Legal implications for city discussed by attorney

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

The Burns City Council held a meeting Wednesday, Dec. 10 to discuss and receive public comment on time, place and manner restrictions for a medical marijuana dispensary.

Jeremy Green, legal counsel for the city, was on hand to present the draft ordinance, which would place additional regulations on the operation of dispensaries in the city of Burns, above and beyond state law. Green and the council fielded questions and comments from the public on the issue.

At the Oct. 22 meeting, the council approved an ordinance amending  and restating Burns Municipal Code (BMC) Chapter 5.05 (concerning business licenses), stating:

“…the Burns City Council finds that it is necessary to amend and restate BMC Chapter 5.05 in its entirety in order to, among other things, accommodate businesses that may have otherwise been inadvertently prevented from operating in the City’s corporate limits.”

A business license for a medical marijuana dispensary was approved by the council Sept. 10 “with modifications or amendments,” with the intention of placing the time, place and manner restrictions on the business in a separate ordinance before issuing the license.

A draft of this ordinance was presented at the Nov. 12 meeting, where the council reviewed the document and received public comment. A second draft was distributed at the most recent meeting.

Green outlined the legal risks involved in the time, place and manner restrictions, saying that they had to be backed up by legitimate, safety-driven concerns in order to avoid a lawsuit. He also explained, in response to questions about the other options the city has, that if the council were to undo the amendment made to the business license ordinance in order to deny the issuance of the license to a dispensary, the city could face legal action.

“If you were to go back and require compliance with federal law, then you could deny the business license to that particular dispensary and any other dispensary that comes in,” said Green.

“That doesn’t end it, though, because you could be subject to legal challenge from that dispensary, not only based on the business license piece, but based upon a retroactive issue as well,” he added.

•••

The majority of public comment was against the dispensary, and against the use of marijuana in general.

Grant Gunderson addressed Green and the council regarding section 5.05.120 of the business license ordinance, which states that “all licensees must comply with all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and ordinances,” asking how it allowed for a medical marijuana dispensary to exist (as marijuana is illegal under federal law).

“This is no longer a regulatory-driven business license ordinance. It is now…an information-gathering type ordinance,” said Green.

He explained that the city would not be ensuring compliance with federal law, and that other cities have similar ordinances.

“We don’t have the resources – financial, staffing, and otherwise – to go about enforcing federal laws,” said Green.

Gunderson also asked if cities could be more restrictive than the state when it comes to medical marijuana dispensaries.

“I would argue that, yes, they can,” said Green.

Gunderson asked about the viability of various restrictions placed on the dispensary, including additional location restrictions. Green reiterated that he believed they were possible, as long as they were tied to a legitimate, safety-driven reason.

Gunderson asked if the approval of the business license for the dispensary implied approval of the location, which is currently planned at the former Bike Burns shop on Highway 20.

“The mere fact that we’ve already issued a business license to a medical marijuana facility, does not mean that they’re not ultimately going to be subject to our time, place and manner restrictions,” explained Green.

“Even if that means they can’t be there?” asked Gunderson.

“They’re going to argue that they get grandfathered in, we all know that…but an argument could be made that that isn’t the case,” said Green.

“Is it unreasonable to make them change the name of the dispensary – right now, they have ‘Enjoy’ on there, that to me is hypocrisy – medical marijuana?” asked Gunderson.

“Honestly, that is the first time I’ve received a question regarding controlling the name of a business…I will look at it,” said Green.

•••

Following further discussion about concerns regarding the amendment made to the business license ordinance (which relieved the city of responsibility for regulating businesses’ compliance with federal law), Councilor Jerry Woodfin suggested that it should be reversed.

“What I’m hearing is, with these time, place and manner restrictions, if we put something in there, somebody’s going to challenge it. And then somebody else is going to find something in there, and they’re going to challenge it,” said Woodfin.

“I think if we’re going to sit around and worry about getting challenged, we should just draw the line and say, ‘Let’s go back and say you have to follow state and federal law,’ and then there’s just one thing to challenge.”

The comment was met with approval from the crowd.

In response, Mayor Craig LaFollette asked the council whether they remembered the executive session in which they had this discussion with Green’s counsel.

“I don’t want the public to think that we didn’t already have this discussion. We had this discussion in detail. And I’ll leave it at that,” he said.

