Body found near Beverly Beach was that of missing Neotsu woman

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Oct 182011

Kayoko Umenishi, 38

The Lincoln County Medical Examiner has positively identified the body of a woman whose body washed up on Beverly Beach last weekend. It was that of a woman who went missing from her home late last week from her Neotsu home, Kayoko Umenishi.

Sheriff’s investigators said her husband reported that she had left their home, driving off in her white sedan. He added that she had not taken her prescription drugs with her. Investigators said they found her car parked at the Otter Rock Overlook, on Cape Foulweather, just north of Beverly Beach. The overlook is hundreds of feet off the water, and drops off quickly on the other side of a safety fence that lines the parking lot. Her body was found by a beachcomber on Ocean Shore, near Beverly Beach.

Authorities say they have found no evidence of foul play.

Bad crash on Yachats River Road Monday evening

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Oct 182011

Driver identified: Gabriel Donovan

Lincoln County Sheriff’s investigators are trying to determine why a vehicle left Yachats River Road last evening. It was around 8 miles east of Yachats when the vehicle ran off the road and hit a big Maple tree. The lone male driver was very badly injured. He was not wearing his seat belt. He was transported by REACH to the regional trauma center in Corvallis with what were described as life threatening injuries.

Lincoln City’s Schooner Creek Road re-opens today at 5pm!

 Roads/Highways  Comments Off on Lincoln City’s Schooner Creek Road re-opens today at 5pm!
Oct 182011

Evolution of Schooner Creek Road repair

A very costly repair to Schooner Creek Road is about to be wrapped up about a quarter mile outside the Lincoln City city limits. Construction crews report they will reopen the road at 5pm this afternoon (Tuesday). The costly repair job forced federal dollars to be infused into the project because local funds couldn’t do it alone due to the severity and complexity of the road rebuild. Crews had to dig down over 40-feet to find the bottom of the slide, and then fill it in with large rock and infill gravel.

Also during the repair, Lincoln City’s main water line from the Drift Creek Water Treatment Plant into town was threatened and so a near and far by-pass system was constructed to ensure water delivery to all of Lincoln City. The city’s main water line is now re-installed on the uphill side of the road, and, in the meantime, the city has constructed another major water supply line between the treatment plant and Highway 101 where it hooks into the city’s distribution system. So the town now has two major water lines supplying the town instead of just one. And they got federal funds to help them do it.

Again, the road reopens this afternoon at 5pm, according to Lincoln County Public Works who directed the project since the slide occurred outside the city limits.

Newport Chamber Update

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Oct 182011

Business After Hours
The October 20th Business After Hours will be held at Bateman Funeral Home, located at 915 NE Yaquina Heights Dr. in Newport. Chamber members and guests are invited to attend this complimentary networking and socializing event from 5:15 to 7pm.

Scary-Okie: Shake, Rattle & Roll
The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce is excited to present “Scary-Okie: Shake, Rattle & Roll!” Mark your calendars for October 29th. The event will be held at the Best Western Plus Agate Beach Inn at 6:00 pm. Join us for a complimentary beer & wine social, dinner, Halloween costume contest, karaoke & dancing and much, much more! Tickets are $30/person and $275/Sponsor Table of Eight. Call the Chamber office to purchase your tickets @ (541) 265-8801 or visit

Learn How To Hold Effective Safety Meetings for Your Business

On Friday morning, October 21, Oregon’s Health and Safety Administration will offer a free workshop that will discuss how to institute effective and productive safety meetings for your business. Studies show that having such meetings helps to reinforce a safe workplace, reduce downtime from work-related injuries and lessen business liability. This workshop is co-sponsored by Oregon Coast Community College. Taught by Jason Jantz of OR-OSHA, this workshop will start at 8am this Friday and conclude before noon. The class will be held at the OCCC Central County Campus in the Community Room. Please let us know you are coming by calling 541-994-4166.

Fire at Newport Bay Coffee – Agate Beach

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Oct 182011

Newport Coffee Company
Courtesy photos

Newport firefighters were called out shortly before 11 pm Monday night on a report of flames at the Newport Bay Coffee shop in Agate Beach. Firefighters pulled up to see flames emanating from the business. No one was inside, according to Assistant Fire Chief Rob Murphy.

