Staying up on what’s happening…

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Nov 082011

Provided by Lincoln County Sheriff Dennis Dotson

Lincoln County) Lincoln County has begun using Everbridge Aware™ “Citizen Aware”, an emergency notification system that can communicate with thousands of businesses and residents in minutes during an emergency.

Lincoln County Emergency Services and our 911 dispatch centers can now alert residents county-wide about severe weather, tsunami inundation area evacuations, fires, floods, toxic environmental issues and other emergencies using the notification system. Messages can now be sent to residents on any communication path desired – cell phone, home phone, email, text messaging, fax, pager, PDA and more – ensuring that residents receive life-saving emergency information and important public service announcements in minutes.

Citizens who previously signed up for the former “Reverse 9-1-1” notification will need to sign up again with Everbridge because their information will not transfer to the new system. This new system will allow citizens to provide and manage their contact information and preferences.

“We have a commitment to our citizens to protect them from any danger that threatens our community. The ability to reach all residents quickly during an emergency, to warn them and provide guidance is critical to upholding that commitment, which is why we have implemented this new notification system,” said Sheriff Dennis Dotson. “The Everbridge system ensures the County will be able to communicate accurately and efficiently in a natural disaster or other emergency.”

In addition, the County may begin using the Everbridge system to notify residents about other important activities, such as road closures and water utility maintenance. More details will be forthcoming. Please join us by signing up and encouraging family, friends and businesses to do the same.
To sign up for emergency alerts, please visit the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services Web Site and look for the “Citizen Alert” image. Residents who do not have a come computer or internet access should contact their local library for free use of their computers to log on to the internet.

For more Information Contact
Jenny Demaris Emergency Services Coordinator
Lincoln County, Oregon,
tel: 541.265.4199

Turkey Shoot Coming Up near Siletz!

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Nov 082011

Archive graphic

Provided by John Way
President, Big timber Rifle and Pistol Club

It is time for the Big Timber Rifle and Pistol Club’s annual Turkey Shoot. The shoot is scheduled for November 19th, 10:00 am. Cost is $7.00 per gun. Rounds will include: Scoped rifle at 200 yards, open sights at 100 yards and pistols at 50 yards.

Thank you to Alan Brown Tire for the donation of the turkeys and hams. The shoot will be held at the range in Siletz on Wade Rd. Directions from Newport/Toledo – Take Hwy. 229 at the Toledo junction and go to and through Siletz to Wade Rd. Turn left on Wade Rd., go approximately 1/2 mile to the hanging ram – turn R, travel through the gate to the main parking lot. Range will be open at 9:00 for practice shooting – event will begin at 10:00.

Any questions: John Way, President, BTRPC, 541-867-7277

Fire department consolidations: Big topic of discussion at State Fire Chiefs Assn. meeting

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Nov 082011

Control burn, Nye Beach

Troubled economy, declining tax revenues (in some jurisdictions), rising costs and growing red tape, fire chiefs from around Oregon wrestled with these and other issues at their annual association summit in Seaside last weekend. And understandably the hot topic of discussion was a drift toward fire department consolidation that many claim would make more efficient use of their stressed budgets while improving actual fire protection and prevention services.

An article in the Seaside Signal got the story for us. Click here.

Young boy hit and killed while crossing Highway 30 twenty miles east of Astoria

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Nov 082011

Provided by Oregon State Police

Monday afternoon Clatsop County 911 received a call that a child had been struck by a pickup after running across Highway 30 in the Knappa area. State Troopers from the Astoria Area Command, along with other emergency service providers, responded to the scene.

The preliminary investigation, based upon witness and driver statements, indicate that an 11 year old girl and her 9 year old brother were walking eastbound on the north side of HWY 30. They both attempted to cross Highway 30 to the south side. The 11 year old sister started to run across the highway and her younger brother followed shortly behind her. According to witnesses, they both ran between two westbound pick-up trucks. The sister made it safely to the south side of the roadway but her brother, identified as Austin Hennessee of Knappa, was struck by a Ford F250 pick-up driven by Kenneth Adams, 24, of Astoria.

Adams immediately stopped and rendered first aid and CPR to Austin. Knappa Fire and Rescue arrived and Austin was transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria where he was subsequently pronounced deceased.

Adams remained at the scene of the collision and cooperated fully with the investigation. No citations have been issued and the investigation is continuing. Road conditions were damp at the time but it was not raining.

Investigation continues on suspicious death in South Beach/Idaho Point

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Nov 082011

The Lincoln County Major Crime Team continues its investigation into the death of Rick Aguero, 47, whose body was found inside his residence in South Beach at 1385 SE 35th Street which Google determines to be at the R/V campground at the tip of Idaho Point. Aguero’s body was discovered November 1st by an undisclosed person who called authorities. Arriving investigators termed the death suspicious but to date have released no details of the circumstances of the death scene or if they’re seeking the public’s assistance in helping law enforcement develop leads.

