Marijuana ordinances discussed

Posted on September 2nd in News

City attorney fields questions from council

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

During its regularly-scheduled meeting on Aug. 26, the Burns City Council reviewed and discussed two draft ordinances that would prohibit marijuana establishments in the city, and ban early sales of recreational marijuana by medical marijuana dispensaries.

Jeremy Green, the city’s attorney, telephoned in to the meeting to present the ordinances and answer questions from the council. Green said he had prepared the two ordinances in order to “put the wheels in motion” and facilitate discussion. He said there was no need to adopt them that night, but that he would be looking for feedback in order to move forward for the next couple of meetings.

Green presented the first draft ordinance, which would prohibit six types of marijuana establishments within the limits of the city, and declare an emergency (removing the standard period of 30 days between the passage of the ordinance and its effective date).

The prerequisite to the proposed ordinance is Oregon House Bill 3400 (HB 3400), which was signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown on June 30. HB 3400 contains a “local option” that allows county and city governments, in counties where no less than 55 percent of voters opposed Measure 91, the right to adopt ordinances prohibiting any one (or more) of the six categories of state-licensed or registered marijuana businesses. These include medical marijuana processors, medical marijuana dispensaries, retail marijuana producers, retail marijuana processors, retail marijuana wholesalers, and retail marijuana retailers. The opt-out ordinance must be adopted no later than 180 days after the effective date of the act (Dec. 27, 2015).

Green said the emergency declaration was included because it is “theoretically possible” that a dispensary could initiate the application process prior to the ordinance going into effect.

He noted that the ordinance would prohibit all that HB 3400 allows to be prohibited, and reminded the council that it would not address marijuana growers (growing for personal or medical cardholder use), or the personal use of marijuana.

Before moving on to present the second ordinance, Green asked for comments or questions from the council.

Councilor Terri Presley brought up the time, place, and manner restrictions (TPMs) the council had placed on medical marijuana dispensaries last year.

“Could those same types of restrictions be placed on retail sales?” Presley asked.

Green responded, yes, the city has the ability to adopt TPMs on sales of recreational marijuana.

“I think that’s something to look at,” she said, adding that she didn’t want to see recreational marijuana sales “widespread,” or combined with a medical marijuana dispensary, and that it could be limited to one shop.

“If we opt out, what does it take to opt in?” asked Councilor Dan Hoke.

“A repeal of the ordinance, from my perspective,” Green responded.

Hoke commented that from what he has read on the subject, regulations for retail marijuana sales are still being determined by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).

“We don’t even have what OLCC is going to determine as reasonable restrictions on recreational marijuana yet,” he said, but added that the deadlines for opting out are clear.

“I guess what I’m saying to the council is, if we opt out, and we find that OLCC puts reasonable restrictions in place, we can opt back in.”

Hoke said one of the concerns is not receiving tax revenue, but said he didn’t think it would be a significant amount.

“So, we could opt out now, look at putting some TPMs in place, wait until OLCC puts restrictions in place, and then revisit the issue,” said Presley.

“I think the idea would be that the opt-out would serve as a de facto moratorium, to provide the city an opportunity to adopt TPMs as they relate to recreational marijuana, and then to repeal the opt-out ordinance,” Green said.

“There are other cities that are approaching it exactly that way,” he added.

Councilor Dennis Davis weighed in:

“I’m afraid that if we adopt the ordinance, hoping that we’ll be able to retract it later, we may not be able to get the toothpaste back in the tube,” he said, explaining that he thought the council might be “a bit more restricted” in reversing the decision later on.

Hoke commented that there are a lot of variables with regard to the OLCC regulations, but there are less variables involved in opting out.

“Who knows what the OLCC is going to implement as far as regulation?” he said. “That’s why I’m of the opinion of opting out. We should let things filter through, and if the council should choose to revisit it, it could.”

Green added a caveat:

“I cannot tell you with any level of certainty,” he said, “as to whether or not if you opt out, and then opt back in, if it will compromise your ability to collect your percentage share of the taxes that the state will otherwise collect with respect to recreational [marijuana] sales.”

He said in his opinion, the city should be entitled to its share if it opts back in, but he can’t guarantee it. He noted that he knows of two or three cities considering an opt-out ordinance as a de facto moratorium.

“They’re weighing whether or not to do it that way, for fear that they may miss out on the tax revenue,” he said. “But I will also tell you that my suspicion is that the tax revenue that the city of Burns may receive from [recreational] sales may not be all that significant.”

