WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Allegations of poisoning people, getting a handle on VRD’s, and low water flows at the airport gotta be fixed

Newport Airport
Low water flows for fighting fires.

The Newport City Council got an earful on a number of subjects last week, from VRD’s to fire hydrant waterflow rates at the Newport Airport.

A couple of employees of Rogue Brewery were put through the grinder again, albeit a friendly grinder, as Rogue employees told the council that although for years Rogue has paid state room taxes on what turned out to be VRD’s, they still contended that they didn’t know that Newport had a tax requirement at the local level. They said Rogue is up to date with their state taxes – just not with the city of Newport. Again, they claimed Rogue wasn’t aware of the local taxes.

City Manager Spencer Nebel said the investigation is coming to a close and that everything should be up to date very soon.

Newport Airport Manager Lance Vanderbeck reported to the City Council that water flows to the airport are far below prescribed levels. Instead of something over 2,000 gallons per minute on tap (should they have a fire), they’re getting something around 800. Vanderbeck said the original installation of the water lines into and around the airport was decades old and that it’s likely, over the years, some of the pipe may have been replaced and smaller pipe installed. Vanderbeck said the original water lines were installed a very long time ago and that they don’t even have drawings showing where the pipelines go exactly. So Mr. Vanderbeck has a rather large job ahead of him to figure out the routing of the airport piping network. The city may end up having to buy a lot of new water piping to restore fireflow standards.

Alder Island on the Siletz River
Frank Cavezza photo

And Betty Kamikawa, who lives in Toledo, reminded the council that something’s got to be done to bring the health of the Siletz River back to normal. And she blamed the decades-long pattern of dumping sewer plant bio-solids onto fields that line the river. Kamikawa says the Siletz River Valley cancer rate is higher than normal and that the cities and counties should find better ways than dumping under-treated sewage onto lands that line the river, not to mention the pollution to the river itself.

City Public Works Director Tim Gross said the biosolids that Newport applies to the fields along the river are Class A and are not a health threat. He said the city of Newport knows how to match bio-solids with the right soil types so there are no health risks to local residents or tourists. A few Siletz residents be-moaned the statement complaining that the highly treated effluent that’s sprayed onto the ground is a danger to local residents – and that Siletz Valley residents continue to be exposed to this sewage buy-product. The city council decided that they would look in to the matter further and schedule a meeting to talk about it more complete with biosolids experts from Salem.

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