Fire Grows Slowly; Dick Anderson on Homeless Issues; Paid Leave Oregon; Gas Prices

Fire Grows Slowly

90 firefighters along with heavy equipment and 4 engines are currently deployed on the Three Buttes Fire just north of Florence.  The fire is in a remote area due east of the Heceta Lighthouse about 5 miles inland.  According to fire officials the fire is mainly a ground fire with slow growth and moderate behavior.  On Tuesday heavy equipment began clearing roads along the fire’s perimeter. About 65 acres are currently affected by the fire.  A large contingency of equipment and personnel are currently set up in Florence on the city’s Quince Street property. Favorable humidity levels and low winds have been assisting in the firefighting efforts according to Western Lane Fire and EMS’s Chief Michael Schick.

“This last couple days have been great, I think, especially on this Three Buttes Fire, that it’s been fairly moist up there keeping the fire activity low.”

He says they are keeping an eye on the weather.

“All it takes is a couple dry, warm days and then, and you know, an east wind to pick up and fire danger is going to spike again.”

No evacuations have been ordered and a layer of smoke will exist in the air, but will generally push eastward.  Lightning has been determined as the cause of the fire and it is currently 0% contained.  The U.S. Department of Forestry will be giving daily updates on their progress.

Dick Anderson on Homeless Issues

It’s certainly not the sole reason for homelessness on the coast, but one contributing factor has been the shrinking number long-term rental housing.  Fifth District Senator Dick Anderson says one reason is because the state makes it difficult for small property owners to remain in the month-to-month rental market.  He cites things like red tape and rent control.  He doesn’t blame some property owners for taking homes of the long-term market.

(Landlord 2) – “I can’t take it any longer.  I don’t want to sell my real estate I’ll just turn it into a nightly rental because now I’m no longer a landlord.”

Another factor Anderson points to is the length of time it takes to bring new rental property into the market.  He says it can take up to five years to navigate the regulatory and building permit process, driving up the cost.  He adds:

(landlord 3) – “I think we have a lot of duplications in the process.  I think we also do things lineal; I think we can stack some stuff; cut down the time.”

Anderson says his ambition is to “streamline” the process while maintaining adherence to building codes and not weakening consumer protections.  Senator Anderson is a guest on Coast Radio’s September edition of Our Town.

Paid Leave Oregon

As businesses begin contributing to the new Paid Leave Oregon, benefits will start being remitted beginning September 13th for individuals that are signed up and using the program.  According to information released by the state there are currently over 4600 individuals that have signed up for the program in the first week it was active.  Claimants can begin taking leave as early as September 3rd.  the program has receive almost 2500 phone calls and responded to almost 900 online questions.  according to information from their website instances of paid leave qualifications can be a new family member, such as a newborn or a serious injury or illness.  There are several benefit explanation seminars set up the latest one is tomorrow at 3pm, but you must pre-register at

Gas Prices

National gas prices are dipping slightly in front of the Labor Day Weekend, but not in Oregon.  According to Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon the price of a gallon of regular gas has climbed another 4 cents this past week and the prices in Florence have climbed to $4.60 a gallon. An expected increase in demand along with storms are going to affect prices according to Dodds.