Cottage Grove sentinel. (Cottage Grove, Or.) 1909-current, September 21, 2016, Image 1

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    Palmer's
patriotism,
selfl ess
service,
page 6A
Harriers take
three-course
challenge,
set to host
Dam Run,
page 3B
$ PUUBHF ( SPWF 4 FOUJOFM
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2016
SOUTH LANE AND NORTH DOUGLAS COUNTY'S MOST AWARD-WINNING NEWS SOURCE SINCE 1889
VOLUME 129 • NUMBER 13
Gone is the 'interim' — Shepherd offi cially
named Chief of Cottage Grove Police
BY JON STINNETT
The Cottage Grove Sentinel
W
ith a one-sentence an-
nouncement, it became
offi cial.
An email from Commander
Conrad Gagner with the Cot-
tage Grove Police Department
announced on Wednesday, Sept.
14 that “effective today, Interim
Police Chief Scott Shepherd has
been named Chief of Police.”
Shepherd has guided CGPD
since former Chief Mike Grover
retired last August, at which time
Meyers
declined
to explain
further.
“He’s
had
a
good year
of tests to
see how
he
will
p e r f o r m Police Chief
under
a Scott Shepherd
variety
of situa-
tions,” Meyers said. “It’s been a
nice exercise.”
it was announced that Shepherd
would serve as interim chief for
six months.
Over a year later, City Man-
ager Richard Meyers said late
last week that the City “needed
to get it squared away so we
can fi ll vacancies in the Depart-
ment.”
Meyers said that the City has
been pleased with Shepherd’s
leadership thus far, lauding his
work with locals to enhance the
reporting of possible crimes in
the City and his handling of dif-
fi cult “personnel issues” that
Meyers said that Shepherd
“does the job well, and it’s going
to be fun working with him.”
For his part, Shepherd said
he’s excited to offi cially take on
the chief position but somewhat
nervous about the full weight of
responsibility it will entail. He
said the Department will con-
duct an “in-house” recruiting
process to fi ll the vacant com-
mander position he previously
held, in addition to replacing a
police offi cer and a dispatcher
lost after a recent retirement.
O
photo by Jon Stinnett
City employees Mike O'Reilly and Ron Smith stretch a 'do not enter' sign
across the swinging bridge. The City asks that those who witness trespass-
ers on the bridge call 911.
Public Works crews had accomplished
that closure by Friday afternoon, placing
a barrier of boards across its entrance and
signs warning all not to trespass there.
Notice of the closure came quickly, but
the letter states that the conditions that war-
ranted the closure were not new.
“OBEC’s last inspection of the struc-
ture was in 2002, and repairs were recom-
mended to be completed on the towers as
soon as possible,” Larsen wrote. “It is our
understanding that those repairs were never
completed.”
Larsen wrote that two OBEC engineers
inspected the bridge on Aug. 29 and again
Sept. 9, inspections that revealed “extensive
decay in the vertical towers and some decay
of the horizontal braces at each tower.”
“The amount of decay in the towers was
estimated in 2002 to be 50 percent of the ver-
tical members’ capacity,” he wrote. “These
members now have approximately one inch
Please see BRIDGE, Page 11A
Dept. of Education releases state test scores
tions. The assessments are for
students in grades three through
eight and grade 11 in high
school.
Overall, South Lane School
District saw an increase in per-
centage over the last few years,
and the District tends to stay
above the state average except
for in a few grades and sub-
jects.
For the high school students
in the District, the percentage
of students that met or exceeded
expectations in ELA increased
from 69 to 74, while the state
percentage only increased from
68 to 69. Cottage Grove High
School individually scored 80
South Lane School District excels in some
subjects, lags in others
he Oregon Department
of Education recently re-
leased its assessments for 2016,
and the South Lane School
Board heard the local results of
those assessments at its Sept. 12
meeting.
Over the past fi ve years, there
has been a steady pattern of sig-
nifi cant decline in the percentage
of students that meet or exceed
expectations statewide. This is
T
his November, local voters will weigh the merits of
several ballot measures. In the coming weeks, the Sen-
tinel will examine each of these measures, with this week’s
“Ballot Box” devoted to Measure 20-245, a potential
three-percent tax on the sales of recreational marijuana
items.
Summary (from the Notice of Measure Election fi led by
the City on June 3): If adopted by the voters, this measure
would impose a three percent tax on sales of marijuana items
(including marijuana, marijuana products and marijuana
extracts) by recreational marijuana retailers licensed by the
Oregon Liquor Control Commission and located within the
City of Cottage Grove. The tax would be collected from
consumers by recreational marijuana retailers at the point of
sale. Recreational marijuana retailers would remit the three-
percent tax to the City. The three-percent city tax would be
imposed in addition to any state taxes on the sale of mari-
juana items. The three percent tax would not be imposed on
medical marijuana sales.
