As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

March 26, 2014

I know a lot of people are still confused as to what is taking place at the Bandon Shopping Center. Matt, Michelle, Charli and I met with one of the new owners, Darren Dickerhoof, last Tuesday and he outlined his plans, and confirmed things that I had written in my column last week (although he said in an email to me that it was "riddled with false information", which has not proven to be true). The one mistake that I know of is that I said Bandon Pizza's lease expired last year (but Darren said it was 2009) which didn't matter one iota as far as the point I was making. They had been in the shopping center for over 20 years and would have loved to have had their lease renewed regardless of when it expired. Also, the offer he made to Bev was apparently verbal rather than in writing since he mentioned to us that he had made a "verbal" offer. And he said if I could "show him a written offer" he would buy my lunch. Sorry, it was verbal, but I believe Bev Worden told me the truth, and personally I would not care to have lunch with him.

Mr. Dickerhoof provided us with tiny (and I do mean tiny) maps of the present shopping center and what it will look like after two of the tenants have been evicted and the third one's lease is bought out (yes, he confirmed that, too).

The Dollar Tree will occupy the two spaces north of Ray's (presently home to Bree's and the golf shop). The golf shop will occupy the three spaces just south of Tiffany's (actually soon to be Rite Aid although he has Tiffany's Drug on both his before and after configurations), now home to Bandon Pizza and Pet Wash Plus and a third small long-empty space.

Glitter n Glo will continue to be in the space south of the golf shop as will US Cellular, LydiAnna's Laundromat, Hands & Tans, Begin Agains and Subway.

But he advised us that he was on his way up to talk to Rose Anne Gates (owner of Begin Agains) about her giving up part of her space because Subway wants to expand.

I asked him what would happen if she doesn't agree (knowing that she has only a month-to-month lease) but he simply said he would be talking to her. I then suggested that if she didn't go along with his plan, she could suffer the same fate as the two who had been evicted (Bree's and Bandon Pizza). And I can assure my readers that I have witnesses to that conversation.

I talked later to Rose Anne and she said he wants "five or six feet of her dress shop." But he would give her a lease. I don't know what she will decide but she loves her shop, as do those of us who shop there, so I know she will try her best to make it work.

I would like to put a positive spin on what has happened up there, but I simply can't.

I definitely don't think Dollar Tree will help the other anchor tenant, Ray's Food Place, since they will be next door to each other and selling a lot of the same items. I don't believe that rumors I've been hearing about Ray's are true; they are simply that, just rumors. People continue to talk about Safeway coming in, but I don't think that is in the offing.

As far as Rite Aid/Tiffany's is concerned, their big sale will continue through this week, and the store (with the exception of the pharmacy) will be closed for a few days for remodeling before they reopen as a Rite Aid.

*           *           *

I haven't heard what is happening with Bandon's nine-hole golf course, but a friend of mine told me he was contacted by a firm selling advertising for Face Rock Golf Course, and he wondered if it was re-opening.

I surely hope it is . . . . as that is the only place I feel comfortable enough to play (at) golf.

*           *           *

It was such a treat to attend the 104th birthday party for Marie Douglass, who has lived at Heritage Place (now Pacific View) for the last 10 years. I presented her with a certificate from the mayor recognizing her amazing milestone, and I am pretty sure she is the oldest person in Bandon. She reminds me of a person much younger as her mind is very sharp (not only with what happened in the past but also in the present). She is absolutely remarkable ... for any age. She told the group that she has outlived most of her family members, but was so happy that her granddaughter and two other relatives had come to join in the celebration. Her birthday isn't until today (Monday, March 24), but the family wasn't able to stay that long so the party was Friday and then the family took her out to dinner Sunday.

I was surprised to see long-time Bandon resident and former port commissioner Hugh McNeil at the party. Hugh is 93, and he told me he and his wife, Betty, are both living there since they were in a roll-over accident on Highway 101 between Bandon and Coos Bay some months ago. He said their pickup skidded on the ice and rolled over twice. Hugh has made many contributions to Bandon during his many years of service as a port commissioner and a fishing boat owner, who was always one of the first to respond to problems encountered by other small vessels.

