Recreational marijuana rules adopted

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Council takes “middle road” on marijuana

The crowd at last night’s public hearing concerning land use rules that would regulate recreational marijuana in Florence represented local results of last year’s voter approval.

Joe Henry – “There were almost equally mixed statements and positions on both sides, both pro and con.”

Mayor Joe Henry said there were many people present last night who still expressed opposition to any rules enabling recreational marijuana. But, he added, “that ship had already sailed”.

Joe Henry – “The purpose of the meeting was really to determine locations, time place and manner about which four phases of marijuana… growing, processing, wholesaling and and retail could be done in the City of Florence.”

Henry said officials chose the “middle ground” and instead worked on implementing restrictions on just where those uses could be located in Florence. That direction helped city staff draw up rules.

Joe Henry – “The council approved unanimously the recommendations of the staff.”

Following last night’s hearing, the Planning Commission did opt to recommend what Henry called “minor” changes… those were also approved by the council.

Port Commission continues manager search

The Port of Siuslaw Commission is set to review any additional candidates for the manager’s position this week. A few additional applications have come in since the commission couldn’t reach an agreement on who to offer the job to last month. Commission President Ron Caputo said the previous applicants are still under consideration.

Ron Caputo – “Definitely, they are still in the running. We will look at the new ones and see which direction we’re going to go. We may call for more interviews or we may just try and make a decision but I don’t think we’ll try and make a decision on Wednesday night.

Caputo said interim manager Dina McClure and the rest of the staff are handling day to day issues.

Ron Caputo – “Dina’s doing a great job so we have time. Time is not a problem.”

The commission meets Wednesday, seven pm at the district office on Harbor Street. The meeting will include an executive session to consider the employment of a port manager, as well as to discuss a possible real estate transaction.

Maintenance at North Jetty to temporarily restrict access

North Jetty Road past the Harbor Vista Campground is scheduled for limited access for three days next week.

Oregon State Parks crews are scheduled to trim brush along North Jetty road between the beach and the campground.

The parking lot will also receive some long needed attention when a contractor patches holes and repaves portions.

Ryan Warren with Oregon State Parks says the closure is scheduled for Monday through Wednesday of next week. But, he added, weather conditions could play a factor in some of the work, forcing it to be delayed.

Courtney calls for compromise

Oregon’s top state senator is calling for business, union and political leaders to negotiate a plan to withdraw a series of contentious ballot measures slated for next year’s election.

Speaking to the annual Oregon Leadership Summit in Portland yesterday, Senate President Peter Courtney warned that “Oregon is on the verge of its own civil war” pitting the state’s most powerful interests against each other.

The Salem Democrat says compromise is needed to avoid “the bloodiest day in Oregon political history”.

A group backed largely by public-employee unions has proposed ballot measures to significantly increase taxes for corporations. Other groups are looking to raise the minimum wage.

Meanwhile, business groups are considering a ballot measure that would weaken unions.

Alternate launch site sought

In addition to continuing their search for a new manager, Port of Siuslaw Commissioners will pursue their goal of relieving congestion around the Harbor Street boat launch during summer and fall salmon runs. Commission President Ron Caputo:

Ron Caputo—“It’s really packed. Parking’s a real issue, they park all over the streets in Old Town and we can take some of the pressure off of the Port boat launch it would really be a plus for Florence.”

Port representatives have been in conversation with the property owner of a spit of land just east of the North Fork Siuslaw River bridge. An existing boat launch facility is already in place, along with plenty of room for parking.

Port Commissioners will meet Wednesday night… part of that meeting will include a closed “executive session” where they will discuss the possible property purchase as well as review applications for the manager’s job.

Lane rolls out registration improvements

There are now more ways than ever to take classes at Lane Community College in Florence. That’s according to Florence Center Director Russ Pierson.

Russ Pierson – “We’re expanding our capacity to deliver education in different ways from online to hybrid to, you know, IP video courses that enable our students here to participate in a class that’s going on at main campus or vice versa.”

The traditional method is also an option.

Russ Pierson – “I don’t think there’s any substitute at the end of the day for just face to face learning with a really good instructor and we’ve got some great instructors.”

A new online registration system made its debut last week at Lane. If you have used any online shopping sites, Pierson says you will recognize the “point and click” method of choosing classes.

Those classes, by the way, begin Monday, January 4th.