By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

Gold Beach City Council agreed to allow further study of a property at 28312 Mateer Road it deemed to be a dangerous building and asked for other abatements.

Councilor Larry Brennan said the building met the definition of a dangerous building and worried that if it caught fire, the fire would spread to homes across the street.

Councilor Anthony Pagano agreed but Councilor Tamie Kaufman said, although it was surrounded by vegetation, the building itself looked as sound as it had when it failed to meet the definition of “dangerous building” in 2011.

The owner of the property was not present.

Clayton Johnson, who lives near the property, said, “This isn’t about pretty, it’s about hazards.”

The building is open to both “two and four-legged trespassers,” according to Johnson.

Kaufman agreed the lot clearly violated the city’ vegetation ordinance but saw no evidence the building was unsound.

Mayor Karl Popoff said he would rather do something about it before something happens to someone else.

Councilor Becky Campbell asked if the city had attempted other forms of abatement, and Pagano noted nothing had been done on the property since it was the subject of a similar hearing in 2011.

The council agreed to declare the property a dangerous building and instruct the owner to abate the situation by removing vegetation and trees and submitting an engineering study on the state of the building.

City Administrator Jodi Fritts said she would communicate the council’s orders to the owners and allow 15 days for the owner to comply.

The owner of a second building at 28515 Mateer Road — also being discussed as a dangerous building — agreed to tear down any structures on the property within two months.

The council agreed with the owner that one partial wall with a bathroom attached and a free-standing chimney need to be demolished and the brush cut and allowed him two months to complete those tasks.

Bag ban

Amy Timeus asked the council to revisit its position on banning single-use, plastic bags. She said it was too difficult to collect signatures and put the ban on a ballot, as council had asked her to do previously. She had previously asked the city to ban the bags in 2015.

“I am back,” she said, “and asking you pass it (the ban) as other Oregon cities have, on a council level.”

Timeus proposed a ban on plastic bags and a charge for paper bags of 10 cents, of which 3 cents would be paid to the store providing the bags, and 7 cents would be sent to the Wild Rogue Youth Fund, a local charity.

Brennan said he felt the fee was a tax and said he would not impose a tax on citizens without their consent. He was also reluctant to “tax” citizens to contribute to charities.

Popoff similarly was hesitant to tax citizens without a vote on the matter.

“If the people want it,” he said, “great, but if not, I don’t want to shove it down their throats.”

Kaufman wondered if a bag-ban targeting only the local grocers was discriminatory, and other councilors asked that the language be reviewed by the city’s lawyer.

Timeus said the fee was not a tax because people could use a reusable bag and never pay it. She encouraged the council to ban the plastic bags because they break down in nature so slowly and kill marine life.

She noted Gold Beach was located on the ocean and the Rogue River and the bags were polluting both ecosystems.

“Why is this controversial?” she said.

The council agreed to look into the issue again next month and to have the city’s lawyer review the language.

In other news

Popoff proclaimed March “Revive Civility Month” in response to a request from the League of Women Voters (LWV). The LWV of Oregon agreed this year to “promote civil discourse through action and education for all government bodies, staff and citizens for the purpose of improved public policy decisions and processes.” Civil discourse means, at a minimum, mutually respectful, courteous, constructive, and orderly communication, according to the group.

The council asked Fritts to work with Luke Martinez of Gold Beach Disc Golf and Anthony Darling of Wild Rivers Mountain Bike Club to develop land in Buffington Park to include multi-use trails and additional disc golf holes. Martinez and Darling agreed to work together with a shared goal of adding trails that could also be used as disc golf fairways. Fritts requested more specific plans and drawings before moving forward.

Martinez said his group’s goal is to add 11 holes and create the best disc golf course on the Oregon Coast.

Darling said his group had a passion for mountain biking and the equipment and volunteers needed to build the trails.

4-H Educational Program Assistant Ruth Dixon reported she and other local leaders were offering a My Youth Preparedness Initiative (MyPI) program for local youth. Adults who want to teach in the program may attend as well.

Graduates of the program will receive a diploma and emergency equipment, according to Dixon. And she asked the council to recognize their achievement when the course was complete.

She said youth could help with water storage and delivery during wildfires and direct traffic during emergencies or local events.

According to documents provided, MyPI participants learn the following skills:

• Disaster Preparedness

• Fire Safety & Suppression

• Disaster Medical Ops

• Treatment of Injuries

• Search and Rescue

• Disaster Psychology

Reach Boyd C. Allen at ballen@currypilot.com

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