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Myrtle Creek teen dies after crash on Old Highway 99

DILLARD — A Myrtle Creek teen is dead after a fiery crash Monday night.

The crash occurred on Old Highway 99 South just south of Roseburg Forest Products and involved two vehicles — killing one person and injuring four others.

At least three ambulances responded to the scene, reported sometime after 11 p.m. Monday.

Shortly after 11:30 p.m., one vehicle continued to smolder as deputies from Douglas County Sheriff’s Office blocked traffic on both sides. Crime scene tape blocked the south end of the highway near Dee Coon Lane.

Police said a 2004 BMW driven by Owen Sinsaeng, 19, of Myrtle Creek collided with a 2002 Honda Accord driven by Brianna Yates, 28, of Winston.

The BMW caught fire after the collision and passenger Blake Smith, 18, of Myrtle Creek died at the scene, according to sheriff’s spokesman Brad O’Dell.

Yates, Sinsaeng and his two additional passengers Edward Tellez, 19, of Myrtle Creek, and Andrew Armenta, 20, of Riddle, were transported to CHI Mercy Medical Center for treatment.

Tellez was later transported to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland for further treatment.

Darryl Weaver was driving a semitrailer toward Dillard when he came across both vehicles.

“By the time they got there, it was fully involved,” Weaver said.

Unable to move past the scene or turn around on the dark narrow stretch, Weaver remained in his cab while deputies and fire crews investigated both cars.

“I didn’t walk up there,” Weaver said. “I didn’t want to.”

The accident remains under investigation. The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with additional information about the crash to call 541-440-4471.

Pete's Drive-In reopens after seven months of construction

Darrell Orth inspected the sealant on the pavement, willing it to dry faster, and hovered over the menu boards as the carhops finished adding items and prices before he could hang them.

He said he still has little things he wants to do inside and out, but he’s been cleared to open Pete’s Drive-In on West Harvard Avenue and couldn’t wait any longer. He opened up to little fanfare, but a small crowd on Monday.

“I’ve waited over seven months for this and nothing’s going to stop me from opening,” Orth said.

Pete’s shut down in December after a car drove into the building. Most of the employees left or found temporary work elsewhere, but Chelsea Gardner stayed to help with the reconstruction and worked in the food truck when it was operating.

“I hope I see lots of my regulars,” Gardner said. “I miss them.”

Ten minutes before Pete’s Drive-In reopened, a 1931 Buick and two 1969 Chevrolet Chevelles pulled into the parking lot, waiting to be the first customers.

The Buick was loaded with four friends on their way to a classic car tour starting in Cottage Grove this week and they stopped in, completely unaware it was the first day for Pete’s reopening.

“We’ve been coming here since Steve and I were in high school,” LuAnn Gorthy said. They are both in their 60s now.

James and Judy Throne brought their 1969 green Chevrolet Chevelle, nicknamed “Poison Ivy,” which is so well known around Pete’s that it’s painted on the new mural.

“It’s a great place to be,” James Throne said. “All hang out, all the cool cars. I’m glad it’s open, glad it’s back.”

The Thrones pulled in just before Jim and Glynda Walker did with their orange and white Chevelle. They have all been coming to Pete’s to show off and see other old cars for years and they planned to show up first to show their support and to enjoy one of their old favorite places again.

“You get into old cars, you get into Pete’s,” Jim Walker said. “It’s the place to be with old cars.”

Pete’s will host the Cruise-In for Graffiti Weekend, the annual classic event on Friday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“I think if you asked all of the car clubs, they would say it wasn’t Graffiti if there wasn’t Pete’s,” Orth said. “Every night, there will be cars here, which is the fun part of being owners of Pete’s.”

With the reopening, three of the six carhops returned along with all three of the cooks. However, Orth said he is planning to add another cook soon.

Orth had equipment stored all over the state while he finished up construction. He bought all new fryers and grills as well as put in a new front window. Before any of the equipment was moved in, the building was a little smaller than before, but with all the equipment inside, it’s about the same floor space with a new layout.

“I feel really good,” Orth said. “We’re just hoping to get the kinks worked out. Like a newborn, we’re suffering growing pains. We appreciate Roseburg for being patient with us.”

Roseburg City Council recap: Council conditionally commits funds for sobering center

At the Roseburg City Council meeting Monday, Mayor Larry Rich announced the city will hold an executive session on July 17 to discuss next steps in the search for a new city manager.

After the candidate chosen by the city for the job withdrew from the hiring process in April, the City Council suspended the process for two months. At the time, Rich said the delay would give Public Works Director and interim City Manager Nikki Messenger a chance to see if she wants to apply for the job. Messenger has been interim city manager since former City Manager Lance Colley retired at the end of April.

At the meeting, the City Council adopted a fee system for Douglas County students living outside the city to use Roseburg Public Library cards, tabled a resolution to hire a city communications specialist and adopted an ordinance regulating secondhand property dealers.

Councilors also approved an annual $50,000 commitment to help establish a sobering center in Roseburg. The money is contingent on partners finding additional funding for the project.

The center’s goal would be to provide a holding space for people who are publicly disruptive due to excessive intoxication, Roseburg Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein told councilors. The department frequently addresses such situations, but charging people with disorderly conduct and taking them to jail isn’t always the right action, he said. Members of the city’s large homeless population are often charged with disorderly conduct.

The center would also provide counseling and refer people to addiction treatment services, and it would reduce overcrowding in jails and allow law enforcement to focus on more serious issues, Klopfenstein said.

Behavioral health and addiction treatment organization Adapt has been working with Douglas County’s Local Public Safety Coordinating Council to establish the center for years, said Adapt CEO Gregory Brigham at the meeting. The organizations recently identified a location for the center at 3005 NE Diamond Lake Blvd. They have a temporary contract that will allow them to purchase the building if full funding is secured.

Modeling services off a sobering center in Grants Pass, Adapt estimates the annual cost for the center would be $356,000. Adapt has committed $56,000 annually for the project and Umpqua Health Alliance has agreed to provide $100,000 for the first year, leaving $200,000 for local governments and other agencies to fill. Brigham said Umpqua Health Alliance also tentatively committed $100,000 for the second year contingent on a 150% funding match from another entity.

The city allocated $50,000 to the police department’s jail fund during a previous budget cycle with the expectation that it would be used for a future sobering center, Messenger said.

Initially, the center would operate six beds with the expectation of growing to 12. People would typically stay at the center for four to eight hours, according to City Council meeting documents, but the center could hold people up to 24 hours. One staff member would be on site during all hours of operation, and additional services would be provided through community partners and Adapt’s outpatient services and rapid access departments.

“This is very exciting,” said City Councilor Brian Prawitz. “I think this answers some of the things we’ve been talking about with the cost to the city. In my opinion, this is a much better investment than jail beds.”

The center wouldn’t be run by law enforcement, but the police would take people there. Center staff would detain people until they are deemed fit for release.

City Councilor Linda Fisher-Fowler asked Klopfenstein whether the person being taken to the center has to agree to go.

“It would not matter if they agree or not,” Klopfenstein said. “It’s not an option.”

The motion passed 5-1 with city councilors Tom Ryan and Bob Cotterell absent from the meeting and City Councilor Ashley Hicks voting no.

Hicks doubted whether the project’s partners could secure full funding and questioned whether the center would help the community.

“I do not support any detox facility or sobriety center,” Hicks said. “I support people that are doing criminal acts and disorderly conduct and disrupting the civility of the community to go to jail.”

Rich said potential partners for such projects often wait for the city to commit first before they too allocate funds.

“Let’s get out there and let them figure out if they can come up with $350,000 every year and get this thing going,” he said.