Mar 222015
Depoe Bay City Council

Depoe Bay City Council

A way forward on harbor issues –

Depoe Bay City Councilors, noting that plans to upgrade The World’s Smallest Harbor were going too slowly, decided to initiate a “Harbor Summit” to speed things up. They decided that attending that summit will be the Harbor Commission, the Harbor Master Plan Committee, and the City Council. Several councilors cited what appeared to be irreconcilable differences between members of the two harbor committees, something the city council wants to resolve.

Depoe Bay Harbor It needs a lot of work

Depoe Bay Harbor
It needs a lot of work

The council decided on the summit in order to get everyone around the same table and map out what the council believes are the three biggest issues – the need for new dock pilings, new docks in positions 2, 3 and 4 and improvements to the harbor’s fuel dock.

Mayor Mattila said the town doesn’t have the money to shoulder the full cost of all that, so the town will have to apply for state and/or federal funds to get it all done. And he quickly added that those sources of funds don’t come without a very detailed plan – complete with engineering estimates that can pass close scrutiny.

Because he’s had years of experience bringing groups of people together despite divergent opinions, the council appointed City Councilor Steve Sparks to “facilitate” the discussions at the summit. In fact they appointed Councilor Sparks Chairman of the event.

The city has already launched some of the paperwork necessary to get applications in to state and federal agencies – however, the long-evolving “Harbor Master Plan” will eventually have to pass muster – the sooner the better, according to Mayor Mattila.

The date and time of the “Harbor Summit” will be announced very soon, according to the council.

Medical Marijuana The Oregonian photo

Medical Marijuana
The Oregonian photo

Adopting medical marijuana sales regulations within Depoe Bay City Limits –
The city council, fresh off discussions about the issue with their city attorney, decided to back off from establishing very strict regulations on medical marijuana dispensing within the city limits. The council decided to go along with state recommended regulations, but adding one special Depoe Bay regulation. The council decided there shall be no medical marijuana dispensing within 1,000 feet of the Neighbors For Kids Center at the south end of town. The council pointed to the state authorizing such a prohibition if a dispensary is too close to a facility at which the primary activity deals with children on premises. The council voted to make it a component of the town’s business license.

Depoe Bay’s current moratorium on medical marijuana dispensing within the city runs out on May 1st so they’re in a hurry to get their own regulations on the books before the state determines those regulations for them. Lincoln County Commissioners recently decided to simply adopt proposed state regulations as their own with some minor adjustments to one or more of those regulations.

Commons photo

Commons photo

Mayor Mattila proposes establishing a revenue raising municipal court in Depoe Bay.
Citing his frustration that fines for traffic tickets written within the city limits of Depoe Bay are not finding their way into city coffers – or perhaps not a big enough share of those fines – Mayor Mattila presented to the council his idea of establishing a Depoe Bay Municipal Court. With a court in Depoe Bay, the Mayor reasoned, Depoe Bay City Hall would receive a more proper portion of the court fine receipts. Mayor Mattila also raised the idea of hiring a city code enforcement officer to cite city property owners into court if they did not satisfactorily comply with city laws dealing with nuisances like noise, unsightly junk and trash strewn properties and the like.

The council learned from their attorney that hiring a judge and a code enforcement officer is not cheap and that the revenue generated may not cover the costs – even if both positions were just part-time.

The council decided the next step would be for city staff to explore ways that such operations are run in other Lincoln County cities like Waldport and Toledo. But both those cities are considerably more populous than Depoe Bay so staff will have to use a pretty sharp pencil to keep comparisons reasonable in terms of income-to-cost ratios.

Before the vote, Councilor Kathy Wyatt observed that the city is already very busy with a wide array of other issues and so the municipal court idea should be put off for a while. When the roll call came the vote was 5 to 2, with Councilors Wyatt and Jerome Grant voting no.

Fleet of Flowers

Fleet of Flowers

Putting more muscle into Depoe Bay Community fundraising events.

And finally, Councilor Steve Sparks said it’s time that Depoe Bay improve the way its community fundraisers are supported. Sparks said events like the Salmon Bake, the Wooden Boat Show, Crab Feed, Fleet of Flowers and others seem to go from year to year, spearheaded by a group of local citizens who are, more and more part of the Baby Boomer Generation. Sparks said many of them are either running out of peak energy or they’re simply passing on. Sparks said it’s time to focus on a new method of conducting these fundraisers.

Sparks suggested that the council begin thinking about creating a non-profit foundation whose full-time job would be to fundraise for the town, using already established fundraising events and maintaining, if not improving, their quality and profitability.

The city council gave Sparks’ idea a thumbs up. So it’s officially on the council’s radar.

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