Newport: New police officer – Tsunami Vertical Exit – Paving new city hall parking lot – Unladylike Rumble at the Rec CenterNewport’s latest addition to its police department was sworn in Monday night before the Newport City Council. City Clerk-Recorder Peggy Hawker did the honors of swearing in Gary Welborn while his wife Juanita, pictured above, finished it up by attaching Officer Welborn’s badge to his uniform.
While most additions to the force are usually young recruits, Officer Welborn comes to Newport from Seaside and a number of other duty stations with already 20 years of law enforcement experience.
The estate of the late Rick Bartow, world renown Native American Artist who passed away last April, is donating two of his many works of extraordinary art to the city of Newport. Those works will be displayed at Newport City Hall but also will travel to Newport Middle School where a particular art teacher was a big fan of Rick Bartow and she and her students will be honored by and will enjoy gazing at one of Mr. Bartow’s work to be on display there for a time. But the works are to be eventually permanently hung a Newport City Hall.
The Newport City Council Monday night also adopted new rules for construction within a tsunami zone and to allow configurations of structures at the Hatfield Marine Science Center to provide, in the event of a large earthquake and tsunami, the ability to vertically evacuate – that is – to run upstairs and survive the ensuing tsunami that will come ashore within 15 to 30 minutes. The Newport City Council gave them their blessing on the new construction allowances for higher building height limits.
The City Council Monday night also formally adopted a plan to repave the parking lot that used to be the site of the old Salvation Army Thrift Store at Alder and 101. The city bought the property in order to eventually expand the City Hall Campus which will, for a number of years, provide more parking for City Hall workers and visitors as well as users of the city Recreation Center and new Aquatic Center.
It’s anticipated that the weekly Newport Farmer’s Market will return full time to that area – vendors saying that their stint down on 2nd near the county courthouse hasn’t worked out nearly as well as being at Angle and 101, right next to City Hall. So they’ll be returning to that spot just south of City Hall probably next Spring.
And finally, several women told the City Council that an incident that occurred a month or so ago still lingers for them. They told the council that they were inside the city Recreation Center doing their exercise dances in a room when another user in that part of the center confronted a few of them. The woman reportedly didn’t like the music wafting out the door and into other nearby areas inside the recreation center. And so without asking anyone, she closed the doors to the dance exercise area and walked off.
Everyone from the dance instructor on down were aghast that someone would commandere their studio and close the door. The dancers said they couldn’t exercise in such heat. So some of the students went right out and opened it again, all agreeing it was just too hot to work out in the room with the doors closed. But soon after, the same woman walked up to the doors and slammed them shut again. The dancers confronted her which apparently precipitated a physical confrontation.
The incident was reported to Parks and Recreation Diretor Jim Protiva and eventually to City Manager Spencer Nebel.
A few of those same women showed up at Monday night’s council meeting complaining that nothing had been done to fix the problem or hold the woman accountable. The woman said that they had learned that the woman had been suspended from the building but that her continued presence revealed that there was no teeth in the order. And so they were before the council demanding action.
The council talked it over themselves, all wanting to get to the bottom of the situation. But they failed frustrated that they hadn’t heard about the incident and were concerned that no action had apparently been taken about the door-closing woman.
City Manager Spencer Nebel said he had talked with Recreation Director Jim Protiva about it. And he said that he had been under the impression that the woman was banned from re-entering the building for a time. Nebel seemed a bit confused as to how the whole continued to escalate.
The discussion ended with a commitment by Nebel to confer with Protiva and others to get to the bottom of what happened, and what didn’t happen in order to keep the offending woman out of the rec center.
The whole issue was tabled with a report due back at a future council meeting.