Council takes a stand
The burned-out remains of the Chrome Nightclub stood too long. The charred wreckage of Kuebler’s Furniture has been up for more three months. The Roseburg City Council this week wisely took action to prod property owners to clean up their fire-destroyed buildings. The council should consider doing more.
Besides being eyesores, scorched buildings are dangerous. According to city policy, it’s OK to have a dangerous building for up to a year as long as you pay a monthly fee for the privilege.
The fee had been a paltry $106 until the council voted unanimously Monday to raise it to $500.
The city shouldn’t stop there. The owner of the nightclub building didn’t pay the fee or a fine, even though the structure’s remains stayed for 10 months. The city needs to put more teeth in the law to avoid a repeat. Fines that escalate over time and distinguish between minor and major offenders are worth a look.
A city ordinance could provide for leniency in cases in which an obstinate insurance company frustrates the building owner. But overall, the city should take a tougher stand.
There’s a reason people are given probation. It’s part of their sentencing. It’s recognition that after being released from jail, ex-convicts might not be ready to follow all of our laws.
It’s disheartening to learn that 52-year-old Max Quzene Claunch managed to avoid checking in with his probation officer for two years. How did that happen?
Fortunately, local law enforcement and probation officers looked up Claunch last week at his Kruse Street home — yes, he had a home. He wasn’t living on the streets without a permanent address.
He even had a garage. But it wasn’t sporting a car. Instead, police found 60 marijuana plants and indoor cultivation equipment. That gave them plenty of reasons to give Claunch a ride to the Douglas County Jail.
Police said they arrested him without incident, but he apparently didn’t cooperate with the jail’s photographer because his mug shot showed him sticking his nose in the air, avoiding a photo that showed his face.
If Claunch turns out to be the cultivator, taking an unattractive photo may be the least of his worries.
As Johnny Mercer once sang, it’s very important to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive. We’d like to extend thanks to the team that has been working on giving Douglas County a positive spin — one that not only gives us a good reputation, but also could bring some economic benefit.
Half a dozen promoters got together about a year ago with the idea of making the Umpqua Valley a destination spot for cyclists. A Ford Foundation grant allowed them to draw up a strategic plan and launch a website, cyclenumpqua.com. More bells and whistles are planned for the site, which showcases bicycle rides of varying degrees of difficulty around our rivers, mountains and valleys.
As one organizer explained, the idea is to advertise our plus points to cyclists looking for places to congregate. The “destination cycling” concept can be tied to Douglas County’s other attractions, be they our stunning and varied scenery or our multiplying wineries and breweries.
It’s a plan we hope gains plenty of traction.