Personal Use Christmas Tree Permits and Bough Permits Available on the Mt. Hood National Forest

christmas tree cuttingSandy, OR –The Mt. Hood National Forest will begin selling personal use Christmas tree cutting permits at our Ranger District Office’s as well as many local vendors on Monday, November 3, 2014. Permits sell for $5.00 each (cash, check or card) and there is a limit of five permits per household.

When purchasing permits, you will get an informational sheet with rules for cutting Christmas trees on the National Forest. Your permit allows the cutting of a Christmas tree up to 12 feet tall. Permits for trees taller than 12 feet may be obtained from District Offices for an additional cost.

Closures are in effect due to the 36 Pit Fire. For updates about road conditions, including Highway 224, please visit www.TripCheck.com or call 511 within Oregon or 1-800-977-6358. The Mt. Hood National Forest also has a fire area closure in affect (Closure Order: MH-2014-14), which affects some forest roads. For more information please visit our Forest Orders page on our website. Forest road information can be found by visiting or Roads Table.

Winter weather in the forest can change rapidly. Some Forest Service roads are not maintained for winter travel. Carry traction devices and be advised of winter road closures and snow park permit requirements. The Forest Service recommends you start early in the day and be out of the forest before dark. Dress warmly and carry a forest map, snacks and water. Don’t forget a tool to cut your tree and rope or cord to secure it to your vehicle. Do not rely solely on your GPS for navigating forest roads as some information may not be accurate or up-to-date. Also make sure relatives or friends know where you are going and when you plan to return. Keep your family and your own safety in mind as you head out to look for that perfect Christmas tree.

The Mt. Hood National Forest currently offers Free Use Bough Permits (available at no charge) for up to 25 pounds of boughs, and Commercial Bough Permits for larger quantities. Permits for Boughs are not available at local vendors. Bough permits are only available at Mt. Hood National Forest District offices. You must have a permit to harvest boughs.

Happy Christmas tree hunting, and we wish you happy holidays from the Mt. Hood National Forest.

Report finds problem with Hanford nuclear vapors

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A new report concludes that the U.S. Department of Energy does not have an adequate system to detect whether harmful vapors are sickening workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington, the nation’s most polluted nuclear site.

Dozens of workers in the past year have reported smelling vapors and then becoming ill after working around some of the 177 underground nuclear waste storage tanks there. The waste is a byproduct of the Cold War-era production of plutonium for nuclear weapons.

The workers were checked by doctors and cleared to return to work.

But a report issued Thursday concludes that the methods used to study the vapor releases were inadequate. It says vapors coming out of tanks in brief puffs at high concentrations are sporadically spreading into the air workers are breathing.

 

Goldendale City Council meets in executive session tonight

Open sign visible on Golden Dispensaries Saturday, October 25, 2014

Open sign visible on Golden Dispensaries Saturday, October 25, 2014


The owners of Golden Dispensaries, Richard Ellis and Wena Coffman, have defied the City of Goldendale’s six-month moratorium and opened their retail recreational marijuana shop at 660 Llama Lane inside the Goldendale city limits right next to Highway 97. They said at Monday night’s Goldendale City Council meeting that they planned on opening their pot shop at 660 Llama Lane Saturday morning despit both the a six-month moratorium on marijuana-related industries in the city and the city’s refusal to grant them a business license.

Attorney Elizabeth Hallock and child at Goldendale City Council Monday, October 20, 2014

Attorney Elizabeth Hallock and child at Goldendale City Council Monday, October 20, 2014

At that same meeting, Elizabeth Hallock, the Coffman family’s attorney, told councilors the ban is illegal, and that she is suing other cities in the state which have issued moratoriums and “bleeding them dry.” Hallock also operates Stonehenge Cannibis in Murdock

Coffman and Ellis said they’ve already invested more than $50,000 in the store. The dispensary has received its license from the Washington State Liquor Control Board as the county’s third license. Klickitat County was assigned a maximum of four retail licenses by the WSLCB in setting up the system. One of those four licenses was assigned specifically to Goldendale

In a related story, the Goldendale City Council will hold an executive session tonight at 8 p.m. to discuss the situation. The justification  for the executive session is given as discussing threat of potential litigation. Executive sessions are not open to the public. City Manager Larry Bellamy said he did not know whether council members would come into open session following the executive session and take any action. No votes can take place in executive session. to determine what options the city has if the two open their recreational marijuana store in defiance of the city’s ban and lack of a city license. The text of the marijuana moratorium, ordinance #1440, does not contain any penalties for violation.

 

Body found near Lyle believed to be missing Lyle resident

On October 23, 2014 at approximately 4:53 pm the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a deceased body in a heavily wooded area near Lyle, Washington.

After arriving on scene deputies discovered the body of a male subject whom they believed to be 29 year old David E. Lee who was reported missing on October 5, 2014 by his wife. Lee was a resident of Lyle, Washington at the time of his disappearance.

The manner and cause of death are currently under investigation and an autopsy has been requested by the Klickitat County Coroner’s Office. The autopsy is scheduled to be performed at the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office in Vancouver, Washington.

