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Ed Glazar, The World 

Southwest Oregon Community College's Garrett Schofield dives into third base ahead of a tag Friday as the Lakers play Clackamas at SWOCC.

Project management firm hired to oversee Best Bond construction

COOS BAY — The Coos Bay School District has hired a project management firm to oversee all aspects of construction for the Coos Bay Best Bond measure.

The voter-approved $59.9 million bond was passed Nov. 7 to renovate and repair school buildings within the district. 

Most pressingly, the money would be used to rebuild the Eastside Elementary School and provide the district with a safer location to house the 600 children at Blossom Gulch. The elementary was built on fill dirt in a tsunami inundation zone and has been sinking for decades, crushing pipes and separating stairs from doorways.

As previously reported by The World, Blossom Gulch is the most problematic building in the Coos Bay School District. It was built on the former site of “Blossom’s Logging Camp” in 1954, a marsh that was packed with fill dirt. Not only does the building hold 600 children, but because of to failing foundations the hallways don’t sit flat, stairs are separating from the pavement, and pipes are being crushed.

Alsea, Oregon-based Integrity Solutions Management LLC will oversee the project in its entirety, according to Coos Bay School District Board Chair Adrian DeLeon.

"We typically hire a project manager for large projects like this, DeLeon said. "They make sure all licenses from contractors and architecture firms are coordinated to keep everything on schedule, so one part of the project is not delayed by paperwork or licensing issues with contractors and architects hired for the project."

The Coos Bay School District approved hiring Integrity Solutions Management at the Feb. 12 regular school board meeting.

DeLeon said that the paperwork to receive $4 million in matching funds from the state was finalized at the March 12 meeting. Proposals from architecture and engineering firms will be decided at the April 18 school board meeting.

Calls to Integrity Management Solutions and CBSD's business manger with questions on how much the Maryland firm will be paid were not returned Friday afternoon. The firm recently managed the construction at the Santiam Christian School in Corvallis.

The bond measure was hotly contested in Coos Bay with the measure barely passing Nov. 7 by 28 votes.

Check back with for further updates to this story.

Gun rights activists hold second amendment rally

COOS BAY — A group of 50 or more people gathered in front of Fred Meyer in Coos Bay on Friday evening for a Second Amendment rally.

Many of the folks who showed up felt that in the current political climate regarding the second amendment they needed to take a stand for their beliefs.

“Mostly we’re out here supporting the Second Amendment. We’re concerned about our future generations that are being taught now that Second Amendment needs to be removed from the Constitution,” John Jensen said.

Most people at the rally were respectful of others and ultimately it was peaceful.

As Oregon is an open carry state and this was a Second Amendment rally, a good majority of the crowd was armed.

Many people heard about the rally over the radio and actually came from outside of Coos Bay to get involved. Jensen came up from south of Langlois and several others came from Bandon.

Coos Bay resident Ray Doan said, “I think the Second Amendment has been under assault for years. Years ago the left would say they just want to ban certain guns but most of us can see that they’re not going to stop with that.”

One woman went to the rally in part because of new state legislation that among other things would ban pistol grips on most rifles. The woman, Gail Hunter, is a U.S. Army veteran whose hand was injured during her service. She can’t fire her rifle without a pistol grip.

“For me to properly hold a rifle I need to have two places to hold it to be secure. This proposal makes me a felon to own the rifle that I’ve shot with for many years. Just because it has a pistol grip,” Hunter said.

The rally was largely in response to national discussion prompted by recent school shootings and the March for Our Lives movement.

Hunter said that she understands that kids are worried about safety in the classroom but does not believe the focus should be on guns.

“The problem is not the guns. The problem is that our schools don’t have counselors, they don’t have nurses, our teachers don’t have aides, and they're trying to teach thirty kids in one classroom. The teachers know where the problems are, but they don’t have the resources to do anything about it. These teachers spend more time with the kids than their parents do… I’m upset that the focus has shifted to guns,” Hunter said.