Green also reminded councilors that they didn’t necessarily need to make a decision themselves.

“You can refer an ordinance of this nature to your electors if you decide to do so,” he said. Davis commented on Green’s statement:

“The worry I have with handing it out to the electorate, is that it would not be a decision of pragmatism, or empirical evidence, but strictly speaking, a legislation of hatred. They don’t want marijuana, they hate marijuana, and they will legislate it out of existence, simply out of hatred. I think that is a very slippery slope, in both process and precedence, if we as stewards of the city, allow, or even become involved in, those types of activities in which we can propagate the evolution of hatred legislation,” he said.

Councilor Charity Robey responded:

“But as stewards of the city, isn’t it our obligation to hear the people’s opinions? We already know the outcome of [the vote on Measure 91] in this county. I don’t think it’s a hatred – I think if they don’t want it here, they don’t want it here,” she said.

Green presented the second draft ordinance, which would ban early sales of recreational marijuana by medical marijuana dispensaries. Oregon Senate Bill 460 (SB 460), which was signed into law on July 28, authorizes early sales of “limited marijuana retail product” to anyone 21 years of age or older by medical marijuana dispensaries from Oct. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2016. This includes marijuana seeds, dried marijuana leaves and flowers, and marijuana plants that are not flowering.

Pursuant to Section 2 of SB 460, a city may adopt an ordinance prohibiting these early sales of limited marijuana retail product by medical marijuana dispensaries, with no requirement for referral to a general election (in counties where no less than 55 percent of voters opposed Measure 91.) The prohibiting ordinance must be adopted prior to Oct. 1.

Mayor Craig LaFollette said that meant it would need to be voted on at one of next two meetings in September.

“I’d like a little more time on the first one, but I do think we need to ban  the early sales [by medical marijuana dispensaries,]” Presley said.

“We can certainly put both of these ordinances on the agenda for the next meeting, and have discussion,” LaFollette said.

Green said he would finalize the ordinances for the next meeting’s agenda, but said that the council would still be able to make changes to them at that point. There also would be the option to hold off on a vote and table them.


During public comment, Hines Common Council member Hilda Allison spoke about a deer problem in both cities.

“It has gotten to the point in the city of Hines where these deer are very ill – they’re sick and dying – it’s just a terrible situation.”

Allison said she found out the deer are the responsibility of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), and in order to get the animals under control, the only solution is to euthanize them.

She said she has been told that the cities need to join forces and put together a petition to the “upper levels” of the ODFW in order to get something done.

“I know it’s very controversial…some people love the deer, some don’t. But in this instance they’ve become a safety hazard, and they’re just very sick,” Allison said.


In other business, the council:

• heard from City Manager Dauna Wensenk that the street lights on Monroe Street that were hit are on order and would be put in as soon as they arrive;

• approved Resolution No. 15-614, imposing a lien for nuisance and dangerous building abatement at 730 S. Egan Ave.;

• supported the renewals of liquor licenses as recommended by Burns Police Department Chief Newt Skunkcap.

The next meeting of the Burns City Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. at Burns City Hall.

Utility rate concerns identified

Posted on September 2nd in News

Deer problem in city discussed

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

After discussing possible utility rate increases for several months, the Hines Common Council was prepared to vote on the proposed resolution at its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

However, City Administrator (CA) Joan Davies told the council she had received correspondence from the city engineer and the city attorney regarding the resolution, and stated the action item had been taken off the agenda.

City Engineer Doug Ferguson submitted a letter to the city that contained nine points of concern:

1) The water system must be self-sustaining and at the present time, it is not.

2) Water rates must satisfy both the short- and long-term needs.

3) Water rates must be assessed in a fair and equitable manner.

4) The current low base rates and usage rate encourage excessive water use, which exacerbates the problem.

5) The city absolutely has to get ALL water consumption metered, as soon as it possibly can.

6) We have started on the Water System Master Plan, which shows many issues at play here. It will not be finished by February, as the council hoped.

7) We hope to present a reasonable and defensible rate structure by the next regular meeting.

8) You are operating as well as anyone can, given the issues, which can be corrected.

9) At this point, the city needs a temporary, and probably emergency, solution to getting sufficient money to operate the system.

The council reviewed current water rates and noted the discrepancies in what is paid by residents, and discussed what could be described as “fair and equitable.”

