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Picking a new city councilor, kicking four off the Harbor Commission, punting on recreational marijuana sales but moving ahead with cute scenic park

Depoe Bay City Council Tuesday evening

Depoe Bay City Council
Tuesday evening

Who’s on first?

The Depoe Bay City Council gave themselves more time to consider recreation marijuana sales before the Oregon Liquor Control Board develops rules and regulations on the subject.

The agenda item referred to whether current medical marijuana dispensaries could sell recreational marijuana before January 1st but the discussion went sideways – focusing instead on recreational marijuana as a stand-alone subject. There are no medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the city of Depoe Bay that can even sell the plant.

However, there was an applicant in the audience who’s been trying to open Depoe Bay’s first medical marijuana dispensary. His application has already been approved by the state and is awaiting local approval from Depoe Bay City Councilors. Later that applicant, Josh Gilleo, was informed there were five citizen letters in opposition to him establishing his dispensary at 443 NW Highway 101. Medical marijuana dispensaries have been routinely approved around Oregon since 1998 and were not affected by the passing of Measure 91, the recreational marijuana initiative last November. Medical marijuana dispensaries are a completely separate entity under the law with their own rules and regulations already firmly set by the Oregon Health Authority. The central question in this instance is whether medical marijuana dispensaries should be allowed to sell recreational marijuana temporarily starting October 1st. When the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which controls recreational marijuana, establishes their own regulations, medical marijuana dispensaries will stop selling recreational marijuana. But nobody knows exactly when that date will be. They’re shooting for January 4th of next year.

The whole point in the temporary sales arrangement is to keep legitimate marijuana in the marketplace, sold by legitimate businesses – not by black marketers in back alleys or darkened cars selling illicit marijuana either grown locally or imported from central or South America. The temporary sales of recreational marijuana by medical marijuana dispensaries is supposed to provide easy to obtain legal marijuana without feeding that criminal black market.

But plowing ahead anyway, the council passed an ordinance that bans recreational marijuana sales in Depoe Bay starting October 1st, lasting until the Oregon Liquor Control Commission comes up with rules and regulations controlling its sale. Meanwhile Mr. Gilleo’s application to establish a medical marijuana dispensary awaits a public hearing September 21st, 6:30pm at Depoe Bay City Hall. Mr. Gilleo is facing five residents who are revealed in their written complaints as still being opposed to Measure 91 which passed at the polls last November. Measure 91 had nothing to do with medical marijuana dispensaries.

Sometimes it’s a good idea for city councils to invite their city attorney to sit in on complicated discussions, especially as complicated as this one.

You’re FIRED!

The city council’s conversation about what should be done about their Harbor Commission took an interesting turn Wednesday evening. You may recall that four commission members, either working for or in association with Tradewinds Charters, have been charged in court for racketeering with the primary aim of defrauding the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon State Police of fishing license revenues – basically charging charter customers for licenses that were never purchased at ODFW. They scammed their customers and state government, prosecutors contend.

But instead of acknowledging the elephant in the room, that there appears to be a damning case against the four, and possibly the rest of the defendants, the council each trumpeted loudly their virulent discontent with what they portrayed as a dysfunctional Harbor Commission. Councilor Zeke Olsen led the charge complaining that the commission has sat on its hands while City Hall has had to subsidize its operations for years. Other councilors pretty much went along with that characterization. So when it came time to declare four seats on the Harbor Commission vacant, by an act of the council, Eva Harmon, Noeli Achen, Roman Smolcic and Dan Zimmerman were shown the door. Their seats were declared “vacant” on a 5 to 1 vote of the city council. Mayor AJ Matilla thought they ought to get their day in court before being bounced.

And with that they declared that the council is shopping for new appointees to the Depoe Bay Harbor Commission. They’re accepting applications down at City Hall.

Who’s going replace Kathy Wyatt on the council?

The City Council interviewed three candidates who want to fill the unexpired term of City Councilor Kathy Wyatt who resigned recently. She said her job was demanding more of her time. The three candidates, Colin Teem, Bill Johnson and Jeff Wiseman all seemed qualified based on business and life experience – Johnson with heavier government experience than the other two. So we’ll see who gets the thumbs up at the next council meeting

A stunning addition to Depoe Bay’s oceanview boardwalk

And the Depoe Bay City Council approved going out to bid on a rather quietly advancing project overlooking scenic Depoe Bay. It’s to be a new bay overlook platform with stairs going down to another platform with benches to get a more grand experience of the thunderous and spectacularly beautiful restless ocean that so typifies Depoe Bay – especially in the winter.

The scenic overlook park is expected to be completed by Halloween and is sure to be a favorite spot with tourists and locals alike. It’s to be located between the little bed and breakfast north of the Whale statue and the Emerald Realty office.

 

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