Bethany Baker, The World 

The pavement at Blossom Gulch Elementary is failing, a sign of larger infrastructure concerns with the building. Blossom Gulch will close its doors and move it's students to a renovated Eastside Elementary if the Coos Bay BEST Bond is approved this November after failing in May by only 32 votes.

Measure on May ballot could save city council some time

COOS BAY — Coos Bay residents will vote on a special amendment to the city’s charter in the upcoming May 15 election known as Measure 6-167.

Like most cities in the state of Oregon, Coos Bay is a chartered city, which allows it to have more local rules and laws. The city is governed by its own charter, rather than general law.

“The charter is probably one of the most important documents in the city because it dictates how the city is going to operate,” Coos Bay City Manager Rodger Craddock said.

The measure makes several changes to the city charter. However, the most significant is regarding the number of times that the City Council must meet each month.

Currently the city charter clearly states that the city council must hold a meet twice a month. If the measure passes, the city council will be able to hold meetings on an as needed basis. Meaning if the council does not feel there are enough items on the agenda to justify a meeting no meeting will be held.

“We don’t always need to meet twice a month, but right now we’re required to. I think they would like to change the language there so that they meet as the business needs of the city require. We would still have to publicly notify meetings in the proper manor and make sure people have the ability to come,” Craddock said.

According to Mayor Joe Benetti having less meetings yearly would save the city some money.

“Every time a council meeting is held you have staff that have to present and put things together. Then they have to get it to the council. All the staff has to meet depending on what the agenda item is, and be there for those meetings. I’m not sure what that cost is exactly, but there is cost associated with all of that,” Benetti said.

City council work sessions would still be held twice a month. Work sessions are popular in many cities, but were only adopted in recent years by Coos Bay.

“Work sessions were created by myself so that we could expedite things in a more presentable manor," Benetti said. "What I mean by that, is that sometimes things will come before the council and the council is not happy with the direction it’s going. This stalls the process so that during the work session staff can research what needs to be done and bring back the necessary information back to the council to make a decision."

Benetti said he thinks that the twice a month schedule will ultimately stay the same. City council will tentatively hold a meeting every two weeks, and if there isn’t enough items on the agenda a cancellation notice will go out to the public instead of an agenda notice.  

Other Oregon cities, including Springfield, have adopted this system for their city councils.

Another charter amendment associated with measure 6-167 involves police and firefighters. In the late 1980s voters approved an amendment that required mandatory staffing levels for police and fire departments based on the population of the area.

“I think it was 1.88 officers for every 1,000 people. That boosted the ranks of the police and fire departments for a period of time. Back in 2003 the city could no longer fund the staffing requirement. The local circuit court found that matter was unconstitutional. Voters approved that staffing requirement, but they didn’t approve any funding for that staffing requirement. So, we have this one piece of language in the charter that’s unconstitutional and we don’t follow it.  It’s just kind of a house keeping issue to remove it,” Craddock said.

Many of the amendments on the measure are housekeeping items that clean up the language of the city charter.

In 1996, the charter was amended to say that the selling of any bond or warrant must be voted on by the people. Another section in the charter says that city can use revenue bonds.

“We have one part that says we can do it and another that says we can’t,” Craddock said.

If the measure passes, the language in the charter will be changed so that if the city wants to obtain a revenue bond all they need is city council’s approval. However, if a bond were to create a new tax,  they would still need the vote of the people.

Lastly, the measure would change the definition of a roadway to be included under utilities. Roadways were implied as a utility under the current language of the charter, but if the measure is approved it will now be clearly defined.

Although many of these charter amendments are very slight changes, any change to the charter must be approved by a vote.

Poll: Young people run from Trump

NEW YORK — A majority of young people believe President Donald Trump is racist, dishonest and "mentally unfit" for office, according to a new survey that finds the nation's youngest potential voters are more concerned about the Republican's performance in the White House than older Americans.

The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV found that just 33 percent of Americans between the ages of 15 and 34 approve of Trump's job performance.

That's 9 points lower than all adults, who were asked the same question on a separate AP-NORC survey taken this month.