•••

Charity Robey said her biggest issue with the dispensary was the disposal of the marijuana. She said that if it were placed in dumpsters outside the building, it would pose a threat to children and pets.

Green pointed out a provision in the draft time, place and manner ordinance, which states that the dispensary “must provide for secure disposal of marijuana remnants or byproducts; such remains or byproducts shall not be placed within the dispensary’s exterior refuse containers.”

•••

Sgt. Brian Needham, speaking on behalf of himself and the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, said allowing the dispensary would result in increased “black market” marijuana, a higher crime rate, and increased law enforcement costs.

Bev LaFollette told the councilors that she felt it was in their best interest to “go back” and undo the amendment to the business license ordinance.

“I think we need to back up, and we need to slow down and look at this,” she said.

“I think the majority of the people here would like to see ‘federal’ put back in,” she added, referring to the ordinance.

LaFollette said that if the council did decide to keep going forward, she would like to see additional restrictions on the dispensary, including that it be 1,000 feet from childcare facilities and preschools, and that background checks be required for everyone working at the facility.

Andrea Letham asked the council “what the hold up” was with going back and undoing the business license ordinance amendment.

“What are we really scared of, a lawsuit? I’d be more scared about what’s going to happen to our children,” she said.

Kirby Letham added to her comments.

“The biggest risk is going against what the majority of the local people think and feel,” he said.

•••

Kim Rollins addressed the council, and said he was not pro-marijuana, but was pro-marijuana reform.

He asked Green to clarify whether medical marijuana and recreational marijuana (after July 1, 2015) would still be legal in Harney County, even if dispensaries were denied business licenses. Green responded, “Yes.”

Rollins said that the legal marijuana industry was projected to be a $10 billion business by 2018.

He asked, “What are we achieving by restricting a legal business? Why should we put restrictions on our economy in Harney County?”

Members of the crowd responded, with some commenting that it was “dirty money,” and that “we don’t want it.”

Stacey Johnson also responded to Rollins.

“We don’t care about that part of the economy; we don’t want that,” he said.

•••

Doug Gunderson told the council that he coaches wrestling and football, and has seen the effects of marijuana users on kids’ lives.

“Some of them are medical [marijuana users]. I know of one cardholder that brought his kid to football practice, and was also drinking, because he was so high that he didn’t think drinking was a problem…that’s the kind of trash that marijuana users are,” he said.

Rob Paramore commented that he lives in Harney County because of the quality of life.

“I don’t think the general population wants anything to do with this [dispensary],” he said.

“Why don’t we just eliminate it all from Harney County, and see what happens?” asked Paramore.

Dr. Tom Fitzpatrick thanked the council for facilitating the public hearing.

“I just ask each one of you to think about what everyone said. We had an eloquent discussion tonight about how we feel, and I just hope you listen,” he said.

•••

Following public comment, Green asked the council to provide a general consensus on how they would like to proceed. He said that he could help the council move forward with the reconsideration issue or with the time, place and manner restrictions, or go back and analyze all of the options.

Jerry Woodfin responded:

“I’ve made my decision…I think it’s fair to at least have a vote on whether we do go back.”

Councilor Terri Presley said that the council needed to look again at the risk analyses before making the decision to undo the amendment to the business license ordinance.

“We need to look at all our options,” she said.

The rest of the council agreed, and Green said he would look into the pros and cons of undoing the amendment of the business license ordinance, and would put the time, place and manner restrictions on hold until a resolution was passed.

The next regular meeting of the Burns City Council will be held Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. at city hall.


by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Taylor Crafts (left) and Cailyn Wilber (right) were presented with belt buckles by 2014 fair queen Randi Johnson. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Taylor Crafts (left) and Cailyn Wilber (right) were presented with belt buckles by 2014 fair queen Randi Johnson. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

“Boots, Buckles and Broncs” was selected as the theme for the 2015 Harney County Fair, Rodeo and Race Meet at the Harney County Fair Volunteer Appreciation Christmas Party Sunday, Dec. 14.

Fair Manager Don Slone also announced the selection of Joanna Corson as the Grand Marshal for the 2015 fair. For the rodeo court, queen Cailyn Wilber and princess Taylor Crafts were introduced and presented with belt buckles.

