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Coos County amends North Bay Urban Renewal Plan

COQUILLE — Coos County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a new ordinance, amending the Coos County code to revise the North Bay Urban Renewal Plan.

The North Bay Urban Renewal Plan was set to expire in 2018 and needed to be updated to extend the life of the Urban Renewal Agency. Amending the code was necessary to collect tax revenues and fund projects beyond 2018 in accordance with Oregon Revised Statutes.

The first change to the Urban Renewal District was reinstating a sunset period. Instead of being able to extend the life of the agency, it will now sunset in 2038.

Second, the agency removed a levy provision which allowed the agency to fund projects beyond the tax implemented in the district by placing a special levy on all taxpayers in the county.

Finally, any increase in tax increment financing can no longer be approved by just the Urban Renewal Agency but also must be approved by the Board of Commissioners.

A few citizens who do not agree with the North Bay Urban Renewal Agency showed up to the meeting to voice their opinions. Those who spoke feel that there should have been a countywide vote to determine whether or not the North Bay Urban Renewal District be amended and continue its operations.

“This should have triggered a vote ... I’m disgusted by this whole process and I’m disgusted by the attitude here that we don’t care because we’re not going to ask the people ... . Put it on the ballot if you really want people know, I just don’t think you do,” Bandon resident Rob Taylor said.

There were those who spoke in support of amending the agency. Among them was Coos Bay City Manager Rodger Craddock, who said that the City of Coos Bay is in support of amending the North Bay District.

The primary function of the Urban Renewal District is to bring in new infrastructure, some are concerned specifically about that area.

“One of the arguments that we’ve heard is basically that area is unsafe because of the potential of an earthquake. So, we shouldn’t encourage any industry to build out there, that is not supported by any of the maps we’ve gotten from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries,” Commissioner Melissa Cribbins said.

The North Bay Urban Renewal District works closely with the Port of Coos Bay.

“Our biggest drive for passing this amendment is so that, regardless of Jordan Cove’s success, we can still have a tool that we can use to invest in that district to enhance other industries,” Director of Port Development Fred Jacqout said.

The North Bay Urban Renewal District draws around $80,000 in tax revenue each year.

Jordan Cove LNG's plan is to develop its facility within the North Bay Urban Renewal District, and many people who support the project are worried that amendments to the Urban Renewal District will make it more difficult for the company to complete its plan. However, Jordan Cove has not applied for any Urban Renewal funding.

“They are not applying for any Urban Renewal funds. They intend to fully fund all of their own infrastructure,” Jacquot said.

In 2017, the Coos County Urban Renewal Agency hired a consulting team of Elaine Howard Consulting LLC, BergerABAM, BST Associates, Tiberius Solutions LLC and ECONorthwest to review and update the North Bay Urban Renewal Plan so that they were inline with Oregon Revised Statutes.

There were several meetings over the last year where the public was able to come and voice their concerns about amending the district, and according to commissioners, those concerns were considered when drafting the new ordinance.

Commissioner Bob Main said at the meeting that he is not a fan of urban renewal, but with the specific amendments being made, he was alright with the district continuing.


Ed Glazar, The World 

A woman looks Tuesday out over Shell Island from the Simpson Reef Overlook. View points along the ocean parks are busy with whale watchers this week, as gray whales begin to travel north towards Alaska


Ed Glazar, The World 

People glass the ocean Tuesday from the Simpson Reef Overlook at Cape Arago State Park as they wait for a grey whale swimming off Shell Island to make another appearance. View points along the coast are busy with whale watchers this week, as gray whales begin their spring migration toward Alaska.


Lee-wire
AP
Decision to add citizenship question to census draws protest (copy)

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration's decision to ask people about their citizenship in the 2020 census set off worries among Democrats on Tuesday that immigrants will dodge the survey altogether, diluting political representation for states that tend to vote Democratic and robbing many communities of federal dollars.

Not since 1950 has the census collected citizenship data from the whole population, rather than just a population sample, says the Congressional Research Service. The decision to restore the question after decades prompted an immediate lawsuit from California — already tangling with Washington over immigration — and moves by other states with large immigrant populations to engage in a legal fight.