"Trump doesn't care about us," said 27-year-old Nicole Martin, an African-American graduate student in Missoula, Montana. "I'm not going to say he's unfit like he has schizophrenia. I do kind of think he's twisted in the head. He just comes off as disgusting to me."

The survey is the first in a series of polls designed to highlight the voices of the youngest generation of voters. The respondents, all of whom will be old enough to vote when Trump seeks re-election in 2020, represent the most diverse generation in American history.

They would occupy the largest share of the electorate — if they vote at the same rate as older Americans. But history suggests they are also the least likely to vote this fall. In the 2014 midterm elections, for example, only about 20 percent of 18-29 year-olds cast ballots.

Asked if she will vote this fall, when the president's party, but not the president himself, will be on the ballot, Martin said: "I haven't really thought about it."

Still, there are signs that seven months before the midterm elections, young people appear to be more engaged in politics. Nearly half of younger Americans, 47 percent, say they're personally paying closer attention to politics since Trump's election; 2 in 10 say they're engaging in political activism more than before.

High school students led massive protests nationwide last weekend that called for gun control in the wake of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead, and the poll found that young people are more focused about guns than any other issue. Twenty-one percent say the nation's gun laws are their top concern, while 15 percent cited the economy and 8 percent said social inequality.

There is widespread agreement among young people about Trump, with more than 7 in 10 saying he "doesn't reflect my personal values."

"He doesn't seem to be really for women. He doesn't seem to be for Black Lives Matter. He doesn't seem to be for DACA," said Meghan Carnes, 23, of New York City, referring to a program to allow young immigrants to stay in this country. "He doesn't seem to be for the kids worried about guns. It's extremely disappointing to have a president who doesn't seem to care."

The new poll finds that 60 percent describe Trump as "mentally unfit," 62 percent call him "generally dishonest," and 63 percent say he "is a racist." In a mid-February AP-NORC poll, 57 percent of all adults in the U.S. said they believe Trump is racist.

Spencer Buettgenbach, 23, of Topeka, Kansas, said the Republican president has emboldened attitudes about racism, sexism and homophobia by "normalizing abusive talk."

"Especially living in Kansas — for me as a gay man — it's kind of scary," he said. "He's like the world's worst boogeyman."

The poll also found that young people overwhelmingly support watching out for minorities: 69 percent favor a pathway to legal status for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, 59 percent favor protecting the rights of LGBT citizens, and 58 percent say the same for Muslims.

Among other issues young voters feel the strongest about:

• 76 percent want the government to allow them to refinance student loan debt at lower rates

• 67 percent want a health care system in which "the government provides health insurance to all Americans."

• 60 percent want the government to take steps to address climate change.

A narrow majority, 55 percent, favor legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Just under half, 46 percent, believe abortion should be legal "in most cases," with 26 percent opposed.

Trump's domestic priorities are far less popular among young people. Only 22 percent favor the Republican-backed tax overhaul, while 40 percent are opposed. More than half oppose construction of a wall along the Mexican border to curb illegal immigration. Thirty-six percent want to increase defense and military spending, though just 27 percent say they're opposed.

Kristopher Cochran, 22, a conservative who voted for Trump, said he's "neutral" about the president's job performance so far. He suggested Trump is being treated unfairly by the media — an opinion shared by 54 percent of young Americans.

Cochran, a mechanical engineering student at Virginia Tech, dismissed concerns about Trump's mental fitness.

"If he was mentally unfit, I don't think he would have made as much money as he did, but I can see why people would think that," he said. "I'm not a fan of his incessant need for Twitter. He acts like a child."

Cochran is not alone in his strong feelings about the president's use of social media. Asked how they would advise Trump on Twitter, 49 percent said they'd tell him to "delete your account" and 37 percent said "take it down a notch."

Just 13 percent said, "Keep doing what you're doing."

The Youth Political Pulse poll of 1,027 young Americans age 15-34 was conducted Feb. 22 to March 9 by the AP-NORC Center and MTV. The poll was conducted using NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.