Klickitat County reinstates marijuana business ban for six months

Gerald and Theresa Golding testify against allowing a marijuana processing plant

Gerald and Theresa Golding testify against allowing a marijuana processing plant in their neighborhood at the October 7, 2014 meeting of the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners

The following  is a press release from the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners, followed by a Q&A issued by the commissioners, followed by a link to a PDF of the actual ordinance:

The Klickitat County Board of Commissioners took action on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, to re-adopt a moratorium on marijuana production, processing and retail sales in the unincorporated areas of Klickitat County. A moratorium had been adopted a year ago, but during a well-attended hearing at that time, all but one participant opposed the moratorium, citing voter approval of the I-502 (marijuana) initiative, strict Liquor Control Board (LCB) rules, and potential creation of jobs.

Since the prior moratorium lapsed, it has come to the attention of the Board of Commissioners that marijuana facilities are being proposed for locations within the County that may be incompatible with surrounding uses (e.g., security lighting and cameras that may be directed to adjacent properties, odors, water usage, traffic in/out of facility, disposal of waste materials, etc.).  Because the LCB licenses marijuana facilities without written notice to individual owners of properties that surround proposed sites, and applicants may not truthfully inform surrounding landowners of their plans, landowners who are most affected may not be aware of the new use until the marijuana facility is operating.  The current LCB rules restrict facilities from locating near schools and certain other types of uses, but do not consider other important factors such as proximity to residences, school bus stops, and other locations where children and under-age young adults may be present. Additionally, the LCB will be considering raising the total square footage of marijuana produce operations from a state-wide total maximum of 2 million square feet, to 8.5 million square feet, which could result in expansion of operating marijuana facilities and/or a round of new applications to the LCB for additional facilities. 

Due to these concerns, the Board of County Commissioners adopted the moratorium to halt the establishment of new marijuana production, processing, and retail facilities in unincorporated areas of Klickitat County, in order to allow time to determine how to address the local impacts from such facilities.

The Board of Commissioners will conduct a public hearing at 6:30 p.m., November 12, 2014, in the meeting room of the Klickitat County PUD in Goldendale. Public notices will be published, and an effort to individually notify marijuana applicants to the LCB as well as citizens who have expressed concerns will be made. The purpose of the hearing is to receive testimony from those who support or oppose continuation of the moratorium for a period of six months. If the Board of Commissioners decides to continue the moratorium, the matter will be directed to the Planning Commission to develop recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for amendments to zoning regulations and policies. The Board of Commissioners will likely conduct a public hearing prior to taking action on the Planning Commission recommendations.

Copies of the moratorium and a “Question and Answer” flyer are available from the Klickitat County Planning Department, 228 West Main Street, Goldendale.

Questions/Answers Re: Moratorium on Marijuana Facilities

Why did the County approve the moratorium?

  • It has come to the attention of the County Commissioners that marijuana facilities are being proposed for locations within the County that may be incompatible with surrounding uses (e.g., security lighting and cameras that may be directed to adjacent properties, odors, water usage, traffic in/out of facility, disposal of waste materials, etc.).  Because the Liquor Control Board (LCB) licenses marijuana facilities without written notice to individual owners of properties that surround proposed sites, and applicants may not truthfully inform surrounding landowners of their plans, landowners who are most affected may not be aware of the new use until the marijuana facility is operating.  Additionally, the current LCB rules restrict facilities from locating near schools and certain other types of uses, but do not consider other important factors such as proximity to residences, school bus stops, and other locations where children and under-age young adults may be present.

  • Although the LCB stopped accepting applications for licenses in December of last year, the LCB may decide to open up the process to new applications or allow expansion of other licenses.  The LCB is currently considering raising the total square footage of marijuana produce operations from a state-wide total maximum of 2 million square feet, to 8.5 million square feet. 

  • Due to these concerns, the Board of County Commissioners requires time to consider whether County regulations may be necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public from the potential expansion of existing marijuana facilities and new facilities. 

 

What is the intended effect of the moratorium in Klickitat County?

  • The intended effect is to halt the establishment of new marijuana production, processing, and retail facilities in unincorporated areas of Klickitat County, so the County has time to determine how to address the local impacts from such facilities.

  • The moratorium will allow time for the County to consider adoption of county policies and/or regulations that may include a requirement to provide notice to owners of property surrounding a proposed site; factors to be considered in addressing whether a marijuana facility may be incompatible with other uses in certain areas; and/or restrictions to protect the public’s health and safety.

 

What are the next steps the County will take?

 

  • The Board of County Commissioners will conduct a hearing on November 12, 2014, to receive testimony from the public, regarding whether a moratorium should or should not be continued.  The Planning Department will make an effort to individually notify applicants for marijuana licenses within the County and members of the public who have recently appeared before the Board of Commissioners to express their concerns on this issue, in addition to publishing notice in the local newspapers. 

  • If the Board decides that continuation of the moratorium is in the public’s interest, the Board may direct the Planning Commission to develop recommendations for amendment to the County zoning regulations.  The Board of Commissioners would likely request the Planning Commission to develop such a recommendation within the shortest period of time possible, e.g., 60 days.

