Lincoln City: Dreaming ’bout the dock of the bay, fixing an old mistake with a new pipe and Taft Halloween slides “stage north”
Whither the dock
Lincoln City resident Deborah Williams challenged the city council this week to think outside “Delake” and put some urban renewal funds into renovating part of the old dock in front of Mo’s in Taft. Williams said the city should invest in attracting more people to Taft, to enjoy the river and the beach, and to spur more tourism. If the city could fix up the dock, Mo’s could have a little clam chowder dining area in the sunshine along with other vendors that might create more interest in Taft. She said the money could come from not going ahead with new lighting in the Delake area.
However, City Manager Dave Hawker quickly pointed out that the bids have already gone out on the Delake lighting project. Others councilors joined the conversation including councilor Gary Ellingson who observed that the dock is in disrepair and that city engineers might want take a look at it. Hawker pointed out that city engineers are not structural engineers and that any such inspection would have to be done by specialists at “some” cost. Ellingson commented that it might have to be torn down. He said, “It’s a little bit like a dock to nowhere, the way it sits there, so high up the beach and out of the water at low tide.” Williams replied that creating a mini-boardwalk along part of the dock might be feasible, where it begins to jut out over the sand – before it turns left toward the east.
Hawker reminded the council that the city doesn’t have the staff to renovate the structure, so the city would have to pay a private contractor to assess the situation and then make whatever repairs are deemed prudent. He added that a better city investment lies to the west, out the end of 51st where there are some larger development opportunities that would involve adding to the town’s tax base. Perhaps something in a public-private partnership to add more commercial activity.
Mayor Dick Anderson said the dock might warrant a closer examination, and recommended it be included within a larger study of the whole area which is now underway.
And that’s where they left it.
Schooner Creek Road Water Challenge – Pay more fast or pay less slowly?
The Lincoln City Council this week decided to help a number of residents out Schooner Creek Road who have been barely hanging on to their water service – coping with a very leaky old water line that comes up the road from the Taft. The city not long ago fixed a series of leaks on that pipe that were believed responsible for leaking millions of gallons of water at some expense to the city for having to produce more treated water than it had to and for lost water capacity.
A major wrinkle in all this is that the residents out Schooner Creek don’t live in the city. They don’t even live within the city’s urban growth boundary so the city would never be allowed to annex those water customers. City Manager David Hawker said the line was run out the road long before Lincoln City was incorporated so they’ve got a sticky situation about whether to fix the pipe for customers that aren’t in the city and will likely never be in the city.
Hawker said he’s devised a plan, that the residents seem okay with. The city would put in a new line and then jack up water rates to the residents to reimburse the city for the cost of the line – roughly $55,000. Hawker said the pipe replacement could be done by city crews, but on a “when-we’ve-got-the-time” basis, meaning it might take them two to four years.
City Councilor Gary Ellingson said “With the deteriorated condition of the pipe I’m afraid that it’ll just keep breaking and leaking a lot of water. Time and materials will be wasted continuing to fix it when it should be replaced immediately.” Hawker said the city knows where the potential future leaks in the pipe are likely to be, thanks to high tech leak detection equipment the city now owns. He said “We can stay on top of it. We can go right to where any future leaks erupt and fix them quickly. But if we elect to replace the pipe immediately we’ll have to bid it out to a private contractor at a cost of over $100,000 thereby doubling the water bill surcharge the city already has in mind for the residents to pay.
Hawker went on to say that the city has plenty of water. The value to the city to replace the line is in gradually guaranteeing even more capacity when it’s done. He said he feels pretty confident the city can keep making whatever repairs may be needed and that over a two to four year period they’ll get the pipe replaced.
Ellingson said in the interest of keeping water bills down, and the expessed confidence of the city manager to keep on top of things, he can live with it. Mayor Dick Anderson reminded everyone that it’s not the city’s policy to serve water to customers outside the city limits unless they’re in areas the city can lawfully annex in the near future. However, Hawker said there is one more customer out there that may have some extenuating circumstances that may come before the council for consideration. He didn’t elaborate other than to quip, “There were a lot of loosey-goosey arrangements made out there in the ‘old days’ before Lincoln City was established.”
The council decided to have staff draw up a draft ordinance that would set the lower surcharge for the residents based on the city doing the work over a two to four year period. They’ll mail the draft to the residents and hold a public hearing to see if there is any further tweaking required. After that, the city will be on the hook for replacing the pipe within a two to four year period, and the residents will be on the hook for much higher water bills, but nothing like what they would pay if the pipe was replaced immediately.
Taft Halloween shifts a little to the north
And finally, the council was informed that the traditional Halloween haunting at the Anchor Inn will be taking a break this season. Inn owners were laboring under the pressures of an event that kept getting more and more popular, so they figured it was time to take a break. But the event was eagerly taken up by Taft Elementary School. They will open their doors on Halloween, 5-8pm, for a scary if not politely haunting experience for the little ones. However, the school says they are still looking for candy donations and volunteers to help run the Halloween exhibits. The phone number at Taft Elementary is 541-996-2136.