Councilor Loren Emang said the different amounts paid by water users is not fair at the present time, so an “across-the-board” increase wouldn’t be fair either.

Councilor Rod Bennett commented that to get the water fund to the sustainable amount with an across-the-board increase, the single-family dwellings would bear the brunt of the increase. “Subsidized housing pays just $1.38 per apartment. That’s not fair,” he said.

Councilor Hilda Allison said the committee set up to come up with new water rates had done a good job, and suggested the council invite the attorney to meet with them to understand what the council  perceives as “fair and equitable.”


During the public comment portion of the meeting, Allison said Chuck and Marti Boatman were in attendance to discuss the number of deer in town and their health. Allison said she shared the Boatmans’ concerns, and said something needs to be done.

“These animals are sick,” Allison said. “Euthanize is probably the wrong word to use here, but something needs to be done.”

Mr. Boatman said the deer are the responsibility of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), and he suggested that the council write letters or emails and/or make calls to the head office every other day “until they get tired of hearing about it.” He added the local ODFW employees can’t do anything about the deer population without word from their superiors.

“The animals are sick. They’re wormy, and they’re not getting the nutrition they need. These deer are urbanized. You can’t transplant them, you can’t eat their meat. The only thing you can do is nuke them and bury them” he said.

Boatman added there is also a danger to children walking to school if they happen to get between a doe and her fawn(s). He said dogs have been stomped on by deer, and he even had a doe charge him. He said there are also a number of reports of deer dying in yards, getting hit by vehicles and they bring predators, such as coyotes, into town.

Allison pointed out that residents are feeding the deer human food, and said that’s not good for the deer.

“If anybody is caught feeding the deer, maybe they ought to be socked with a heavy fine,” Boatman said.

“I don’t know what the solution is, but the city council is where it hinges to put pressure on the higher-ups so it would trickle down,” Boatman added.

Allison said Burns has the same problem and she volunteered to attend the Burns City Council meeting the following night to propose the two cities draft a petition to send to ODFW.


The council reviewed four business license applications and approved one, from Trevor Burt for Burt’s Custom fabrication at 201 Hotchkiss Lane.

Edward Nice had applied for a license for Burns One Stop, an auto repair shop, at 105 SE Circle Drive, the site of the old hotel in Hines, and the license was denied by the council.

Larry King of Oregon Road Builders paid for a business license, but when CA Davies checked on the CCB (Construction Contractors Board) license, she discovered King’s license was suspended because he didn’t have insurance on file. Davies said she called King and he told her he would provide proof of insurance the following day, but that didn’t happen. Davies was then informed that work being done at the Shell Station in Hines was being performed by Road Maintenance, licensed under Jack Mullins, (not Oregon Road Builders as she had previously believed). However, Road Maintenance  didn’t have a Hines business license.

Davies then sent a cease and desist letter to King and Mullins, delivered by the police, stating they were to stop paving in Hines until they were able to show a valid CCB license for King, and Mullins obtained a Hines business license.

Mullins did apply for a business license, but the council denied the applications for King and Mullins.

Frank Schmidt was in attendance and said he was upset that King had been issued a business license. Schmidt said his mother had been approached by King to pave her driveway, and by the time he arrived at the house, they had already taken off all the gravel. When Schmidt was told what the cost would be, he told them to get off the property.

CA Davies corrected Schmidt, telling him the city didn’t issue the license at the time King paid for it, that had to be done by the council.

Schmidt said the city should have mechanisms in place to make sure businesses do have a license before offering to perform work, as most scams have to do with home improvement work.

Councilor Dick Baird stated the contractors showed up at his house, he asked to see their business license and requested a quote in writing. When they couldn’t produce a business license, he told them they were required to have one, and they should go to city hall to get one. Baird said the contractor did fill out an application and he assumed it was OK. Baird added that he checked out the work they had done in the area and it looked good, and he stated he was happy with their work. He also conceded some customers might have been over-charged, but that is why they should always get it in writing.

Following the discussion, the council denied the applications for both King and Mullins.


In other business:

• CA Davies reported the city received a letter from a resident stating that he had been chased by dogs while riding his bike, and he wanted the city to remind residents about not letting dogs run free. He said he will carry pepper spray in the future to protect himself.

