It looks like Ashley Hicks is going to have to get rid of her pet chickens after all.
Hicks, a former Roseburg city councilor, took a novel approach in her efforts to keep the four birds after city officials revoked a permit she had been granted to have them: Hicks claimed she needed the chickens as emotional support animals to help her cope with some mental health issues she was dealing with.
In her formal appeal to the city to keep her farm animal permit, Hicks included a note from her doctor verifying her need for the chickens. City Manager Nikki Messenger denied Hicks’ appeal.
“The Roseburg Municipal Code defines staff’s authority in this matter,” Messenger wrote in a letter stating her decision. “There is no evidence to suggest the police chief made an error in his determination to revoke the permit. As such, I uphold the police chief’s decision and the permit revocation. Ms. Hicks has 10 days from the date of this decision to either remove the livestock from her property or petition the City Council to review the decision.”
The letter was dated April 26, which means Hicks has until Thursday to remove the chickens or appeal to the City Council. Hicks declined to comment on the denial of her appeal or what she plans to do next.
Hicks lives on Southeast Flint Street, a few blocks west of downtown Roseburg. Her home backs up to the South Umpqua River. Last summer, Hicks got a permit for her chickens and ducks. She said she went door-to-door to get the 23 signatures of neighbors that were needed and paid the $50 permit fee.
However, Hicks said that in September a dog owned by her neighbor, Susie Osborn, attacked one of her hens. Later another dog owned by Osborn attacked and killed one of Hicks’ ducks. All told, Hicks said Osborn’s dogs have killed two of her ducks and injured two of her laying chickens.
Hicks said it is those incidents that prompted Osborn to take action to have Hicks’ chickens removed. Osborn herself served a total of 10 years on the City Council, from January 1991 to December 1998, then again from January 2007 to December 2008.
Osborn was one of two adjacent property owners who asked that Hicks’ permit for the chickens be revoked. The other was a woman named Mary Blevens, who owns two adjacent properties that she rents out to several tenants. Together their two signatures constituted three of the five adjacent property owners, or 60% total — more than the 50% needed, under city code, to have Hicks’ permit revoked.
Hicks said Blevens is elderly and didn’t understand the proceedings, a fact that Messenger and Roseburg Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein dispute. Messenger said Klopfenstein reached out to Blevens initially to see how she felt about the chickens, and then as a courtesy to Blevens went to her residence personally to pick up her letter objecting to them.
At the bottom of the letter, Blevens scrawled “I don’t want chickens.”
The hearing on Hicks’ appeal of her permit revocation was held via Zoom on April 6. During the hearing, Hicks listed a dozen reasons that she should be allowed to keep the chickens, including:
This is not the first time Hicks has butted heads with Messenger and other city officials. Her four-year tenure on the City Council was rife with controversy before she was defeated in her bid for re-election in November.
In February 2020, Hicks was sanctioned by the City Council for comments she made on social media in support of a homeless camp near the airport. Later that year, Hicks filed a formal complaint against Messenger, accusing her of violating the city charter by not living within city limits. The City Council dismissed Hicks’ complaint, calling it unfounded.
In a brief comment Tuesday, Hicks said she continues to have problems with her neighbor’s dogs, that she believes were in her yard again last week, going after her chickens. Hicks said when she got home three hens were gone and the one remaining bird was limping. A few hours later the others returned, except for one. A few days later Hicks said she found the bird floating in the water.
“I am down to three chickens as of today,” she said. “Two of the three are injured.”
A small group of bicyclists and tricyclists showed up for a community ride Tuesday to take advantage of the warm weather and celebrate National Bike Month.
It was the first ride of May and Erik Schnautz with the Umpqua Velo Club said more people than usual showed up to participate in the ride.
Although it was the first community bike ride of May, a dedication ceremony for Pattie’s Path on Saturday kicked off local festivities to celebrate bicycling.
Burt Tate of Bike Walk Roseburg said about 10 people came out to the ribbon cutting and plaque unveiling near the railroad underpass on the bike path near Northeast Rowe Avenue on Saturday afternoon in honor of Pattie Wilfong.
“There was a bit of a struggle over who was responsible for paving,” Tate said. “Pattie rode her bike to work every day and she kept pushing it. So eventually they said, ‘Let’s go ahead and pave it.’ She was instrumental in getting that done.”
Community organizations come together to celebrate National Bike Month
Wednesday is also National Bike and Walk to School Day, although the Douglas Education Service District’s Safe Routes to School team is asking students to participate for the entire week. Students who walk or bike to school, or in their neighborhood, can enter to win prizes.
Schnautz has been hosting a weekly community ride on Tuesday that is open to beginners of all ages.
Linda Lovendahl just moved to the area and was looking to meet new people and ride. On Tuesday, she found four others who share her love for biking.
While Schnautz had a route — a loop of Stewart Park — planned for beginning riders, the group decided to take on a moderate 10-mile ride.
“I don’t want to scare anybody off,” Schnautz said, adding that the main goal of Tuesday’s ride was to be accessible, get people on bikes and teach them a few safety tips.
Schnautz and Lovendahl were the only bicycle riders, while Jack Moore, M. A. Hansen and Carol Sue Hammons joined in on recumbent tricycles.
Hammons said she rode in from Winston for the ride, while Hansen said this was her second trip on the tricycle. Hansen had experience riding bikes but was still getting used to the trike.
“It’s a perfect day for a bike ride,” Schnautz said. There will be community bicycle rides at 6 p.m. each Tuesday for people of all skill levels, which start at the train in Stewart Park.
