The Lincoln City City Council this week, on a split vote, turned down a staff recommended new pocket park for families living in the NW Oar at NW 22nd area neighborhood.
Park staff said the pocket park would have pocket park amenities – benches, turf, places where children could run and play catch, throw frisbee; maybe have a small swing set. Park staff said the city parks board approved such a park be constructed straight-away because the city owns the land and nothing was being done with it. It was also reasoned that the park would be convenient for that particular part of Lincoln City.
As charming as the proposal might be, it instantly became controversial among members of the city council. City Councilor Diana Hinton liked the idea because it would be right sized for families with little kids – a small park without any big kids around or big playground equipment to deal with. But Councilor Riley Hoagland piped up saying the town already has parks that are in big need of routine maintenance and repairs. “Fix those first, then build more later,” he said. Councilor Dick Anderson seemed sympathetic to Hoagland’s observation but also agreed with Hoagland that there’s a perfectly good park a mere five blocks away from 22nd at Oar, while the south end of town is basically park-less. The conversation among the councilors went back and forth but in the end, when a vote was taken, the pocket park went down in flames in a 3 to 3 vote. The issue now goes back before the Parks Board for a re-assessment of whether areas of down that are “park starved” should be focused on first, or parks that are in bad need of some T.L.C.
From pocket parks to affordable housing –
The council was briefed by planning staff on progress being made to encourage construction of affordable housing in Lincoln City. Everyone acknowledged the housing crisis that has gripped not only Lincoln City, but also the whole country. Planning Director Richard Townsend said the city has been mapping out areas of town where such housing can be constructed – some even on sites the city owns. Townsend said building small dwellings next to, or even attached to, existing homes is possible. He said the city could reduce or forgive certain construction fees associated with new home utility hook-ups, reduction or elimination of excise fees or construction taxes but also adding an affordable housing fee on top of building permits for luxury homes. He said affordable housing advocates Proud Ground, a non-profit housing group out of Portland, is also working with Lincoln City and Newport to get a consensus on what course each city should take to start creating housing for the those who are disastrously rent burdened.
From affordable housing to higher priced trash service….
North Lincoln County Sanitation’s Tina French lowered the boom on the city council about the painful new reality about taking trash to the street. She said the Chinese are no longer accepting America’s contaminated trash. If it isn’t clean, they won’t accept it for recycling. French said what the Chinese will accept are #1 and #2 plastic bottles (look on the bottoms), corrugated cardboard – must be nearly squeeky clean – tin and aluminum cans, office paper and brown paper bags. What won’t be accepted in the recycle bins are any plastic bottles or containers that DON’T have the numbers 1 or 2 on their bottom, air bags from Amazon packaging, any form of shredded paper, paper cups, styrofoam, paper napkins, paper towels and scrap paper. And that’s just for starters. It’ll be a long educational process for Mr. and Mrs. America – and everyone else, for that matter.
Ms. French said because there will be so much material that is no longer recyclable, the landfills will begin filling up even faster. And for that, trash rates for customers will be going up – how much isn’t known yet, according to French. “But we’ll soon find out,” she said. She hinted at a rate hike that may be just over two bucks a month. But she cautioned, those numbers are still being crunched.
Working off a traffic ticket…
City Councilor Diana Hinton suggested to her fellow councilors that Lincoln City might consider what many other cities across the country are doing when it comes to traffic tickets for any other municipal notice of violation. Hinton said she’s talked with the Lincoln City municipal court judge and he said he’d like to look in to her idea. And Councilor Hinton’s idea is, rather than pay a fine to the municipal court for a traffic violation, they can work off the fine through volunteer work for the city – raking grass or leaves, helping out on work crews, assisting with maintaining city parks and recreation fields…paying off their fine by being of service to the community. The council said they’d like staff to look in to the issue.
What’s in a city logo?
The city council approved the concept of a friendly looking octopus to be a logo/symbolic mascot for Lincoln City. The final design of the ocotopus has not been agreed on, but the Visitors and Convetion Bureau says they’re getting closer to the image they want.