Community Opinion Invited on Waldport Open Space Plan

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Apr 162013

Waldport High (old) to be demolished at end of school year.

Waldport High (old) to be demolished at end of school year.

waldport high classrooms walkways
Photos courtesy LCSD

Photos courtesy LCSD

Click on photos to enlarge

Waldport city leaders and school district officials want to know: What is a good vision for the 11.47-acre parcel of land once the existing high school is demolished and restored to bare ground?

A community meeting to talk about that is planned for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, at Waldport High School. The intent of the meeting is to gather as many ideas as possible. Waldport Mayor Susan Woodruff, Lincoln County School District Superintendent Tom Rinearson and LCSD Safety Coordinator Susan Graves will present information, answer questions and take feedback during the meeting. School officials are also accepting ideas on ways to preserve the memory of the existing Waldport High School, which has been an integral part of the community for the past 55 years.

The school district was awarded a $3 million Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The purpose of the pre-disaster mitigation project is to reduce the loss of lives and property destruction in the event of a tsunami or other catastrophic flooding at the existing high school campus. FEMA has purchased all the structures and development rights at the site. In turn, the school district will demolish and remove the school buildings, portable classrooms, and grandstands; restore the site into open space and keep it that way with no future development other than open-space. Examples of possible open space uses include a park for outdoor recreation, wetlands management, nature reserves, cultivation, and grazing.


What is good about this project is that it allows the school district to remove an empty school (which can be expensive to maintain even when not in use) and to restore the land for open space use without spending district funds.

The mitigation project will get under way once the new Waldport High School up on Crestline is completed in August. The new high school building is located on high ground 1.5 miles south of the existing campus, next to Crestview Heights School.


The estimated cost to demolish and dispose of the high school structures is between $350,000 and $750,000; this range is broad because the extent of asbestos removal is not known. There will be additional costs associated with the project in order to restore the land to bare ground. Any remaining monies will go to the school district’s Building Maintenance Fund, which supports school facilities throughout Lincoln County.


Lincoln City’s Agness Creek Open Space forest is expected to be approved for a little thinning

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Jun 272011

Agnes Creek Open Space, Lincoln City
Photo courtesy Lincoln City

It’s not every day that a city tells its citizens that trees in its open space areas should be cut down. But that’s the exact message the Lincoln City Council is expected to give to Lincoln City residents Monday night. But before anyone thinks the council has lost its mind, consider their argument.

Agness Creek Open Space was acquired by the city after it had been thoroughly logged back in the 1960’s. The trees that were planted back then are today shooting skyward, all at the same height which creates keen competition for nutrients, which limits the growth of foliage in the tree crowns. And because the trees are so tightly spaced, very little sunlight reaches the ground which stunts the growth of ground cover necessary to raise healthy and abundant wildlife. In addition, the tight packed trees are sitting ducks to be blown over in one of our nastier Oregon Coast wind storms.

The city hired a local forestry group to inspect the property and to draw up a selective tree harvesting plan that would “loosen up” a very tight block of trees on roughly 17 of the 54 total acres of open space.

Once given permission to harvest the timber, during which the city will share in the monetary proceeds from its sale and processing, the contractor will use Bard Road for access to an area where traffic is slow, due to it being a narrow, windy roadway. The logging trail into the property will form a loop that will later be renovated into an attractive nature trail.

The Lincoln City City Council is expected to note widespread support for the project after city sponsored workshops and on-site tours for local residents were conducted, as well as receiving the full endorsement of the Lincoln City Parks Commission.

The Lincoln City City Council begins its meeting Monday night, 6pm (it’s new official starting time) at Lincoln City City Hall just north of 101 and East Devils Lake Road in the multi-story cement building.

Saving “a little bit of Green Heaven” at South Beach

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Dec 152010

What is described as a small but very critical piece of Oregon Coast natural history moved another step closer to being preserved as it was laid before the Lincoln County Commission Wednesday. Commissioners were asked by Newport City Attorney Penelope McCarthy and Newport Senior Planner Meredith Savage for the county to take over the enforcement of a near-zero development easement restriction on land near the intersection of Southwest 30th and Southwest Coho Streets.

Senior Planner Meredith Savage described the over one acre parcel as a very valuable remnant of the evolution of coastal lands at a point when trees literally meet the sea. Savage annotated the site with a list of particulars including it being an elevated wetland fed primarily by ground water that feeds lush undergrowth as well as typically coastal sitka spruce, shore pines, huckleberry and rhododendrons. She said the area is teeming with wildlife and should be preserved for passive uses only, such as hiking and birdwatching.

City Attorney Penelope McCarthy said they were asking the county to take over the no-development easement enforcement because Newport, although it is the owner, does not have any program that would play such a preservational role, as does the county. Even if the city were to sell the land in the future, the no-development or alteration restriction would remain with the county’s land legacy function, ensuring its non-recovable restrictions.

Council Commissioners accepted the call to preserve the parcel but put off until next week their formal acceptance of the offer, assuming there are no compelling reasons that arise between now and then to make them think twice about it. County Counsel Wayne Belmont said he couldn’t think of any reason why that would occur.

After next week’s commission meeting the easement paperwork will be executed, signed and after surveying and other inspection requirements are met, it will all be filed at the county recorder’s office to ensure preservation of the parcel in perpetuity. The parcel is envisioned as part of a connection between nearby ocean beaches and a city-county hiking pathway network that reaches inland and, for a short ways, along the south side of the Yaquina River. Due to its sensitive ecological setting, any pathways would be expected to run along the outside edges of the property, rather than through it.

Another chance to snag some Chinook…or catch

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Sep 302010

Lincoln County is about to celebrate yet another new county park with a boat ramp so more folks can enjoy the seasonal salmon runs. It’s been referred to as Bear Creek Park for years, but with improvements being dedicated October 7th, its official name is still up in the air.

The park is located on the northerly section of the Siletz Highway/229 about six miles east of Highway 101. Four acres of the site have been developed including a boat ramp and 29 boat trailer parking spaces. There are also new restrooms. Lincoln County Parks officials say they plan to eventually add a walking trail along the river and an improved picnic area. Improvements have been paid for largely with state parks grants.

An official park dedication ceremony will be conducted on Thursday, October 7th at the park starting at 10:30 am. The public is invited to attend.

South Beach residents to be asked about park/open space issues

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Aug 032010

The Newport City Council Monday night found itself between past and future ideas about how to bring more parks and open space to the South Beach area of town. The last community consensus on the issue was made prior to the word “NOAA” became an emerging household word, and so City Councilor Patricia Patrick-Joling suggested to the council that they re-open their dialog with South Beach residents about where to go from here. Continue reading »