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Electric car plugs, update on the city water plant, and new computers for at-home distance working.

Newport City Hall
Change is in the air...

The Newport City Council Monday night covered quite a lot of ground…from possibly installing electric auto re-charging plugs around town to considering more city workers working from home since many of us have been doing that for quite a while.

The electric vehicle era is directly in our face.  Electric car charging times are getting shorter and each charge lasts longer on the road.  And since single family housing costs have shot past the Moon,  more and more young families are settling for apartments to rent or condos to own. And they want to park their electric cars at home with a handy nearby charging plug.

Newport City Councilors tossed around some ideas on how to better accommodate the growing ranks of electric car owners. City councilors pointed to the fact that a 110 unit apartment complex is being built at South Beach and that it would be perfect for tenants to fuel-up using extension cords between vehicles and a source of electricity.  Fill-ups are nowhere near the cost of a full tank of gas.  Don’t worry, the state will just bump up your annual vehicle registration charge – with a discount, no doubt, for not polluting the air.  At least not directly.

The city council and City Manager Spencer Nebel tossed the idea around with some positive comments including observations that electric cars don’t burn oil and muck up the air.  Of course battery recycling will have to be a key ingredient to the mix.  To be continued.

The council also gave the go-ahead to tie the camera systems at local Newport schools to local police departments.  Kids up to “less than no good” tend to hang around schools well after dark and vandalism is quite common.  The city has been thinking about the school district partnership for quite a while.  So we’ll see if the new surveillance program reduces the incidents of property damage and other mischief.

The city council gave the go-ahead to extend Newport’s water emergency – triggered by problems with water taken from the Yaquina River and Big Creek Dam.  Renegade organic substances in the water started raising havoc with the treatment plant’s ability to properly filter the water.

For months plant employees and engineers from the company that manufactured the filtration system have been trying to get to the bottom of the sudden emergence of low water production.  After weeks of analysis it’s been theorized that river organics are at war with the plant’s filter system.  But Public Works Director Tim Gross says he’s confident they’ll get to the bottom of what’s going on.  They’ve tried some filtration tactics that seem to be working but they’re still not sure the system won’t jump the rails again.  Further study is required. 

But again, the engineers seem to have things under control.  They’re even sending the temporary sand filtration system back to the manufacturer – fingers crossed, of course.   But again, things appear to be working well – not perfect like before – but for now it looks “OK.”  There’s water for everyone again, from the fish plants to houses on the highest hill.  Obviously to be continued.

And finally, since “distance working” has caught up with “distance learning,” the city council approved the city’s purchase of 26 new laptop computers so that certain city hall workers are able to work at home.  It might cut down some child care costs too.  There’s a lot of talk all over the world that the computer age has made commuting to work sooo “last century.”  It’ll be interesting to see how the “at home” work movement evolves.

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