CORRECTION: Mayor Dean Sawyer IS going to Washington DC to participate in discussions about Big Creek Dam.
The Newport City Council had some heavy lifting to do Monday night – BIG LIFTING – because the council is sending Public Works Director Tim Gross to Washington DC to work with lobbyists to convince the Congress that Newport’s two fresh water dams won’t survive the next big earthquake. If the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake strikes, both dams would likely fail wiping out neighborhoods downstream to the sea. So all the more important that federal funds are expended to help build a new Big Creek Dam slightly downstream from its current location.
Mayor Dean Sawyer and Public Works Director Tim Gross will be flying back to Washington D.C. for three hectic days working with Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, along with Congressman Kurt Schrader to impress up on the Congress that the project needs to be funded and funded soon. Sticker price on the dam…$70 to $80 Million. Federal funds could pay half, state of Oregon could pay a quarter and the city of Newport a quarter. Even if the project gets approved, it would be several years before work on the new dam can begin.
City Councilor and very sharp attorney David Allen tipped his hand Monday by declaring a potential conflict of interest on some legal matters before the city. Councilor Allen revealed that he may be applying to become the city’s next City Attorney, taking the place of recently deceased City Attorney Steve Rich who had spent a number of years at the legal helm of the city. Mr. Rich passed away about a month ago after fighting a very debilitating disease. City Councilor David Allen has expressed his interest in succeeding Mr. Rich. David Allen has been often referred to as the city’s unofficial deputy City Attorney with his insightful and razor sharp applications of municipal and state law. Applications from qualified attorneys for the position are still open.
** And the city council adopted new state laws that allow for single family homeowners to either build onto their houses an “apartment” or a detached dwelling – both referred to as Accessory Dwelling Units. It means that those in regular single family neighborhoods can build a separate living unit apartment onto their home or detached from their home. The horrendous shortage of lower cost housing is pushing many communities around the country to adopt such accommodations due to the lack of affordable housing.