January

• State Rep. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, tries to tackle problems that created the massive 191,125-acre Chetco Bar Fire. County Commissioner Court Boice tried unsuccessfully to give the U.S. Forest Service a vote of no confidence.

• Curry County addresses nuisance homes, those found to be in uninhabitable condition. Several homeowners were contacted and properties cleaned up throughout the year.

• The Port of Brookings Harbor board of commissioners abruptly fired Port Manager Gary Dehlinger without notice, a move the board rescinded a week later.

• Ron Crook retired as the Curry County Fair manager after more than 50 years in the saddle. He was replaced by Nikki Sparks.

• Tempers flared at Brookings City Hall as plans forged ahead to cut down some 35 trees in Azalea Park. Arborists said in previous years that many were old, infected with cankers and dangerous to the public.

• Port of Brookings Harbor Commissioner Roger Thompson was found guilty of ethics violations regarding conflicts of interest. The state Government Ethics Commission said he used his position as commissioner in assisting his then-girlfriend Angi Christian with getting a reduced rent for her shop on port property.

• A $9.3 million harassment and civil rights lawsuit filed by former Curry County IT Director Todd Weeks was settled, seven months after he’d been fired. He had been accused of “insubordination” in regards to control over the GIS system.

• Thick fog delayed by a full day the rescue of a man who was suffering shortness of breath and weakness in Agness. Sheriff’s Office marine deputies couldn’t see the banks of the Rogue River to get there, and Curry County Commissioner Court Boice ended up taking the man to the hospital the next day.

• The Mayo family was hit with a second family tragedy when Monique Mayo was involved in an accident and paralyzed from the chest down. The family was still dealing with the loss of their son, Kevin, who’d been killed in a road rage-related motorcycle wreck.

• A man spent a week lost in the forest before search and rescue teams found him. He’d borrowed a friend’s vehicle, which was found about 32 miles east of Port Orford. Tyler Batch of Port Orford was found in good condition in Powers.

February

The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warrant for a man who attempted to kill another man at a storage unit in Harbor. The perpetrator, Robert Stanley, is accused of approaching Bill Terebesi asking for assistance with a flat tire and shooting him.

• Brookings-Harbor High School’s graduation rate jumped from its lowest — 63 percent — to 77 percent, for the first time since the state began tracking graduation rates.

• Fishermen were fianlly allowed to hit the high seas and catch crab on Feb. 5. Domoic acid levels remained too high for the season to open. Unfortunately, the season went down as a poor one due to poor meat content and molting crustaceans.

• County Commissioner Tom Huxley is berated for insinuating that a “man is best for the job” of a code enforcement officer. Huxley said he meant to imply the job can be a dangerous one — particularly since such an officer might have to approach people who are high on drugs or armed.

• Sen. Jeff Kruse, who represented citizens in Curry County, stepped down amongst allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted overtures during his tenure in the state house.

• The Department of Transportation named Contour Airlines as the new airline to operate out of the airport in Crescent City, which had been without regional air service for months after PenAir left the facility.

• The food banks in Brookings and Gold Beach saw an increase in clients this spring, and blamed a slow recovery from the Great Recession. The Brookings-Harbor Community Helpers Food Bank branched out and began offering warm clothing, tents, tarps and other equipment.

• Local stores voluntarily curtailed their sales of guns — with Fred Meyer and Bi-Mart upping the age to 21 to purchase a firearm — after a Florida school shooting that killed 19 students. A local man who was arrested after he pointed guns at sales clerks at Bi-Mart and the pawn shop in Brookings was released from jail after serving a 90-day sentence.

March

•Sudden Oak Death continued to spread in the forest between Gold Beach and Pistol River. The pathogen primarily attacks tanoak trees, but can be found in azaleas and rhododendrons.

• Central Curry School District teachers were laid low by an influenza virus that at one point had 10 of the 19 teachers out sick at Riley Creek Elementary School in Gold Beach. Brookings-Harbor School District was soon to follow, with absentee rates as high as 23 percent among the three schools.

• The city of Brookings approved a nuisance property ordinance to address problems at residential units where police are continually summoned.

• Discussion of tiny homes and “accessory dwellings,” more commonly known as “mother-in-law units” was a big topic in 2018, with the county and cities examining their ordinances to see how such structures might fit into future plans. Curry County is experiencing a severe shortage of affordable housing.

•The Port of Brookings Harbor fired Port Manager Gary Dehlinger for a second time, citing trust issues and that “he liked to work from his own ideas and not take ideas from the board,” allegations port employees denied.

• Brookings-Harbor High School students walked out of class March 14 to protest gun violence and to honor the 17 people killed in a high school shooting in Florida a month earlier. Gold Beach students also protested by leaving their classrooms and remaining silent at 10:17 a.m.

• Brookings decides to contest its county tax bill for Salmon Run golf course, saying that because the facility’s operations are contracted out, the city-owned land should not be subject to property taxes.

• Max Greenfield, 25, of Harbor has yet to be found after he was last seen March 17 at the Lucky 7 Casino. Video showed him entering the casino at 1 a.m. March 18 and leaving from its back door and walking around to the front 50 minutes later, where he met with a man.