There are also intermediate bike rides, around 25 miles, that start at 6 p.m. Wednesday at My Coffee.
This will be the 67th annual National Bike Month. Other bicycle-related events scheduled throughout the month are:
GLIDE — All three Glide school board positions up for reelection had two candidates when the filing deadline came around. Since then, Kara Weber has withdrawn from the race, leaving five people to vie for three positions.
Jeffery Brown will now be unopposed in his quest for seat 2 on the school board. Brown is running on a platform that focuses mainly on bringing more career technical education to the school district
Incumbents Candice Voynick and Dan Metz each face competition for their current seat. Voynick will be up against Kris Malek for the No. 3 position and Brown is up against Rebecca Beam for seat 5.
The Glide Education Association asked each candidate to answer 10 questions. The News-Review received those answers and followed up with each of the candidates.
Brown wants to work to create a thriving community that is preparing all students for success.
“Glide School District has done a great job preparing our kids for college,” he said. “I believe we can provide additional options to guide them to a better future by also focusing on CTE courses and skilled trades.”
Brown said he would like to engage in open conversations to make sure he can effectively represent the interests of the stakeholders in developing board policies.
Brown said, “Typically, the biggest challenge to any board of trustees is to balance financial conservation with the need to provide the best education and school campuses possible.” He added that other challenges include balancing student safety with health guidelines and communication between the district and the community.
Brown is a manager for Pacific Power and owner of JB2 Construction LLC and JB Environmental Services LLC.
Voynick said she wants to continue to be on the board, because she wants to make sure students have equitable access to education and the district employees are provided with appropriate funding and tools to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
“Equitable access means addressing or removing barriers such as limitations due to socioeconomic status, behavioral and mental health needs of students, basic health care including nutritional needs, special education and English as a second language,” she said.
Voynick’s focus will be on five important issues; Continuing to ensure students and staff are learning in person while staying healthy and safe, supporting a school resource officer, developing a strategic plan, changing and enhancing the superintendent evaluation process, and focusing on equity and diversity.
In her idea of a strategic plan, a student representative would be actively involved with the school board, and there will be quarterly update meetings with the superintendent.
Voynick is a licensed clinical social worker with Umpqua Health Newton Creek, who holds a master’s degree in social work from Portland State University.
She said, “I would like to clear up people’s perception as they think I have certain political views because I finished high school in California.” She grew up along the West Coast as her father was in the Navy for 26 years. She has been committed to community service for more than 20 years.
“I have no personal or political agenda other than to serve the community and support public education,” she said.
Kris MalekMalek said he enjoys being a part of the Glide community and wants to give back instead of just being content with what the community can provide to him.
His priorities are transparency, accountability and communications between the board and parents, community members and teachers.
“I think it’s fairly obvious the biggest challenge of our current school board is their lack of ability to communicate with parents,” Malek said. “The distrust between the school board and parents has to be repaired.”
Malek added that other challenges include the budget and finding an appropriate response to COVID-19 guidelines to benefit the students and school district.
Malek has been a law enforcement officer in the City of Myrtle Creek for 17 years. He has an associate degree in elementary education from Umpqua Community College.
Metz said he’s running for reelection, because he wants to continue the fight to maintain the values of the community within the school district.
“There is a concerted effort in the State of Oregon to force the values of larger, urban communities onto those of us in smaller, rural communities,” he said.
Metz said that the first priority is getting through the COVID-19 crisis, but facilities and future planning are at the top on his list of things to focus on.
He also added that state legislated policies have taken up some time, and as the board chair, he has helped the district in the fight against bad bills and find allies in Salem and throughout the state to help with this effort.
Metz is the highway manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Rebecca Beam Beam said she is running because she wants to become more involved in the school district’s decision making process, particularly curriculum and the school budget.
“Our children’s education and learning environment will be my top priorities,” Beam said. “The school board plays a very important role in our children’s education and I would like to work with the school board, administrators and teachers to promote a healthy learning opportunity for the kids attending the Glide school district.”
Beam said she would like to see music and home economics returned to the schools.
“I hire a lot of young people to work in Alaska and I see a lot of them not knowing basic domestic skills, like cooking, cleaning, running a washing machine, or being able to manage a checking account,” Beam said. “When kids become adults and venture into society I feel they need to know the basic skills for taking care of themselves.”
Beam is the operations manager of Rainbow King Lodge in Iliamna, Alaska. She is also a self-employed cattle rancher and part owner of Fins & Feathers Guide Service.
Community organizations come together to celebrate National Bike Month
Roseburg Mayor Larry Rich proclaimed the month of May as National Bike and Bicycle Safety Month during Monday’s city council meeting and several community organizations are working together to celebrate the occasion.
“Bicycle safety education is a vital aspect to a healthy and active lifestyle here in the Umpqua Valley,” said Gavin Pike, Safe Routes to School program assistant.
Rich’s proclamation said the Umpqua Valley attracts bicyclists from across the state and country who provide economic, health and scenic benefits to the citizens of Roseburg.
“Creating bicycle friendly communities has been shown to improve citizens’ health, well-being and quality of life, to boost community spirit, to improve traffic safety and to reduce pollution and congestion,” Rich said. “The education of bicyclists and motorists, as to proper and safe operations of bicycles, is important to ensure the safety and comfort of all users.”
This will be the 67th annual National Bike Month. Here are some of the events scheduled throughout the month: