A group calling itself the Oregon Coast Alliance, which includes The Landing @ Newport Condominium Association, Nancy Smock and others, have filed an appeal with the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) over Newport’s approval of the use of Moore Road as a road for log trucks to use to travel from Highway 20 to the new International Terminal on Yaquina Bay, just 1/3 mile east of the Embarcadero Resort. The road was used heavily in the 1980s and 90s by log trucks which unloaded their cargo at the then International Terminal for shipment overseas.
Neighbors and the Landing @ Newport contend, through their environmental specialist attorney Sean Malone of Eugene, that the Newport City Council’s approval of a traffic impact analysis was flawed and did not take full accounting of the noise and safety concerns that many log truck trips a day pose to local traffic and to the neighborhood that has grown up around Moore Road in the last 10 to 15 years. Malone’s filing of a notice to appeal the city’s certification of the impact analysis did not provide any major details of the appeal – only that the intent to appeal is recorded in Newport and at LUBA in Salem.
Once the opponents and the city have filed copies of their versions of the public record dealing with the impact report, LUBA will begin studying those records to determine if any aspect of the approval process was flawed. Under LUBA rules, their hearing is a review of the public record – no new testimony is allowed to be given. However, LUBA does have the discretion to view the proposal with fresh eyes to determine if the Newport City Council overlooked a major aspect of the project that might need to be re-examined. At that point LUBA could simply refer the issue back to the city council and have them go back through the process again with an eye to whatever subject matter was either omitted or only partially dealt with.
Once LUBA has received each side’s submittals it generally has 77 days to render a decision. Those documents are expected to be in LUBA’s hands within a couple of weeks.
If either side doesn’t like the LUBA decision, they can appeal LUBA’s ruling to the State Court of Appeals. If they don’t like the decision they get from the appeals court, they can appeal to the State Supreme Court.
During the back and forth between the two sides over the past few months, the issue has been that the neighbors, who arrived after the end of the last log truck era of the 1980s and 90s, don’t want those log trucks to return, even though the Port needs the income to pay off a $16 million dollar bond which paid for the reconstruction of the International Terminal. The taxpayers are on the hook for all of it. The port promised to pay it off with income derived from port activities. Port Manager Don Mann says log shipments will enable the port to begin doing that. However, the neighbors claim that the port should explore other ways to make money with the terminal to which Port Manager Don Mann has replied, “We are.”
The following is the 2006 voter pamphlet description of the International Terminal Project:
This measure would fund reconstruction and environmental clean-up of the Port of Newport’s marine terminal, with an estimated rate of
58¢ per $1,000 of assessed value. The owner of a property assessed at $100,000 is estimated to pay $58.00 per year. One of two deep draft harbors on the Oregon Coast, it is the statutory mission of the Port of Newport to provide infrastructure, facilities and economic development that support business, industry, and economic vitality of the community. Both the environmental remediation and the dock rebuild included in this project are consistent with this mission.
Protecting the environment and enhancing the economic value of Yaquina Bay and the harbor is a major public policy goal of the Port
of Newport. For that reason, the Board of Commissioners placed the measure on the ballot to seek voter approval to fund a Marine
Terminal Rebuilding Project that is intended to protect the environment, enhance the economy, create jobs, and to assist in securing
ongoing federal funding for channel maintenance. The measure would fully fund the rebuilding of the Port’s International Terminal, including a deep draft ship berth, a barge and heavy work dock used by the commercial ﬁshing ﬂeet, removal of hazardous substances existing within the structure, and restore the publicly-owned Marine Terminal to diversiﬁed economic productivity.
The deep-draft cargo dock has been closed for ﬁve years due to safety risk. The nearly 60-year-old deep draft cargo dock has deteriorated to the extent that a 60-foot wide gap has developed between the dock area and the shoreline. The unsafe condition and the lack of usability
would be addressed by the reconstruction project. Newport also is home to other substantial commercial marine industries like the ﬁshing industry. Newport’s distant water ﬂeet and other local commercial ﬁshing vessels currently are the primary users of the terminal’s heavy work dock.
The project would rebuild the dock, creating a barge berth and a vessel maintenance and gear-loading facility for the ﬂeet. The Port is responsible for removing liabilities to the community and the environment at its facilities in addition to providing economic development and jobs. The project would remove contaminated material and ﬂuids that exist within the hull that forms the marine terminal cargo dock structure.
Components included in the reconstruction project are: Final design and engineering; Replacement of two Marine Terminal Docks; Site
and facility remediation; ﬁxed hoist installation; Utilities and infrastructure to service vessels; Mooring dolphins and fender system.
A market analysis and plan to increase activity and revenue from restored facilities will be conducted concurrent but separate from the bond issue proceeds.
The Port of Newport believes that removing the environmental and safety hazards, updating and rebuilding valuable marine facilities, and actively recruiting or marketing desirable new business opportunities for the new facilities fulﬁlls its statutory mission and is in the
best interest of the citizens of the Port District. The total amount of the bonds is not to exceed $15,452,000 and will be paid over a period of thirty years or less.