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Collier Butte Fire: Public wildfire meeting Thursday

The U.S. Forest Service will hold a community meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Brookings-Harbor High School gymnasium to discuss the Collier Butte Fire burning in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and national forest about 18 miles southeast of Gold Beach.

The Collier Butte Fire, ignited by lightning east of Collier Butte Aug. 2, has burned almost 4,000 acres and is 5 percent contained. No structures are threatened, nor are any major roads or highways closed due to the incident.

Almost 600 firefighters are combating the blaze, along with six helicopters, 10 engines,  two dozers and nine water tenders.


Gold Beach council mulls UGB annexation

The Gold Beach City Council will tackle an issue that has proved to be divisive for Curry County in the past — annexation.

Councilor Tamie Kaufman spoke to her colleagues at Monday’s meeting, detailing the potential benefits of annexing a portion of the city’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) into Gold Beach. The area includes Rogue Shores, Rogue Hills and East and West Wedderburn.

Kaufman researched the issue as part of her senior project as a student at Eastern Oregon University.

“In 2010, we found that citizens wanted 24/7 police coverage,” Kaufman said.


Voters to decide CHD annexation, lodging tax

Voters this November will decide the fate of two issues, the latest being a question asking voters to approve a transient lodging tax of 6 percent on all lodges, hotels, inns and other facilities.

The other ballot question originates from Curry Health District, one asking those currently in the district if they want to annex the south end of the county, and another asking those in the south end if they want to be annexed into the district. The question has tax implications for all involved, and the annexation cannot proceed without voter approval on both questions.


BLM extends comment period on controversial plan

A federal agency is giving the public extra time to review its sweeping new resource management plan for timber harvest, source water production and recreation in Oregon’s forests, but that isn’t likely to satisfy two Curry County officials with concerns about the document.

The Bureau of Land Management’s plan would examine, and potentially revise, the current harvesting policies for several districts in Western Oregon — including the Coos Bay district, which encompasses Curry County.

Commissioner Susan Brown recently expressed concern about the potential change in policy with harvesting of O&C (Oregon and California) lands. According to Brown, the change in plans could decrease the acreage of O&C lands available for harvest.

“This plan will negatively impact Coos and Curry counties,” Brown said.


Brookings desalination facility considered

A class of environmental engineering students from Humboldt State University will visit Brookings for a week this month to gather information to determine if the area is a good candidate for a desalination plant.

A desalination plant takes water from the ocean and removes the salt; half of the end product is potable water and the rest a salty brine that must be disposed of, often back into the ocean.

The results of the students’ work could tie into a competition in which the city is vying for millions of dollars in disaster preparedness funding from the federal government. 


Family fishing fun!

The Pilot / Larry Ellis

Father and daughter Troy and Lily Owen from Medford escaped the 106-degree weather on Sunday to catch these two lingcod while fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor. For more news on the local fishing scene, see the fish report on Page 6A.

Fire crews prepare for battle

The remote Collier Butte Fire, burning about 17 miles east of Gold Beach, posed no threat to homes as of Friday afternoon. Submitted photo.

Wildland firefighters and support teams trickled in to Curry County Friday, preparing to attack a 777-acre fire just east of Collier Butte peak in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, 17 miles southeast of Gold Beach.

The Collier Butte Fire is threatening no structures, and fire crews will try to keep it contained to the east, in the wilderness area, said public information officer Elizabeth Shepherd. 

A soft orange haze hovered in the sky to the east Thursday and Friday, and light ash was falling as far south as Brookings.

Dozens of fire and medical vehicles from throughout the West filled the Events Center on the Beach parking lot Thursday, a smattering of tents had been staked down on fairground lawns, a Sysco semi arrived to drop off food, and workers were busy establishing an incident command center in the Docia Sweet building.


Man stabbed, two arrested at campsite

Two transients were arrested and a third is recovering from a stab wound following an altercation among the three at a campsite at the South Fork of the Chetco River, authorities said Wednesday.

Angel Grant-Raines, 23, was arrested on charges of assault II and menacing. Maria Delcristo, 27, was arrested on charges of assault IV.

The victim was Frank Howard, 32.

At 5:35 p.m. Monday, the Curry County Sheriff’s Office responded to Loeb State Park where they found Howard with an apparent stab wound in the back, said Sheriff John Ward.


Brookings cougar sightings reported

Chetco River resident Gordon Later was driving along the river into Brookings Friday morning when something ran across his path: a cougar.

It’s one of several wildlife sightings reported in recent weeks.

“It came up from the river, crossed the road and went up the bank on the far side of the road,” Later said. “I’ve seen large black bears up there before, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a cougar.”

Later saw the animal while driving on North Bank Chetco River Road about 5 miles east of town, near the Riverside Market.


CHD annexation closer to ballot status

Curry Health Network CEO Ginny Razo breathed an audible “phew” Wednesday when Curry County commissioners finished an hour-and-a-half discussion and agreed to place the hospital district’s annexation question on the November ballot.

The ballot measure, if approved by the state, will ask voters in the hospital district if they want to have the southern end of the county join their district. Conversely, a separate question will ask those in the south end if they want to be annexed. Voters in both areas must approve their respective questions for the annexation to go through.

The district currently goes from just south of Pistol River north to Langlois, east to Agness and the county border. 


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