Newport Chamber of Commerce Director Lorna Davis gave her last tourism economy report to the Newport City Council Tuesday evening. The report clearly showed a steady increase in tourism numbers and income for the community.
It was Davis’ last report because she has taken a position with Travel Oregon that makes sure that the Oregon Coast is well represented to residents of Europe, to see the Oregon Coast as a very attractive travel destination. Davis was born and spent a lot of time in Europe so her new job will certainly tap her innate knowledge and skills in dealing with European travel officials and effectively representing all of Oregon and the Coast in that capacity.
The city council lauded Davis’ tourism booster career in Newport and credited her with bringing lots of tourist dollars to the coast and specifically to Newport.
The city council agreed to work closely with local government, wildlife and environmental protection officials to pay close attention to the specific ecologies that exist along the coast and how to minimize invasive species on public lands and rights of way. One big goal has been trying to rid the coast of Scotch Broom – pretty to look at but they’re hard on native plants and animals and insects. The city sent the letter to various natural resource agencies saying they’re open to talk about the so-called “pollinization zone” up and down 101 from south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge to the Lane County line.
The council Tuesday night took the first step to cleaning up some details on how the Oregon Coast Aquarium will begin planning for OCA’s new Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. There are some rights of way and street alignment issues that need to be cleared up. Because it also affects port property, the Port of Newport will be part of those right of way and alignment discussions dealing with Ferry Slip Road. The OCA is trying to clean things up so they can properly position their new building. The building will give OCA an advanced facility to save wildlife and to rehabilitate any that are injured or get sick at sea or onshore.
The positioning of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and exact ingress and egress points will also have to be worked out with the Port of Newport.
The council received a report from City Manager Spencer Nebel about how Monday’s Solar Eclipse went in Newport. Nebel told the council that everyone learned that Newport’s experience was much the same as other coastal communities – it was a lot easier to endure than predicted.
Whether it was fear of rain or fog, the crushing crowds never showed up, but the view of the eclipse was very clear when the Moon began passing in front of the Sun shortly after 9am. Nebel even remarked that the community seemed to have even fewer visitors for a regular summer day. Everyone agreed that with a hugely significant event like a solar eclipse, you just don’t know how people will react. Reports across the state showed that although there were big crowds in typical gathering areas, many Oregonians watched the eclipse from home and let it go at that.
And finally, the Newport City Council made it official Tuesday night. After taking Newport Police Lieutenant Jason Malloy out for an extended “test drive” for the job, Malloy is now Newport Police Chief Jason Malloy by an official vote by the Newport City Council. Recently retired Chief Mark Miranda told the council that Malloy measures up to the job in all the right ways – he has a formal college education, extensive police training, including graduation from the esteemed FBI Academy and years of experience on the force.
Chief Malloy thanked the council for their vote of confidence.
By the way the city council also bought the police department three new Ford Police Interceptor SUVs. Just under $90,000 total for all three.