Florence City Council to hear property clearing appeal

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March Planning Commission decision challenged

An appeal of a Florence Planning Commission decision made in March to allow partial clearing of undeveloped property east of Peace Harbor Hospital will be heard this evening by the Florence City Council.

The Commission approved the plan March 29th to allow partial clearing of several lots at the west end of 6th street near Hemlock and Greenwood.  The applicant, a local builder, wants to be able to assess the viability of building on the property, but cannot do it without a detailed survey.

Nearby property owners appealed the decision saying it did not clearly specify just how much land would be cleared for the survey.  They were also worried about what would happen with the cleared land in the event it was not suitable for building.

City staff developed a compromise that the City Council will consider this evening.  It would clearly state just how wide the cleared survey trails would be and also stipulates a revegetation plan.

The Council meets at City Hall, six pm.

Mosier residents give ok to return home

Residents of the Columbia River gorge community evacuated Friday because of a train derailment and fire have now been allowed to return to their homes.

About one-hundred people living in Mosier, near The Dalles on the Columbia River, were given the green-light to go home late last night.

They had been evacuated after 14 rail cars carrying Bakken Crude oil derailed Friday.  Four of the cars caught fire.

The crash and spill slowed traffic on Interstate 84 70-miles east of Portland and prompted the closure of the waste water and drinking water treatment facilities in Mosier.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said last night about ten-thousand gallons of crude oil had been cleaned up from around the waste water plant and all services were now available.

The crash and spill prompted an outcry from many environmental activists.   Nobody was reported injured in the incident.

Life in prison handed down for Lane County murder

The third and final defendant convicted of killing a Eugene man in order to steal his car has been sentenced to life in prison.

A.J. Scott Nelson was sentenced Thursday after a Lane County jury had rejected the death penalty.

Nelson, along with David Ray Taylor and Mercedes Crabtree were all convicted of the crime.  They used the car belonging to 22-year old Celestino Gutierrez as a getaway vehicle in an armed takeover robbery of Siuslaw Bank in Mapleton.

Taylor was sentenced to death for his part… Crabtree will be eligible for parole after serving 30-years.

CROW offering scholarships

The deadline for applying for summer camp scholarships at the Children’s Repertory of Oregon Workshop is this Friday and so far, says Melanie Heard, there have been few applicants for the $5-thousand they’ll be handing out.

Heard, the Artistic Director of CROW, says a pair of 2-week camps will be offered in July and a panel wants to review scholarship applications for participants next week.

But, so far there have been few.

There are “so many deserving kids out there”, says Heard.  She wants to make sure they all get a shot at participating.

The applications “are not simple” and Heard says that’s on purpose.  She feels it’s important that kids work hard for something.

Applications a can be downloaded at www-dot-crowkids-dot-com.

Visiting Orcas may have been endangered group

A pod of orcas that visited the Siuslaw River over Memorial Day weekend may be a part of an endangered clan based in Washington State waters.  The so-called “Southern Resident Killer Whales” have been on the endangered species list since 2005.  Orca Network co-founder Howard Garrett says they make their way south along the Oregon Coast, feeding.

Howard Garrett – “The Southern Residents will typically go well into Oregon, down the coastline.  It’s not a predictable migration, so they kind of range at will… basically, we assume, wherever they are finding some Chinook.”

Garrett says the Orca pods eat Chinook at the mouth of the Klamath River and sometimes travel as far as the Sacramento River.

Dunes City Council to meet

The Dunes City Council will hold a double session later this week.  Thursday at six, they’ll hold a private executive session to consult with legal counsel concerning current or likely litigation; then, at seven that evening, the council will hold a regular session to consider business for June.

On the list… a public hearing on the proposed budget for 2016-17, and a proposed resolution that would refer a sales tax on retail sales of recreational marijuana to voters in Dunes City.

Also on the agenda, details about upcoming Dunes City Council elections.  Candidate packets are now available at City Hall.  The Mayor and three City Council seats are up for election in November.