Lincoln City has its heir-apparent for Police Chief – Jerry Palmer, long time officer on the force…

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Apr 232018
 

LCPD Lt. Jerry Palmer
Sworn in at City Council meeting as interim Police Chief.

Lt. Palmer, now Chief Palmer’s family member affixes LCPD Chief’s badge to his uniform.

Although Chief Palmer is officially “interim” Chief, he’s a favorite of the town to be made official Chief if he wants it.

Chief Palmer is congratulated by all members of the City Council.

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Dollar General Store parent company wants to build new store in Otis – County planning department recommends against it

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Apr 232018
 

Dollar General – like Walmart but smaller, trying to build a store in Otis.


Dollar General department stores, based in Tennessee, has asked Lincoln County for permission to build another one of their thousands of stores across the country in Otis. It would be like their others. A spokesman for Dollar General says the location neatly reflects the location philosophy of their chain in that Otis is a rural community – a community that usually welcomes economic development.

But Lincoln County Planning Director Onno Husing, in his report to the county planning commission, maintains that Oregon land use laws strongly assert that large commercial buildings should be built inside cities while smaller buildings should be situated in rural areas. Under Oregon law, Husing says the maximum size for such a building in Otis is limited to 4,000 square feet – not the 9,100 square feet proposed by Dollar General.

Husing also cites other provisions of Oregon law that basically says that if such a large building can be built within a nearby city, it should be constructed there. These and other considerations raised by Husing, as reflected in Oregon law, were not addressed by Dollar General representatives, according to Husing in his report to the county planning commission.

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To complicate matters even further for Dollar General, the building site is close to a very environmentally sensitive area which includes grazing pastures, the Salmon River Estuary, the Cascade Head Scenic Research Area and lands designated as Timber Conservation. The acknowledged sensitive nature of those natural resources were included in the language that designated some of these very nearby locations as environmentally valuable by the the federal government.

Husing offered numerous observations to Dollar General representatives as to them more appropriately locating their new store, if not inside the Lincoln City city limits, then at least inside the city’s urban growth boundary which is just a few miles away. However, Dollar General reportedly has already leased the proposed building site from an Otis land owner.

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A public hearing is set for 7:30pm this evening at a meeting of the Lincoln County Planning Commission at the county courthouse at 225 West Olive in Newport. If planning commissioners turns thumbs-down on the project, Dollar General could appeal that decision to the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners and ultimately to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals in Salem.

Be aware of harmful algae blooms this summer – Oregon Health Authority

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Apr 232018
 

OSU researchers say algae blooms can start far upstream from where they become even more of a threat to human and animal health.
OSU photo


Be aware of harmful algae blooms this summer!

As summer approaches, the Oregon Health Authority is reminding outdoor enthusiasts to be alert for harmful algae blooms when recreating in Oregon lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

Most blooms are harmless – but under the right conditions some can produce toxins capable of causing illness in people and animals.

If toxin levels are above OHA guideline values for human health, the agency issues a health advisory warning people to stay out of affected water to avoid illness. This year after evaluating current research, OHA is reducing the toxin guideline values to further protect the public. Although this change should not affect the number of advisories that may be issued, it could affect the length of time an advisory is in place. This is because it may take longer for toxins to drop below these levels.

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Since only a fraction of Oregon’s fresh waters are monitored, OHA advises people to stay out of the water if it looks foamy, scummy, thick like paint and pea-green, blue-green or brownish-red in color. Exposure to toxins can cause skin rash, diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, numbness, dizziness and fainting. Children and pets are most vulnerable to illness due to their size and level of activity. Note that OHA guideline values are for human health; animals are much more sensitive than people. Within hours of being exposed to extremely low levels of the toxin, dogs can become gravely ill and even die.

Although toxins are not absorbed through the skin, people with skin sensitivities can develop a rash when wading, playing or swimming in or around a bloom. More serious symptoms occur when water is swallowed while swimming, or through inhalation of water droplets via high-speed activities such as water-skiing.

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By being aware of signs of a bloom and taking proper precautions when a bloom is suspected, people can continue to visit their favorite lake, river or reservoir and enjoy water activities such as canoeing, fishing, camping, hiking, biking, picnicking, and bird watching. Boating is also safe when speeds do not create excessive water spray.

