With wind howling outside, Newport Council told Nye Beach storm drain improvements should save the day
With the wind beginning to howl outside their council chambers, the Newport City Council Monday night heard that despite the bad weather, Nye Beach should escape it’s customary street flooding thanks to recent storm drain improvements in the area. Public Works Director Tim Gross said two new catch basins and other improvements and fixes should be able to handle higher storm water flows. He also reported to the council that city work crews have found a number of faulty home sewer hook-ups, some of which were dumping raw sewage into the storm water system that drains to the ocean. Gross said they’ve fixed a number of them with more due to be repaired. He said he expects periodic contamination readings in storm water outflow at Nye Beach to be considerably lower. However, Gross held out the chance that things could get dicey if rainfall becomes torrential. He said, “We’ve got sandbags at the ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.”
Gross also reported to the council that the recent bad news about the lower dam on Big Creek, the main source of Newport’s drinking water, may not be so bad after all because preliminary engineering reports indicate the dam may yet be useable to accommodate a new water intake system for the new water treatment plant being built nearby. However, Gross said the dam will have to undergo a comprehensive inspection and analysis which might might cost the city $300,000. However, Gross quickly pointed out that there is a good chance the city could secure a grant, possibly from FEMA, to pay for the work. Gross told the council two weeks ago that the dam was built to 1950’s standards, standards that today would not be acceptable. He said he doubts the dam would survive a significant earthquake, which, if it ruptured, would cause widespread flooding downstream. Gross earlier speculated that the city might find itself removing the bottom dam and then running a water pipe from the upper lake straight to the water treatment plant. He said although it would mean less water available for the town, there isn’t that much water in the lower lake anyway, because it’s so silted up. “It’s very shallow,” Gross said.
The council also decided, during its noon workshop, that the city needs specified rules for city parks. Parks and Recreation Director Jim Protiva along with Police Chief Mark Miranda told the council that park rules need to be a formal part of city codes. Without that, the police don’t have any rule they can cited someone for, like drinking alcohol or letting their dogs run off-leash.
So, new rules were proposed that included: No alcohol in city parks except with a city issued rental agreement, all dogs must be on a leash, no skateboarding or rollerblading except at the skate park up off Spring Street, no open fires, no fireworks and all parks are to be closed from 10pm to 5am. However, a spirited discussion ensued over what is the definition of “closed?” City Council David Allen said, “What if I want to walk my dog after 10pm in a city park. Would I be breaking the law? ” Chief Miranda said, “Not really, because what the law aims at is discouraging large groups of people in the park overnight.” Allen said he believes the proposed closure of city parks needs to have specific criteria associated with it. Allen convinced the council to refer the proposed rules to the city attorney for review and advice.