Things are still a little testy among Depoe Bay City Councilors – but they did get their work done this week…
The Depoe Bay City Council continues to suffer not only emotionally from the recent death of Councilor Skip Hoitink, but also politically, as those who were most closely politically aligned with Hoitink continue to joust with those on the council who tried to kick him off the council when he set up another residence in Newport. He was found deceased there several weeks ago, by his own hand, according to the coroner.
This week Mayor AJ Mattila who led the fight to unseat Hoitink started off the meeting lamenting the harsh attacks from residents and others, mostly aimed at close political ally of Mayor Mattila, Councilor Zeke Olsen. Olsen was accused of saying the night that Hoitink was found deceased that he had committed suicide. No one believed it based on Hoitink’s occasional fiery disposition and his passion for Depoe Bay. As it turned out it was a true statement. Some in the audience that night thought it very disrespectful to Hoitink’s family as well as his friends that Olsen would release information about Hoitink’s death ahead of law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office. But still Mattila made it very clear that although some folks may not respect him, he will demand that those who attend city council meetings respect the office of the Mayor.
Then Mattila went on about how he felt betrayed by “certain city councilors” when he was not warned about the very loud castigations that were about to fall on Olsen and the Mayor following Hoitink’s death. Between Councilors Barbara Leff and Dorinda Goddard, they pushed right back to the point where Mattila forced an end to the discussion. Animosity was unabated.
The council did, however, agree on a process to replace Hointink by council appointment. The council agreed that the position will be advertised twice in a local newspaper and that the council would try to appoint a new councilor sometime next month.
The city council also agreed to proceed with Civil West Engineering to move ahead on the new hoist/crane for the under-renovation fish processing building at the southwest corner of Depoe Bay Harbor.
The council also took up again the question whether regular townspeople and local community groups could have free or low fee cost access to the town’s community center, next to the Coast Guard Station. The question once again raised the issue of whether these groups or organization have liability insurance. Most of the time it isn’t cheap, yet the city could be held liable if a group had an accident and sued the city. Could cost the town a lot of money.
At that point the council agreed that they like the idea of wider use of the community center but they also want get to the bottom of the liability issue. The council decided to check with the Lions Club who offer such community sponsorships of public facilities, as well as the city attorney for the legal in’s and out’s of the matter.