To learn if an advisory has been issued or lifted for a specific water body, you can visit the Harmful Algae Bloom website at healthoregon.org/hab or call the Oregon Public Health Division toll-free information line at 877-290-6767.

For health information or to report an illness, contact OHA at 971-673-0400. For campground or lake information, call the local management agency.

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ODFW sends out an S-O-S to help save Willamette River steelhead fishery

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Apr 232018
 

Sea Lions eating steelhead in Willamette River so fast could cause extinction
ODFW photo

Relocation of sea lions not enough to protect Willamette fish runs

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Over 25 California sea lions and an unknown number of Steller sea lions continue to prey on salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and lamprey in the Willamette River this month. Concerns for the wild Willamette winter steelhead remain front and center for ODFW as biologists estimate that California sea lions ate at least 18 percent of the returning adults prior to March, driving this population closer to extinction.

In the absence of federal approval to lethally remove the California sea lions at Willamette Falls, ODFW attempted a stop gap program of capturing and relocating sea lions this spring. “It’s our responsibility and mandate from the people of Oregon to ensure these fish runs continue,” said Dr. Shaun Clements, ODFW’s senior policy advisor. “So it’s incredibly frustrating to us that federal laws prevent us from taking the only steps effective at protecting these fish from predation.”

During the course of five weeks in February and March, ODFW relocated 10 California sea lions to a beach south of Newport. All marked animals returned, most travelling the 210 miles within 4-6 days. One was even captured and relocated to the coast twice, but came back on both occasions. “Clearly our experience on the Willamette River this year demonstrated the futility of relocating sea lions as a way of stopping them from driving our native fish runs to extinction,” said Clements.

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That’s one reason why ODFW has decided to leave its traps on the Willamette and transition sea lion operations to Bonneville – where the agency already has federal authorization to lethally remove sea lions. “It’s disheartening given what’s happening in the Willamette, but we don’t have enough staff to cover both locations so we’re moving to a place where we can be more effective,” said Bryan Wright, ODFW’s Marine Mammal Program Lead.

Currently the run of upper Willamette wild steelhead stands at 1,338, which is slightly higher than in 2017 but still well below historical runs that often topped 10,000. In contrast, the California sea lion population is exceptionally healthy and fluctuates between 250-300,000 animals. According to Wright, “Removing these few male animals that have habituated in freshwater would have no impact to the sea lion population but would provide much needed relief to fish runs and prevent similar crises from occurring elsewhere.”

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ODFW has applied to the federal government for authorization to lethally remove sea lions from at Willamette Falls under Section 120 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Even if that application is approved, it won’t be until 2019 at the earliest. ODFW senior officials are also working with the region’s congressional delegation to address the inflexibility of the MMPA to deal with these issues in a more timely manner.

“This isn’t just about the Willamette steelhead, which we know are in serious trouble,” said Clements. “We also know that predation on white sturgeon has increased dramatically this year, and that sea lions are preying on salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon in other rivers like the Sandy and Clackamas. Effective management will only be possible if the US Congress changes the law to allow managers to proactively prevent sea lions from gathering at these bottlenecks in freshwater.”

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ODFW plans to leave its sea lion traps in the Willamette, continue to monitor predation, and, if the opportunity arises, trap another sea lion or two this spring. Additionally, ODFW is conducting limited monitoring of sea lions that are foraging in the Clackamas and Sandy rivers. ODFW is not authorized to do anything other than non-lethal hazing in these locations, and though hazing has proven ineffective in other systems, the department may run some hazing operations from time to time on the Clackamas River.

Letter to the Editor: Herbicides so close to Newport’s drinking water….

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Apr 232018
 

The views and opinions of submitters to “Letters to the Editor” do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NewsLincolnCounty.com, its staff or advertisers. The positions taken in the following letter are strictly those of the submitter(s).
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SEE RESPONSE FROM NEWPORT CITY MANAGER SPENCER NEBEL BELOW:
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From Jan Kenyon, Newport
Newport Citizens:

Your water supply may soon be contaminated with pesticides.

On March 15th, a permit was issued to Hancock Forest Management allowing the backpack spray of herbicides onto land directly over the Newport Reservoir and the creeks that feed it. To be clear, this planned spray is legal. Ordinance 21-177, passed last May, bans only aerial spray of pesticides.

