Still examining the status of Newport’s two fresh water reservoirs up Big Creek Road.
Newport City Councilors Monday night gave their blessing to receiving a quarter million dollars in state grant funds to further investigate the best way to fortify and reinforce the town’s two water supply dams on Big Creek.
The quarter million dollar grant will help pay for a seismic stability and dam retrofit study which is intended to provide crucial information as to what is needed to make Newport’s main water supply more secure in the event of a large subduction earthquake.
The lower Big Creek dam is said to be less able to survive a big quake than the upstream dam. There have been many discussions about simply emptying out the sedimented-up lower reservoir and removing the lower dam – thereby lessening the danger of a dam rupture and downstream flooding to homes, streets and other facilities.
The city council approved the city public works director to accept the funds and begin the process of estimating the best way forward to establish greater security for Newport’s water supply.
Tourism Facilities Grant opportunity.
The council also extended the application deadline for $100,000 in tourism facilities grant funds until 5pm, June 30th. The council set aside the money a couple of years ago, from the hotel-motel room tax fund. Those who would like to put those funds to work on some sort of tourism facility, or to leverage something more than what the city’s money might accomplish alone, are encouraged to make their application to Newport City Hall, c/o Peggy Hawker City Clerk Recorder. Again the new deadline is 5pm, June 30th. For more information call City Clerk Peggy Hawker at 541-574-0613.
Newport set to send Sister City Delegation to Mombetsu, Japan this fall.
Seven students from Newport Schools and five adult chaperones will be boarding an airplane in Portland this coming July and fly to the northern Japanese city of Mombetsu, Newport’s 47 year long sister city, situated on the north shore of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Mombestu is a community much like Newport – same latitude, same reliance of commercial fishing, tourism and agriculture. Fourteen Japanese students last year traveled to Newport last year to learn as much as they could about living and working conditions in our coastal city.
The Newport sister city group is raising their own money for the journey. Anyone who would like to donate to the cause can contact the Lincoln County Foundation – Mombetsu Scholarship, c/o Rex Krabbe, 8423 Yaquina Bay Road, Newort, 97365.
Getting new blood on the Newport Airport Advisory Committee
There probably isn’t another Newport city department with more high’s and low’s to it that the Newport Airport. The latest high of course is the federal funding of a total re-build of both runways at the facility south of town. Soon after his arrival on the job late last year, City Manager Spencer Nebel observed that the airport’s advisory committee was made up of only five members and there seemed to be a preponderance of small plane owners driving the nature of recommendations to the city council. Nebel expressed his desire to see the airport grow as a job creator for the town, not just as a source of recreational flying. Spencer envisions new industries moving onto the airport property – industries that rely on air freight to get their products to market. Nebel says economic development is a common driver of airport operations around the country which makes them more financially self-sufficient. In the case of the Newport Airport, the city subsidizes airport operations to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars a year, a fact that many maintain is unsustainable in view of the city’s long term financial obligations for sewer, water, stormwater retrofitting and rebuilding.
The council acknowledged that there have been frequent instances where the airport committee did not have a quorum of committee members show up in order to have a meeting. But Spencer none-the-less indicated that it’s time for the airport committee to expand to 7 members, with two members being residents outside the city limits. Currently there is only one out-of-city position on the committee. Nebel said the membership expansion to areas outside the city could give a sense of regional ownership to the airport which could enhance its use and become more broadly supported by the regional community.
Eliminating noon council workshop meetings.
Newport City Councilors decided Monday night that maybe they have been holding too many noon hour workshop meetings and that the issue should be reviewed. Some councilors like David Allen have seemed to enjoy the noon confabs because it gave him and other councilors time to talk about the upcoming city council meeting and to be more informed on the details and decision options.
But City Manager Spencer Nebel said noon meetings, or workshops of any kind, should pass the test of whether they’re really needed. He told the council that if some extraordinary subject comes before them, workshop discussions on the item could be held in open session, before the council’s regular 6pm start-time. Besides, he said, it’s sometimes hard on city councilors to attend the Monday-noon workshops when they are full time workers somewhere else and can’t get time off in order to attend. Spencer also mentioned that now that the city has a permanent city manager in place, the council doesn’t have to rely so much on a big meeting before a slightly bigger meeting later in the evening.
The council agreed with Nebel and endorsed his plan by a unanimous vote. There will no city council workshops unless truly needed but then scheduling them an hour before the regular meeting is gaveled to order at 6pm on regular council meeting nights.