Police Chief Ryan DeLange stated there have been a lot of dog-at-large complaints this year in both Burns and Hines;

• the city received one sealed bid for seal-coating on SW Circle Drive, and that was from TopLoc in the amount of $30,295. The council approved the bid, with Councilor Ron Williams abstaining from the vote because he owns TopLoc;

• the council approved advertising for bids on crack-sealing on several city streets. Williams once again abstained from voting.

• Public Works Supervisor Jerry Lewellen reported his department had discovered 34 more bad water meters and sent them in for replacements. He added they did get nine meters back.

Lewellen said because of the dry weather, the overflow lagoon is getting dry so he is keeping an eye on it. If it dries up, the lining could crack, causing leaks. He suggested the city look into getting the former Snow Mountain Pine well on-line with the city to pump water into the overflow lagoon in the dry years;

• the council discussed replacing the water fountain at the city park that was damaged by a vehicle. Baird said a water fountain was removed from the Brothers rest area when work was done there, and the city might be able to locate that fountain and put it to use. Davies said she would look into it;

• the council voted to allow DeLange to attend a two-day joint sheriffs/police chiefs conference Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, and the city would pay for meals and the $95 conference fee. DeLange said he hopes to find out more about the recreational marijuana laws while at the conference.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, at city hall.

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

The Hilanders’ Daniel Letham took top honors at the Vale Dash n’ Splash. (Photo by John L. Braese/The Malheur Enterprise)

The Hilanders’ Daniel Letham took top honors at the Vale Dash n’ Splash. (Photo by John L. Braese/The Malheur Enterprise)

The Burns boys and girls cross country teams got their seasons under way by competing in the Dash n’Splash at Vale Thursday, Aug. 27.

The Hilanders’ Daniel Letham won the boys race, finishing the two-mile course in 10:31.

Emmett Klus placed 10th (12:07), Justin Stinnett came in 17th (12:53), Chris Boyd 18th (12:54), Jake Keady 23rd (13:34), Mason Dahl 26th (14:14), David Wilson 27th (14:17), Braedan Emang 31st (14:58), Ryan Haines 32nd (17:30), Zane Bradach 35th (20:55), and Nathan Steinbeck 36th (21:32).

Nyssa placed first in the team standings, finishing with 36 points. Vale was second with 40 points, followed by Burns with 68 and Homedale, Idaho with 70. The Vale team was incomplete.

Nyssa also won the girls race, finishing with 30 points. Burns and Homedale tied for second with a score of 47.

Mary Letham was the top finisher for Burns, placing third overall with a time of 13:33. Sydnee Shelman was fifth (14:14), Kalen Emang 18th (16:51), Madi Hoke 20th (17:28), India Paramore 21st (17:43), Kristen DesIlets 24th (19:19) and Macie Palmer 25th (19:30).

Nyssa’s Delia Deleon won the girls race with a time of 12:45.

Robert Lee Novak 1952-2015

Posted on September 2nd in Obituaries


OBIT Novak WEBRobert (Bob) Lee Novak passed away Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Bob was born Dec. 5, 1952, to Donald and Patricia Novak. He was the oldest of five siblings, and held the position of big brother to four younger sisters. He was raised and educated in Redmond, where in his youth he was an all-around athlete who played football, baseball and basketball. A highlight of his high school career was when his basketball team made it to the state tournament.

Always known as a hard worker, Bob worked as a millworker, owned and managed a mobile home park, and was a contractor responsible for grounds keeping for the city of Burns parks and the cemetery. He was very conscientious about his work and always did more than the job required.

He married Wendy Withee in 1988, and soon after started a family. He took great pride and joy in his children, Marc and Kelly, and supported all their activities over the years. He coached all levels of baseball and even coached an Oregon Baseball Association traveling team taking his team to Florida and Arizona. He assisted with girls softball, helped his kids raise 4-H animals and was his children’s best fan.

Bob was an avid Denver Broncos and Oakland A’s fan, but enjoyed most sports. After high school, and over the years, he found a way to continue to play or participate in sports. He bowled, played softball and pool, and after moving to Harney County, took up hunting. He kept stats for the high school football team, played in fantasy football and baseball leagues, and loved to talk sports to whoever would engage in the subject. Between the Novaks and the Withees, he usually could find a willing participant. Bob’s quiet presence will be missed. His many nieces, nephews and his children’s friends can all attest to his willingness to help when help was needed.

He enjoyed being with his family and all the events associated with belonging to two big families. Some of his favorites were the many Withee family “Eat Ins” (potlucks), a trip to the casino every now and then, getting wood at Jim’s cabin, and the families’ yellow Labradors; Heidi, Molly and Bostyn.

