Sir Frances Drake historian Bob Ward recently won a $20,000 grant from Lincoln City to help promote what he hopes to find at the bottom of the Salmon River estuary – one of Sir Frances Drake’s ships from Drake’s sailing around the world in 1579.
But before he could begin his project to prove that Drake’s first U.S. landfall was at Whale Cove – not at Drake’s Bay near San Francisco, a portion of the grant the council gave him some months back was nearly taken away from him Monday night.
Lincoln City Director of the Visitors and Convention Bureau said half of that grant comes from tourist room tax dollars which, by state law, must be used to pump up tourism through smart marketing. Pfaff said Ward told her and the council that it would be a great tourism draw to the coast as he proves that the wrecked ship is deep in the mud under the estuary. And that would be great publicity, both nationally and internationally.
But Pfaff countered that Ward’s time line has slipped due to bureaucratic delays and a rather piercing attack by neighbors who don’t want tourists or anyone else trapesing around their roads and across their properties just to see where 16th Century artifacts would be brought to the surface and documented – even if it proved that Drake first set foot on North America on the Oregon Coast – not in California as the history books all claim.
But again, due to the delays, Ward is now several weeks behind schedule and Pfaff is now saying that since news media access to the project has been made impossible by surrounding land owners who won’t let them on their property to gain access to the actual retrieval operation, there’s little if any marketing gains to be made. And that, she says, violates at least the spirit of state laws that mandate that room tax revenues are spent on viable marketing.
Mayor Dick Anderson agreed saying the project has migrated from an exciting national, if not international news event, to the city becoming an investor in the search of the ship.
A very adamant Bob Ward denied that anything of the sort is going on – rather there’s been only a slight slip in the project timeline due to the neighbors and one slow-to-arrive (and last) permit to proceed.
Ward outlined the use of ground-probing radar which he claims will give very clear pictures of exactly what’s down in the sediments and sands near the mouth of the Salmon River. He said release of the information and of the wide array of historical artifacts that Ward believes is down there, some of which might adorn the North Lincoln Historical Society, whose facilities in Lincoln City are very popular.
The moment of truth came for a vote among the council as to whether they were going to yank Ward’s grant. Mayor Anderson and councilors Chester Noreikis, Henry Quandt voted no. But councilors Roger Sprague, Wes Ryan and Gordon Eggleton voted to still award the money saying there’s a lot of publicity if they find it and that a few week slip in his schedule should not trigger a withdrawal of a grant necessary for the project to move forward.
A tie vote means that Ward still has the promise of the council. However the matter was referred back the the Visitors and Convention Committee to get their take on the issue.
Cracking down on those who flaunt Lincoln City’s mandatory trash pick up laws…
The council gave its blessing to a plan drawn up by City Manager David Hawker to get those who don’t pay for weekly trash pick up on the list to have it done. North Lincoln Sanitary told the council recently that there are hundreds of people who have escaped the mandate that everyone (where feasible) sign up for regular trash pickup. Councilors noted that mandatory trash pickup has been a nice Ego boost for the town since the hey days when trash was found all over the place, over-stuffing cans, and generally making the town rather unsightly some weekends.
Hawker recommended that staff be directed to come up with a list of those who pay a water bill but who don’t pay for garbage pickup. Those whose households who don’t use at least 400 cubic feet of water a month will be given the option to pay a five dollar garbage bill every month and then extra for the haul away as well. Those who still refuse to participate in the program could very well find themselves in a courtroom. Mr. Hawker said staff will return shortly with a draft of the proposed ordinance.
VRD issue may be winding down…
More very complicated discussions filled the council chambers on a nearly 3 year running theme of what to do about Lincoln City’s Vacation Rent Dwelling industry. Those who see things from a vantage point of more is better vehemently disagreed – one VRD owner vowing that if the council goes through with their plan to improve controls over VRD’s they’ll face a considerable lawsuit.
The council told Mr. Hawker and City Attorney Richard Appiccella to re-open public testimony over the issue during the next city council session at the 15th. Formal adoption of the new VRD ordinance may occur later this year.