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pictures of the week (copy)

Index: The Ferris Wheel sits unlit and unused the Monday before the start of the 2016 Douglas County Fair.

Roseburg City Council to hear WinCo appeal

The Roseburg City Council on Monday is scheduled to hold a special meeting on whether to allow a WinCo Foods supermarket proposed for the site of the vacant Kmart on Northwest Stewart Parkway.

The City Council will be the second City of Roseburg public body to meet on the matter.

On May 3, the Roseburg Planning Commission approved the project, following several weeks of written exchanges between WinCo Foods and the group Safe Streets Roseburg, which has opposed the development.

On May 17, the Planning Commission held a special meeting and adopted the finding of facts presented by WinCo. That decision was appealed, which means it now comes before the City Council. If the City Council renders a decision Monday and that is appealed, it will go to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.

Safe Streets Roseburg, through its Eugene attorney Sean Malone, has raised concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety at the site. Malone said a traffic study done on behalf of WinCo Foods was insufficient and more needed to be done to protect shoppers entering and leaving the proposed store.

Safe Streets Roseburg has not returned phone calls and emails seeking comment on its position.

WinCo Foods, a Boise-based supermarket chain, has submitted plans that call for demolishing the old Kmart and replacing it with a slightly smaller supermarket. Once construction begins the store should open in about a year, WinCo officials have said.

The Kmart building, located at 2757 NW Stewart Parkway, covers 88,000 square feet. The new WinCo store would also be single-story and spread out over just under 73,000 square feet. The store will be open around-the-clock.

WinCo plans to reconfigure the parking lot, install new landscaping and perform other improvements to the site, which covers about 9.45 acres. The property also contains the Big 5 Sporting Goods building at 2655 NW Stewart Parkway. WinCo has said it has no plans to change the current business operations of Big 5.

WinCo, which stands for the words “Winning Company” combined, dates back to 1967 when two Boise businessmen founded a discount store called Waremart. The name of the company was changed to WinCo Foods in 1999. The employee-owned supermarket chain is known for its bulk items and low prices.

On Feb. 1, WinCo opened new stores in Bend, and in Wenatchee, Washington. The openings represented the 23rd WinCo Foods store in each state.

Two other stores opened in Montana in late February. That brings the total number of stores to 133 in 11 states, with more than 20,000 employees.

WinCo also has six distribution centers, including one in Tri City that employs more than 50 people.

Monday’s special City Council meeting is scheduled to be held via Zoom, beginning at 6 p.m. It will be streamed live on the city’s Facebook page.

For more information on the proposed development, call the city’s community development department at 541-492-6750, or email cdd@cityofroseburg.org.

Celebrate safely: tips for trouble-free Independence Day revelry

Two weeks from today, residents all over Douglas County will gather to celebrate America’s independence, complete with the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air.

After having most public celebrations canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that revelry can be expected to increase greatly this coming July 4. But, with the Douglas Forest Protective Association raising the area’s fire danger to “moderate,” it will put an increased importance on safety for private Independence Day celebrations.

Oregon law prohibits the use, possession, or sale of fireworks that fly, explode, or travel more than 12 inches in the air, or 6 feet on the ground. Those who set off illegal fireworks, including Roman candles, bottle rockets and firecrackers, could face a fine of $1,000 for each violation.

“We still seem to have an over-abundance of mortars that still show up somehow,” said Rob Bullock, fire chief for Douglas County Fire District No. 2.

Over the coming weeks, stands and area stores selling legal fireworks will be offering their spark-shooting wares, and it is important for those wanting to put on a good show for the kids — or the neighborhood — to take the necessary precautions before holding their lighter to the fuse.

“First of all, you have to have water available,” Bullock said. “Don’t just pile a bunch of used fireworks into a bucket or trash can. They’re still hot.”

Instead, have a bucket full of water to soak the expired fireworks before disposal. In fact, it is wise to let them soak overnight to be sure that there is no risk of a heat ignition when they are in the trash.

Also, homeowners should take precautions even if they are not planning to set off fireworks on the 4th of July. Watering lawns and rooftops are a good start to help keep your home safe from wayward sparks, but don’t forget the gutters.

“Even this time of year, people forget about the gutters because it’s not raining,” Bullock said. “Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of fireworks fires can start. It starts in the gutter, gets under the shingles, and that can be a real problem.”

Check the defensible space around your home. Wildfire fuels are already one month ahead of schedule as to their dryness. One week of rain in early June, which yielded 1.45 inches in total, wasn’t nearly enough to saturate the soil.

Finally, exercise proper safety measures when using fireworks, even the ones considered legal in the state of Oregon.

From 2015-2019, the office of the Oregon State Fire Marshal reported that fireworks-related fires were responsible for an estimated $4.9 million in property damage, 1,173 fires cause exclusively by fireworks, 36 injuries and one death.