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Coos County housing study moves towards it's final phase

COOS COUNTY — Coos County Housing Coalition has released new information collected by the urban planning consultant CZB LLC that is currently conducting the county’s housing study.

The report is based on a data gained through public documents, as well as a survey given to 150 Coos Bay residents. It is important to note that this is not the consulting firm’s final report, which will be released alongside the Housing Coalitions Housing Summit planned for April 26.

According to the report, from 1950 to 2010 Coos County used to develop an average of 401 new housing units a year. Over the past six years there has been an average of only 73 new housing units a year, which is an 82 percent decline.

“The big eye opener for many of us was to see that how that level of housing starts significantly diminished over time. That was really amazing to see that we haven’t been building new homes,” United Way of Southwest Oregon director and Housing Coalition leader Marcia Hart said.

It was also determined that a large number of homes have been taken out of the housing pool in recent years due to folks using them as vacation homes. Many of these homes are vacant and rented out by owners seasonally by online services like Airbnb and Vacation Rentals by Owner. CZB reports that there are 4,726 seasonal rentals in Coos County to their knowledge.

“That was very surprising to a lot of people. We did not know the level of VRBO and Airbnb and those kinds of vacation homes in our area. People think they're all in Bandon, but they’re all over Coos County. That's a problem throughout the U.S, especially in coastal areas,” Hart said.

Average poverty rates in Coos County were 18.1 percent as of 2016 according to the report.

“Looking at the poverty levels, there are several factors that are pushing on the crisis. Number one it’s the people who would like to purchase a home, there’s just not a home available in their price range even though they're working. Then there are those that are either at the poverty level or below that are struggling to find apartments, and they often get into apartments that are too expensive for them,” Hart said.

The study shows that housing costs, for both renters and owners, are outpacing household wage increases by a two to one margin. According to CZB households in the $20,000 to $34,999 income range might buy a house if it were available.

Households in that price range likely rent. There are many rental units in the community that fall within the range of $500 to $999 per month. However, CZB notes that the quality of these units is an issue.

“There’s going to be a lot of heavy lifting after the study is done. The hard part is going to be when we’re presenting the information coming together as a community to figure out what’s going to be the highest priority, where do we go from here, and how are we going to get the funding to fund some of these projects."

Relay for Life Chili Cook-off warms from the inside

BANDON — People dodged steady, cold raindrops to enjoy hot chili, cornbread and beverages at a chili cook-off Saturday at the Restoration Worship Center in Bandon. The event was a fundraiser for Relay for Life Coos County and also featured a dessert auction. Between 60 and 70 people attended, according to organizers, who were pleased with the turnout.

Amy Moss Strong, Bandon Western World 

Sharon McCloskey of Coos Bay serves up chili made by Dale Rhodes of North Bend at the Relay for Life Coos County Chili Cook-off fundraiser Saturday afternoon in Bandon. Rhodes won second place for his chili made with elk and deer meat and a mixture of beans, served topped with cheese and onions. His prize was two tickets to Brews & Giggles, the next Relay for Life fundraiser, set for April 28 at the Egyptian Theatre. 

"We're very thankful to the church for allowing us to come in and use their space," said Tammy Northcutt of North Bend, publicity chairwoman for Relay for Life Coos County 2018.

Attendees were treated to a "flight," consisting of a taste of each chili entered into the cook-off and were asked to judge the entries. After voting, they were invited to go back for a bowl of their favorite chili. 

Clyde and Cloretta Huffman of Bandon said they enjoy these kind of activities and like to support Relay for Life. They attended with friends from Coquille. 

Amy Moss Strong, Bandon Western World 

Suzanne and Dennis McDonell taste and judge their flights of chili at the Relay for Life Coos County Chili Cook-off, held Saturday in Bandon.

The winning chili, which was prepared by Ann Hernandez of Bandon, was a white bean pepper jack chicken chili. She received a $50 cash prize. Dale Rhodes of North Bend won second place for his elk and deer meat chili with a mixture of beans. Rhodes received two tickets to the next Relay for Life Coos County fundraiser — Brews & Giggles, set for April 28 at the Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay. The third-place prize — a $10 gift certificate to Face Rock Creamery — was awarded to Rachel Halpenny, who prepared a three meat, three bean chili. Halpenny is this year's Relay team development chairwoman.

Relay For Life is a community fundraising event to fund cancer research and patient care programs offered through the American Cancer Society and its partners. Some of those things include rides to and from appointments, lodging while away from home for treatment, prevention education, and a 24-hour call center at 1-800-ACS-2345, where people can get information about a cancer diagnosis, talk to oncology nurses, be connected with a clinical trials matching service, or find out what partner programs are available in their area.

Relay for Life Coos County, with the theme "Superheroes" will be held June 22 and 23 in Coos Bay. On June 22, a luminaria ceremony will be held from 9:30-10 p.m. along the Coos Bay Boardwalk. On June 23, a block party will be held from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at 7 Devil's Brewery. The brewery's parking lot will be roped off for the event, which will feature speakers, booths, live music and activities, all designed to raise funds for ACS.

Amy Moss Strong, Bandon Western World 

Julie Carr of Coos Bay, left, and her daughter Cassidy Carr (partially hidden), receive tastes of the six chili entries in the Chili Cook-off held Saturday in Bandon. The event raised funds for Relay for Life Coos County. 

Everyone is welcome to participate in the events. Those interested in being on a team, sponsoring at team or volunteering in some way can visit or the Facebook page at or call 541-260-4017 or 541-260-2273 for more information on how to get involved with Relay for Life Coos County. 

Oregon lawmakers look ahead to capping greenhouse gases

SALEM (AP) — Oregon's Legislature ended its 2018 session on Saturday after nearly a month that saw additional gun controls, an attempt to curb opioid abuse and a remedy to prevent losses to state coffers from the federal tax overhaul.

However, a cap on greenhouse gas emissions was among measures that failed.

Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, said that was one of her biggest disappointments.

"It would have been wonderful to have a miracle happen on the clean energy jobs bill. I always love to see a legislative miracle, and that would have been my No. 1," Burdick told reporters.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said at a news conference with Burdick that capping carbon emissions will be a priority for the long 2019 legislative session.

"I've told everybody, we're going to do this in '19 or don't bother coming," Courtney said.

The legislative session, which during even-numbered years can last a maximum of 35 days, started Feb. 5.

"We just adjourned, and still I'm not sure how we did it, eight days before our constitutional deadline, eight days, and we passed significant legislation, most of it with bipartisan support," Courtney said.

Rep. Mike McLane, House Republican leader, was less ebullient minutes after the session adjourned and family members and other well-wishers streamed onto the House floor.

"I think there were a lot of extreme bills that required an enormous amount of time, that clearly were not ready to be passed in the short session," McLane said, citing the effort to cap greenhouse gas emissions. "I believe that certainly wasn't proper for the short session."

Gov. Kate Brown told reporters: "Oregon is an example for the rest of the country in prioritizing everyday values amidst political turmoil at a national level."

The federal tax overhaul occupied much of the session, as legislators grappled with how to respond to a $217 million loss the overhaul was expected to impose on the state.

In response, Democratic senators advanced a pair of bills that blocked separate state tax deductions related to the overhaul, one on overseas money, the other on "pass through" income. Both plans passed, despite conflicts over how to spend the money from the first and opposition from Republicans to the second.

The moves erased the predicted losses, and raised a projected total of $157 million. But to become law, Brown must sign the bills.

Brown said she liked SB 1528 — the bill blocking pass through deductions — but added: "We're going to take a hard look at it before deciding whether to sign the legislation or not."

On opioids, the Legislature advanced a proposal from Brown that will require medical practitioners to register with a prescription monitoring program, and orders a pair of studies, including one ongoing study project, on how to combat addiction in the state.

Net neutrality saw bipartisan action as legislators passed a bill that would block state agencies from buying internet service from any company that blocks or prioritizes specific content or apps, starting in 2019. The bill was a response to the Federal Communications Agency's December repeal of rules prohibiting internet providers from selectively blocking or slowing some content or apps.

Lawmakers also passed a gun control measure requested by Brown, closing what she referred to as the "intimate partner loophole." The bill expands those who could be banned from owning guns and ammunition after a conviction, adding stalking as a qualifying crime, and adding those who are under a restraining order. Supporters said the bill closed a loophole in a 2015 law that excluded some abusers, such as boyfriends who abuse partners they don't live with.

Among measures that passed on Saturday was one that allows DACA recipients to apply for drivers' license and state ID card renewals, giving them the ability to drive while the Trump administration and Congress come up with a new immigration law.

One of the most high-profile measures that failed was one that would have put a ballot measure before Oregon voters, asking if they wanted to enshrine health care as a right in the state Constitution. It passed the House but died in a Senate committee over concerns such an amendment would open the state to lawsuits.

Coquille Tribal Community Fund tackles community needs

NORTH BEND — Fifty-seven deserving community organizations received grants this month from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund, serving causes as diverse as feeding the hungry, disposing of unused prescription drugs, and performing Shakespeare in a city park.

Supported by revenue from The Mill Casino-Hotel, the fund distributed $291,164 in grants at a luncheon on Friday (March 2). With this year’s total included, the fund has awarded more than $6.1 million since its launch in 2001. During that time it has been Coos County’s largest consistent supporter of community organizations.

Founded in the Pacific Northwest Indian spirit of potlatch, the Coquille Tribal Community Fund seeks to strengthen the community by improving opportunities and lives throughout the region.

Coquille Tribal Community Fund

2018 Grantee Organizations

Bandon Historical Society Museum—$2,250

History Detectives Program

Bandon School District—$2,000

Protection for Gym Floor at the High School

Bay Area Senior Activity Center—$6,000

Food Purchase & Hot Lunch Program

Boys & Girls Club of SW Oregon—$2,500

Computer Upgrades

Brookings Harbor Community Food Bank—$5,000

Protein Snack Packs

Charleston Comm. Enhancement Corp.—$6,000

ADA Accessible Picnic Area in Charleston

Charleston Fishing Families—$7,500

Fisherman’s Relief Fund

City of Coos Bay Fire Department—$22,097.30

Thermal Imaging Camera Purchase

Coos Art Museum—$3,000

Annual Maritime Exhibit

Coos Bay Habitat for Humanity- $5,000

New Home Construction Project

Coos Bay Zonta Foundation—$5,000

School Supplies for Needy Children

Coos Bay 7th Day Adventist Food Pantry—$3,000

Food Purchases

Coos County Friends of Public Health—$3,500

Purchase Lab Grade Refrigerator

Coos County Historical Society—$5,000

FREE Admission for Veterans

Coos County S.T.E.P. Commission—$10,000

Build Storage Shed at Morgan Creek Hatchery

Coos Elderly Services—$10,000

Facility Renovations

Coos Food Cupboard—$5,000

Food Purchases

Coos Watershed Association—$3,000

Comm. Stewards/Youth Leadership Program

Curry Historical Society- $3,000

Phase II of Preserving Historical Artifacts

Dept. of Human Services- Child Welfare- $1,500

Interactive Items for Visitation Rooms

Drug Disposal Coalition—$3,000

Purchase & Install Drug Disposal Boxes

Egyptian Theater Preservation Association—$5,000

Update Rigging System at the Theater

Ellensburg Theater—$2,000

Dance Theater Program for Youth

Friends Inspiring Reading Success Together—$2,000

Book Purchases for FIRST Program

Friends of Coos County Animals Inc.—$5,000

Spay/Neuter Vouchers

Harmony United Methodist Church—$5,000

Blossom Gulch Snack Pack Program


Coastline Community Capacity Campaign

Kids HOPE Center—$15,000

Book Purchases for FIRST Program

Knights of Columbus, 1261.—$2,000

Holiday Food Baskets

Little Theater on the Bay—$5,000

Phase III of Restoring the Liberty Theater

Madison Elementary School.—$5,827.90

Update Physical Fitness Equipment

Marshfield Key Club—$1,386

Basketball Hoop for Park Restoration Project

Myrtle Point Fire Department—$6,000

Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus

North Bend School- Indian Ed Program—$2,000

End of Year School Wide Powwow

North Bend School Foundation—$5,000

Updated Computers for ASPIRE Program

North Bend Senior Center—$5,000

Facility Upgrades/Renovations

Oregon Children’s Foundation (SMART)—$5,000

Book Purchases for SMART Program

ORCCA CASA- $10,000

Monitoring System for CASA Program

ORCCA Food Share—$20,000

Food Alliance Program

Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation—$6,000

Mobile Health Screening Program

Oregon Museum of Science & Industry—$2,500

OMSI Programs to the Tribe’s Service Area

Port of Bandon—$1,500

Port of Bandon Boardwalk Art Show

Powers Friends of the Library Foundation—$3,000

Powers Library Expansion

Powers School District—$10,000

Food Program for Powers Schools

S.A.F.E. Haven Recovery Center—$6,000

Local SAFE Haven Meetings

South Coast Clambake Jazz Festival—$3,000

Music in the Schools Program

South Coast Family Harbor—$20,000

Home Visiting Program

South Coast Hospice—$5,000

Computer & Software Upgrade

Southern Coos Health Foundation—$5,000

Home Visiting Program


Talent Search/Upward Bound Programs

The Arc Jackson County—$2,000

Ken Wonderly Memorial Fund

The Gold Beach Senior Center—$4,000

Meals on Wheels Program

The Logos Players—$5,000

2018 Shakespeare in the Park

The Salvation Army Coos Bay—$2,000

After School Program

United Way of SW Oregon—$5,000

Housing Study in Coos/Curry Counties

Women’s Safety & Resource Center—$5,000

Alternatives to Violence Programs

Youth Movement—$2,000

Youth Movement 2018