The population count, a massive effort taken every 10 years, is far more than an academic exercise. It's required by the Constitution and used to determine the number of seats each state has in the House, as well as how federal money is distributed to local communities. Communities and businesses depend on it in deciding where to build schools, hospitals, grocery stores and more.

The political stakes of undercounting segments of the population are high.

Several states that have slowing population growth or high numbers of immigrants, such as California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and Ohio, typically are at risk of losing U.S. House seats when their congressional districts are redrawn every 10 years — depending on how fully their residents are counted.

California struck quickly, with Attorney General Xavier Becerra filing a federal lawsuit Tuesday that seeks to block Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' decision to add a citizenship question in 2020. Officials from New York and New Jersey, also Democratic-led states, were also planning on leading or participating in lawsuits. Massachusetts signaled interest, too.

"The census constitutes the backbone for planning how and where our communities will invest taxpayer dollars," Becerra said. "California simply has too much to lose to allow the Trump Administration to botch this important decennial obligation.

The Justice Department said in a statement it "looks forward to defending the reinstatement of the citizenship question, which will allow the department to protect the right to vote and ensure free and fair elections for all Americans." The Commerce Department said the benefits of obtaining citizenship information "outweighed the limited potential adverse impacts."

Their argument in essence: Enforcing voting rights requires more data on the voting-age population of citizens than current surveys are providing.

Democratic lawmakers had been bracing for the decision. A bill sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. would block the addition of a citizenship question, or any major design change, unless it has undergone a certain level of research and testing, but it faces dim prospects with no Republicans signing on.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that adding such a question "will inject fear and distrust into vulnerable communities and cause traditionally undercounted communities to be even further under-represented, financially excluded and left behind."

Some Republican lawmakers hailed the decision Tuesday. GOP Sens. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas had sent a letter to the Commerce Department asking Ross to add the question.

"It is imperative that the data gathered in the census is reliable, given the wide ranging impacts it will have on U.S. policy," Cruz said in a news release issued by the three lawmakers. "A question on citizenship is a reasonable, commonsense addition to the census."

The Census Bureau separately conducts an ongoing survey called the American Community Survey that provides citizenship data on a yearly basis. But it only samples a small portion of the population.

Before that, citizenship or related questions were asked of about 1 in 6 households on the census "long form," which has since been retired. The Congressional Research Service said all households haven't been asked about citizenship since 1950.

Alabama Attorney General Steven Marshall said the American Community Survey is so small, with a correspondingly large margin of error, that it is an ineffective tool for understanding lightly populated rural areas of the country.

"It just makes sense that government has a more accurate record for the census and reinstates the practice of including a citizenship question in the next census," Marshall said.

A joint fundraising committee for Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee highlighted the addition of a citizenship question in a fundraising pitch last week. The pitch said Trump wants the 2020 Census to ask people whether or not they are citizens, and that in another era, this would be common sense.

"The President wants to know if you're on his side," the solicitation asks.

Census counts are taken by mail and by workers walking neighborhoods. The Census Bureau said the 2010 census drew a massive response, with about 74 percent of the households mailing in forms and remaining households counted by workers in neighborhoods.


Crime-and-courts
breaking
SCINT search nets a pound of meth, 1 arrest

GREEN ACRES — Saturday, at approximately 7:30 p.m., detectives from the South Coast Interagency Narcotics Team executed a search warrant at 93615 Upper Loop Lane in the Green Acres area of Coos County. This is the residence of Randolph “Randy” Rossback, 59.

Detectives and assisting officers discovered over one pound of methamphetamine, scales, packaging material, a stolen handgun, and other paraphernalia. Detectives also seized over $1,000 in U.S. currency. Rossback was arrested and transported to the Coos County Jail on charges of possession, delivery and manufacture of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and being a felon in possession of a firearm

SCINT was assisted by members of the Coos County Emergency Response Team, the Coos Bay Police Department, North Bend Police Department, Coquille Police Department, Coquille Tribal Police Department, Oregon State Police Drug Enforcement Section, and the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement Team. Three Narcotics K-9 teams from Coos Bay Police, Coquille Tribal Police, and the Coquille Police Department assisted in the search. No other details were released about the arrest.

SCINT encourages the public to report narcotics activity on the web by going to www.scint.us and “Report a Dealer.”