Marijuana opt-out discussed
by Samantha White
During its meeting on Nov. 17, the Hines Common Council approved Ordinance 312, prohibiting the practice of feeding, baiting, or maintaining wild mammals in the area subject to the jurisdiction of the city of Hines, and declaring an emergency.
The ordinance states that “feeding deer, elk, raccoon, bear, and other wild mammals results in artificially-high concentrations of animals, increases human-wildlife conflicts, and compromises the health and safety of humans and wildlife.”
Under the ordinance, anyone who knowingly places, deposits, distributes, stores, or scatters food, garbage, or any other attractant in an attempt to lure, attract, or entice wild mammals or potentially habituated wildlife may be issued a written notification by any authorized city agent/officer, requiring removal of the food, garbage, or other attractant within 48 hours.
The ordinance defines “attractant” as any substance (including, but not limited to, food, garbage, or salt lick) that draws wild mammals to a particular location. “Wild mammals” include any animals that are not normally domesticated (such as bears, coyotes, deer, elk, raccoons or skunks). Oregon Revised Statutes define “potentially habituated wildlife” as bear, cougar, coyote or wolf.
A citation may be issued for violation of this ordinance. Any violation may be considered a nuisance and is punishable with a fine of up to $250 for each offense. Each day that the nuisance is maintained may be considered a separate offense.
The ordinance does not refer to feeding birds or squirrels, or using a bird feeder that can only be accessed by birds or squirrels. The ordinance also excludes livestock and wildlife kept under a valid permit issued by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Additionally, residents will not be penalized if their lawn, flowers, shrubs, trees or gardens are eaten by wild mammals.
Hines resident Eldon Hart asked why the city is addressing the issue, stating that it should be handled by ODFW. He suggested that ODFW revoke hunting privileges from anyone who is caught feeding wild mammals.
“That’d probably hurt a lot more than a fine,” he said.
Police Chief Ryan DeLange replied that ODFW staff probably don’t have the authority to make that decision locally. He added that deer have become a public safety concern, as they can be hazardous to motorists. DeLange also explained that the ordinance is a joint effort among citizens, the city, and ODFW, and it is just one of the tactics being employed to address the issue.
The council discussed the possibility of opting out of any one (or more) of the state-licensed or registered marijuana business.
Both Harney County and the city of Burns have passed ordinances prohibiting all six categories of marijuana businesses within their jurisdictions. These businesses include medical marijuana processors, medical marijuana dispensaries, retail marijuana producers, retail marijuana processors, retail marijuana wholesalers, and retail marijuana retailers.
According to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s (OLCC’s) website, a processor is a business that will transform raw marijuana into another product or extract. Processors are also responsible for packaging and labeling recreational marijuana. Producers are also known as growers. Wholesalers buy in bulk and sell to resellers (rather than consumers), and retailers sell directly to consumers.
City Administrator Joan Davies said the deadline for the city of Hines to opt out is fast approaching.
Councilor Dick Baird said an individual approached him about establishing a commercial grow site in the city, adding that the plants would be distributed outside the area.
DeLange and Davies said that the grow site would have to be indoors and out of sight.
Councilor Hilda Allison asked whether there is a location within Hines City limits that is more than 1,000 feet away from a school.
DeLange replied that portions of the law are still “up in the air,” adding that anyone who possesses marijuana while driving by a school is technically committing a felony.
Davies said opting out would not prohibit individuals from possessing marijuana in their homes or vehicles.
Councilor Rod Bennett noted that people would still be allowed to use it and grow it.
The OLCC’s website states that, as of July 1, Oregonians (age 21 and older) are allowed to grow up to four plants on their property, possess up to eight ounces of usable (ready to smoke) marijuana in their homes, and up to one ounce on their person.
Bennett said the city needs revenue and could benefit from marijuana taxes, adding that marijuana businesses could be regulated through city ordinances. He said he visited a dispensary in Hillsboro in an effort to learn more about it, and he was impressed with the level of security and regulation.
In his department head report, DeLange stated that a stun gun training was conducted earlier that day. He added that the Burns Police Department had been helping Hines cover staff shortages, and efforts to haze deer with paint ball guns seem to be effective. DeLange also reported that police calls regarding Eastern Oregon Academy (EOA) residents were down.
Later in the meeting, Councilor Ron Williams stated that he visited EOA and learned a lot about the facility.
“I was very impressed with what I saw out there, and what they are trying to improve on, and they’re getting a lot of help from the state,” he said, adding that the state is helping EOA build a fence.
Jerry Lewellen, public works department lead worker, said the truck that the department uses for garbage runs is no longer operational. He added that the department’s newest truck, a 2003, lacks fuel efficiency. Baird noted that this vehicle’s transmission also needs repaired.
After some discussion, Davies suggested selling the old garbage truck, using the 2003 truck for garbage runs, and purchasing a small/fuel-efficient pickup.
Bennett said money garnered from selling the older truck could be used to repair the transmission in the 2003 truck. Williams added that the city will save almost enough money in fuel costs to make monthly payments on a new vehicle.
In other business, the council:
• received a report from Davies who said that many people took advantage of the dumpsters that the city had available for yard debris Nov.6-8 and 13-15. Davies also reported that the four-way stop at the intersection of Highway 20 and Highlander Boulevard will remain in place until the traffic signal is fully operational;
• adopted Resolution 2207, authorizing a loan from the Safe Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund by entering into a financing contract with the Oregon Infrastructure Finance Authority;
• agreed to authorize the mayor to sign the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development 2015-2017 Planning Assistance Grant application;
• approved a business license application for EOA. Davies explained that she asked EOA to apply for a license after discovering that it is not a nonprofit organization;
• approved the 2018-2021 Oregon Department of Transportation Statewide Transportation Improvement Program Enhance Proposal Application;
•approved OLCC license renewals for multiple businesses in Hines;
• agreed to sponsor an entrée for the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center in the amount of $150.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, at city hall.