*           *           *

A man murdered in Eugene last week has ties to this area. Firefighters found the body of George Wasson in Eugene's Fairmount neighborhood after they had been called to what they termed as a "suspicious" fire. It turns out that Mr. Wasson, who is a tribal elder of the Coquille Indian Tribe and a member of the Pistol River Wasson family, had been murdered by a man who had previously lived just down the street. He then set fire to Mr. Wasson's house.

The murderer, Ricardo Antonio Chaney, 32, then hijacked a BMW in a parking lot in Eugene and at gunpoint forced the two men in the BMW into the truck of their vehicle. Before he could drive off, they escaped by pushing a special lever in the trunk and notified authorities.

He then headed to Northern California where he got into a fray with the owner of Confusion Hill, a Northern California tourist attraction, which ended with the owner exchanging gun fire with him.

Unfortunately the Confusion Hill owner missed and Chaney continued south until he encountered a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy, who he murdered. Other officers arrived as backup and exchanged fire with Chaney, who ran into the brush, where he was found a short time later with fatal wounds.

Mr. Wasson, 79, had previously been an anthropology professor at the University of Oregon and was a highly respected storyteller among the Native American populations. He had lived in Eugene for many years, and subsequent news stories said Chaney was the son of a retired UO professor. He had been arrested in Eugene several weeks earlier for possession of drugs and a semi-automatic weapon and in his vehicle they found a bullet proof shield. But because they do not have the manpower to process cases like this, they let him go, according to the Lane County DA.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

March 19, 2014

There have been so many rumors floating around about what is happening at the Bandon Shopping Center, so I spent quite a few hours this weekend talking with merchants and trying to find out for myself ... and it's not good.

The shopping center has been purchased by Dickerhoof Properties of Corvallis, which, I understand, is a woman and her two sons, who own other commercial properties like this.

Without warning, Brees was notified a couple of weeks ago that they had to vacate the premises, and they have since found a location just south of Bank of America in the spot which once housed a scrapbooking shop and is adjacent to Juul Insurance.

Bandon Golf Shop is also moving out of its space next to Brees, but they will remain in the shopping center, south of Ray's Food Place.

Those two spaces will house a new Dollar Tree dollar store, which has already been dealing with the city planning department on signs, etc.

One of the biggest heartaches, from the tenants' standpoint, is Bandon Pizza, which Bev Worden and her late husband, J.C., have owned for over 20 years. They had two 10-year leases, but when the lease expired late last year, the owners would not renew it, so Bev has been operating on a month-to-month lease. The sad part is that long-time employee, Donna Jones, and her husband. Jim, were in the process of buying the business from Bev. Now that is off the table, because the very popular take-out (and delivery) pizza place has to be out by the end of April. Bev definitely wants to find another place to locate the business, but that depends on if she can find somewhere to go. She was just notified Friday that she had to be out.

"We have no choice," said Bev, who said they have never even been late on their rent in all the years they've rented a space in the shopping center. Bev said in her first letter from the new owners they offered her $13,000 and two months rent if she would vacate. She said she would have to think about it; the second offer no longer mentioned any money, just two months rent.

The lease of another small shop was purchased by the new owners for $25,000, but the owner said they would prefer that I not mention it in my column as they want to notify their customers.

I had heard that the laundromat (Lydianna's Laundromat) might be another tenant that was being evicted, but I talked to the owners, Valentino and Heidi Mallare, who purchased the business is June of 2012, and they have a lease, so they will remain in the shopping center.

This is good news for the tenants who are left because the laundromat brings in a lot of people who drive by on 101 and see their sign. And while they're doing their laundry, they visit the nearby shops.

I do know that both Subway and Hands & Tans have leases, which is good, and hopefully it will protect the beautiful Begin Agains shop, which is located between the two, because RoseAnn's lease also ran out and was not renewed by C&K Markets.

