Decision about psilocybin to be referred to Lebanon voters

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

The City Council at its Oct. 11 meeting waded through decisions regarding psilocybin, continuum of care, development fees and privately-owned RV parks.

Prior to the regular meeting, the council held a work session to discuss a pending decision the council must make regarding Measure 109, which was passed in 2020 authorizing the manufacture, delivery and administration of psilocybin in Oregon. Cities are given the option to decide if they want those activities to occur within their municipalities. The City of Lebanon in 2022 adopted a two-year moratorium on making a decision.
The work session was held in order to begin preparation for that decision, which must be determined by November 2024. Community Development Director Kelly Hart explained the types of facilities and businesses that would be allowed, and what regulations must be followed if accepted in Lebanon. To watch her presentation for more information, visit https://www.youtube.com/live/LxXVgg1mkHI?feature=shared.
Part of the process of administering psilocybin, Hart said, involves an informational session 24 hours in advance of the action, and the subject is expected to stay on the premises while under the influence.
During discussion, councilors Jeremy Salvage and KJ Ullfers expressed concern over the apparent fact that anyone could administer the narcotic (assuming they’re hired by a licensed facility) after being certified by taking a 120-hour course.
They said their understanding back when Measure 109 was being marketed was that psilocybin would help treat people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Now they are learning that any individual who gets through the 120-hour course could potentially be overseeing a person with mental health disorders while administering the drug.
Mayor Ken Jackola expressed concern about the potential of responsibilities placed on city services that are already worn thin (such as hospitals and police), should the facilities be allowed.
The state allows each municipality to choose by vote whether to allow psilocybin services, deny psilocybin services, or default to the State’s ordinance when the moratorium expires in 2024. Following discussion, Hart said city staff will prepare a vote for a future ballot and will also prepare a draft ordinance in case residents vote to allow the facilities.

Continuum of Care
The council approved a resolution in support of the creation of a continuum of care for the Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties.
Peggy McGuire, executive director for Community Services Consortium, gave a presentation to the council explaining the difficulty Linn County has had in obtaining funding for support to those experiencing a crisis in houselessness. In an effort to increase the chances of receiving funding, CSC is attempting to create a tri-county “continuum of care.”
According to McGuire, since the 1990s the federal government has required that (Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, a.k.a. HUD) funding be eligible only to entities that are part of a continuum of care (CoC).
“The purpose of a continuum of care is to be the consolidated applicant for your area,” McGuire said. “The idea is also to have anybody and everybody who has a voice and a concern about this issue involved in the planning at the continuum.”
Currently, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties are part of Rural Oregon Continuum of Care (ROCC), which consists of 26 counties. According to McGuire, receiving HUD funding is very difficult because ROCC has a “poor report card.”
Her effort is to create a Linn, Benton, Lincoln Continuum of Care, which would allow the counties to separate from ROCC, and give the three counties more control over access to and use of funding.

Development fees
During the August 2023 meeting, the council asked staff to research the city’s system development fees and return with options to consider regarding the possibility of reducing SDCs for accessory dwelling units.
At the current meeting, Hart presented five options for the council to consider: assess SDCs for ADUs only when new square footage is created; establish a standard reduced fee for ADUs; provide grants and/or waivers; have no SDCs for ADUs; or determine SDCs based on method of utility connection.
“I want to make it affordable for people to be able to do an ADU on their property,” Salvage said. “I also don’t want everybody in town to convert their garage tomorrow.”
Hart said the council always has the option to change its policy, but later revisit the matter if it doesn’t seem to be working out. Ultimately the council agreed they liked the option to establish a standard reduced fee of 40% for ADUs. An ordinance will be drafted and brought back for discussion and adoption at a future meeting.

RV parks
Hart approached the council informing them someone asked about the possibility of opening a private RV park. While Lebanon’s code does not allow privately-owned RV parks, Hart did find a code that creates a potential avenue for them to be erected in the highway commercial zone. Following short discussion among council members, it was agreed for varying reasons that they did not want private RV parks to be allowed. As such, they instructed Hart to draft an amendment to the code to prohibit them within city limits.

In other business:
♦ Police Chief Frank Stevenson gave an update on the new ordinance restricting homeless individuals to certain locations for sleep at nighttime. He said there are two places available: in front of the Justice Center and on Oak Street near Public Works. Since the new ordinance was enacted, police estimated they’ve made 61 contacts with people, providing resource and location information, and only four contacts used the Oak Street site.
♦ The council awarded the demolition of the former water treatment plant to Staton Companies with their bid of $436,108.
♦ The council passed a resolution to install a four-way stop at the intersection of N. Second and Mary streets, based on sight constraints from a large oak tree.