Newport City Council punts on plastic bag ban

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Nov 082011

Updated 11-9 – Councilor Dean Sawyer clarification (see below)
Updated 12:06pm Tuesday (in bold)

After long discussions of why single-use plastic bags are bad for the environment, for wildlife and landfills and debate over whether enough public input had been gathered on the issue, the Newport City Council couldn’t decide whether to even begin writing a law to ban the bags in Newport. Councilors reversed an earlier course that suggested that plastic bags would be banned in Newport but not before more public input was given. They got more public input Monday night (almost all of it in favor of a ban), but, in the eyes of some councilors, it still wasn’t enough. Councilor David Allen insisted on putting the issue to a public vote but appeared satisfied to be charged with bringing a proposal back to the council in December that examines at least three options: whether an advisory public vote should go forward, if a draft ordinance should go forward, or if the council should go forward only to the extent that it involves more public input.

Councilor Dean Sawyer repeatedly expressed his concern for the poor who can’t afford re-useable bags and that the the owner of JC Markets had expressed to him his opposition to a ban. Sawyer clarified his statement to News Lincoln County Wednesday saying JC Markets don’t outright oppose a ban on plastic bags but that they do have concerns about the banning of plastic bags from the point of view of food safety. Sawyer said JC Market is concerned about customers reusing the same cloth back repeatedly with the chance of food born bacteria accumulating in cloth bags. Sawyer also said that while he would be prepared to vote for a ban, he was concerned that the council was going down the road too fast – that it had violated a promise to the public that councilors would make their decision only after a careful thoughtful approach.

In a brief exchange between Mayor Mark McConnell and Councilor David Allen, Allen said he would come back with a proposal that they can talk about during their only council meeting in December. McConnell quipped back, “It may not matter because these people (referencing the audience) are going to go out and put a voter initiative on the ballot to ban plastic bags. They’re not going to consult us.”

Tuesday morning “Ban the Bag” advocacy group Surfrider Foundation’s Charlie Plybon said the council’s 4 to 3 vote to to rescind its endorsement of a ban “is a slap in the face of many people who have invested hundreds of hours either testifying before the city and eliciting support from the community including local businesses.” Plybon said “The weight of public involvement has been cancelled by allegations (via letters and email) that there has been a wave of support to continue having plastic bags being used in the community. Surfrider is putting in a public records request to determine who these opponents are, what they actually said and in what number.” asked Plybon if Surfrider would resort, as hinted by Mayor McConnell Monday night, that he expects Surfrider to do an end-run around the council via a voter initiative to ban plastic bags. Plybon declined to speculate on a voter initiative saying only that “the initiative process is always available.”

Using gravel to preserve HMSC’s estuary trail in South Beach

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Nov 072011

Top two pictures “before gravel”
Bottom two pictures after gravel
Brad Taylor photos

The Hatfield Marine Sciences Center has embarked on an experiment of sorts – to slow down the erosion of sandy beach near HMSC’s estuary trail. The trail has been repeatedly eroded or encroached upon by receding beach lines. Scientists say the reason is that so much of the urban area of Yaquina Bay have been armored with steel, rock and concrete so that waves bounce off them and end up lashing the sandy shores, causing erosion. And it’s is bad news for the estuary trail.

To stop this erosive trend, HMSC scientists are putting down gravel along sandy sections of the shoreline near the trail. Earlier experiments with graveling have proven wave erosion is substantially reduced as gravel absorbs wave energy more ably than mere sand. HMSC scientists report that they’ll be “armoring” more sandy areas near the estuary trail over the next week and will be keeping score on the gravel’s protective effects over time.

A very large wrinkle has surfaced in Newport’s new water treatment plant project

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Nov 072011

Top – Pump House, lower dam
#2 – Lower lake, shallow from silt
#3 – Outflow from upper lake
#4 – Upper lake
#5 – Fishing on upper lake

Newport Public Works Director Tim Gross had some troubling news for his city councilors today – news that could very dramatically change Newport’s overall method to provide water to the town. In preparation for putting the finishing touches on the new water treatment plant it was learned that its water intake system, as originally planned, won’t work. That’s because the pump house (in the top photo) is built on pilings that are basically sunk in mud, not in bedrock or concrete and therefore cannot support the much larger, heavier pumps required by the new plant.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Gross told the council that the dam was constructed over 50 years ago in a way that would not pass muster today, that is, with much higher dam construction standards. Gross said that the dam is probably in the same condition it was decades ago, but it can’t support the system that the new water treatment plant intake system demands. Gross said he’s not predicting the dam is going to fail anytime soon, but that based on their core drillings, the dam is rather “mushy.” A federal dam inspection team just recently said as much. Gross said he can’t guarantee that the dam wouldn’t fail in a sizeable earthquake.

What to do?

Gross said the engineering company that’s building the water treatment plant is also an internationally renown authority on certain kinds of dams. Gross said HDR will be doing a more detailed analysis on Newport’s lower and upper dams to help him and others present an understandable range of options to the city council; options like fortifying the dam, replacing the dam, removing the dam altogether, among others. Gross said one option could be to remove the dam, drain the lake and rely just on the upper reservoir for the city’s drinking water. Gross said although it would seem that the community couldn’t stand to lose the water from the lower lake, he says the lower lake is so silted-up that there’s nowhere near the water it had back when it was created. He said it’s never been dredged, as far as he knows, because the lake is a “fishing lake.” To dredge a fishing lake runs afoul of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife rules and regulations because dredging harms fish habitat.