It certainly should have been a red flag when C&K refused to renew people's leases because it's much easier to sell a property with tenants who do not have leases, which must be honored, than those who do.

The person that tenants have been dealing with is Darren Dickerhoof, who is a principal at Dickerhoof Properties. His website says: "Dickerhoof Properties specializes in retail property acquisitions and repositioning along with property management and leasing of their assets."

The tenants at Bandon Shopping Center are learning the hard way what "repositioning" means.

I've also been told that Rite Aid will officially be taking over the former Tiffany Drug Store at the end of March. They will be closed for a few days while the new owners remodel the store; in the meantime there are some killer sales going on at the store. And you can be assured they have a long-term lease.

*           *           *

The community was saddened to learn of the death of young Will Pullen, the 25-year-old son of Teresa and Gary Pullen, and the nephew of Reg Pullen. Will, who graduated from Bandon High School, had served in the US Marine Corps and we understand he had done a tour of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Two tours of duty had apparently taken its toll on the young man, who was attending college and living in Casper, Wyoming.

*           *           *

When I wrote about the Bite of Bandon in last week's column, I did not know who the winners were, and I am still not sure about all of them. But I do know that Lloyd's won the "Best Savory Bite," with a new beer batter, which they are going to offer on their fish and chips this year. At Bite of Bandon they served a beer battered fish slider with a lemon caper tartar sauce, topped with a hand-cut fennel coleslaw. I heard many rave reviews about it, but unfortunately I had already eaten way more than I should have so I did not get a chance to try it. Now I wish I had.

Edgewaters won the people's choice with their seafood pasta. I believe Coastal Mist won the award for "Best table design."

I am not sure if there were other winners, or who the judges were, but I believe the info will be in this week's Western World.

*           *           *

I was sorry, and shocked, to read that the nonprofit Oregon Coast Alliance group has filed a notice of appeal with Curry County, stating that the planning commission erred in granting approval to a proposed golf course north of Port Orford.

Tony Russell of Bandon, project manager of the Pacific Gales project, said it best: "We are able to build a world-class golf attraction with sensitivity to the environment as one of our top priorities. That should be celebrated by environmental groups like the Oregon Coast Alliance, not demonized.

"They say Curry County 'deserves better,' but do not offer solutions or alternatives. They need to come to the table with solutions, not just throw firebombs at the process.

"Meanwhile we're willing to invest millions of dollars to not only boost the local economy and create jobs, but also help Curry County become even more of an attractive Oregon tourism destination."

This, of course, is not to be confused with the golf course south of Bandon that Bandon Dunes Golf Resort owner Michael Keiser hopes to build.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

March 12, 2014

While going through my trove of old negatives this week, I uncovered a series of treasures. They date back to May of 1958 when work was progressing on filling the area at the end of Alabama Avenue (beneath and behind what is now Bandon Bait Shop and across from the Arcade Tavern). The first picture shows an overturned dump truck, with an Oliver Olson Steamship company barge (I think the Florence) loading lumber at the dock. The lumber was stored on the dock as well as across the street on the large lot owned by Moore Mill, which is now leased by the city from private owners to provide parking for Old Town and the Old Town Market.

overturned dump truck

The other picture is looking north from Alabama Avenue; note the parking meters on the right-hand side of the picture, including one in front of the vacant lot, where the Arcade now stands. The sign on port property just across the small white fence reads: "Table Rock Motel off the highway, Beach Loop 1 mile, electric kitchens, playground."

Alabama Avenue parking meters

The third photo, with the truck shop barely visible in the background, pictures the overturned dump truck, a big cat, a crane ... and the building on stilts (far right) that for many year housed the Port of Bandon office, and is now Tony's Crab Shack.

overturned dump truck

I have at least a hundred pictures of the Port of Bandon in various stages of development which will someday make a great Power Point presentation; I even found one picture of several port commissioners (including my late uncle Clyde Stearns and Pete Goodbrod) meeting in their old office, with smoke wafting through the air.

