The Depoe Bay City Council Tuesday night seemed in agreement that speed limits through Depoe Bay need to be lowered – down to 25 mph from the current 35 and 30 mph limits. However, ODOT, who determines and controls speed limits on Highway 101 disagrees. Even though ODOT’s traffic survey clearly shows that many drivers violate the 35 and 30 mph speed limits with impunity, it told the council that the current speed limits should remain the same. That the area’s low accident rate doesn’t justify a reduction in speed limits.
In the meantime, ODOT is exploring a city council request that the speeds of vehicles on Highway 101 through the downtown be lowered by reducing 101’s four travel lanes down to two. The council is on record as supporting that option. An ODOT engineer recently said it’s a definite possibility; simply restriping the asphalt. The council none-the-less sent a letter to ODOT again requesting that until a restriping is carried out, they want the speed limit along the town’s main street to be 25 mph.
The city council also decided to send a strong letter of protest to the Oregon Congressional Delegation complaining again about the town being told it could not conduct 3rd of July fireworks because of allegations that it disturbed protected species of birds that migrate along the Pacific Flyway. The council took note that the flyway treaty has been amended in the past and that another amendment might help Depoe Bay’s Independence Day plight. Treaty amendments can be approved only with the concurrence of the countries in North and South America that are signatory to the treaty.
The council also decided to send to the delegation copies of letters and emails received by the city from outraged citizens who could not understand why the fireworks were being cancelled. Mayor Carol Connors said each email and letter was answered with a statement that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials refused to give the town a permit to hold fireworks that they claimed were too close to sea birds protected by the treaty.
In the meantime the Depoe Bay Chamber of Commerce has announced, that as the sponsoring agency for the 3rd of July event, they are actively looking for an alternate site that the city can legally use to shoot off their fireworks which they say draws big tourist crowds that provide a major boost to Depoe Bay’s economy.