The Hines Common Council met for a special meeting on June 27. During the meeting, the council heard interviews from council candidates Ashley Tiller and Dan Grigg. After hearing remarks, the council voted 3-1 to appoint Grigg to the empty council seat.
Mary Lou Wilhelm attended the meeting to discuss the Hines Planning Commission’s denial of a conditional use application for her property.
Wilhelm currently resides in a commercially-zoned building and sells art from her home. According to city ordinance, a resident must live in the second floor of a commercially-zoned building if they are also conducting business from that building. Wilhelm had applied to continue living in and selling her art from the same building. The planning commission denied this application and Wilhelm must now cease living in or selling her art from that building, as she cannot do both.
When asked if the council wanted another empty commercial building, Mayor Nikki Morgan replied, “We actually want to see the laws followed.”
Morgan said that the laws applied to everyone and that making an exception was not fair for every other resident who abide by the laws.
“Suggestions were offered from the planning commission. You could live in one of the rentals that you own, maybe rent out your business building as a business. But the laws are the laws,” Mayor Morgan stated.
Wilhelm asked if a zone change was possible. City Administrator Judy Erwin replied that a zone change was a large, complicated process that involved state-level involvement.
It was suggested that Wilhelm apply for a conditional use permit to live in her building and cease selling art.
No action was taken at that time.
Police Chief Ryan DeLange reported on the influx of Rainbow Family members traveling through the area. He stated that the department was dealing with incidents of aggressive panhandling, theft, and burglaries. He also added that the department was patrolling neighborhoods at night to discourage such activities. He stated that the Forest Service had updated the expected number of attendees from 30,000 – 40,000 down to 15,000 – 25,000.
“A lot of the concern is fire danger up there because there’s so much fuel and it’s hot and dry,” DeLange said.
“Here locally we’re dealing with mainly aggressive panhandling,” stated DeLange. “They’re really starting to get aggressive with how they ask for gas, including using their girlfriends inappropriately.”
DeLange urged residents to secure and lock their possessions and homes, as there had been many items reported missing and stolen.
When asked by City Administrator Erwin if there was any truth to the rumor that the Rainbow Family members were planning on staying until the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, DeLange replied that the majority would not be staying.
“The majority of them will be gone by the Fourth of July. There will be some stragglers who stay behind, but most of them will leave,” he said.
He reminded the visitors that panhandling is an ordinance violation in the city of Hines.
DeLange ended his report by saying that the new surveillance camera system in Hines Park was running well and that he was very pleased with how it was working.
Acting Maintenance Supervisor Jerry Lewellen reported that the Jones Well was down and that they were working to try to get it running again, but that extensive repairs were needed. He also stated that the wells one and three were scheduled to be tested the following day, June 28, but that since Well Three was down, they would need to delay its testing. Well Three will be tested sometime before the deadline in September. Lewellen also stated that he’d completed one new water hookup as a property on Peter French Ave. had recently sold.
Lewellen reported that there had been a power outage at the water tower on Friday, June 23, but that it had been fixed quickly.
In other business, the council:
• heard a report from Fire Chief Bob Spence. Spence reported that, since the last meeting, the department had assisted on a 229-acre range fire at Cow Creek;
• heard from Brandon Mahon concerning the master water plan and the One Stop Shop in Salem. Mahon presented the council with funding options and encouraged the council to research each thoroughly before they moved forward;
• approved a height variance recommendation from the planning commission for the Keeney family. The height of their shop is 17 feet, where the ordinance only allows for 15 feet;
• received a donation in the form of a framed photograph from the Farster family. The photo features the Hines Lumber Mill in 1936-38 and will be displayed in Hines City Hall;
• received a donation from Terry Keim and Skip Renchler;
• approved a business license application for the Grant James Center after a lengthy discussion;
• discussed the future of the skate park with Councilor Diane Rapaport. No decision was reached at the time, but Rapaport is researching insurance, liability, and ownership.
The next Hines Common Council meeting will take place on July 11, at 6:30 p.m., at Hines City Hall.