Is the City of Shady Cove getting its monies worth from the sheriff’s department? What looked to be a low-key council meeting on September 2 became tense when former City Councilor, Lois Holland, and Businesswoman, Kathleen Collins, pointed out the inadequacies of law enforcement in Shady Cove. Having done an investigation before the meeting, Councilors Leith Hayes and Gary Hughes corroborated the two women’s testimony. Hayes and Hughes expressed strong feelings about their dissatisfaction with the sheriff’s department, with Hughes finally saying, “I’m so mad, I can hardly stand it.”
Several times during the meeting, councilors questioned why they had not been informed of issues regarding sheriff’s personnel and other issues relating to law enforcement. There were no real answers from either Dave Strand, assistant to the undersheriff, or Joe Riker, city administrator.
As well as serious staffing issues with deputies, including one deputy on light duty, the sheriff’s log shows that 80 tickets in August were issued outside the city limits which gives the revenue to the sheriff instead of the city, said Hughes. Hayes added that only ten tickets were issued inside city limits during that month.
Hayes pointed out that deputies assigned to Shady Cove, including the community service officer, went to calls at Emigrant Lake, Phoenix, Talent, White City and Prospect instead of patrolling the city that pays for their services. Hayes rhetorically queried, “How important are we to them?”
Holland adamantly said the city is not getting the attention it deserves from the sheriff. With school starting she is concerned not only about speeding on Highway 62 but teenagers drinking, smoking and having “illicit affairs” behind doors at bank-owned, former Two Pines Restaurant. Collins called Two Pines “a haven for these kids to hang out.” Holland also spoke of motorcycles racing every night in the fields behind her house until midnight which is after curfew. When she walks her dog, she has seen teens “going at it too” on school property. Mayor Ron Holthusen said he had heard them also. (They live on the same street.)
Holland feels there was better coverage when local police or the “local yokels” as she called them patrolled Shady Cove. Strand took offense to some of Holland’s remarks, saying, “I’m not used to being talked to that way.”
Collins, owner of the River Plaza building, told about calling 911, the dispatch number and even the city but getting no response when kids go to her building and jump off the second floor railing down to the first floor and other such dangerous antics. Collins expressed concern about the liability to her if someone should get injured. The youth are also unpleasant and call her names. Collins did say she had met with two deputies about this and provided them with information but the activities continue. Collins also cited other serious cases of vandalism in the business district and transients living under the bridge.
Councilor Kyle also entered the fray. He said, “We all bought into the sheriff’s department. We need to nip this in the bud.” Discussing staffing issues, he added “Where is our coverage today?” At the end of the discussion Strand said he could not disagree with anything that was said that night and he will meet with the undersheriff. Mayor Holthusen had the final word when he said, “We expect to get what we paid for.”
An open house on Sept. 20 will give residents a chance to view the new digital floodplain maps and learn more about the city’s progress with FEMA. Public Works Management, FEMA Region 10 and other entities will be on hand to answer questions. The public is strongly encouraged to attend. It is at the Edgewater Inn Conference room from 3 to 6 p.m.
The city’s annual dinner garnered some discussion whether the council should use TOT funds to pay for the festivity. It was stressed the money will not come out of the general fund and that because of the economy not as many invitations would be issued. The council passed the buck to Riker to make the decision on the funding of the dinner and choice of restaurant between Madrone Kitchen and Wine Tavern and Rogue River Lodge.
Hughes reported that RHT Energy Solution has support from the Home Builders Association in Medford. RHT will build a model energy efficient home at White Oak Ridge. The want to help everyone, including mobile home residents go green. The public is invited to attend free energy efficient workshops at the Edgewater Inn on Sept 22, 29 and October 6 from 6 to 7 p.m. on all nights.
The next council study session and evening meeting are Sept. 16 at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. respectively.
By Margaret Bradburn
Of the Independent