Fleenor rebuffed; Crews mop up Douglas County blaze; Lawmakers allocate largest ever school funding amount

Coast Radio News
Local News

2 July 2013

Port Selects New Leadership

The Port of Siuslaw Commission last night demonstrated they might be independent thinkers; while one of them displayed a bit of confusion.

Sole incumbent Bill Fleenor opened the special meeting in the chair’s seat and watched while four newcomers to the five member panel; Nancy Rickard, Jay Cable, Terry Duman and Ron Caputo, were sworn in.

New Port of Siuslaw Commissioners stand to be sworn in during a special meeting held July 1st.  Left to right, Ron Caputo, Nancy Rickard, Terry Duman and Jay Cable.
New Port of Siuslaw Commissioners stand to be sworn in during a special meeting held July 1st. Left to right, Ron Caputo, Nancy Rickard, Terry Duman and Jay Cable.

Immediately after that, Fleenor opened the election process for commission officers.  Ron Caputo was nominated for President by Cable and Fleenor was nominated by Rickard.

Caputo received three votes, a majority; immediately took the gavel and called for vice-chair nominations.  Duman was selected with four votes; but prior to that, one of the nominations was given to Fleenor.  He immediately declined, saying he had too many – quote – “conflicts”.  He didn’t explain what the conflicts were during the meeting.  But, following, Fleenor explained he had publicly criticized U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio over the congressman’s plan for more logging on O&C timberlands.  Fleenor said those comments could possibly harm relations between the Port and DeFazio’s office.

Fleenor initially ignored a question as to why he would decline the vice presidency due to the conflict, but said nothing when he was nominated for the presidency.

When questioned further, Fleenor denied being nominated for the presidency at all.

After being reminded that he indeed, had been nominated by Nancy Rickard, he expressed surprise and apologized saying he apparently didn’t realize that…  even though at the time he was in charge of the meeting and clearly relished that role.

Mop up at Sparrow Park

Crews spent yesterday mopping up what had grown to be a 42-acre blaze in mixed timber and logging slash north of Gardiner.

The Sparrow Park Fire, Sunday afternoon, also destroyed a 3.000 gallon water tender owned by Jeff Unger Logging of Reedsport.

Sources say it appeared the fire started near highway 101 and moved west before destroying the truck and damaging other equipment.  The official determination of cause and the point of origin have not yet been made public.

Two 10-man inmate crews from Shutter Creek Correctional Facility in Hauser and a pair of 6-person engine crews from Coos Forest Protective Association initially fought the blaze.

Another 75 to 80 firefighters worked yesterday and will continue to work on mopping up the fire; A process that is expected to take several days because of the heavy amount of fuel.

Largest Education Funding Package Ever

Meeting in July for the first time in eight years the Oregon House approved the largest ever budget for the state’s public schools yesterday.  At 6.75-billion it’s a billion-dollars more than the budget for the two-year period that ended Sunday.

House Speaker Tina Kotek said the budget offers “certainty and stability” to school districts that have laid off more than 7-thousand teachers over the last five years.

The bulk of the budget is a direct allocation…. $6.55-billion.  But, $200-million of it will come in school district savings from changes to the Public Employees Retirement System.

Despite stated opposition by Republicans who said the PERS reforms did not go far enough, the budget passed 53-to-5 in the house and goes to the Governor who said he will sign it.