Depoe Bay City Councilors went round and round about the run-down fish plant that occupies a spot at the southwest corner of the World’s Smallest Harbor. Consulting engineer David Crimp reported to the council that there is somewhere between $50-75,000 in basic renovations that need completing before the place could be suitable for leasing or renting – whether for use as a fish plant or as offices for, say, ODFW which someone said might be approached.
Local fisherman David De Belloy said complaints of possible noise and odors coming from the plant should be non-existent. He took the council on a self-visualized walking tour of Newport’s Bayfront, pointing out the numerous restaurants and coffee shops that line the street opposite the fish plants, and there’s no problem excess odors or noise. Secondly he reminded the council that there are a number of commercial fishing boat operators based in Depoe Bay that would far prefer to drop their crab and other fish at the Depoe Bay fish processing plant than having to go all the way to Newport and sit in line to unload.
Depoe Bay citizen Jerome Grant suggested that the council consider leasing the building for offices, which took a few in the audience by surprise since Grant had some months ago pitched the council on leasing the building himself for processing fish. Grant said ODFW might be interested. The council told him to go ahead and check. City Councilor Barbara Leff reminded the council that there is a legal procedure the city must follow in order to properly offer up a lease or sale of public property. And that’s through advertising for proposals for either renting or sale, not that the city would necessarily want to sell the old plant. If the city sold the plant, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which provided the $300K grant to spruce it up the last time, might want want a cut of the proceeds as specified in the grant agreement.
In the meantime, Public Works Superintendent Brady Weidner was asked to consult with the engineer who produced the report card on the plant and determine what basic renovations and improvements would be necessary to make the facility rentable for either office use or as a fish plant. Weidner said he’d have that information ready by next council meeting, June 3rd.
The council also tentatively approved an advertising contract with the Depoe Bay Chamber of Commerce, but reserved final approval until the council’s June 3rd meeting which will also include a $4,000 city donation to Neighbors For Kids (NFK). The idea came from Mayor Mattila. He said he wanted the donation to go through Tuesday night but was told it couldn’t because it was out of step with the city’s budget process. When Mattila insisted on the donation, Clerk-Recorder Pury Murray said the council could consider the proposal at the June 3rd council meeting at which the city would be approving the budget for the next fiscal year starting July 1st. Councilor Leff said it appeared to her that approval of the Chamber of Commerce ad budget was being held hostage pending approval of the mayor’s personal promise to NFK for the $4,000. It reminded many in the room of Mattila’s personal promise some months ago to the Sheriff’s Office of city money to help pay for deputy training costs – again without the knowledge or consent of the council and without any solicitation from the Sheriff’s Office that they needed the money. At the time, it evoked fiery criticism of Mattila for what was described as the mayor acting alone on unplanned city expenditures.
And finally, city Public Works Superintendent Brady Weidner said new pavement will soon be laid down on Bay Street, from Collins to Conway to the Allen parking lot. Also from SE Williams to Collins. It’ll mean 80% of Bay Street will have new paving when all said and done.