Newport City Council runs the gamut last evening…homeless, air service and serving electric car owners…
Newport City Council members Monday evening got a cursory report on the homeless in Newport and the proper role the city should play in assisting community groups trying to provide emergency shelter, food, medical referrals, possibly some psychological services and the like. City Manager Spencer Nebel reminded the council that city government is involved to assist local private non-profits and other responsible groups to help the homeless re-enter normal society. Nebel praised Grace Wins warming shelter for their good work. He also pointed out that what the homeless need during the day is far different from their needs at night and the city should be there with resources to help meet those needs – meals, medical referrals and job hunting during the day and getting out of the weather at night so they can get a reasonably good night’s sleep. The city is also springing for porta-potties at various locations around Newport.
Nebel said he would present a more comprehensive report to the council next month.
Nebel then shifted gears and lamented that Newport was not named to receive state grants to initiate scheduled air service between Newport and Portland. Nebel inferred that Newport probably didn’t put up enough match-money to help subsidize the service. So…the program was awarded to Coos Bay who put up a considerable amount of subsidy to give the Coos Bay area daily flights to and from at least Portland. It could migrate to include other under-served towns as well but it was clear that if any town wants to get in on the action, they have to pony up some serious money to add to what the state is already committed to pay. It’ll be a number of months before the scheduled airline opportunity returns to Newport.
From flying to electric cars – a widely varying city council agenda revealed that Newport has a ways to go to catch up with Lincoln City in attracting charging stations for electric cars. Lincoln City got in deep and early – but they’re served by Pacific Power which is big on electric cars. The Newport area is served by Central Lincoln Public Utilities District. CLPUD hasn’t been as aggressive as some other utilities at providing easy access to power at roadside electric charging stations. But a number of businesses have begun providing them anyway. There’s one at Herbert street and it’s pretty busy, we’re told. The City Council made it clear that they want the city to get very aggressive at recruiting electric car chargers. One city councilor said he has an electric car and it’s $7 for a fillup. Of course the distance you can drive on an electric “fill up will only get you a little over a hundred miles, depending on the terrain. But it’s still cheaper than burning gas and the vehicle doesn’t contribute to Global Climate Change.
And with that…Mayor Dean Sawyer gavelled the meeting to a close.