Yachats Mayor Ron Bean gave a “State of the City” address this week that many mayors across the country, and certainly around Lincoln County, wished they could give. The city of Yachats is in pretty good shape and is actually preparing to solve problems that haven’t yet overwhelmed the community.
The big ailment of many American cities and towns is a crumbling infrastructure – roads, sewers and water systems. Brean told a gathering that unlike many other communities, Yachats’ infrastructure, although not perfect, is in pretty good shape and that efforts continue to make it better. He said smoke testing has revealed several instances where the contents of storm drains and sewer lines have mixed underground, meaning the Yachats sewer plant is receiving more total volumes than it should thereby making the plant work harder than it should to do its job. Mayor Brean said the city will continue to target those problems in the year ahead.
And speaking of sewers, Mayor Brean said he’s exploring an innovative idea of transforming sewer plant organic left-overs (after they’ve dried out) in a program to create compost for local gardens or other nursery activities. Brean said such operations are “cropping up” around the country and that he’s going to be calling other Lincoln County cities to gauge their interests in going in with Yachats to create such a processing facility in Lincoln County. He said instead of having to haul it to a landfill, he’d like to see it turned into compost for sale – maybe the cities can make some money on it rather than paying a landfill to take it. Compost sales to tree and sod farms could make a difference to the city’s budget.
However, a quick call to Newport Public Works Director Tim Gross added some clarity to the idea in that the bigger the city the more likely they are to produce high quality material that can already be retailed to farmers, big and micro. He said Newport has a large land application operation just off the airport that is handling Newport’s needs for the time being. But Gross added that other small sized communities always face the challenge of what to do with their bio-solids once they leave the plant.
In the area of water, Brean told News Lincoln County that climate change may eventually mean less rainfall along the the coast which could cause drinking water supply problems. And for that Brean says the town is looking into inter-linking the town’s various water storage facilities to better regulate overall supply and distribution. He said Yachats and an adjacent water company can cooperate with each other to effectively share supplies in the event of a shortage.
Brean touched on the upcoming election as to whether voters would approve the city spending up to $400,000 to acquire land for downtown parking – this in conjunction with joint plans between Yachats and ODOT to improve traffic circulation through town and to make downtown Yachats more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
Brean also touched on continuing improvements to the 804 Trail that winds through Yachats as well as major improvements to the childrens’ playground behind City Hall. He said the city expects to use a portion of a $75,000 grant the city won to enable a switch from wood chips as a playground surface to a more durable and lower maintenance rubberized ground cover.