Fish or drinking water?

Big Creek Reservoirs are rather odd ducks as water sources go because ODFW stocks it with fish and people fish for them. But as drinking water reservoirs go, 99% of them are usually fenced off and protected from contamination, mainly from humans. So there’s some bureaucratic turf issues looming on the horizon, not to mention the wrath of the fishing community.

The long and the short of it, according to Gross, is that he wants to ensure that despite an earthquake, he wants to have the best possible chance to continue to supply water to Newport. He said he can’t do that if the lower dam fails. So he says one option that may rise to the top is to simply drain the bottom lake and lay a pipe the half-mile between the upper lake and the water treatment plant. Gross said the upper dam appears to be a better built structure than the lower one, or at least a better bet during a strong earthquake. But he says, “only after HDR takes a detailed look at both dams will we know enough to consider our options. From there, it’s up to the city council.”

By the way, Gross said that they can erect a temporary feed system from the lower lake (for the time being) into the new water treatment plant quickly enough to bring the new plant on line as scheduled…likely in late January or early February. But the permanent solution is still drifting around out there in the option ether.

The council was hearing much of what you just read here, during the council meeting Monday night.

Toledo City Manager: finalist for same job in Silverton

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Nov 072011

Michelle Amberg with City Attorney Wes Chadwick
City Council meeting

Toledo City Manager Michelle Amberg is among the finalists for a city manager position in Silverton, just northeast of Salem. Amberg has been city manager of Toledo since 2008 and is quite well liked and respected around town and by her city council. Her husband is with the Toledo Chamber of Commerce, so as a couple, they’re very involved with the day to day heart beat of Toledo.

Amberg is one of four finalists for the Silverton city manager slot, up against Scott Somers, city manager of Reedsport, Tom Steel, recently the city manager of West Jordan, Utah, and Robert Willoughby, the current city manager of Florence. Whoever is chosen will succeed Bryan Cosgrove who recently left Silverton to become the new city manager of Wilsonville.

Silverton officials say townspeople are invited to meet the candidates at a community meet-and-greet on November 14th, from 5 to 7pm at the Fireside Lounge at the Oregon Garden Resort. Then Thursday the candidates will be interviewed by city department heads, a panel of citizens and by the city council as a whole. The council will then go into executive session to deliberate on all of the information gleaned from the foregoing. If they can’t quite make up their minds, they can receive any additional information from the interview panels and then make another attempt at a selection.

Once that person has been selected, they’ll ask that person to prepare to begin work sometime in December or January.

Lincoln City, Gleneden, Seal Rock, Waldport and Yachats issues on the ballot Tuesday.

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Nov 062011

Tuesday, election day.

Voters up and down the coast of Lincoln County will be voting on requests for funding from three fire districts and two water districts. North Lincoln Fire and Rescue is asking for a 19-cent per thousand of assessed valuation increase in property taxes to provide a five year operating fund to buy and operate four new tsunami sirens, stipends for five on-call volunteer firefighters for weeknights and weekends, more firefighter protective gear and for hiring a public education and safety compliance officer. Updates to and maintenance for district fire stations are also included.

Further south on Highway 101, the Kernville, Gleneden and Lincoln Beach water company is seeking a 68-cent per thousand assessed valuation increase for five years to replace aging water pipes and to expand system capacity for anticipated new service demands. If this levy fails, water district officials predict they’ll have to either raise water rates or again seek voter approval for a bond election to make the improvements.

Further down 101 in the Seal Rock Water District they’re seeking voter approval for a $15,000,000 property tax backed bond to replace old water lines, and to pay Seal Rock’s portion of the total cost of expensive Toledo water system upgrades. Seal Rock buys their water from Toledo which runs a pipe all the way from Toledo to Seal Rock. The bond issue would also enable the water district to refinance old bonds that can be refinanced at today’s much lower interest rate.

Down the road and over the Alsea Bay Bridge, the Central Coast Fire Protection District is seeking a 25-cent per thousand of assessed valuation override renwal to replace two aging fire engines, two life support units (very advanced ambulances), a three thousand gallon water tanker and other equipment replacements over the next ten years.

And finally, south to Yachats, the fire district there is seeking voter approval to renew a five year local tax override option of 59-cents per thousand of assessed valuation to replace some older vehicles, expand fire/rescue training, buy new fire hose and some small equipment purchases.

Ballots must be in an official voter drop box in a number of sites around Lincoln County, including at the county courthouse in Newport at the southeast corner of the courthouse, at Lincoln City City Hall at their drive up drop box, also in drop boxes at Waldport City Hall, Newport City Hall, Depoe Bay City Hall, and Yachats City Hall. All ballot drop boxes are clearly marked and as long as you get your ballot in the box by 8pm, your vote will be counted!