  • Once the Board of Commissioners receives the recommendation from the Planning Commission the Board may conduct another public hearing prior to adoption.    

 

Several marijuana applications are pending before the Liquor Control Board and others have been granted.  Which will be affected immediately (i.e., prohibited, at least temporarily) and which will be allowed to operate? (Note that the below guidance does not apply to any specific facility, but only provides a generalized response)

  • Marijuana licensees who have received approval from the LCB and have filed a complete building permit application with the County Building Department for their facility are not affected.

  • Marijuana licensees who have not yet received a license from the LCB or have received LCB licenses but not submitted a complete application to the County Building Department for a building permit are prohibited from operating while the moratorium is in effect. 

  • Marijuana licensees who were approved by the LCB for locations outside of Klickitat County, who wish to relocate their license to locations within Klickitat County but have not yet submitted a complete application for a building permit to the Building Department, will not be permitted to establish their business in Klickitat County while the moratorium is in effect.

  • Marijuana licensees who have received approval from the LCB, obtained all required permits, and have lawfully established their use, may be treated as a legal non-conforming use under County regulations. If so, the moratorium would not affect such a use.

 

Isn’t growing and processing of marijuana just another type of agriculture allowed throughout most of the County under current zoning?

  • Currently marijuana is considered an illegal drug under federal law.

  • The moratorium specifically applies to production, processing and retail sales that are illegal under federal law.

  • Given its treatment under federal law, it is distinct from other agricultural uses.

  • Also, the crop itself has its own unique impacts.

Did the County take action earlier on this issue?

  • Yes. The Board of Commissioners adopted a moratorium a year ago.  However, when the Board conducted meetings and a public hearing (the hearing was well attended; the Commissioners’ Hearing Room was filled to capacity), nearly all participants (except for one person) favored discontinuance of the moratorium on the basis that I-502 was approved by a majority of voters, the LCB had adopted very stringent rules to protect the public, and the new marijuana businesses will provide new jobs/income.

  • There have been several challenges to the legal right of local government to prohibit the establishment of marijuana facilities. In several cases, the industry has questioned the ability of local governments to prohibit marijuana facilities. So far, recent court decisions have supported the ability of local governments to do so.      

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Residents speak their piece on marijuana at Goldendale City Council marathon meeting

Goldendale City Attorney,  Ken Harper, right, and City Manager Larry Bellamy eye the crowd that filled the council chambers Monday night.

Goldendale City Attorney, Ken Harper, right, and City Manager Larry Bellamy eye the crowd that filled the council chambers Monday night.

It was a marathon session of the Goldendale City Council last night. For a two solid hours, 30 people paraded up to the microphone to share their opinion in the public hearing required by the council’s passage a six-month moratorium on marijuana-related businesses in Goldendale. The meeting was unusual in that councilor Mike Cannon attended by telephone from out of town, and the city’s Yakima attorney, Ken Harper, was present for the evening.

Council members took no action following the tempest of testimony. Councilor Len Crawford suggested that the council convene an executive session, but the city attorney Harper said that it would not be legal to deliberate such a matter in executive session by itself. He suggested reviewing the night’s testimony to see if there were threats of possible litigation, which would be a legitimate reason for an executive session. Council members agreed if legal justification should be found, they would hold such a session next Monday night, October 27 at 7 p.m. The end of the testimony did not mean the end of the meeting, though. Three times, council members voted to extend the meeting in half-hour increments, in order to deal with several funding requests and to hold an executive session involving real estate negotiations in another matter.

To hear the testimony from last night, listen to the podcasts below:

First hour of testimony – Mark Hyde, Chet Biggerstaff, Paul Hansen, Gerald Golding, Brian Thobois, Baretta Chub-Hardy, Debbie Burnhart, Theresa Golding, Cliff Gregg, Dennis Blomquist, Alliesha Hawsinger,

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Second hour of testimony – Sherry Carver, Mike Garnett, Darrell Smith, Jan Smith, Tom Tastrow, Sue Jaggers, Ken McKuen, Merilee Hansen, Lyle Ferch, Richard Ellis, Ruth Faulkner, Dave Schlosseer, Cassie Blomquist, Harold Eliason, Michael Kitchen, Terry Hardy, Jacob Smith

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Other business – authorizing purchases

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Public comment – more on marijuana

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2nd Washington judge upholds pot-business ban – Goldendale Meeting Monday

WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) — A second Washington state judge says cities and counties can ban licensed marijuana businesses within their jurisdictions.

The ruling Friday from Chelan County Superior Court Judge T.W. Small came in the case of SMP Retail, which sued the city of Wenatchee over its ban on pot businesses. A Pierce County judge similarly upheld a ban in Fife in August; that case has been appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson says that the decision comports with a legal opinion his office issued early this year.

Dozens of cities and counties around the state have temporarily or permanently banned marijuana businesses. Critics say that threatens the ability of Washington’s regulated system to overtake the black market.

But Ferguson says nothing in Washington’s legal pot law explicitly overruled local zoning authority.

On a local note, the Goldendale City Council will hold a Public Hearing on I-502 this Monday, October 20th, 7pm at the City Council Chambers.

Click on the link below to view the Agenda:

10202014 Agenda