*           *           *

Although I have not read the posts on Facebook, I understand that one of the "big issues" for debate last week was whether the City should put up a reader board to let locals and visitors know what's going on in town. I'll admit I can't get fired up one way or another about the issue; the other "big issue" that I've been reading about is whether the City should allow medical marijuana dispensaries to locate inside the city limits.

Before they adjourned their special session last week the legislature gave cities and counties the right to put a moratorium on issuing medical marijuana dispensary permits for a year ... and jurisdictions have until a date in May to reach their decision. Some, like Josephine County, say they won't allow them at all, and will be prepared to go to court if someone sues them over that decision. The commissioners contend that they violate federal law, and that's the position they will take. And that's the same position taken by the City of Grants Pass.

Todd Powers of Bandon suggested that I contact the Clatsop County District Attorney for more information on medical marijuana dispensaries, so I did. Not only did he send me an extensive written piece, but we also talked on the phone.

I will share some of the points he made in this column, and will try to figure out how to share his entire document to those who want to read it.

DA Josh Marquis said that when marijuana was decriminalized in 1973, a lid was about an ounce, and the THC level was about 2 percent; it sold for about $15 an ounce.

"The weed in Oregon in so-called 'dispensaries' (totally unregulated; the regulations are a joke and there is no one enforcing them) sells for a minimum of $15 a gram (there are 28 grams in an ounce) and today's Oregon Weed is about 25 percent THC," said the DA.

"The pro-pot people have put almost 10 pro-weed measures on the ballot. The only one that ever passed was the so-called medical marijuana measure in 1998 when they promised voters that maybe 500 to 1000 people with cancer, glaucoma or AIDS would make use of medical pot. There are now over 60,000 cardholders, each able to possess a pound and a half at any given time (about $5,000 worth of pot) and the so-called dispensary system can be run by cartels or convicted child molesters."

He further pointed out that the reason cities and counties fear there will be a problem is because "they are utterly unregulated sales of controlled substances. Real pharmacies would never be allowed to behave that way. Remember, Oregon voters said no in 2010 to pot dispensaries and no in 2012 to legalization. My side had no money; just the facts and voters on our side."

The question was posed as to why local government bodies have the right to limit access to medical marijuana for treatment of people suffering from cancer, Parkinson's, etc.

"Over 90 percent of medical marijuana cardholders have none of the conditions they advertised medical pot would be used for. It's a joke to allow massive recreational use of marijuana, of which 25 percent is estimated to be used by minors. They are now selling THC-infused candy bars, ice cream bars, sodas and even cotton candy. Tell me that isn't marketing toward kids," said the district attorney.

An article in the Register-Guard Feb. 23 contained comments by the nation's governors who were attending the National Governor's Association. It is interesting that Colorado's Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper, said that even though the early tax revenue collections on Colorado pot sales of recreational marijuana have exceeded expectations, he cautioned that tax revenue "is absolutely the wrong reason to even think about legalizing recreational marijuana," which many Oregon residents say will soon reach the ballot.

In my column last week I asked people to email me or contact me as to how they felt about allowing the dispensaries in Bandon. Of the 15 or so people who have contacted me thus far, all are against it.

The city council will discuss the issue at a special meeting at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 24; the planning commission will be discussing it several days later, so it is possible that the council will wait until its April meeting to make a decision.

I will keep people posted.

*           *           *

I've been reading about the killer bees, which are beginning to invade areas throughout the country. I panic when one bee lands on me so I shuddered when I read about what happened the other day to a woman in Palm Desert, Calif.

It seems that about 80,000 Africanized honey bees found in an underground electrical vault stung a Verizon employee who opened the vault. They then attacked a 71-year-old woman who had just gotten out of a nearby car. The woman is estimated to have suffered about 1,000 stings after the swarm of killer bees covered her entire body.

She is expected to live, but I am sure she will have nightmares for the rest of her life.

