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Battling the Buckskin Fire

Smoke from the Buckskin Fire can be seen from Lake Selmac near Highway 199 in Selma. Smoke has also been spotted from mountain tops along the Southern Oregon Coast. The fire has burned more than 2,000 acres as of Tuesday.

Drivers are still urged to take extra caution if they plan to travel Highway 199 toward Grants Pass this week, as fire trucks and thick smoke are likely to slow traffic along the narrow, winding road, particularly in the Illinois Valley.

The Buckskin Fire, caused by lightning strikes June 11, has burned 2,220 acres as of Tuesday afternoon. It spread little overnight after winds died down and gave firefighters the opportunity to put water on the conflagration. The fire is located about 34 miles east of Brookings. 


Rental shortage grips area

Curry County is experiencing a growing pain it hasn’t experienced in quite some time: New jobs drawing people to the area — and nowhere to house them.

And the rental shortage might not ease until at least December, according to one source.

“Suddenly, there’s a housing shortage in Brookings,” said Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman in his weekly report. “We have received numerous reports of people looking for both owner and rental housing units in town and can’t find the housing they want.”

Want, afford or can’t even find, seems to be the problem.


Oregon agencies work on marijuana rules

Just because recreational marijuana becomes legal in Oregon on July 1, state officials said people should not expect to see fields of pot growing across Oregon any time soon.

Where and how recreational marijuana will be grown, and how the operations will relate to existing medical pot growing, are among the bevy of questions being tackled by Oregon lawmakers and agencies.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is heading up licensing and regulation of recreational marijuana, while the Oregon Health Authority has been overseeing medical marijuana.


Lawmaker calls for statewide $13 minimum wage

SALEM (AP) — House Speaker Tina Kotek unveiled a proposal Monday to gradually raise Oregon’s statewide minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2018 and give local governments the right to go higher if they choose.

The change would give Oregon the nation’s highest minimum wage Jan. 1, when all workers would have to be paid at least $11 an hour, up from the current $9.25. The wage floor would go up $1 a year until it hits $13 an hour in 2018.

Coming less than a month before lawmakers must wrap up the legislative session, Kotek’s proposal is a long shot. 


Beyond BHHS program benefits local graduates

This fall, nine graduating seniors from the Brookings-Harbor High School Class of 2015 will enter a program that will allow them to earn a year of college credit paid for primarily by the Brookings-Harbor School District.

The “Beyond BHHS” program, or the BHHS Advanced Diploma, partners the high school with Southwestern Oregon Community College and allows students who have completed their high school requirements to remain in the district system for another year while they take community college courses.

“We collect students’ ADM (Average Daily Membership) while they complete their first year of college, and the ADM (state money) pays for their tuition and books,” said BHHS Principal Lisa Dion. “They have their diploma, but they’re still considered our students.”


Buckskin Fire grows to 2,000 acres

Drivers are urged to take extra caution if they plan to travel Highway 199 toward Grants Pass this week, as fire trucks and thick smoke from the Bucksin Fire are likely to slow traffic along the narrow, winding road.

The lightning-triggered fire, which has burned more than 2,000 acres since it began June 11, is located southwest of Cave Junction and 6 miles north of the Del Norte County border. It has moved from its ignition point east across Baldface Creek toward the Curry and Josephine county line and north into the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. More than 400 firefighting personnel are battling the blaze.



Photo by Mark Harpur/americanwindsurfingtour.com

A professional windsurfer launches himself off a wave at Pistol River during the annual Pistol River Wave Bash that continues today.

Click here for more on the Pistol River Wave Bash.


Discord sinks water tank project

Officials with the city of Brookings, Curry County, South Coast Lumber and the Federal Aviation Administration are blaming one another for the likely demise of the city’s water storage project at the Brookings Airport.

The $2.8 million project the city, county and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have been working on for two years is “dead on arrival,” Mayor Ron Hedenskog said this week.

South Coast Lumber in Brookings, which uses the road that abuts the north end of the airport runway to access its timber lands, said that, if it could not have continued access “without any additional limitation or restriction” to the road it has used for the past 54 years, it will not permit the city to place a 500,000-gallon water tank on its land adjacent to the airport.

It’s those words that have made the FAA balk.


Firefighters corral numerous lightning-sparked wildfires

The Buckskin Fire, located in eastern Curry County, has charred about 100 acres of forest as of Friday afternoon. Submitted photo.

Firefighters spent all week battling and containing numerous lightning-sparked wildfires throughout Southern Oregon, including several on the eastern outskirts of Curry County.

No structures are threatened by any of the fires as of Friday afternoon, said Virginia Gibbons, spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service. But continued high temperatures and winds are expected to keep fire agencies on high alert.


Crosswalk being built after fatal accident

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has begun construction on a crosswalk on Chetco Avenue near Lucky Lane —  the result of citizens’ demands to make the area safer after a Brookings woman was killed there. 

Joyce Marie Betties, 73, was struck and killed by a car while crossing that section of highway last August. She was often seen walking up and down the street and frequenting Fred Meyer and the Chetco Activity Center to have lunch with friends.

Prior to the accident, ODOT and the city had been exploring placing a crosswalk in that area because of an increase in pedestrian and motor traffic there.


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