BY JON STINNETT
The Cottage Grove Sentinel
T
BY JON STINNETT
The Cottage Grove Sentinel
Shall Cottage Grove impose a three percent
tax on sales of marijuana items by recreational
marijuana retailers in the City?
Safety concerns prompt
swinging bridge closure
BY SAM WRIGHT
The Cottage Grove Sentinel
The lowdown on each of the fall
election’s ballot measures
Measure 20-245:
Engineers
fi nd faulty
towers
n their way home from school on
Friday, Cottage Grove High School
students could be heard grumbling as they
passed a sign posted across a popular local
landmark.
Their comments concerned the closure
of the swinging bridge that spans the Coast
Fork of the Willamette River between Mad-
ison Avenue and River Road, a closure rec-
ommended by an engineer tasked with as-
sessing the bridge that is sure to disrupt the
travel plans of many in Cottage Grove.
In a letter to City Engineer Ron Bradsby
dated Sept. 14, Brad Larsen with OBEC
Consulting Engineers wrote of a “conversa-
tion regarding the critical condition of this
bridge and our serious concern for the safety
of the public due to the potential collapse of
the bridge.” He recommended that the city
close the bridge to all potential users.
Ballot
Box
due to a change in requirements
and the adoption of a new as-
sessment system, which has
become more rigorous over the
years. Also, ELA (English Lan-
guage Arts) standards have be-
come more rigorous since 2010.
The ODE also recently switched
from the Oregon Assessment of
Knowledge and Skills (OAKS)
to the Smarter Balanced assess-
ments.
The results show what per-
centage of students in math and
ELA met or exceeded expecta-
percent.
In math, 11th graders in-
creased from 32 percent in 2015
to 39 percent; the current state
average is 33 percent.
There are some areas in which
the School District is notably
lower than the state average. For
instance, fi fth graders in SLSD
scored 48 percent in ELA, while
the state average is 57 percent.
Grade four was fi ve percentage
points lower than the state aver-
age in 2015 and now fi nds itself
four percentage points higher.
Every grade in middle school
in South Lane scored slightly
Please see TESTS, Page 11A
Background: Cottage Grove is not the only municipality
exploring a three-percent tax on recreational marijuana, with
the pursuit of such a tax approved by the Oregon legislature
with House Bill 3400 in response to the statewide legaliza-
tion of recreational marijuana. Lane County, the cities of
Veneta, Westfi r, Dunes City, Florence, Eugene, Springfi eld
and Oakridge are also exploring a three-percent tax, with
some cities such as Creswell seeking the tax while also put-
ting forth a ballot measure that would prohibit medical and
recreational marijuana processors, dispensaries, producers,
wholesalers and retailers.
The Cottage Grove City Council has thus far been reluc-
tant to place restrictions on the burgeoning local marijuana
market; it decided against a possible one-year moratorium
on the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, dispen-
saries that are now also doing brisk business in recreational
marijuana sales.
At its May 25 meeting, the Council voted 6-1 to refer the
recreational marijuana tax to voters. If enacted, it would be
added to a statewide recreational marijuana tax that will be
reduced from 25 to 17 percent next year.
Councilor Jake Boone stood alone on the Council in opposi-
tion to the tax, which he said could put local dispensaries at
an advantage if passed. Boone also stated that he believed a
tax targeting any industry should be used to “somehow offset
issues that come from that industry,” adding that legalization
of recreational marijuana should not increase the cost of law
enforcement efforts as has been stated.
Mayor Tom Munroe and others supported the ballot measure
and tax as a way for the City to “get our fair share.” It might
be expected that marijuana retailers would oppose the tax,
but Darby Valley, majority owner of Apothecaria dispensary
in Cottage Grove, which hopes to earn its retail license, sup-
ported the tax at the May City Council meeting.
City Manager Richard Meyers said he is unaware how much
tax revenue might come from a three-percent recreational tax
in Cottage Grove. Meyers and Finance Director Bert Olsen
placed a $15,000 line item in the 2016-17 city budget for
recreational marijuana tax revenue on an estimated $500,000
in sales, though he acknowledged that the number represent-
ed “a guess” and a “placeholder.” The Council decided not
to dedicate revenue from the tax to any specifi c city budget
item.
Cottage Grove-based business New Breed Seed became one
of the fi rst licensed recreational retailers last spring, and
many current dispensaries and other businesses are expected
to follow. As of Sept. 16, OLCC listed 26 licensees for mari-
juana businesses in Lane County.
R AIN C OUNTRY R EALT Y I NC .
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P.O. Box 35, Cottage Grove, OR 97424
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CONTENTS
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Calendar....................................... 11B
Channel Guide ............................... 6B
Classified ads................................. 8B
Obituaries....................................... 2A
Opinion .......................................... 4A
Public Safety .................................. 5A
Sports ............................................ 1B
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