Depoe Bay City Council: Territorial Plan update, saying “No” to a job trailer on a city street, finishing up the tsunami sirens, reviewing a new tsunami zone map, completing Dock 1, and filling some committee vacancies.
The Depoe Bay City Council was told Tuesday night that at least five years of planning to accommodate offshore wave energy generators is coming to a head later this month before the state Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC). Recommendations as to where the devices should be placed within the state’s 3 mile territorial limit are all over the map depending on whose recommended sites are approved by LCDC. One group, the Ocean Policy Advisory Council that has been characterized as working most closely with the public and the fishing community, has recommended sites off Camp Rilea in Clatsop County, off Reedsport and also Lakeside. OPAC also recommended that sites off Pacific City in Tillamook County be dropped.
Another group, the Territorial Sea Planning Advisory Committee, with heavy membership from the wave energy industry, recommends a larger number of sites but in no particular order. And then there’s the LCDC staff itself, which has been reported to be recommending that the Pacific City site in Tillamook County be added back into the mix.
Decision day is said to be coming up January 24th at LCDC in Salem. OPAC and TSPAC member David Allen told the council that two days before that meeting an LCDC hearings officer will accept public testimony on the plan at the Newport Public Library January 22nd, 4 – 7pm. Any and all public opinion and comments can be given at that time. Questions on the plan are also welcome.
As stated in earlier stories, although the Territorial Sea Plan (for wave energy) will likely be adopted on January 24th, it doesn’t mean that wave energy devices are going to start showing up along the Oregon Coast anytime soon. Many who have followed the process for a number of years contend that all wave energy devices will have to meet strict criteria to ensure that Oregon’s commercial and recreational fishing industries are not unreasonably impacted, that scenic values are preserved and that the energy devices must be financially feasible to operate. Current devices produce only very expensive power which, according to many experts, will require heavy taxpayer subsidies which may not be as readily forthcoming as they have been with wind energy generators. Reports from the East Coast indicate that federal subsidies for some wind turbine operations are now just year-to-year which doesn’t make venture capitalists and other investment groups comfortable about the long term future of wind energy as a viable and affordable source of renewable power.
The city council turned down a request from a home building contractor that he be allowed to place a security guard trailer and building materials storage facility on a street in front of a home he is building at the end of Elsie Street. The contractor complained that he has lost tools and building materials to burglars and vandals who go through the construction site after dark. He said if he could place a small trailer in front of the home on the street he could stop his losses.
However, Councilor Barbara Leff told the contractor that by allowing him to use a public street for a private purpose it would set a precedent for future contractors who may want to use a city street for similar purposes. Other councilors suggested he place his trailer on the property itself, or on adjacent property that the homeowner also owns, but the contractor claimed that neither option would work due to steep grades and the high cost of contouring the land for such a short term use. The council voted the request down.
Public Works Director Terry Owings told the council that things are progressing well on the installation of the town’s five new tsunami warning sirens. The sirens, on sites running from near WorldMark south to Little Whale Cove, will be installed this week and that they will be vigorously tested sometime next month. It was mentioned that the testing signal should not be a blaring siren but rather something more pleasant, like songs made by passing whales. That got a unanimous thumbs-up from the council. It was also mentioned that since the tsunami sirens were heavily lobbied for by Spouting Horn Restaurant owner Betty Taunton, Betty should be the guest of honor at a ceremony when the sirens are officially put into service. Again, siren testing occurs sometime next month.
It’s been nearly two years since the March 2011 Japanese Earthquake sent a tsunami east toward the U.S. and obliterated Dock 1 inside Depoe Bay Harbor. But the dock is finally being rebuilt.
The tsunami arrived on the morning of March 11th, 2011 at Depoe Bay, and at other harbors up and down the Oregon and California coasts. In Depoe Bay, fast inrushing waters hammered Dock 1 and smashed it to pieces. Although city staff knew the town could qualify for a federal emergency repair grant from FEMA, they didn’t think they could get the dock re-designed, all the permits lined up from various agencies and the money in hand to do it in time to begin construction the following fall.
And they were right. From March through the end of the year, city staff set about trying to meet all the requirements and win the grant. But they missed the “in water” work window that runs from late November to the middle of February (so they don’t disturb migrating fish) and so they were forced to look ahead to the winter of 2012-13 to get the work done.
And that’s what they did. They’ve been working on it since last November and figure they’ll get all the “in water” work done on time and then continue to work on the dock “above water” through early May. Not only will Depoe Bay Harbor have a new Dock 1, it’ll sport new finger piers, according to Owings.
City Clerk Recorder Pury Murray informed the council that the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries will soon be issuing the latest update on a tsunami inundation zone map for Depoe Bay. Murray says it will show a slight increase in the amount of land that can be expected to be covered by the rising waters of a tsunami, either from the Cascadia Subduction Zone just off the Oregon Coast or from distant earthquakes generated in Alaska, the Far East or South America. Murray updated the council on what are preferred gathering areas for those who flee to higher ground. They are the Little Whale Cove Recreation Center, the parking lot at Neighbors For Kids, the east end of Collins Street, uphill on Lane Street and uphill on Lillian Lane. Murray told the council that it was recommended that a previously listed gathering area be dropped – up School House to Indian Trail to Douglas. By a unanimous vote the council dropped it and formally approved the others.
And finally the city council managed to fill some vacancies on important city advisory committees. Tuesday night they appointed Jerome Grant to the Depoe Bay Harbor Commission, Position 5. Loren Goddard was also appointed to the Harbor Commission, Position 6.
For Depoe Bay Planning Commission, they appointed Bob Blessinger to Position 2.
For city Parks Commission Position 3, the council appointed Debby Meatz, Verla “Maggie” Thomas Position 4, Claydyn Bond Position 6, and Robert Hickerson Position 7.
Pogo Robison was appointed to Position 2 on the Salmon Enhancement Committee and Ron Gilliam and Dennius Bachman were both appointed to the Traffic Safety Committee, Positions 1 and 5, respectively.