred on their land.  It’s next to Highway 101, just north of Munsel Lake Road.  Mike Ohran says the extension of Spruce Street in 2009 blocked a crucial drainage way and caused stormwater runoff to back up onto his land and under a rental home.  He says he’s been frustrated by the inaction of the city, despite what he says is an engineering report by the designers of the street extension admitting the error.

He won’t rent out the house because of the fear of mold; and he says, the land is unsellable in its present condition.

He wants to clear the land and haul sand in to raise the level at least two feet.

He admits that may fix his problem, but will likely create more flooding on neighboring land.

City Manager Jacque Betz said yesterday she hadn’t seen the suit yet, and could not comment.

Loon Lake Homocide

Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies are continuing an investigation into a homicide east of Reedsport.  76-year old Paul F. Coates was found dead in his home near Loon Lake March 21st.

An autopsy confirmed that the man, who lived alone, died of a single gunshot wound to his head.

Police are conducting interviews of neighbors and associates of the victim but have not announced whether or not there are any leads in the case.

Another PERS Reform Proposal

A Democrat proposal to cut some pensions for retired government workers in Oregon has been released.  It would limit annual cost-of-living increases and lean harder on workers with larger retirement checks.

The bill introduced yesterday in the Oregon legislature would retain two-percent annual cost of living increases for retirees earning less than $20-thousand a year.  That inflation increase would be reduced on a graduated scale at higher income levels.

Backers say the plan would save all levels of government about $400-million in the next two-year budget cycle…less than proposals already submitted by legislative Republicans; Democratic Governor John. Kitzhaber and the Oregon School Boards Association.

Democrats say their plan is more equitable to low and middle income retirees…and is more likely to stand up in court.

Tsunami Debris Could be Culturally Significant

Oregon State Parks employees in Tillamook County removed an unusual piece of debris from the beach near Oceanside this week.

Volunteers for this weekend's Spring Great Oregon Beach Cleanup could see Japanese debris this Saturday.
Volunteers for this weekend’s Spring Great Oregon Beach Cleanup could see Japanese debris this Saturday. (Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. photo)


It appears to be the top part of a torii… a free-standing arch used to mark the entrance of a sacred site in Japan.  The 16-foot long object is made of heavy wood, painted red and is now partially covered with marine organisms.

It’s being stored at a state park maintenance yard while officials await word from the Japanese Consular office in Portland.

The find is the latest debris suspected of being cast adrift following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Officials anticipate there will be more finds this coming weekend during the semi-annual spring beach cleanup.  The Great Oregon Beach Cleanup is set for ten AM to one PM Saturday and volunteers are asked to help pick up trash along Oregon’s 362 miles long public shoreline.