• The Republican Precinct Committee selected four candidates to take the place of Sen. Jeff Kruse. The committee eventually name Dallas Heard as his replacement; Heard retained the seat in the November general elections.

• Trucks hauling loads of blackened timber start rolling down North Bank Chetco River Road, salvaging what they could of the charred remains left by the Chetco Bar Fire.

• Habitat for Humanity couldn’t meet its national mission to put a family in a home by June and dissolved. It has since reemerged as Curry Community Cares.

• Curry Health Network’s FastHealth system was hacked; the system stores forms submitted on the CHN website.

April

FEMA grants to port $27 million for hazard mitigation, primarily to replace loose pilings in the boat basin’s repair eroding and sliding slopes and build a new fuel dock, which is slipping away from its base.

• Brookings-Harbor High School seniors Abby Farmer, Brittney Nelson Malia Leddy, Swantisha Bailey and Barrieanne Fallert are among those to be chosen as the Azalea Festival princesses. Farmer was chosen by judges to be the Azalea Queen. This was the first year in many there was no pageant.

• Curry County commissioners name Minnesota-native Clark Schroeder as their county administrator. He replaced John Hitt.

• Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman retired after more than 10 years on the job.

• A committee filed a recall petition to remove four Port of Brookings Harbor commissioners from their seats in retaliation for their firing of Port Manager Gary Dehlinger. Roger Thompson resigned a week previous after being cited for a DUI in California — charges were dropped in May — and Andy Martin resigned shortly thereafter. Dehlinger filed a $2.2 million lawsuit.

• Curry County commissioners receive a letter from Gov. Kate Brown admonishing them for not devising a long-term, sustainable revenue plan. She said in her letter that “the Oregon State Police cannot be a substitute for local law enforcement.”

• County commissioner candidates are announced and include Andre Bay, Jan Barbas, Jeri Lynn Thompson and Christopher Paasch. Bay dropped out of the race, throwing his support behind Paasch.

• Two men were rescued when their boat overturned in the surf off Sporthaven Beach, leaving one man pinned under the upside-down hull for more than an hour.

• Brookings presents a budget that would increase spending by 5.3 percent.

• The county unveiled its $55 million budget, representing a 4 percent cut to the 2017-18 budget. Most of the money is “pass through” revenue designated to other special taxing districts, leaving Curry County with about $8.8 million in its general fund.

May

Gov. Kate Brown announced that Curry County has “turned the corner” in regards to damage suffered in the Chetco Bar Fire, noting that the legislature approved a $500,000 economic opportunity fund for economic resilience; $255,000 for drinking water and riparian restoration and other fire-related restoration activities.

• Letty and George Lee retire and sell the Onion Grill, a Brookings steakhouse and Chinese diner started in 2005, to Burger King. Construction of the new fast-food restaurant began later in the year.

• Janell Howard, the city of Brookings finance director, vies for and is hired to replace City Manager Gary Milliman.

• Voters oust Port of Brookings Harbor commissioner Jan Barbas and Angi Christian in a recall election. The board was then down to one member — Roy Davis — and couldn’t appoint two other members to make a quorum. That duty was left to Curry County commissioners, who selected Richard Heap and Ken Range.

• Brookings-Harbor High School students build a World War II display and unveils it over Memorial Day weekend.

• Oregon South Coast Fishermen take top honors in the Azalea Festival parade. Grand Marshal’s Choice award went to the South Coast Antique Tractor Club, the Mayor’s Choice award went to Sea View Senior Living Community and the Queen’s Choice was Kubota and Bud Custom Gardening’s float.

June

• Brookings hires on Portland State University to conduct a study to determine if merging the city’s and county’s 911 emergency systems is feasible. Also to be considered is a special taxing district to fund the services.

• Curry County Commissioner Court Boice continues to drive to various meetings of concern and eventually exceeds the commissioner’s office travel budget. Incoming County Administrator Clark Schroeder is ordered to find an attorney to represent the county to recoup the money. A suit was filed the following month.

July

• Cardboard boat races during the Dog Days of Summer event at the Port of Brookings Harbor were canceled by the port board citing safety concerns.

• Firefighters mopped up a burn scar from the 397-acre Lobster Creek Fire. The group Next Generation Climate Justice Action Camp was camping at the Lobster Creek Youth Camp.

• Chetco Community Public Library welcomes its new director, Julie Retherford. Retherford replaced longtime director Susana Fernandez.

• Restrooms were locked at Easy Manor and Chetco Point parks after vandals destroyed porcelain toilets and sinks. Two weeks earlier a pump had to be replaced at Mill Beach after a hypodermic needle was lodged in it.

• Brookings-Harbor High School’s Remembrance of World War II exhibit was displayed at the Oregon Historical Society museum in Portland.

• Outreach Gospel Mission Manager Craig Graber expressed interest in purchasing the vacant green building at the Port of Brookings Harbor. The mission had recently sold its property and was looking for a new home. The port continues to ponder what to do about the building that has been unfinished and vacant for 15 years.

