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City of Gold Beach will tear down abandoned building

The City of Gold Beach will move forward with plans to tear down an abandoned house on Russell Street, after months of deliberation about how to address problems there.

The house, designated a “dangerous building” by the city, has been vacant for the last several months and is in a state of decay. In the past year, citizens have complained about the structure, which has attracted rats and transients. Neighbors have said they are concerned the lot will decrease property values of surrounding homes, and that it poses health hazards to other residents.

The city began the hearing process to discuss the fate of the building in August 2015. The property is currently owned by an out-of-state mortgage company. The city directed the company to take action on the property by November 2015, but it failed to do so. In February, the council directed Fritts to begin seeking bids from contractors to demolish the structure.

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New group explores options for Curry County health care

It’s been four months since the ballot measure to annex Southern Curry County into the Curry Health District failed, and a new group hopes to answer a question still unclear to many: what’s next for health care in Curry County?

The group, which held its first public meeting in February, was formed by people who contend that a hospital can be built in Brookings. The group’s first meeting drew a crowd of 60, and featured a presentation by organization chair Catherine Wiley. 

Wiley spoke about the differences between a critical access and an acute care hospital, and the status of both Curry Health Network and Sutter Coast Hospital. The group also discussed the financial state of Curry Health Network.

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Smith River steelhead

Submitted photo.

Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing holds a trophy Smith River steelhead caught and released earlier this month by client Sam Scarborough of Corvallis, who used roe cured with Pautzke’s BorXOFire. 


Entrance closed for safety reasons

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ODOT closed the south entrance to the South Coast Center to discourage motorists looking for a short cut.
 

The south entrance of South Coast Center, which houses Grocery Outlet and other businesses, was closed Friday morning and will remain blocked until all sinkhole-related construction on Highway 101 in Harbor is complete. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) closed the entrance to prohibit drivers from using the shopping center parking lot as a shortcut around the construction zone. 

Despite the recent opening of nearby Shopping Center Avenue as a detour for traffic, commuters have continued to drive through the parking lot, creating problems for the businesses and causing two small accidents so far, according to Oregon State Trooper David Wehner.

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State Rep. Krieger bowing out of politics

State Rep. Wayne Krieger officially announced Thursday that he is not seeking reelection to the seat he has held for the past 16 years.

“It’s with mixed emotions that I make this announcement,” said Krieger, who calls Gold Beach home. “It was never my intent to come to the legislature, but with much arm-twisting, I ran in 2000 — and won. Originally I planned to run three times.”

Three sessions turned into nine.

“Since then, several health issues, the (Gold Beach-area) ranch, family, a desire to travel and a new business venture, makes me step back and say, maybe it is time to step down and let someone new with fresh ideas and more energy step up,” he said.

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County considers pot tax for Nov. ballot

Curry County commissioners plan to ask voters in November to approve a 3 percent tax on marijuana, adding to the current state tax of 17 percent.

The only time the county has the opportunity to do so is in a year in which there is a general election, said Commissioner Susan Brown, so if commissioners opt out of the election in November, they’d have to wait until 2020.

“Is it going to save us? No,” said Economic Development Director Julie Schmelzer in urging the board to put the question to the voters. “Is it going to help us? Yes.”

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History of the Pilot: The press keeps rolling

Editor’s note: This is the final installment in a series of articles commemorating the Pilot’s 70th anniversary this month.

Dick and Polly Keusink’s sale of the Curry Coastal Pilot to Western Communications (WesCom) in July 1981 marked the end of “mom and pop” ownership of the newspaper.

WesCom, headquartered in Bend, had its beginnings when Robert W. Chandler bought The Bulletin in 1953. Chandler, like the Keusinks, was a graduate of Stanford University’s journalism school and they were friends. At the time of his death in September 1996, he owned eight newspapers in Oregon and California.

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King tapped for county’s budget committee

Curry County Commissioners tapped Nesika Beach resident Carl King as the newest member of the county’s six-person budget committee.

The decision came after a heated discussion among commissioners, elected officials and department heads who argued about candidates’ experience, recommendations from other elected officials, and even possible perceptions of conflicts of interest — before naming King to the six-person committee.

Commissioners voted 2-1, with David Brock Smith voting against the motion to appoint King. He repeatedly pointed out that elected officials — and even County Accountant Gary Short — recommended incumbent John Spicer be reappointed to the seat, and the “coincidental” submission of King’s application to the board a day after Commissioner Tom Huxley tabled the appointment a week prior.

The budget committee is now comprised of all three commissioners and lay members Terry Hanscam, Sam Scaffo and King. Serving on the budget committee typically takes a couple of weeks in May. Spicer has held two, three-year terms on that committee.

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Flood watch issued for Curry

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for low-lying areas of Curry and surrounding counties today through Monday morning. 

The watch includes Port Orford, Gold Beach and Brookings as well as areas along Highway 199 such as Cave Junction. 

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70 years of the Pilot: 1962-81: The Keusink Era

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Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of stories celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Curry Coastal Pilot. The first two were published on March 2 and 5.

Dick and Polly Keusink had a dream of owning their own newspaper, and when the dream became a reality in late August, 1962, they sold their home in Santa Monica, California, loaded up their three children and a few possessions and headed to Brookings.

They took over publishing the Brookings-Harbor Pilot from John M. Jenkins and moved into a not-yet-complete home on Parkview Drive, gathering camping cots, a roll-away bed and a double mattress from here and there around town so they could manage until their furniture arrived.

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