Residents wait for Shady Cove City Council to act on burn ban

SHADY COVE — The City Council voted to hold a public hearing April 17 on a proposed ordinance aimed at banning open burning within the city limits, but only after a heated demand for immediate action.

"Why can't we get an up or down vote tonight?" Shady Cove resident Doug Vangordon said during a Thursday night discussion on the proposal. "I don't understand why we're going to continue this. We've been discussing this for two years already.

"Both the fire chief and police chief think a ban is a good idea and enforceable, and I believe the majority of the citizens of Shady Cove want it," Vangordon said. "The teachers have written you a letter asking for one. We gave you a petition last year with about a hundred signatures on it, asking you to bring this to a vote. I just don't know how much longer you propose to drag this out."

Vangordon said he wanted council members to make a decision so residents would have time to put the issue on the November ballot if they disagreed.

"Obviously, many people have already given their opinions." said Mayor Ruth Keith. "But not everyone has had an opportunity, and allowing the community to be heard at a public hearing seems to be the appropriate thing to do."

Councilman Gary Hughes said if a public meeting were held, he wanted to present a new ordinance for its first reading immediately afterward. City Administrator Elise Smurzynski said if the council agreed, the ordinance could be read then. If approved on second reading, it would become effective 30 days later.

The council voted 4-1 to hold a public hearing next month to discuss an open-burning ban, with Hughes dissenting. Time and location will be announced later.

Because a large crowd is expected, staff members were instructed to find a larger venue for the meeting.

Bill Miller is a freelance writer living in Shady Cove. Reach him at

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