Murphy said they managed to knock down the fire within ten minutes. He said the fire first erupted in a storage container that was placed near the end of the building. The fire grew large enough to ignite the exterior of the coffee shop and burned its way inside before it was spotted and phoned in to 9-1-1. The owners were reportedly away on a trip.

Newport: Still trying to gauge effects of Georgia Pacific’s outfall off Nye Beach

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Oct 182011

GP Toledo Plant (top), GP outfall area off Nye Beach (bottom)

For years, residents and tourists have wondered what is flowing out the outfall pipe that dumps Georgia Pacific treated wastewater into the ocean a half mile off Nye Beach. According to state environmental protection officials, GP’s outfall is being run legally and within scientifically defined limits. But there are many who don’t hold much faith in such a statement. Hence, the commitment by the Newport City Council to charge GP a franchise fee, the proceeds from which are funding an independent survey of what’s in GP’s effluent and what effects, if any, the wastewater flume is having on fish and habitat for porpoise, whales, seals, sea lions and other sea going critters.

The council appointed task force, charged with oversight of the investigation, reported to the council Monday that they are close to agreeing on a specific description of how the work should proceed. The task force indicated that the next step appears to be a final draft of a request for proposals aimed at scientific researchers as well as private survey companies. The task force said some applicants might be expecting the city of Newport to come up with all the money, while others might leverage what funding the city provides with other federal, state or private foundation grants to ensure there is enough money to determine just what is coming out of the outfall and its effects on the ocean environment off Newport.

The council decided to send the task force’s RFP ideas to the city attorney for review and comment. After that, the proposal could go out for bid early next year. The winning applicant(s) would be expected to begin their survey of the outfall in late Spring. It’s not yet known precisely how the survey would be conducted, since the original idea was to see what the outfall was doing to the sea floor, fish and mammals over a certain time line. All that has yet to be worked out. But councilors seemed confident that a solid way forward would materialize over the next six to eight weeks.

Newport City Council still tryiing to lure Tillamook Air Museum to Newport

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Oct 182011

Tillamook Air Museum, Courtesy Photo

Newport City Councilors are still trying to lure the Tillamook Air Museum away from Tillamook and to help them build a new facility at the Newport Airport. City Councilors were told that the air museum is still being enticed to stay in Tillamook by the Port of Tillamook who reportedly wants to establish a new air museum, Pelican Brew Pub and Restaurant and other tourist amenities on port property closer to Highway 101. Port of Tillamook officials are going after state economic development funds to help build the new museum.

City Manager Jim Voetberg told his city council that the Port of Tillamook scenario faces some rather large hurdles. First of all, says Voetberg, the move farther away from the town of Tillamook invites criticism from state land use authorities as they would watch urban development emerge outside of Tillamook’s urban growth boundary. Secondly, said Voetberg, pairing up a new air museum with a brew pub creates a huge problem handling the sewer water that would be developed; a challenge that would overwhelm the port’s small, already existing sewer plant.

Voetberg advised his council that Newport could tap similar economic development funds (state lottery proceeds) to help subsidize the cost of bilding a new air museum in Newport. City Councilors told Voetberg to continue talking with the Erickson family, that owns the museum, and continue to try to sell the idea of moving the museum to Newport. They say they’ve got a spot at the Newport Airport that would be just right for them.

To be continued.

Newport takes first step toward “Banning the Bag,” single use grocery bags

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Oct 182011

Courtesy photo

Newport City Councilors, on a 5 to 2 vote, approved moving toward a ban on single use plastic grocery store bags, citing complaints that the bags wind up in the ocean, rivers, blowing down the street, clog storm drains and recycling machinery and fills up our landfills.

The Surfrider Foundation presented a petition signed by several hundred people supporting the ban. Joe Gilliam from the Oregon Grocers Association asked the council to consider a ban option that would require stores, after the plastic ban takes effect, to charge a deposit on paper bags so that shoppers would have a choice whether to continue to use paper bags or switch to totally reusable bags made of either long-lived plastic or cloth fiber. That way he said the cost of dropping plastic bags would be softened assuming a consumer choice.

But a Surfrider spokesman said paper bags are not really reusable as a practical matter and besides, they fall apart in the rain. They said a fee imposed on those who don’t use a reusable bag is the best way to go. City Councilor Dean Sawyer said he doesn’t want to force low income people who walk to the grocery stores to be penalized with fees or deposits. He said he’d like to find a way to get reusable bags into the hands of those who need them most.

