Newport City Councilors debated and debated over how to fix the growing problem of providing enough parking spaces for tourists who come to Newport. Councilors understand that there are only so many parking spots in Nye Beach, along the Bayfront as well as above the Bayfront. Employees of the fish processing plants are getting squeezed. Several city councilors as well as citizens in the audience seemed inclined to support more parking lots away from tourist areas where they can climb aboard trolleys or buses and be dropped off at entertainment and dining establishments along the Bayfront and Nye Beach and South Beach.
But finding locations where parking with convenient transit access to the Bayfront is a big challenge. The council tabled the issue, electing to talk more about it at a future city council meeting.
The Council also discussed the issue of whether to install parking meters throughout the Bayfront. Many in the audience favor parking meters while others abhor the thought. To be continued.
The “intrusion” of vacation rental dwellings (VRDs) into established neighborhoods was also on the agenda. Some in the audience complained that such VRD intrusions degrades Newport’s quality of life – as neighborhood cohesion begins to diminish. Local author and outspoken community activist Carla Perry complained to the city council that such housing trends simply invites more VRD’s into the community that make a lot of money for out-of-town property owners at the expense of local residents. But the city council seemed to deny Perry’s contention that VRD’s degrade the ambiance of an established neighborhood. Nobody is hurt, says city staff – either newcomer or long time resident. Perry disagreed. But city officials contend that better enforcement of VRD regulations to handle trash, noise and VRD maximum occupancy limits is the way to go. Stay tuned.
And city Public Works Director Tim Gross gave an update to the council on progress being made toward landing federal and/or state funds to build a new dam on Big Creek. Freshly back from discussions with officials in Washington D.C. Gross and Mayor Dean Sawyer reported that nationwide competition is fierce for such funds and it will require constant vigilance to secure the $70 to $80 million required to build a new dam. Earlier discussions before the council on the project reveal that a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake could easily take down both dams, causing catastrophic flooding, loss of property and probably human lives. It’s been said that there is a thirty percent chance of an earthquake occurring sometime in the next fifty years. Oregon State University research geologists have tracked past subduction zone earthquakes by extracting sediment samples from the ocean floor. The quakes generally occur in 250 to 350 year intervals.
It’s been 319 years since the last quake on January 26, 1700. Scientists say they know the date because residents in Japan recorded a tsunami roiling ashore without warning on that date which puzzled residents because they said there was no earthquake ahead of the tsunami. They called it “The Orphan Tsunami.” Many Japanese fishing villages were wiped out as the tsunami slammed ashore on Japan’s east coast.