CANNON BEACH - Words of thanks and commendation showered retiring Police Chief Dave Rouse Tuesday night.

City councilors read a letter honoring Rouse at his last formal meeting after 18 years as chief. They also announced the time of 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday for an open house in which the public will have a chance to meet four finalist candidates under consideration as his successor.

"Your conscientious approach to law enforcement has enhanced the livability of community and helped to shape the character of Cannon Beach," said Council President Bud Kramer, reading the letter on behalf of Mayor Laurel Hood and fellow councilors. As Rouse's retirement takes effect this month, he leaves an excellent staff and a solid foundation of public safety resources, Kramer said.

"Additionally, your time and dedication to emergency preparedness has contributed greatly to the city's readiness in the event of a natural disaster, and helped to ensure that our community has the knowledge and resources to react effectively," he said.

Adding personal comments, Councilor Betsy Ayres said the town derives much of its strength from the efforts of volunteers and saluted Rouse's plans to continue in various volunteer roles.

"I appreciate the concern that you have had for our children," Councilor Carmen Swigart said. "You will be in their hearts and our hearts forever."

Councilor Michelle Standridge recalled how Rouse used to give rides home to her own children after coaching them in soccer. "For years my neighbors thought my kids were in trouble because they saw the police car dropping them off," she added with a laugh.

Rouse thanked the councilors, shook their hands and reiterated that he plans to continue living in Cannon Beach and serving as a volunteer. Among other activities, he coaches youth soccer and serves with Cannon Beach Fire and Rescue.

"It's been a good 18 years of my life here," Rouse said. "I'm not leaving."

He was also commended for helping to make a smooth transition to his successor.

The "meet the candidates" open house will be held at City Hall, 163 E. Gower St. The candidates will briefly introduce themselves and the public can offer written comments, if desired, City Manager Helen Westbrook said.

The city selected the four finalists from a pool of 96 initial candidates, using the assistance of the recruitment firm Joseph Brann and Associates. Nonpublic interviews by panels, each of which will include two or fewer city councilors, are scheduled Friday.

If needed, additional interviewing may continue and negotiations with a selected finalist may begin as soon as Saturday.

In other action Tuesday, councilors:

• Took no action on a controversial proposed ordinance to change the floor area ratio standard, side yard requirements and other definitions to limit the bulk of new houses. A majority of councilors had approved the ordinance on first reading, in May, but deliberately postponed subsequent readings pending an Oregon Supreme Court ruling regarding property rights Measure 7.

No ruling has been made. A motion Tuesday to postpone the matter further failed on a tie vote, with councilors Standridge and Swigart in favor and councilors Kramer and Ayres opposed; Mayor Hood was absent. But in effect it was postponed because a motion by Ayres to approve the ordinance failed for lack of a second.

The matter was scheduled for reconsideration at the July 2 meeting.

• Approved requests for memorial benches on the foot of Gocana Street and near the intersection of Van Buren Street and Ocean Avenue, subject to approval by the Design Review Board;

• Heard a report by Walter LaChapelle, representing Local 503 of Service Employees International Union, on bargaining with the city. LaChapelle urged negotiations to continue. Issues have included wages and health care benefit levels;

• Extended an agreement for two more years of Charter cable television service.

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