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Jordan Cove has its own division in the sheriff's office

COOS BAY — The Coos County Sheriff’s Office plans to hire nine new employees starting in July to fill out its combined service unit with Jordan Cove LNG.

At preliminary budget hearings last week, the sheriff’s office purposed its LNG division budget, which is just over $3 million for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The division is completely funded through Jordan Cove LNG, no county dollars are used to fund this combined service unit.

The combined service unit was approved well before Coos County Sheriff Craig Zanni was elected to his position. When he took office he agreed to continue to work with Jordan Cove to develop the LNG division.

“When I became sheriff they asked if I’d be willing to work with this program, and I told them I’m willing to provide security with law enforcement officers, I am not willing to give security people law enforcement powers,” Zanni said.

LNG division deputies, although funded by Jordan Cove LNG, will be employed by the Coos County Sheriff’s Office. 

“They will be paying for full-time deputies that part of their jobs will be providing the security around the facility out there since obviously it would be a high target area for terrorists or others,” Zanni said.

One of the everyday security responsibilities of the LNG division will be providing security for boats coming in or out of the facility.

“When they’re not doing that, they’ll be working on regular deputy jobs,” Zanni said.

Even though the Jordan Cove LNG facility has not yet been approved, finding qualified applicants and getting them trained does take a lot of time. According to Zanni, it could take between three and five years to get the LNG division fully staffed and trained.

If the facility is not approved most of those hired to the LNG division will lose their jobs, as the county can’t afford to pick up the cost of the eventual 20 to 25 LNG division deputies they hope to hire. Although it would be unfortunate for those deputies to have to find new work the sheriff is confident they will quickly find another job in law enforcement because they will have already been trained.

“When that facility opens we can’t start training them then. They have to be ready to do that task as soon as the facility opens. We foresee that if something should fall through, or this facility is not approved, both through attrition and availability of other jobs we wouldn't end up with much of a liability if any,” Zanni said.

When the Jordan Cove LNG pipeline was purposed it was stated in its charter that if the project created an additional cost to Coos County, that company would have to pay for it.

“This is one of the ways that they’re making sure they aren’t increasing the cost for the county by having us respond to more call out there if they have threats or whatever. So they’re really just paying for it up front,” Zanni said.

The LNG division is not the only combined service unit the sheriff’s office has. Their Marine division is partially funded by the Oregon State Marine board. The Dunes division is partially funded through the United States Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

“It’s also similar to our timber deputies who are partially paid through the private land owners to patrol forest areas," Zanni said.

However, the LNG division is the only Coos County combined service unit that is completely funded by a private company.

Deputies who are part of the LNG division will receive all the training of normal deputies as well as advanced vessel operations.

According to Zanni, LNG division deputies will serve the community first, and public safety will not be sacrificed to meet the needs of Jordan Cove LNG.

“If they’re going to wear a sheriff’s uniform their first responsibility is still to the citizens of Coos County,” Zanni said.

Njohnson / NICHOLAS A. JOHNSON The World 

Tulips are the featured flower at the Shore Acres Botanical Gardens for the months of March and April. 

Njohnson / NICHOLAS A. JOHNSON The World 

Blossoming tulips line the walkways of the botanical gardens at Shore Acres, a vibrant reminder that spring is on it's way.  

Ocean salmon seasons in jeopardy off Southern Oregon Coast

MEDFORD (AP) — Ongoing problems with Sacramento River salmon survival means there likely will be very little, if any, sport and commercial salmon fishing this summer off the Southern Oregon coast.

Preliminary stock assessments estimate only 229,400 Sacramento River fall chinook will be in the ocean, according to federal Pacific Fishery Management Council reports. That's 1,300 fewer than last year's small run, whose protection shut down sport and commercial chinook fishing off Southern Oregon.

Salmon managers heading into the Pacific Fishery Management Council's March 8-14 meeting said they think the council will be able to propose at least possible sport and commercial seasons with as little impact to Sacramento salmon stocks as possible.

Richard Heap of Brookings-Harbor, who is vice chairman of the PFMC's salmon advisory subpanel, remains hopeful despite the numbers. "I'm going up there with the possibility that we'll fish this year, unlike last year.

"We'll have to wait and see how it plays out."

The Pacific Fishery Management Council is expected to float three sport and commercial season options for public comment. Heap said he "wouldn't be surprised" if one of those options calls for a repeat of last year when the season failed to happen, The Medford Mail Tribune reported .

The Pacific Fishery Management Council will set its final season recommendations when it meets April 5-11 in Portland. The federal Department of Commerce has the final say in setting ocean-fishing seasons.

Katy Eymann announces candidacy for Coos County Commissioner

COOS COUNTY — Katy Eymann, an attorney from Coos County, has announced her candidacy for Coos County Commissioner No. 2 position against incumbent John Sweet in the May 15 election.

Eymann made the announcement at a noon press gathering Monday at the Coos Bay Library.

"I am running because the current County Commission is putting our economy and our lives at risk," said Eymann. "We are threatened by a foreign corporation that want to come here and destroy our safety, private property rights and the economy." 

Eymann said the proposed LNG liquified natural gas terminal to be built on the North Spit of Coos Bay would violate many of the safety standards adopted by the liquid natural gas industry.

She said the project would threaten private property rights because Eminent Domain proceedings can be used to force unwilling landowners to lose the use of their lands. She also claims LNG would endanger the areas fishing industry to to the massive dredging of the bay. She said tourism would also be affected and many of the construction jobs LNG proposes to create will be temporary and most workers would be hired from out of the area.

"The public needs to be more informed about what is going on in this county," Eymann said. "If you don't like the way government is working, than you can change it."

Eymann said if elected, she will concentrate her efforts on bolstering the county's job market, farming, fishing and tourism industries.

"We can have a county government that we're proud of and I'll work to see that we do," she said.

Eymann was initially going to run for the County Commission Seat No. 3, currently held by Melissa Cribbins. She decided she would have a better chance in the position No. 2 race because more candidates are running for that seat. The other candidates who have filed to run for position No. 2 are Dale A. Pennie, Steven Scheer and incumbent John Sweet. Cribbins has only one person running against her for the No. 3 position and that candidate is Natalie Ranker, according to the Coos County Elections office website.

Eymann has lived in Coos County for 40 years. She has worked for Coos County as a public defender.

"I saw how the Coos County justice system works up close," she said.

Eymann has also worked for Community Action, through her private practice, to help low income residents get permits for low income housing.