At the April 16th Newport City Council meeting, concerned citizen found that the city has been in negotiations with Hancock to create a Memorandum of Understanding covering many parcels along the Newport watershed. The MOU has not been signed. Yet. The next opportunity for public comment will be at the Newport City Council meeting, May 7th, 6 PM, Newport City Hall.

The actions of the Newport City Council and Hancock Forest Management leave more questions than answers. The March permit declares it is Hancock’s intention to use toxic chemicals. This plan allows drift into residential neighborhoods and run-off into our drinking water.

So, what are the city’s intentions? What is in this memorandum? Where are they in their negotiations? Do we, the citizens, have any real input into what is to happen to our children, elderly, unborn, chemically sensitive and so-far-healthy? Are the real, no-spray alternatives that provide for a healthier eco-system and water quality being considered? We don’t know.

We have a right to transparency when our health is at stake. We have a right to a meaningful voice when it comes to the sanctity of our water. This is not a reality we have to pass on as a legacy to our children. Hancock Timber Management planted older saplings with no spray in a similar situation in Depoe Bay last year.

Coming to the meeting on May 7th will be too late. Please send your comments to the mayor and city council at http://www.newportoregon.gov/common/contacts.asp. Ask for transparency. Ask to be part of the negotiations. Ask that we create a better, safer future.

For more information and updates, go to www.facebook.com/yeson21-177 or www.facebook.com/lccr.

Jan Kenyon Member, Lincoln County Community Rights

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From Maria Krause
Lincoln County Community Rights

Hancock and City Officials considering back-pack spraying right above Newport’s drinking water reservoir

Back-pack spraying is not included in the spray ban now in effect in Lincoln County. Though less harmful because it is less subject to drifting, it seeps like aerial spraying into the soil and percolates downhill, contaminating all water it intercepts on its way down the slope. We know the documented effects of pesticides and herbicides on life. In humans, they cause various forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s, endocrine disruption, autism, Parkinson’s, and more.

City officials have the responsibility to protect the safety and health of the city’s population. The plan being developed by the City and Hancock is placing the people of Newport at great risk. The chemicals to be used, if tested at all, have been tested individually, not in combination with each other, or for their effects, individually or in combination, after repeated exposures over time. Hancock has the obligation to provide evidence that the chemicals to be applied are safe when applied in any and all the ways just described. No other manner of approving their use can suffice.

Last year, Depoe Bay faced exactly the same situation involving spraying alongside their reservoir. In their case, a requirement from the mayor to the timber company to provide the above-mentioned proof caused Hancock to reconsider its plan. It used manual cutting of competing vegetation instead of applying poisons. The people of Newport, now under the same threat as Depoe Bay was last year, have not consented to having their water contaminated with chemicals. The toxic threat to them through contamination of Big Creek Reservoir can be eliminated the same way.

We urge our city officials to keep the safety of Newport’s population, not Hancock’s profits, foremost in mind.

Maria Sause
Lincoln County Community Rights

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RESPONSE FROM NEWPORT CITY MANAGER SPENCER NEBEL:

Thank you for your communication regarding drinking water safety. I presume that you are speaking about the possible back-pack spraying of herbicides by Hancock Forests in the watershed for the City of Newport. First of all, no decisions have been made by either the City of Newport or Hancock regarding this matter.

As a forestry company, Hancock is acting legally and within their rights as a property owner and it is our opinion that the City has no legal authority to make them stop backpack spraying on their own property provided they are following the required setbacks and practices established by the State of Oregon and the Federal Government.

That being said, Hancock has indicated to the City Council that they are willing to consider further steps than required by current regulations to measure and evaluate any impacts to our municipal water source from forestry practices including the use of herbicides. The City has received a proposed action plan from Hancock that has not been vetted or reviewed internally as of this date, April 21st.

It is our intent to provide a report to the City Council on May 7 to share with them Hancock’s proposed plan to use the City’s water shed to obtain information, including any recommendations from staff, to better understand what impact forestry operations has on our water. A decision from the Council is not anticipated to be made on May 7. Any decisions by the Council regarding entering into some sort of MOU with Hancock are anticipated to occur at a later time.

