Depoe Bay: Holding down the noise, proper fish carcass disposal, still trying to lower the speed limit, get a flag up, and get the sirens going.
Keeping the noise down at evening events at the Depoe Bay Community Center, at local watering holes and generally around town was front and center before the city council Tuesday evening.
But rather than write a new city ordinance that goes into great detail about what loudness level constitutes “noise,” the council decided to use a model noise ordinance offered by the Oregon League of Cities as a starting point. The council told staff to include specific provisions of the League of Cities ordinance that they believe most closely meets the needs of Depoe Bay. Once staff develops the draft ordinance they’ll bring it back to the city council for review. Once the ordinance is tentatively approved by the council, then city staff will send it to the city attorney for the final touches. After that the council will re-review it and likely formally approve it, making it part of city law. The whole process will likely take around six weeks to complete according to City Clerk Recorder Pury Murray.
The council also clarified what is allowed, restricted and banned in Depoe Bay Harbor. Everything from moorages, fuel availability and pumping, to how fishers dispose of what’s left over after fish are filleted. Since a significant portion of harbor improvements came from the Oregon State Marine Board, the sticky issue of how to properly dispose of fish carcasses came up. Not long ago, an unnamed charter boat captain took a big load of fish carcasses and dumped them in a harbor dumpster where they proceeded to sit and stink up the place. The marine board specifies that only recreational fishers are allowed to dispose of carcasses in those dumpsters – not charter boat captains or commercial fishers. However, it was pointed out that it would be a good idea to confirm those assumptions with the state marine board. And so they postponed further action until they found out what’s what with the regulations. The council also pondered whether to acquire a large fish carcass grinder to reduce the volume of fish waste. However, they were told that such machines are quite pricey.
The city council also decided to challenge ODOT’s decision to leave the speed limit through the downtown at 30 mph. The council wants it lowered to 25 due to summer congestion and many pedestrian “near misses” from speeding traffic. The council’s appeal will be taken to the ODOT appeals board in Salem sometime in October. The city has already convinced ODOT to consider narrowing the highway through the downtown to 3 lanes instead of the current four; one lane north, one lane south, and a center turn lane, all with an eye to slowing down traffic.
And Mayor Carol Connors expressed her frustration that Depoe Bay City Hall cannot join other communities around Oregon when Governor Kitzhaber orders government flags to be lowered to half-staff. It’s because Depoe Bay City Hall doesn’t have a flag pole. It was removed just before the recent repaving around city hall. Mayor Connors said “I don’t care if you have to take the flag from inside the council chambers and stick it temporarily outside. It really bothers me that we don’t have a flag.” City Clerk Recorder Pury Murray said that public works staff has been very busy with other projects and just hasn’t had the time. Murray said staff will, however, move the flag pole project higher up the priority list.
And city staff announced to the council that work is now beginning on the installation of five tsunami warning sirens, running from one end of Depoe Bay to the other. The installation is expected to be completed by mid-November, with their first test set for sometime in December. The sirens can also be used as a city-wide public address system during a tsunami event as well as for other emergencies.