* Port of Newport Commissioners and Newport City Councilors meeting together today seemed to agree that raw log shipments from the new Port of Newport Terminal will begin this January and that logging trucks will use John Moore Road to access the port. The neighbors aren’t happy about it, but all seemed resolved to find a long term alternative access road for the logging trucks…possibly using some other access point off Highway 20.
* Newport City Councilors tonight launched a new “boot” program for those who have not paid their parking tickets. A public information campaign will be launched shortly to announce the program that if you don’t pay your traffic tickets you could have your car immobilized with a steel boot preventing you from driving your car until you pay the tickets. On top of the tickets you’ll have to pay for the boot service itself – an additional $100.
* A preliminary agreement has been struck between the Newport city administration and city employees who are not members of a union. They’ll get a 2% cost of living increase but they’ll be changing their health benefits, switching from a low deductible program to a high deductible one. They’ll also be receiving payments into their own health care “savings account.” It would take effect on January 1st. Meanwhile, three unions may negotiate final agreements with city administration on Tuesday.
* The council opened the door to Yaquina Bay Fruit Company to move their cherry processing operation from their current location near the new NOAA offices at South Beach, to a spot to the south and west of there. Yaquina Bay Fruit is exploring plans to expand their operations and add more than twice the number of workers they now have to include the sales of cherries to tourists and local residents.
* And city councilors gave the go ahead to apply for a grant that would fund a big planning push for the city center area of Newport which has been declared a diamond in the rough, with emphasis on “the rough.” One aspect would involve finding a way to take parking off 101, and providing convenient parking spots very close by. Any changes, however, are several years away, we’re told.
* And it was announced by Mayor Mark McConnell that a Portland company has asked State Parks to allow the Japanese Dock, on Agate Beach, to be towed to Portland where it would be brought to the waterfront and used as a Japanese memorial for all those who lost their lives in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. An announcement on the fate of the dock is expected tomorrow by State parks.
More on these stories overnight here on News Lincoln County.