Before revealing the identity of the Grand Marshal, Slone read a short biography to give the audience some clues. Slone said she was born in Burns, the oldest of four children; she attended grade school at Crane and Lawen, and graduated from Crane Union High School as valedictorian; she attended Oregon Technical Institute in Klamath Falls; she has two children; is a dedicated volunteer, having been involved in many community organizations; has been a 4-H leader for 40 years, starting as a crochet leader, but is best known for the Frisky Fleas 4-H Dog Club.

Corson was unable to attend the event, but Slone unveiled the bench that will be located at the fairgrounds in her honor.

The 2014 fair report was also presented to those in attendance, and the statistics are as follows:

Exhibits

• 169 adults entered 1,051 open class exhibits

• 157 youth entered 596 open class exhibits

216 4-H and FFA youth entered 1,008 exhibits

The bench that will be located at the fairgrounds in honor of 2015 Grand Marshal Joanna Corson was unveiled. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

The bench that will be located at the fairgrounds in honor of 2015 Grand Marshal Joanna Corson was unveiled. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Fairgrounds events

• There were 164 youth events, with 7,599 people attending. This is 29 more youth events and 1,282 more people than in 2013.

• There were 202 public events, with 26,671 people attending. This is 27 more events and 2,435 more people attending than in 2013.

• There were 46 private events, with 1,691 people attending. This is 34 less events and 1,950 less people attending than in 2013.

• All of this was a total of 412 events, with 35,978 people attending. That is 22 more events and 1,784 more people than in 2013.

Volunteers

• There were 701 volunteers and sponsors working directly for the fair board in 2014. This is 143 more volunteers than in 2013.

• Estimated hours by those volunteers were 9,413 or equivalent to 4.5 full time employees.

• At minimum wage, those volunteer hours would cost $85,620.

Financial statistics

• The expense of the 2014 fair was $191,618. The income of the 2014 fair was $194,610.

• The estimated gross dollars earned by 24 community organizations during the fair is $486,748 or $36,806 more than in 2013.

• The 4-H and FFA auction alone grossed $275,086 or $35,362 more than in 2013.

• The estimated gross dollars generated by community organizations at the fairgrounds during the off season was $108,316 or $2,116 less than in 2013.

• The economic impact of the 2014 fair to Harney County is $5.1 million. Economists say on average, money rolls over 7.5 times.


Austin Feist (No. 12) puts up a shot against Vale. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

Austin Feist (No. 12) puts up a shot against Vale. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

The Burns boys basketball team defeated the Vale Vikings 53-45 in non-conference action on Friday, Dec. 12.

Three Hilanders finished in double figures, led by Austin Feist with 18. Ty Hueckman dropped in 15 and Zach McDonald had 10.

The teams were tied at 11-11 at the end of the first quarter, and Burns outscored the Vikings 15-10 over the next eight minutes to take a five-point lead into halftime.

Both teams put 12 points on the board in the third quarter, and the Hilanders outscored Vale 15-12 in the final period for the eight-point win.

•••

The following night, the Hilanders traveled to Baker City and suffered their first loss of the season, 59-44, to the Bulldogs.

After a 10-10 tie at the end of the first period, the Bulldogs pulled out to a 28-22 halftime advantage.

The third quarter saw Baker up their lead to 50-36, and then go on to get the victory.

Feist finished with a double-double for Burns, scoring 14 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Hueckman added eight points, and Ty Reid chipped in with seven points and 10 rebounds.

The Hilanders are 4-1 on the season, and will host Nyssa Friday Dec. 19.

•••

The Hilanders defeated Ontario 54-47 in non-league action on Dec. 9.

Burns got off to a fast start, leading 19-10 after the first quarter, and 27-20 at the break.

The Tigers got back to within six by the end of the third, but Burns outscored Ontario 11-10 in the final quarter to win by seven.

Feist was the leading scorer with 25 points, and Trace Tiller had 12.

Reid was the Hilanders’ leading rebounder with eight.


OBIT ThreadgillBeverly June Threadgill passed away Nov. 8 at Harney District Hospital.

Beverly June Sevey was born Jan. 30, 1940, at Holy Rosary Hospital in Ontario to Harold Frank and Nell (Whitley) Sevey.

Beverly loved to tell stories of her growing up, and the fact that her father helped make the broadbreasted turkey when he was employed with Fish and Game.