• Lightning storms in Southern Oregon ignite 70 fires. One fire was started near Bear Camp and was about three acres. Another fire — the Klondike — which started in Josephine County, spread into Curry.

• Seismic retrofits began at Azalea Middle School. The work included new windows, building reinforcement and electrical wiring. After workers tore into the walls, it was found the original building materials met seismic standards.

• Char Riggs created a artistic beach village at the base of a cliff at the south end of Sporthaven Beach. The village drew many spectators, which caught the attention of Oregon State Parks, who made Riggs clean up the tiny village.

• Brookings police Sgt. Kelby McCrae was appointed chief. He replaced retiring chief Chris Wallace.

August

• The Oregon Department of Transportation placed signs at roadside pullout prohibiting overnight parking. ODOT claimed people camping in the pullouts were leaving trash and human waste.

• Services Employees International Union members employed by Curry County considered a strike. A one-time bonus was offered to the 17 employees; however, the members voted to strike.

• Thirty-five Douglas fir trees were felled in Azalea Park. Another 14 trees were trimmed.

A Gold Beach man starts a GoFundMe account to raise $33,000 for a kidney transplant. After he had reached the half-way pointhe received a surprise when “X-Files” star Gillian Anderson donated $16,000.

• A 6,400-square-foot addition to the Curry Public Library in Gold Beach was completed. The space includes a meeting hall, conference room, a technology lab and lobby.

• Harbor Fire Chief John Brazil dies after a fast and furious battle with lung cancer. The chief was just shy of his 74th birthday. He was replaced by Bob Larson.

• Boys of Summer, an Eagles tribute band, was one of several Summer Concerts in the Park presented by the American Music Festival. The band drew a record crowd of an estimated 1,500 people.

September

• Abandoned RVs along the Chetco River roads became problematic as trash was being left beside them and polluting the river.

• Work begins to improve drainage under the McDonald’s parking lot. At the same time, builders remodeled the restaurant’s drive-thru. Later, the dining room and building exterior were given a complete facelift.

• Brookings-Harbor schools eye establishing a truancy court to put a stop to students ditching class. Once established, parents began receiving fines for their children who skipped school.

• Work on rebuilding Railroad Street is finally completed after 15 years of controversy. The street had fell into disrepair as the city anticipated the Oregon Department of Transportation to take over the street to build a couplet. However, after voters nixed the idea, the city sought funds to improve the street.

• Curry County was cited by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality after it was found that the county road department flushed sediment through a clogged pipe and into the Chetco River at the Port Of Brookings Harbor.

• The city began a rush to make trail improvements to Chetco Point so that a 104-year-old woman who donated funds for the project could see it finished. A new bridge was built and the trail paved.

October

• The first rainfall in months brings relief for firefighters battling the Klondike Fire, which had grown to 167,033 acres. By mid-month officials declared the fire was out. However, a few days later, a flare up happened and an additional 8,000 acres burned. It was finally out in November.

• Tensions rose between the Port of Brookings Harbor and the Harbor Sanitary District when sand from port restrooms was causing problems with sanitary equipment. The problem was resolved when the port closed a restroom at Sporthaven Beach.

•Curry County and the city of Brookings closed a deal transferring ownership of the Brookings Airport to the city.

• Low water in the Chetco River resulted in salty water for Harbor Water District customers.

• A federal court decision declaring people cannot be arrested for sleeping on public property resulted in homeless people coming out of the woods and setting up camps at the Port of Brookings Harbor and Chetco Community Public Library. Groups began to meet to find solutions. Rules were enacted and the camps removed. Tents were also set up in Azalea Park; however, the city already had a rule prohibiting overnight camping in the park.

November

• Christopher Paasch defeated Jeri Lynn Thompson in a close race for county commissioner and Jake Pieper was re-elected mayor. Incumbent Ron Hedenskog defeated incumbent Dennis Triglia by a narrow margin. John McKinney won a three-way race for the city council position held by Hedenskog.

• After a settlement was reached with fired Port Manager Gary Dehlinger, he was given his job back.

• Mayor Jake Pieper asked two volunteers to leave their positions. One of the volunteers was Teresa Lawson, who was on the budget committee and ran against him for mayor.

• Firefighters battle four blazes in eight hours in Brookings. The most noteworthy blaze was a slash burn that rekindled in high winds along Carpenterville Road.

• Domoic acid levels were found high and meat quality found poor in local crab so the Dec. 1 opening was delayed. By year’s end, the crab season has yet to begin.

•Curry County Commissioner Court Boice, who was charged with overspending his allotted travel allowance, was found not guilty in court and cleared of charges.

December

• Homelessness issues continue to be discussed as the city proposed zoning for shelters, which was found to be a long process, and the county hosts a town hall meeting.

•The Curry County Board of Commissioners decides to place a transient lodging tax to a public vote to raise more funds for the cash-strapped county.

• The Curry County Board of Commissioners decided to raise building fees by 20 percent. Meanwhile the Brookings City Council voted against raising construction fees for manufactured homes.

•After having taken major pay cuts, the Curry County Board of Commissioners asked the budget committee to look into the impacts of reinstating commissioner salaries.

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