WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY


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Although “Annexed,” maintaining Logan Road in Roads End is still unsettled – also unsettled, how to deal with septic tank pollution to Devils Lake

Lincoln City City Council and Lincoln County Commission, Wednesday

Lincoln City City Council and Lincoln County Commission, Wednesday

Logan Road in Roads End

Logan Road in Roads End

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Although Lincoln City recently annexed the Roads End area into the city limits, there are several court challenges getting in the way of the city actually maintaining Logan Road – the main drag in Roads End.

Although the Land Use Board of Appeals ruled that Lincoln City did a right and proper job of annexing Roads End, some Roads End neighbors don’t agree. And they have filed three separate challenges to that LUBA Board ruling. One set of objections was filed in the regular county circuit court, and another set with the State Court of Appeals in Salem. In both instances the residents want the county court and the state court of appeals to find that the city did not follow proper procedures in annexing Roads End. City Manager David Hawker told a joint meeting of the Lincoln City City Council and the Lincoln County Commission that the city can’t begin expensive maintenance of Logan Road until all the appeals have been ruled on, some of which may go all the way up to the State Supreme Court.

Typically local county circuit courts don’t get involved with these kinds of land use disputes because that’s what the Land Conservation and Development (LCD) statutes address. The LCD process provides a fast track for a decision right up to and including Supreme Court review. LUBA, Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court are all well versed on Oregon land use law which is very complicated and which has created a lot of case law.

At any rate, maintenance on Logan Road is in limbo. It used to be the county’s responsibility, but again the city wants to ensure the legal challenges have all been dealt with before it actually sends maintenance crews into the Roads End area. Hawker said Lincoln City Police are already patrolling the streets of Roads End as they would any other street in Lincoln City.

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East Devils Lake Road Flooding

The council and the county commission briefly discussed what efforts are underway to fix the flooding over East Devil’s Lake Road at the south end. County Public Works Director Jim Buisman said that the preferred option is to raise the road and erect new bridges. Buisman said the project would cost around $4.5 million, money the county doesn’t have. He said his department and others are scrounging for grant money, but so far, they haven’t been successful. In the meantime, Buisman says they’ll try a series of asphalt overlays to raise the elevation of the road a few inches. However, such a fix is only temporary because without doing the job right, the roadbed will continue to subside thereby negating the elevation of the added layers of pavement. But it might work for a while as they try to find the money for a longer lasting fix.

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Devils Lake Septic Tank Inspections

Lincoln City City Manager David Hawker reported to the commissioners that the city is about to launch a Devils Lake Septic Inspection program to determine which homes’ septic tanks within the city limits are polluting the lake through groundwater contamination. Hawker said the city is grappling with how the procedure should play out. A simple dye test usually does the trick. However Hawker said the city is very sensitive to the fact that some homeowners can’t afford to replace their septic systems if they’re found to be contributing to the pollution of the lake. Hawker said they’re going to focus first on homes that are closest to the lake and which use a large amount of water. That, he said, should give them a fairly clear idea about what’s going on.

Hawker also appealed to the county commissioners to be partners in the long process to replace many old, if not ancient septic systems around the lake, both within the city limits as well as in the county area. Commissioners pledged their support for the program acknowledging that decades of allowing septics around a recreational lake was probably not the best option but that the situation is what it is, and it’s time to start studying the situation. Replacing septics is one option. However, the city would prefer Devils Lake homeowners hook up to city sewer. Hawker said he hopes homeowners will cooperate and allow the inspections. He said the city does not want – repeat – does NOT want to turn off homeowners’ water in order to force compliance with the test requirement. Hawker says the city is bound by state law to prevent pollution to state waterways, of which Devils Lake is one. He said it may take a number of years to reduce lake pollution, but that it’s something the city is legally required to do. Hawker told the commissioners that the city’s fledgling inspection program within the city limits, on the west side of the lake, will yield a lot of test results which will then be passed along to the county for its review. Two-thirds of the septic tanks around Devils Lake lie within the county’s jurisdiction, just outside the city limits.

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Highway 20 – Newport to Corvallis

County Commissioner Doug Hunt said that during an ODOT Commission meeting in Salem Wednesday, it was announced that the timeline for completing the Highway 20 project remains on schedule. He said drain fields are emptying two million gallons of water a day out of the hills along the highway route in certain areas. He said once the water data is tabulated and collected, construction crews will know many massive clips will be installed at the base of the hillsides so they don’t slide – especially in the rainy winter months. Hunt said the new highway upgrade is scheduled to be open to the public sometime in 2016.

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