Top Ten stories in Oregon for 2015

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Kitzhaber resignation is top story

John Kitzhaber’s election to an unprecedented fourth term as Oregon Governor in November 2014 was one of the top stories of that year. His resignation amid scandal just a few weeks after being sworn in is the top story of 2015; according to the annual voted conducted by the Associated Press.

The close second was the tragic shooting October 1st on the Roseburg Campus of Umpqua Community College that resulted in nine deaths plus that of the 26-year old gunman.

The process of implementing the voter approved legalization of marijuana was number three; drought across the state was number four. It was coupled with top story number five which was the destruction of more than 40 homes near John Day in the Canyon Creek fire.

Public Pension cost cutting rollbacks, gun background checks, Marcus Mariota and Duck Football; the loss of two major shipping companies from the Port of Portland, and an oil drilling protest in Portland rounded out the top ten stories according to editors across the state.

Crabbers begin pre-soak

Oregon commercial crabbers began setting their pots for the 2016 season early this morning. Processors and crabbers have agreed to an opening price of $2.90 a pound for Dungeness crab.

The state supervised price negotiations involved representatives from six seafood processors and five marketing associations.

Crabbers can begin pulling their pots at 9 AM Monday, five weeks after the traditional beginning date of December 1st.

Crabbers were delayed this year because of concerns about marine toxins. Testing in December confirmed the amount of domoic acid is below “levels of concern”.

Dungeness crab is the most valuable commercial fishery in Oregon. Last season’s harvest was 8.3-million pounds, amounting to a wholesale value of $33-million.

Port Commission holding additional interviews

Port of Siuslaw Commissioners will hold private “executive session” interviews with finalists for the Port manager position.

Interim Port Manager Dina McClure said the interviews will be in the port office conference room beginning at three o’clock Monday.

An open meeting may follow interviews if the commissioners wish to take action.

This will be the second round of interviews since the announcement in September that former manager Bob Forsythe would be retiring after 3 ½ years on the job.

DUII Saturation Patrols continue

Area law enforcement agencies are gearing up for extended patrols over the coming days.

Lane County Sheriff’s Deputies and Florence Police officers will be getting overtime. They’re on the alert for drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol.

Overtime patrols will extend through the weekend.

The added cost to local police agencies is funded through a federal traffic safety grant program.

Time to recycle that tree

A lot of people keep their Christmas Trees up until New Years… or even later.

Siuslaw Valley Fire Marshall Sean Barrett says the longer it stays, the more dangerous it gets. It’s akin to keeping an open bucket of gasoline in your living room.

Siuslaw Valley Firefighters will be collecting trees Saturday beginning at 9 AM… all trees will be mulched and recycled. Firefighters are asking for a $5 donation per tree.

If you’re in Reedsport… you’ll have to drop your tree off, but it won’t cost you anything. Rick Rockholt with the South Coast chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association says trees left near the dike at the Reedsport Les Schwab will be used in streamside habitat restoration projects.