*           *           *

People are still trying to come to grips with the double suicide of a popular Bandon couple, Astrid and Sidney Fannick, when more bad news arrived. Those of you who have visited the Old Town Market probably stopped at Lee's Bees honey booth, which was generally run by Lee's husband, Jack Lawrence.

They were apparently in Reno, where they own property, when Jack committed suicide.

One of my friends was a merchant at the market and she said all who "know about this were shocked to hear the news."

*           *           *

I had almost decided not to say much about the split between Dr. Gail McClave and the board of the Bandon Community Health Center ... until I received a letter this week from their Executive Director Linda Maxon.

I was on my way to the clinic to turn in my request to have all of my medical records transferred to Dr. McClave, who will be setting up a private practice, when I went to the post office and found the letter.

The letter said, in part: "Your medical records will remain at BCHC and our medical team will continue to make your healthcare needs a top priority. We understand some patients may choose to change to another clinic and we will assist you in transferring your patient records if necessary."

When I dropped my request off at the BCHC office, I questioned the wording in the letter. Maxon and the board know that Dr. McClave is not going to be part of a clinic, so I questioned the use of the word "another clinic." She said it meant another practice or a doctor.

I looked it up in the dictionary and, as I thought, clinic is " a group of physicians, doctors ... working in cooperation and sharing facilities."

I do not know all the details as to what happened, but I know first-hand (she was my mother's doctor), that Dr. McClave is a caring, extremely competent physician.

I won't be choosing another clinic . . . just another doctor, and a good one.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

March 05, 2014

The issue of medical marijuana dispensaries is on the minds of many city and county officials as Oregon's new law goes into effect today (March 3), which allows dispensaries to operate in Oregon. Medical marijuana has been legal for 16 years in Oregon, after being okayed by the voters. Dispensaries were allowed by the legislature during the last legislative session, without most people even aware that it was being discussed.

The city council is holding a special meeting Monday, March 24, at 5 p.m. to approve a 120-day moratorium, which will allow the council to talk about where, and even if, we want the dispensaries to locate. That's the single issue on the agenda; the debate on where, and if, will take place during a regular council meeting, possibly at the April meeting, which is set for Monday, April 14. Or it could be on the agenda for the May meeting, which will be May 5. Believe me, I encourage people to come forward.

Rob Taylor was not in favor of a moratorium, and said if it were any longer than 120 days, he would refer the issue to the voters.

I told him I would actually prefer that. I would really like to know how the majority of the city voters feel about medical marijuana dispensaries.

We have already heard from one business man, who urged us to contact Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis ( who has a lot of statistics on the subject of medical marijuana.

He added: "Please also contact the police and sheriff departments to find out how many growers we have here, and how many times they have been connected with other crimes, and how many times they have had plants confiscated because they are producing more than the 'legal' amount."

He went on to outline a number of reasons he felt we don't want them to locate in Bandon.

"I don't think anyone has ever been turned down for a medical marijuana card. Basically anyone can acquire one for any reason. We sure don't need to encourage this," he added.

There are about 60,500 people allowed to use marijuana for medical reasons.

The Oregon legislature is considering a law that would allow cities and counties to ban the dispensaries.

An editorial in the Sunday Register-Guard says: "Ten local jurisdictions . . . are contemplating dispensary bans. Medical marijuana patients in those places would have to get their medicine elsewhere. But those patients' access would be no more restricted than it is now.

"As marijuana eases into the mainstream, it's important that it not be forced on any community. The Legislature should let local governments opt out."

I'm hoping to hear from Bandon citizens in the next couple of months as to how they feel about the dispensaries and the prospect of legalizing recreational marijuana, in general.

*           *           *

There is something especially sad about suicide; your friends and relatives wonder what more they could have done. Was it somehow something they did? or didn't do? In some suicides, the victim leaves a note, helping family and friends to understand what might have led to such a tragedy: terminal illness, loss of loved one, financial ruin.