Sadly, Bev’s beloved daddy died when she was 11.

The family moved to Burns/Hines in 1952.

Beverly later joined the Army, and received an honorable discharge in 1960.

On June 19, 1961, Beverly married the love of her life, Ronald Threadgill, becoming a wife, and a mother to Ronny, Ron’s son. They soon added to the family, with Don in 1962, Gereldine “DeDe” in 1963, Gary in 1964, and Jon in 1965.

Beverly worked at Boeing until her retirement in 2002.

Beverly loved her family and had a deep faith in God. She also loved volunteering at the Harney County Senior Center until her health no longer allowed it.

She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Ron Threadgill; sons, Ronny (Kathy), Don (Tina), and Jon (Tonia); daughter, DeDe (Scott Malin); brothers, Don (Mary), Gene (Lynn), Loren and Tom; sister, Joanie (Earl Hofman); many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Beverly was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Nell Sevey; brother, Lloyd; sister, Ellen; and her son, Gary.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center.


Norman Byron McRae 1921-2014

Posted on December 17th in Obituaries

Norman Byron McRae, 93, passed away Dec. 9.

He was born on May 3, 1921, in Portland to Forbes William and Marte Else (German) McRae I, the second of three sons.

The family moved from Portland to the hinterlands of Southeastern Oregon and settled in the Harney County seat, Burns. He always thought of this part of the world as his home, having spent countless hours hunting and fishing with his brothers, his father, and lifelong friends, the Clarks, in the area. He graduated from Burns Union High School, then attended Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, where he was the first chair trumpet in the university symphony and also played in the marching band, concurrent with being the fourth-string center on the football team. The only time he ever got called in to play football, rather than his trumpet, he was back in Harney County hunting elk. While at OSU, he pledged the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, going through an initiation ritual that caused his lifelong disdain for liver and onions.

When the attack came on Pearl Harbor, Norman enlisted in the Navy, leaving his college education for a higher duty. While stationed in California, he met Selma Joy Banther and proposed before he was shipped out to the Pacific. He served as a radio operator and was thinking he’d be safe on the battleship Richard B. Anderson, but was sent in on the second wave at Bougainville. It was during his time in the Pacific that he gained an abhorrence for curry in all forms, since it was used to disguise spoiled meats.  Despite his problems with liver and curry, Norman was a gourmet chef, attending many James Beard cooking classes, and going on to prepare meals, not only for hunting camps and harvest camps at the Clark ranch in Drewsey, but also for meals at Kennewick First Presbyterian.

After the war, he was honorably discharged and returned stateside where he married Selma on Dec. 16, 1945. He and his new bride went to Eugene, where he finished his education, graduating with a degree in accounting. They then moved to Burns, where he managed the family lumberyard, and where two daughters, Martha and Kristine, were born. Norman so hoped for a son, someone to go hunting and fishing with him, but he settled for the poor substitutes he was given. While in Burns, he was active in many civic and veterans’ organizations, served as a volunteer ambulance driver, and played taps at sunset in the town cemetery on his Boy Scout bugle. In 1960, the family moved to Pasco, Wash., where he managed a lumberyard, then later worked for Ashgrove Cement until retirement. His lifelong passion for hunting and fishing led to many interesting family “vacations.” Most destinations were centered around lakes, streams, or oceans, where nature’s bounty could be caught and enjoyed. His two daughters learned that when camping, you should never forget the tent poles, especially if it’s raining; never, ever plan a fishing vacation around a place called “Mosquito Lake,” even if it did feature golden trout; that when on a logging road in the Olympic forest, one can, indeed, use baling wire and gum to reattach the gas tank to a Ford station wagon; and that family vacations always had the aroma of their dad’s Doublemint gum and mother’s black coffee, and they always featured whistling.

Norman’s whistling was his hallmark; those who spent time with him learned to tell his moods by the tune he featured. Yellow Rose of Texas meant that he was in a jolly mood, and nearly every phone call would end with him starting up the whistle before he hung up the receiver. When he was peeved, especially with Mother, the song would be It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie. Music was a big part of his life, although it usually manifested itself in his whistling. He finally took up square dancing in his later years, although Mother claimed he knew only one step, the Harney County Cement Leg Stomp.

