Top, Hurbert @ 101, today. Middle, with pylon/landscaping, Bottom, Yaquina Bay Bridge Click photos to enlarge
After a long wait, Newport City Center businesses are going to get their business district symbol installed. To commemorate the art deco artistic motif for the old downtown area, the Newport City Council approved a rather tall bridge-type pylon that ties in thematically with the Yaquina Bay Bridge just to the south. The bridge celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, hence the urgency of getting the $125,000 project completed.
The project was promised by an earlier city council to the City Center business community which wanted to bring attention to the 1930’s art deco architecture of many downtown buildings, including the Lincoln County School District Headquarters and others. The particular fund supplying the money comes from local hotel/motel room taxes that are limited strictly for tourist related purposes, among which is the project mentioned here.
An initial estimate of $100,000 for the project was soon outstripped by more realistic costs for the concrete which drove the total up to $180,000. City councilors wrangled over whether the pylon or city park portion of the project should be approved first and then wait to finish the rest, or whether the pylon should go up supplemented with attractive landscaping to soften the look of the lofty carved concrete.
In the end the council went for the pylon and the landscaping; David Allen, the lone councilor, voting no. The project will force the removal of the northern entrance to the small shopping area just north of Hurbert and 101, leaving access only from Hurbert. Store owners didn’t object, claiming the current driveway access is a hazard to pedestrians and backs up traffic when northbound vehicles try to turn left into the parking lot.
City officials think they can get the project under construction within a short time with possible completion within a couple of months. City Center boosters say the pylon will create a downtown city landmark tied symbolically and architecturally to the Yaquina Bay Bridge to give the downtown a sense of place and commercial focus for Newport.