Spencer R. Nebel
City Manager
City of Newport, Oregon 97365

Letter to the Editor: Someone who has “been there….”

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Apr 232018
 

The views and opinions of submitters to “Letters to the Editor” do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NewsLincolnCounty.com, its staff or advertisers. The positions taken in the following letter are strictly those of the submitter.
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Yes on Measure 21-186

Growing up I thought it was normal to be in jail that everyone did meth or cocaine or heroin  or drank  like I did. I learned how to do many negative things while I was incarcerated in those days.  And It took me 25 years to get one year clean and sober. During that time I lost my sister to a heroin overdose.

I did some time in Lincoln County Jail about 13 years ago and learned about the Franklin reality model. Through the years I’ve held onto it tightly because it teaches that decisions are only measured good or bad based on time.

I am here to say that I support Sheriff Landers and measure 21-186. I support his attitude towards Rehabilitation and not punishment. In my dress greens I have been nominated vice president of the Newport Eagles, I have been a volunteer for the Performing Arts Center in the play Adams Family. I have been blessed to be able to give over $800 to 5 of our soup kitchens in town.

I believe we are all after the same things. Public Safety Rehabilitation not punishment for those willing to pick themselves up and try again. Knowing that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I will continue to do all that I can to grow as a human being and someone who cares about this community.

Yes on measure 21-186 for Public safety.

Edward “weedman” Biggar
Newport, Oregon

Letter to the Editor: Please Vote YES on the Port of Alsea bond…

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Apr 222018
 

The views and opinions of submitters to “Letters to the Editor” do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NewsLincolnCounty.com, its staff or advertisers. The positions taken in the following letter are strictly those of the submitter.
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Letter to the Editor, NewsLincolnCounty.com

Vote Yes on 21-182 – Bond Measure for the Port of Alsea

I have been a member of the Port of Alsea Board of Commissioners since 2011. Every one of our board members takes our responsibility to ensure the future of the Port very seriously, and we did not come to the decision to go for a Bond Measure lightly.

It’s a known fact that the Port of Alsea is an important economic driver for the Port District communities of Seal Rock, Waldport and Yachats, attracting visitors throughout the year. The Marina is the only significant access to the Alsea Bay. And in busy summer months, the single boat ramp and limited moorage are often at capacity.

But beneath the surface, the 30-year-old marina has deteriorated beyond repair and must be replaced. As pilings and docks become unsafe, the entire structure is at risk. If no action is taken and the infrastructure continues to deteriorate, the Port may have to close areas found to be unsafe within the marina and boat ramp.

In the late 1990’s Oregonians enacted legislation which precluded Special Districts, including the Port of Alsea, from using Emergency Bond Measures to finance Port repairs, as we had done in the past. Since then, the Port has relied on funds from launch fees, Port District taxes and small grants to pay for upkeep of our facility. We have been unable to establish reserves to plan for future needs.

The Port of Alsea Board of Commissioners, members duly elected by the voters to represent the best interests of the Port, realized that we needed to develop goals and strategies that would increase Port revenue and look for future potential uses and income for the Port. During the past decade, we adopted a Strategic Business Plan and created a Port Capital Facilities Needs list which identified all Port assets and made decisions about how to achieve greater use of the Port’s limited land resources.

Four years ago, the Port received a $350,000 grant from the Oregon State Marine Board to replace the launch ramp and boarding floats with a two-lane launch ramp with a center float. However, the Port would have to raise $175,000 in matching funds to be able to proceed with the project. The Marine Board has carried that grant over for two funding cycles (of two years each) so that the Port of Alsea could raise the matching funds before the 2018-19 fiscal year. Without this $175,000, the Port will lose the grant at the end of this year.

At the direction of the Board of Commissioners, the launch ramp fee was increased by two dollars – overnight and monthly moorage fees were instituted. Port Commissioners enacted a Resolution establishing a Commercial User License fee paid by commercial users of the bay, and Port leases have been brought to current market standards. While all this has added to the Port’s revenues, we are still operating on a very limited budget.

