With the continuing soft log export market to Asia, the Port of Newport is moving ahead in hopes of enlisting other uses for its newly completed International Terminal. One big opportunity the port wants to jump on is offering Willamette Valley farmers and ranchers a more direct route to domestic and foreign markets for their products. With recent labor strife causing long term crippling effects to operations at Terminal 6 in Portland, Willamette Valley growers have had to scramble to get their products to USA and foreign markets using the ports of Oakland, CA and the Seattle-Tacoma area. Port of Newport General Manager Kevin Greenwood told the council that the port wants to raise about $6.5 million through federal and state grants to build what’s called a “lay down area” at the International Terminal where major valley growers could deliver their products to Newport and then load them onto barges to San Francisco or Los Angeles for distribution in the U.S. and also onto ships bound for overseas markets thereby saving the growers money. Small cranes and loaders are on the wish list to load those exports onto barges and ships.
The second half of Greenwood’s pitch to the city council was requesting their support for more closely tying the city and the port together in terms of a common economic destiny. Greenwood envisions the port and the city jointly coordinating street improvements, water and sewer upgrades, stormwater management, environmental mitigation and a host of other opportunities to work closely together. Another economic development tool emerged – Urban Renewal. Urban Renewal is a powerful device to help growth pay for itself through loans paid off by rising property values of newly created industrial properties. Greenwood estimated it’ll take two years to get all the plans together and the lay down area constructed with all the heavy equipment in place. At that point Teevin Brothers, who originally had plans to ship a lot of logs to the Orient, is expected to re-enter the picture and help manage the logistics in getting Willamette Valley and other agriculture producers funneling their products through the port. And by then maybe China will be back into the log buying business.
The city council, appearing pleased with the prospects of closer collaboration with the port, wrote Mr. Greenwood two letters supporting grant applications to help fund future infrastructure and to the state Land Conservation and Development Commission for closer land use partnering between the two entities.
The city council also extended, for one more year, the Nye Beach Parking District into which Nye Beach businesses pay varying amounts of money to keep parking somewhat conveniently available. A long term parking plan for the area has been long in the making. It’s hoped that within the next year such a plan will be finalized and a more viable method of ensuring more parking will be forthcoming. Part of it will involve improvements and upgrades to the turn-around area itself at the sea-wall – improvements that might begin showing up within the next couple of years.
The city council approved a number of streets getting fresh layers of asphalt this construction season. They are:
NE Avery from a half block south of NE 73rd to NE 73rd. Currently a gravel street.
NE Avery from Hwy 101 to NE 71st – overlay.
NW 58th from 101 to NW Gladys – street currently gravel.
NW Nye from West Olive to NW 3rd – overlay.
W Olive from 101 to 1/2 block west of 101 – overlay.
SW Fall from 101 to SW Elizabeth – overlay.
SW Case from 101 to SW 6th – currently gravel.
Highway 101 at NE 15th – Full lane width overlay to repair sewer failure.
Plans to overlay NW Nye between NW 3rd and NW 6th has been postponed until the Spring of 2016 due to budget constraints. Contract for the work went to Road and Driveway for their low bid of just over $236,000.
The city council appears to be on its way to approving a new bicycle “pump track,” aimed mainly at youngsters, to be located just east of the Oregon Coast Community College Newport campus. It’s near where the annual Coast Hills Classic Mountain Bike Race is held. An earlier site near the Newport Performing Arts Center was roundly opposed by the neighbors so a new location was chosen near the college. A public hearing on the facility planned for SE Harborton will be held Monday, June 15th at that evening’s city council meeting. The permit to build the track will be issued by the county because the site is technically outside the Newport city limits.
The council also set June 29th as Newport’s next City Council Town Hall Meeting. It’ll be held at the Pacific Maritime and Heritage Center where citizens can voice their opinions on a number of issues coming up along the Bayfront: parking, expanding seafood processing, better stormwater handling systems, the new sea lion docks just installed, further improvements to the Marine and Heritage Center, and other topics that are sure to be raised by those who attend. Discussions are always honest, forthright and frequently fun.
And finally, the council provided advertising money for two special entertainment venues coming up in Newport this summer – the Newport Symphony Orchestra and the newly revised and re-programmed Lincoln County Fair.
The council awarded the symphony five thousand dollars for advertising the symphony concerts to those living in the valley and who will hopefully come over to the coast, enjoy the concert, enjoy a relaxing dinner at a local restaurant, enjoy a nice walk on the beach and maybe one other special event before retiring for the night in a nice hotel in Newport. Then returning home the next day – Newport deriving the full economic impact that symphonic music can elicit from an appreciative public. The council awarded the symphony $5,000 in advertising funds.
The council awarded $3,000 in advertising funds to the newly re-invented Lincoln County Fair which will be less glitz than earlier fairs but more pleasantly “home town” with free admission and a full, rich celebration of the many ways Lincoln County provides its many citizens with gainful employment from fishing to tourism, agriculture to light manufacturing and education – a true portrayal of Lincoln County in the old traditions of celebrating one’s home town and home town roots.