It’s been a tough few days…
On Monday May 2nd we had a City Council meeting about transient issues, neighborliness and livability issues here in Newport. These issues are county, state and nationwide. Businesses are having a harder time with unhoused populations affecting their customers. It is a tough issue and I empathize. I do feel we need to find common ground and get to know each other better outside of our social circles.
My observations on a personal level:
1. The overnight safe parking pilot program, specific to a city-owned lot in central Newport,designed for folks living in their cars and RVs, worked briefly in its inception in 2021.
Those seeing safe sleeps at the 9th and Hurbert lot have been replaced by a different population of transients that are causing much discomfort through behavior, drug use and offensive littering. The solution is not easy but a measurable step would be an ordinance and code enforcement that would not be challenged by the courts. At the meeting assuring vehicle insurance, functionality and a fence were discussed. It is not a great time to be an elected volunteer, but I understand this issue as my job involves mitigating camping in our parks and public lands.
Part of what voters thought they would get when Measure 110 passed was residential drug treatment funded by the state. The legislature has to overcome the rollout of what the voter intent was: decriminalize small amounts of narcotics and recognize that many economically disadvantaged populations, everyday people like you and me, would and do struggle to afford drug treatment in our American insurance-based healthcare labyrinth.
Anyhow, on to the summary of today’s (May 4th) Forum
It was on Zoom, We as candidates missed an opportunity to look at each other in Hollywood Squares or Brady Bunch fashion.
There were 8 Questions listed below. I was selected to answer #1, #6, #7 and #8, so the video for that is on the Chamber Page (subhosted on Vimeo) that link is here:
Questions I did not get to answer are below. Thanks to the chamber for hosting the forum, and I look forward to such forums outside of election years to keep important policy decisions in the public consciousness.
Question 2: What is your experience with preparing or handling large budgets when things get tough?
The city annual budget is about $82 million and during Covid-19 we had to lay off 42 full time and part time employees. We are struggling to staff departments, especially police. We need a county-wide study of management salaries-often overlooked- to see if the supervisory ration justifies the salary range. Many services are done by frontline staff. Road and Public works needs more of these positions to better maintain roads and parks. Social workers need EVs to lower the fleet carbon footprint.
Question 3: Are county land-use regulations and permitting processes doing enough to assure public interest or are they too onerous?
Practical code and procedural review is something I would support. We need a septic system inspector, and a clearer timeline for building permit processing to set expectations. Oceanfront development and creekside development needs to be rethought. Roads at sea level need to be hardened, especially HWY 101, 18, 34 and 20 as our many commercial transport corridors. Waiting around for an inspection is arduous and mutually loathed. Onno should retire. He’s very likable and experienced but new vision, along with a new Board of Commissioners, is what it will take to make planning more successful going into the future. Stormwater projects should require pretreatment. Rural homeowners should consider ways to treat their wastewater in ways that use water supply to maximum value-watering with greywater should become legal.
Question 4: What do you see as the county’s most pressing infrastructural or capital projects in the county? Should the county be encouraging building or development?
Housing. One way to get over 300 units is to make the County Commons a housing project. I disagree with developing tourist facilities there, at great public cost, just to host a once-per-year fair. The fairgrounds belongs in east county, away from coastal fog and corrosion. The commons is near schools and walkable.
We need to have emergency power generation-micro hydro units that can provide electricity for sewer plants in the event of an earthquake. We have a dire need for increased water storage and watershed protections county wide.
Question 5: Do you plan to promote any changes to existing taxes? If so, what are the changes?
YES-homeowners need relief. Measures 5 and 50 overwhelmingly regressively burden middle and working class families and fixed income retirees. I have asked lawmakers to make these changes, as has the League of Oregon Cities. They are constitutional initiatives and would need 30 senators and 40 representatives to be scrapped, but tweaking is what would serve the people better than it now stands. Fairness to working people is one of my motivations to run. We need denser multi-family housing in city limits, preserving less developed rural areas for sustainable farming and wildlife.
Please watch the forums from this campaign season, and learn the issues and tell me what YOU think we should do.
VOTE VOTE VOTE! 9 days to go!!!
Ryan for Lincoln County
Facebook: Ryan for Lincoln County
Instagram: @beachtaro (mostly pics of rocks and nature😁