The first picture I am sharing this week was taken in 1962 as firemen battled a blaze at the Coats house on Creek Street. You've probably never heard of Creek Street, and that's because it pretty much no longer exists. In those days, Creek Street ran from Highway 101 over to the foot of Caroline Street; and the Coats house was on the east side or Creek Street. Across the street were a number of small houses. Today that is the property occupied by the city's wastewater treatment (sewer) plant. When you access the Station Restaurant from the driveway across from Face Rock Creamery ... that is what is left of Creek Street.
The second picture was taken before the Fire of 1936, probably sometime in the 1920s, but I don't know for sure. When you blow up the picture you can easily recognize W. J. Sweet, at left, in front of the Bank of Bandon building. Next to him is Archie H. Rosa and at right is Frank Fahy. All three men worked at the bank in those days. W. J. was bank president from 1938 until 1960.
The Bank of Bandon has quite a history. On Nov. 25, 1904, six men founded the bank, which was capitalized with $25,000. They were J. L. Kronenberg (Jean and John's grandfather), F. J. Fahy, T. P. Hanly (later W. J.'s father-in-law), Frank Flam, James Denholm and George P. Topping, who was mayor from 1914 until 1923.
The men built the triangular building at the foot of Oregon Avenue in 1911 (across First Street from what is now the Port of Bandon's marketplace building). It burned in the Fire, and they moved into what had been the home of the First National Bank (now the Masonic building) which survived the Fire because of its masonry construction. Bank of Bandon remained in the First National Bank building until Dec. 11, 1950, when it moved to its new headquarters at 10th and Alabama (behind what is now Banner Bank).
I love this third picture, taken in 1971, of two of my favorite people, long-time city manager (manager of utilities) John Fasnacht, left, and George Kronenberg, who originally owned George's Electric and later Kronenberg & Waldrop Insurance. Both men were pillars in the community. I can barely see the person behind John, but my guess is that it is Ed Capps, who was mayor at the time of the Fire. George, who served on the city council from 1944 to 1946, was the brother of Jack (J.F.) Kronenberg and the son of J.L. Kronenberg.
* * *
I've been in city government for over 30 years (24 as an elected official) and I don't think I've ever experienced a week like the last one.
I definitely learned one thing: you don't make decisions like a Road Diet until you make sure that everyone at least knows about the proposed change and you've researched thoroughly what the consequences could be.
I will admit that I stopped looking at Facebook two days after Monday night's council meeting but people have told me some of the things that were said about me and the four councilors who voted for the Road Diet.
Instead of trying to simply react and correct misinformation, I contacted the state engineer Thursday (or maybe it was Wednesday) morning to ask questions. After seeing how the thing had blown up on Facebook and from the comments I heard from people in the community who stopped me in the post office, I could tell this was not a popular decision.
As they were about ready to let the bid for the restriping, Darrin Neavoll asked me if I thought they should postpone hiring someone to do the work. I had earlier told him I did not want to see our councilors recalled over a decision like this, and he agreed he did not want that to happen, so he said he would postpone the work until he heard further from the city. I believe then he talked to the city manager, who agreed that it should be postponed until at least the fall.
In the meantime, I began searching Oregon Road Diets, and learned that the City of Phoenix, near Medford, had tried reducing down to two lanes, but it did not work and the council voted to return to the four-lane configuration.
Then I decided to do what someone should have done earlier. I contacted Fire Chief Lanny Boston, and he had plenty to say about the proposal, and none of it was good.
He pointed out that it will impact the time it takes the firefighters to get to the equipment as there will be a congested single line through town. Second when they respond with the emergency equipment they will have one secure lane to use, as the turn lane is not safe now and will become worse. Police may be able to zig zag through but with a larger truck is does not work that way.
Based on the community's concerns and the information that I have learned about Road Diets in general, I have asked that the issue be revisited at the May 6 council meeting.
I have also found a lot of information about flashing beacons or lights at crosswalks, and intend to further pursue that with the state, which is what the council really wanted to do all along: address the 9th Street crosswalk.
As I drove back from Coos Bay the other night, I began noticing that there is a stop light at pretty much every other intersection.
Why not a stop light at 9th? It would make it safe to cross the highway and it would slow the traffic...without making it more difficult for the locals to pull out of a side street.
* * *
Another big decision that drew quite a few comments on Facebook was the swimming pool issue.
From what I understand, of the 10 percent of the non-binding advisory surveys that were returned, 58 percent said it would be fine to build the pool in city park, while 42 percent said no.
I had talked earlier with two members of the pool committee, including the new president, who basically said "why don't you just tell us to develop our own property," and that is pretty much what we did. Another board member I spoke to said they had talked about it earlier and felt there would be far fewer restrictions if they developed their own property rather than being on city property. And I agreed.
This week, as a Loop supporter, I received an email advising that they have two member-at-large positions on their board.
They added: "Our goal over the next three years is to break ground on our ten acres near the park. To that end we will be working aggressively to raise the funds necessary, grow public support and ensure long term viability of an aquatic center."
So if you're a Loop supporter and want to be on the board, let them know.
They have definitely taken the "high road."
* * *
It may not happen until fall, but I understand the Rolling Pin is moving from its Old Town location to the Shindler Drug building, on the east side of the McKay's Market parking lot as they need more space for their ever-growing business.
* * *
Jeff Norris and Anthony Zunino, with help from Pete Bauer, spent Thursday turning the Barn into a wonderful theater venue to host the Bandon Showcase performance featuring soul singer Luke McMaster since the Sprague still was not ready for occupancy. They borrowed lighting and other props from the Sprague and even built a stage for the event.
Thanks to the use of Anthony's sound system, the concert was absolutely great. It was such a special evening that we forgot that we were sitting on padded folding chairs in the community center instead of the lush seats in the theater.
Makes you really appreciate the guys who managed to pull this off so professionally ... so the show could go on.