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Local News Briefs


Public nuisance

The city of Brookings will discuss at its workshop Monday how to address properties deemed “nuisances” and create safety concerns in the community.

The issue was prompted by activity at the Chetco Inn on Fern Street, which until a year ago, served as an assisted living facility. When it was sold, the new owner rented the rooms to people as a sort of communal living home.

The owners, Mittal Holdings of Vancouver, B.C., also own Blue Coast Inn in Brookings, and could not be reached for comment.

Brookings Police have been summoned to the Chetco Inn 81 times in the past six months for reports of theft, restraining order violations, threats, loud noise, harassment, narcotics trafficking, fights, disorderly conduct, child neglect and assault. Additionally, 13 smoke alarms have gone off, primarily due to residents smoking inside the building in violation of the rules there.

“Neighbors are concerned that the activities are having an unfavorable impact on their personal safety and the value of their property,” said City Manager Gary Milliman.

Staff has written an amendment to the city code to further address ‘chronic disorderly properties’ under its public nuisance provisions. As proposed, a property that has generated three or more complaints of disorderly conduct would be subject to nuisance abatement provisions, including citations, fines and assessments for the abatement.

“Cities have attempted to address this issue by defining ‘chronic disorderly properties’ as a public nuisance,” City Manager Gary Milliman wrote in his report to the council. “Similar conditions have existed at other properties over the years, and the city has been unable to effectively deal with (them) until the property ownership changes or the parties move out.”

Final county candidates

The search for a permanent county administrator has been narrowed to seven individuals, it was announced during a Curry County commissioner meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The seven will now go before the retired city manager of Bandon to review; he’ll then present whom he feels is the preferred candidates to the local board. Curry’s commissioners will interview and select an applicant in December with the goal of having them start in January.

John Hitt is serving as the interim administrator to conduct the day-to-day work of the county, which often falls to the board during meetings.

The county also just hired David Marshall to replace accountant Louise Kallstrom, who has been serving as on as-need basis for the county until her replacement could be found. She will stay as a temporary, full-time employee to train Miller, catch up on this year’s books and bring grants up to date.

And now the board must find a replacement for Roadmaster Doug Robbins, who gave his notice last week. His last day will be at the end of December.

Bank branch closures

The Gold Beach branch of JP Morgan Chase Bank and the branch of Umpqua Bank in Port Orford are closing their doors, both citing customers’ increasing use of technology to do their banking.

Chase is consolidating its Gold Beach operations with its branch in Brookings, said Darcy Wilmot, a spokeswoman for the bank.

Its last day will be Nov. 21; customers were notified in mid-September.

“”We’re constantly reevaluating our branch network to ensure we’re in the right places and customers are better served,” Wilmot said, adding that the ATM machine will remain on site. “With all the new technological advances, mobile deposits are up, ATM deposits are up, and teller deposits are down.”

There are four employees at the Chase bank in Port Orford. One is going to another financial institution, one is relocating to the Brookings branch and a third to the branch in Crescent City. The fourth, a manager with more than 18 years at the bank, announced her retirement prior to the decision to close the Port Orford branch.

“Everyone knows her,” Wilmot said. “She’s just kind of a fixture of that bank. And it’s always so great when the employees go to another branch. I’m just pleased the four employees are taken care of.”

Umpqua Bank plans to close its Port Orford branch Feb. 7 and consolidate with its Bandon and Gold Beach operations.

“We are, like most retailers, looking at customer preferences and behavior,” said Eve Callahan, spokeswoman for the bank. “They’re shopping less in brick and mortar stores, coming in less and less often, and more online.”

Employees there will have the opportunity to be absorbed into other branch locations in the company.

The closure of Umpqua Bank will leave Rogue Credit Union as the only financial institution in Port Orford; the loss of Chase Bank in Gold Beach leaves Rogue Credit Union and Umpqua Bank.