In December 2015, strong storm run-off deposited about 10,000 cubic yards of silt in the marina and toppled two pilings in the debris boom east of the marina.  At low tide, docks were sitting on sand. Lincoln County was subsequently declared a Disaster Area due to the County-wide damage caused by this storm, making the Port eligible for FEMA disaster relief funds. The Port applied for and received funding from FEMA to remove and replace the debris boom and pilings, and dredge the silt from the marina. Almost the entire cost of this project was paid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Associated costs – mobilization and de-mobilization of equipment, insurance, labor, and permit fees – were also covered. This was a project the Port could not have done without Federal assistance.

Because of the damage from this storm, an inspection of pilings in the marina, as well as an evaluation of the docks and floats was started. In looking at the results, it became very apparent that Commissioners needed to be thinking about how the 30-year-old infrastructure could be replaced.

In 2016, the Port Manager and Commissioners began discussing the idea of a Bond Measure to finance a new marina, include the matching funds needed for the Marine Board loan, as well as funding some other smaller projects. We realized the Port did not have the income to finance such a project through traditional sources nor the revenue to make subsequent payments. We all agreed that a Bond Measure was our only option and directed the Port Manager to identify how much was needed.

Here is how we arrived at the final cost of the $2.6 Million Bond Measure.

–By combining the Marine Board Launch Ramp Project and the new Marina construction project, we will see significant savings on much of the work. An example is the associated costs of heavy equipment for piling work—transport, insurance, labor, etc. Because we have combined the Marina and Launch Ramp projects, we will only face this expense once.

–We requested an initial estimate from a marine construction company for the new marina – a range of high to low. 

–The Oregon State Marine Board grant provided $350,000 for construction of the launch ramp and boarding floats, and estimated the cost of mitigation based upon the amount of additional riprap needed for the larger launch.  And, reminded us that we still needed to provide the $175,000 matching funds.

–We were able to use expenses incurred for the FEMA work permits as an estimate for the cost of this project.

–We know the amount still owing on the Business Oregon loan which will be paid from Bond funds. 

–Special Districts of Oregon provided a private financial advisor and legal counsel to help us through the process of preparing the Bond Measure and associated costs. Payment for these services will occur only if the Bond Measure passes.

Please help us take care of this beautiful asset to our community, our Port of Alsea. Vote Yes on Measure 21-182!

Thank you. We appreciate your support.

Jan Power, Port of Alsea Board of Commissioners
And fellow commissioners Rob Bishop, Buster Pankey, Chuck Pavlick, and Joe Rohleder

For additional information, contact Port Commissioners Jan Power at JPower@PortOfAlsea.com or Rob Bishop at RBishop@PortOfAlsea.com.

Further information is also available on the web at “FriendsofthePortofAlsea.org”.

Letter to the Editor – Doug Hunt endorsement

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Apr 222018
 

The views and opinions of submitters to “Letters to the Editor” do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NewsLincolnCounty.com, its staff or advertisers. The positions taken in the following letter are strictly those of the submitter.

Reelect Commissioner Doug Hunt

It’s with continuing pleasure that I take this opportunity to strongly encourage you to vote for Doug Hunt. His 6 years as county commissioner plus 30+ years in banking give him the exact skills needed for a focused approach for keeping our county financially stable while maintaining quality services for its citizens.

I appreciate his consistent emphasis on jobs and our economy, an aspect of his leadership that led directly to his appointment to Oregon Workforce Investment Board. He also convened the Maritime Sector Strategies Committee to build on our county’s growing reputation as an important marine industry center and family-wage jobs. The redevelopment and greatly increased capabilities of the Port of Toledo Boatyard is one particularly strong example of this emphasis.

Lack of affordable housing is a critical issue throughout the county, and Doug continues to lead strongly by participating with ideas and actions such as tax breaks for affordable housing projects, using state LIFT (Local Innovation and Fast Track) funds for multi-family housing, encouraging tiny homes, and supporting non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity, Samaritan House, and Family Promise for those who can’t quite find or afford housing on their own.

In addition to these particular areas of focus, he also understands and advocates for the maintenance and improvement of vital infrastructure, public safety enhancements, better services for our veterans and seniors, and, uniquely and critically important to our county, emergency preparedness.

Of equal importance, in his 6 years as commissioner he has always been visible and approachable in all areas of our county, and I have certainly seen that in south county where he’s always available to listen and help with our ideas or concerns. That’s why Doug has my vote!

Susan Woodruff
Mayor, City of Waldport