Norman was a lifetime member of many organizations, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Safari Club, Transportation Club, the Elks (Exalted Ruler of his lodge) and the Masons.  He supported wildlife conservation through Ducks Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and returned annually to his beloved Harney County and the Clark  ranch for elk and deer seasons well into his 80s. In his early 80s, he also fulfilled a lifelong dream to go on an African safari with his good friend, Louis, and brought back kudu and impala trophies.

He is survived by his daughters, Martha and Kristine McRae; his grandson, Sam McRae-Skinner (Melissa); his granddaughter, Margaret McRae-Skinner; his two sisters-in-law, Ruth (Bud) McRae and Barbara (Milt) McRae; his first cousin, Chet Gardner (Barbara); and two nieces and three nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Selma; his older brother, Forbes William “Bud” or “Mac” McRae II; his younger brother, Milton Alexander “Milt” McRae; a sister who died in infancy; his first cousins, Florence and Mary; and the two best hunting dogs a man could have, his beloved Patches and Dutch.

In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that you donate to Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, HonorFlights for WWII vets, The Humane Society, or a charity of your choosing in Norman’s name.

The family invites you to sign their online guest book at www.muellersfuneralhomes.com.


Robert W. Barber, 81, passed away Saturday, Dec. 13, at his home.

A funeral service will be held at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, with a graveside service to follow.

Contributions in Robert Barber’s memory may be made to the First Evangelical Church, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, Oregon 97720. You can sign the online guestbook at www.lafolletteschapel.com


A memorial service for Mary Emily Newcomb Lawrence will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center, 17 S. Alder Ave., in Burns.

Contributions or flowers in Lawrence’s memory may be sent to The Aspens.


Wednesday December 17

Posted on December 17th in Community Calendar

Burns City Council will meet at 6 p.m.Wednesday, Dec. 17, at Burns City Hall, 242 S. Broadway, at 6 p.m. This is the only regular meeting of the council for December.

The city of Burns Public Safety Committee will meet Wednesday, Dec. 17, at 3 p.m. at the Burns Fire Hall.

Harney County Court meets the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Harney County Courthouse, 450 N. Buena Vista, at 10 a.m.

The Hilander Booster Club meets the third Wednesday of each month at noon at Glory Days Pizza.

Harney Grant Babe Ruth board meets the third Wednesday of each month in the courthouse basement meeting room, 450 N. Buena Vista, at 7 p.m.

Burns Elks Lodge, 118 N. Broadway, meets the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m.

Christmas Cookie Prevention, a women’s fitness group will be held Wednesdays, through Dec 17 at Faith Baptist Church, 777 Saginaw in Hines. A beginners fitness class will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and a moderate intensity class from 6:05 p.m. to 6:25 p.m. The classes are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, contact Kara Nelson 541-589-3773.

Storytime for preschoolers is scheduled at the Harney County Library, 80 W. D St., each Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Contact the Harney County Library for more information, 541-573 6670.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets each Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns.

ALANON, a support group for friends and families of alcoholics, meets each Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns. Please use the back door on the south side of the building. All interested are welcome.


Thursday December 18

Posted on December 17th in Community Calendar

Burns Planning Commission meets the third Thursday of each month at Burns City Hall, 242 S. Broadway, at 7 p.m.

A Walking Class is held each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from  10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. indoors at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center.

Kiwanis Club of Burns-Hines meets for a no-host luncheon at noon each Thursday at Bella Java, 314 N. Broadway in Burns.

A Women’s AA meeting is held every Thursday at noon at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns.

Take Off Pounds Sensibly meets at noon each Thursday at Hines City Hall, 101 E. Barnes. Call 541-573-2896.

Tai Chi for Better Balance with Diane Rapaport is held each Tuesday and Thursday at Harney County Senior and Community Services Center from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. — free.


Friday December 19

Posted on December 17th in Community Calendar

Oregon Old Time Fiddlers, District 9, meets the first, third and fourth Friday of each month. Call Micky, 541-573-2515, for time and place.

A recovery group, “Celebrate Recovery,” meets each Friday at the Harney County Church of the Nazarene, 311 Roe Davis Ave. in Hines. Dinner is served at 5:30 p.m. The main meeting is held at 6 p.m. and small group sessions are at 7 p.m. For more information, call 541-573-7100.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets each Friday at Symmetry Care at 5 p.m.


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