Councilor David Allen said despite the outpouring of support for banning plastic bags in a packed city council chambers, he wanted the issue to go to a non-binding vote of the people of Newport to gather broader based opinions from throughout the community. Mayor Mark McConnell said the issue has been before the public for at least two years and that holding an election, with all the time, energy and campaign spending, would be a waste of time. Councilor Lon Brusselback said he knows that banning the bag is the right thing to do and the council should just do it. Councilor Jeff Bertuleit said he gets a 5-cent rebate for each reusable bag he carries out to his car. He said he doesn’t like telling stores what to do beyond a simple ban on plastic.

In the end the motion was made to move forward on a plastic bag ban with the issue of a fee or deposit on paper begs to be reviewed by the city attorney. The city attorney did not attend the council meeting. The vote to move forward with a “ban the bag” ordinance passed on a 5 to 2 vote with councilors David Allen and Jeff Bertuleit voting no. Based on the review period, it will take a month or two to develop a new city ordinance that bans plastic bags and whether a fee or deposit would be appropriate for those who forget their reusable bags or who are willing to pay a little extra for paper bags.

Newport to get heavy pitch to “Ban the Bag” tonight….

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Oct 172011

Newport City Councilors tonight are expected to get a heavy pitch from The Surfrider Association and others to ban single-use plastic shopping bags. Ban supporters contend that plastic bags are clogging up our landfill machinery, our storm drains, it’s killing wildlife on land and sea and is a visual blight on the landscape.

During an earlier Newport City Council session, certain councilors asked The Surfrider Association to see if they could drum up support among townspeople and businesses most affected by such a ban. In response, association members have gathered petitions in support of a plastic bag ban.

The city of Portland triggered a ban on single-use plastic bags over the weekend. A similar “ban the bag” bill, having statewide authority, died during the last legislature under heavy lobbying by the plastic bag industry (none of which exists in Oregon) and certain grocery store interests.

The Newport City Council will take public testimony on the issue during its regular twice a month meeting tonight, which begins at 6pm. No final decision on the request to ban plastic bags will be made tonight. The agenda item says “public hearing” only. A decision may come later. The council will also talk about a proposed revision to the city’s hotel-motel room tax ordinance and the city’s “adopt a park” proposal. The council meets tonight, 6pm, City Hall, at Coast Highway and Avery.

Sea levels going up along with severity of storms…

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Oct 172011

Dr. PeterRuggiero, OSU Dept. of Geosciences

Water risin’ and the wind-a blow’in
Story and photo provided by Coast Watch & Coastal Clilmate Change Adaptation Project

Coastal hazards in an era of climate change will be the subject when Dr. Peter Ruggiero speaks in Newport on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Hatfield Marine Science Center.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by CoastWatch and the Coastal Climate Change Adaptation Project of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition.

Ruggiero’s slide presentation, “The Role of Sea Level Rise and Increased Storminess in Pacific Northwest Coastal Change and Flood Hazards,” addresses the reality that rising seas and stronger storm surges will affect both the natural and the human communities of the Oregon coast. He will discuss the vulnerability of coastal communities in the face of climate change.

Peter Ruggiero received his doctorate in coastal engineering from Oregon State University in 1997. Since that time he has worked for the Washington Department of Ecology, serving as principal investigator in the Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion Study, and for the U.S. Geological Survey, in that agency’s Coastal and Marine Geology Program. Since 2006, he has been an assistant professor in Oregon State University’s Department of Geosciences.

Dr. Ruggiero specializes in studying beach processes, such as erosion, coastal hazards, and large-scale coastal phenomena such as the increasing size of wave heights in the Pacific Northwest. He is now working on developing methodologies for assessing the vulnerability of communities to coastal hazards, particularly in light of a changing and variable climate, the chief subject of his presentation on Oct. 25.

The talk takes place in the Hennings Auditorium in the HMSC Visitor Center, located at 2030 S.E. Marine Drive in Newport’s South Beach area.

For more information about the event, or about Oregon Shores’ climate adaptation project, contact Paris Edwards, volunteer coordinator, at (541) 414-9371, or