WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Lincoln City City Council: A better way to help the homeless, a solution to the city’s wastewater leftovers, “whither pesticide spraying” debate…

Amanda Cherryhomes
Warming Shelters


It appears that the Lincoln City City Council and the “Care for the Homeless” groups in town may be onto a new plan to deliver better services to the homeless – to shelter them at night, to help them find work, get them off drugs and generally get their lives back together.

There are various groups doing that in Lincoln City but the various non-pirofit organizations are reportedly looking to work more closely together – each specializing in specific services so as to reduce duplication and thereby streamlining the process of helping the homeless get their lives back.

The subject of creating a permanent warming shelter was broached with the city council, with homeless advocate Amanda Cherryhomes telling them that the two warming shelters – Congregational Church and the First Baptist Church are bearing a heavy load with homeless single men and women in one church, and homeless families in the other. Cherryhomes stated that it’s time for the community to create a central warming shelter for what amounts to an active homeless population of 131 people in Lincoln City that literally live on the streets except when they sleep – in those two churches. Cherryhomes laid it out – they need help from the city.

Cherryhomes and a representative from a group called Homeless Solutions, said they need a building. Cherryhomes says the city can help by granting the group a down payment on a building, or find a building the city owns that it could turn over to the group. Cherryhomes said it could be a stand-alone building or part of a larger one-stop-shop headquarters for the homeless – with Family Promise, My Sister’s Place and other helpful organizations being available to provide an array of services and counseling.

Cherryhomes says, as it is, the two churches provide space to store and distribute clothing, toiletries, food, blankets, laundry, shower and bus vouchers. They also help the homeless find jobs. So far, volunteers are averaging over 3,000 hours of service, as well as serving thousands of meals. All this without much help from local governments.

Mayor Don Williams asked “What do you need from us?” Cherryhomes said “Help us find a building so a more efficient and effective set of services to the homeless can be taken to the next level.” She said, “Many businesses are complaining that the homeless wandering the streets are hurting business because they hang around and have no place to go. They should be getting help – to get them back into the workforce and getting their lives back together. That’s what we are doing, but we could be doing a better job if we had a central headquarters to better organize and coordinate our services.”

Mayor Williams asked City Manager Richard Chandler to arrange a meeting with the various homeless services and determine what role the city could play in furthering their goals.

City to spend nearly $500,000 solving a long festering problem at the sewer plant.

For a long time, the Lincoln City Sewer Plant has been taking the “end product” of the treatment cycle and applied it to farmlands in the Siletz Valley. It’s great fertilizer – a very valuable soil amendment for growing hay and such. But over the years available land has been shrinking – residents have been selling off pieces of their holdings here and there, to the point the landowners have said no more application of the stuff would be welcome in their neck of the woods.

The city saw this day coming and have agreed to subject the plant’s bio-solids to a higher level of treatment and even further drying/de-watering. It’s going to cost about a half-million dollars to ramp it up. The city council awarded the $460,000 bid to a contractor, with a $30,000 back-up contingency for possible change-orders.

City Council touches on possible public discussion on the anti-aerial pesticide spraying measure on the May ballot.

City Councilors Sue Wahlke and Riley Hoagland both mentioned that the Lincoln County Commission had gone on record to oppose Measure 21-177 on the May ballot – a measure that would ban aerial spraying of pesticides over private timberlands in Lincoln County. Those in favor of the ban say rural residents have been sickened by pesticides administered by aircraft and helicopters – fugitive sprays that are occasionally wind-blown into residential areas. Also that pesticides get into creeks and streams and major waterways from which cities and towns draw their drinking water. Hoagland said he has noticed wide areas of new timber clear cuts north and south of Lincoln City’s watershed – which could portend such aerial spraying, if it hasn’t happened already. Hoagland also questioned as to whether Lincoln City’s drinking water treatment plant can handle such contamination, IF there is any. He said he’d like to see the city council provide a public forum to examine all this. Councilor Sue Wahlke pointed out that the Lincoln County Commission is recommending a NO vote on the ban and that perhaps she and her fellow councilors should consider holding a public forum and then deciding on a possible recommendation to the voters.

At that point, Councilor Dick Anderson questioned whether it’s the city council’s job to provide a forum – that if those supporting the ban were smart, they’d hold their own forums. “Is it the job of the city council to hold meetings for ballot measures?” Mayor Don Williams turned to City Manager Ron Chandler asking him if it was possible to have a forum and Chandler responded “I can schedule one, if that’s the will of the council.” After a long pause, Wahlke changed the subject to an unrelated meeting update from the Council of Governments and the pesticide issue just faded away.

Aerial spraying of herbicides and pesticides are outlawed on all U.S. Forest Service timberlands while the state of Oregon allows aerial spraying on state and privately owned timberlands. Measure 21-177 is on the May 16th ballot.

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