But the deaths of Sidney Fannick and his wife, Astrid, which I talked about in last week's column, have left friends in a state of shock, disbelief and grief. I do know that Astrid had battled depression for years, but a very reliable source said that neither suffered from a terminal illness. You have to wonder what drives a loving couple like this to do something so drastic.

*           *           *

What a great assortment of wonderful food at the Bite of Bandon, the annual fundraiser for the Bandon Youth Center, held Saturday night at the Barn/Community Center. It didn't matter what you were looking for in the way of delicious bites . . . it was there. I left after two hours so I'm not sure which restaurant won the "best of bite," but had I voted, it would have been for Ray's Food Place and their wonderful pork tenderloin, wrapped around feta, spinach and garlic. It was very tasty, as was their roast beef with horseradish sauce.

There was so much food that it was impossible to sample it all. Edgewater's is one of my favorite restaurants for dinner, and you absolutely cannot find a better steak anywhere, but the pasta they served Saturday night was also delicious.

My favorite chocolate guy, Kevin Shaw, was there with treats from Coastal Mist, and Matt Whitmer from the Big Wheel served up a variety of their famous fudge, including a new one with a coconut center. It was special if you love coconut like I do.

Chris, Ollie and Angie (with lots of helpers) did a great job at putting this together. It's a lot of work, but it's certainly fun for a special night out.

And, as always, thanks go to the merchants and individuals who donated to the silent auction.

*           *           *

Friday night, Melody Juarez and I went to "The Trip to Bountiful." Wow. What a great performance by some very talented local people. I can't say enough about Johnna Hickox, who played the lead role of Carrie Watts, the old woman who longed to return to her hometown of Bountiful.

The role of the self-possessed, rather cruel daughter-in-law, Jessie Mae Watts, was played by Geneva Miller. She was great, but husband Robin pointed out to me before the play that she "is nothing like that," which I already knew. In fact my guess is Geneva is the exact opposite from the role she played. That's what made her performance even better. Bracken Barnett (the son of fellow actor and Bandon Playhouse president Dan Barnett) , who I think is fairly new on stage, played the role of Ludie Watts, and he also did a fine job, as did Cathy Underdown as Thelma. I understand Cathy had been suffering from the respiratory bug that's been going around, but she certainly "aced it" on stage. She's a Playhouse veteran, as are Johnna and several other of the show's actors, Dan Barnett and Gareth Williams..

There is still one more weekend to see this outstanding production (Friday and Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 2) and you can always buy tickets at the door of the Sprague Community Theater.

*           *           *

In last week's column, I mentioned that the new state deputy fire marshal had forced Ray's to move its barbecue cart out from under the roof of the porch and out into the parking lot.

I mentioned that I would ask Lanny Boston about it; he called me shortly after my column came out and said that he basically doesn't enforce the state fire code . . . unless he sees something that is especially egregious.

That makes sense, but hopefully Ray's can figure out a way to cover their cart so they can continue to offer their delicious barbecued meats even on rainy days.

*           *           *

I had heard some buzz around town that a number of people planned to go to last Thursday night's planning commission meeting to weigh in on the Woolen Mill issue, but that didn't prove to be the case.

But now the planning commission meetings are being filmed, just like the council meetings, so people who may have planned to go, but didn't, may want to watch it on TV, or on streaming video on their computer at The week of March 1 through 8, the meeting will air on Charter (Channel 14) and from March 3 to 10 on Comspan (Channel 73) at 1:05 and 7:05 a.m. and p.m.

*           *           *

Popular Sterling Bank manager Kathy Miller was honored at a reception at the bank Friday afternoon as she heads to retirement, after 40 years in the industry. She will definitely be missed by customers and employees alike. But we understand she plans to stay in Bandon.

It was announced in mid-February that Banner Bank has acquired six branches in Oregon from Sterling Savings Bank, including five of them in Coos County.

"The purchase of the branches is subject to consummation of the previously announced merger between Sterling . . . and Umpqua Holdings Corporation, regulatory approval and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed in June," according to a press release from Banner Bank, which serves the Pacific Northwest region.

previous columns by mary schamehorn