Bob is survived by his son, Marc Novak; daughter, Kelly Novak; sisters, Joanne Pickles (Dave), Marcia Thanem, Mary Larson (Bryan), and Julie Novak (Rick); and many nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Wendy Novak; and his parents, Donald and Patricia Novak.

A church and graveside service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Burns. Contributions in Bob Novak’s name can be made to Harney County Little League/ Babe Ruth or the Local Cancer Society in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.


OBIT Pepin WEBFrances Elfrieda Hager Hildebrand Pepin, 97, passed away peacefully Aug. 22.

She was born Nov. 21, 1917, to Artie Ray Hager and Valley Hildebrand Hager in Stillwater, Okla. She was the oldest of five children. She worked for the telephone company in Oklahoma before moving to Oregon.

In 1945, she married Count Pepin. The couple lived in Shevlin, a small mill town in Central Oregon, before moving to Burns, where they purchased a portable saw mill with other business partners. They worked and lived in the Ochoco National Forest in the summers and spent the winters at their home in Burns. Frances was a housewife, mother, and, later in life, volunteered. Frances loved animals, and she saved many stray cats and dogs.  These lucky animals found a safe place to live and plenty to eat at her home.

Frances is survived by her daughter, Arlene Simpson; granddaughters and sons-in-law, Jennifer and Sam Housley, and Shelly and Ben Spence; and great-grandson, Caden.

She was preceded in death by siblings, Jack, Leroy, Audrey, and Mary Lee Hager; grandson, Timothy; and ex-husband, Count Pepin.

Wednesday Sept. 2

Posted on September 2nd in Community Calendar

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

The Harney County Community Response Team (CRT) meets the first Wednesday of every month from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Community Center, 484 N. Broadway. The CRT consists of anyone interested in what is going on in the county as it relates to business and industry. County, city and tribal leaders provide general information to the public regarding xisting programs and recruitment efforts.

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

Burns Butte Sportsmens Club will be having Twilight Trap Practice Wednesday evenings from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. every week through September at the range on Radar Hill. All levels of shooters are welcome, and instruction will be available for beginners.

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, an ongoing support group for friends and families of alcoholics, meets every Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns. Please use the north side door. For more information, call 541-589-0329.

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

Thursday Sept. 3

Posted on September 2nd in Community Calendar

There will be a free wine tasting at the Burns-Hines Liquor Store at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3.

Burns Butte Sportsmen’s Club meets the first Thursday of each month at the State Office Building, 809 W. Jackson, 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.

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 Sept. 4

Posted on September 2nd 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. Snacks 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 10 a.m. at Harney District Hospital in the small conference room near the cafeteria.

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

Saturday Sept. 5

Posted on September 2nd in Community Calendar

A Veterans lunch will be served at the Hampton Station Cafe the first Saturday of each month beginning March 1. RSVP  by calling Shelley at 541-576-4951.

Diabetes Support Group meets at the Harney County Health Building, 420 N. Fairview, the first Saturday of each month at 2 p.m.

Bicycle Saturdays in Harney County. Saturday, Sept. 5, Yellowjacket Lake. Uphill from 4,100 feet to 4,800 feet to get there, but mostly downhill on the way home. Approximately 75 miles. Bring food and water. Depending on the number of bikes, it may be possible to drive to the rest stop to eliminate the steep climb on Hines Logging Road.. Meet at Hines Park at 8 a.m. to get an early start.

Harney County Arts and Crafts Association meets the first Saturday of each month. This month the meeting will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the basement conference room of the Harney County Courthouse. Use the rear building entrance. Artists of any age and artistic medium are welcome to attend. The first hour is art demonstration or workshop. Contact Karen Hendrickson at 541-413-0124 for more information.

Sunday Sept. 6

Posted on September 2nd in Community Calendar

A free community dinner, eat in or take out (no strings attached), is served the first Sunday of each month from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Pioneer Presbyterian Church, 417 W. Washington in Burns. The church is both wheelchair and walker accessible, and a limited number of deliveries are available. For more information, call 541-493-1987.

Overeaters Anonymous meets each Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Harney District Hospital Annex (downstairs in cafeteria area).Enter through the cafeteria door on North Grand. For more information, call Susie at 541-589-1522.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets every Sunday at 7 p.m. at Foursquare Church for 12×12 study.

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