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Depoe Bay: City Council on 4-2 vote re-affirms no time limit on moorage placeholder boats in the harbor

Depoe Bay Harbor

Depoe Bay Harbor

Depoe Bay City Council Debating "placeholder" moorage in the harbor

Depoe Bay City Council
Debating “placeholder” moorage in the harbor

Loren Goddard Charter Skipper Harbor Commissioner Favors "Time Limit"

Loren Goddard
Charter Skipper
Harbor Commissioner
Favors “Time Limit”

The long festering issue of whether a harbor moorage customer can use a smaller placeholder boat to take the place of a larger boat that’s been pulled out for repairs came up again Tuesday evening before the Depoe Bay City Council. And once again the council voted that not only can that be done, there’s no time limit on how long it can go on.

City Councilors Barbara Leff and Dorina Goddard argued again that some time limit ought to be placed on any placeholder arrangement as an added incentive for the owner of the bigger boat to get it fixed. Otherwise, they claim, the city doesn’t really have full control of the harbor it owns.

Harbor Commissioner Loren Goddard agreed. Speaking as a private citizen, and not as a member of the commission, said “There’s probably at least 100 years of maritime experience on the Depoe Bay Harbor Commission and their recommendation was to enact a time limit. They’re not stupid. They know what they’re talking about.”

Councilor Gambino asked Clerk-Recorder Pury Murray whether a placeholder boat would need the same kind of insurance as required of the regular boat and she said yes, adding as long as the insurance is in place and the moorage rent is paid, the owner is in good standing with the city.

In previous discussions, Mayor Mattila and others have maintained that any owner of a boat in need of repair should not have to also worry about how much time it might take to repair it. Mattila said the biggest incentive is for the boat to be repaired because the owner isn’t making any money on it until it’s back in the water. Mattila himself was the object of the issue in that his main boat was pulled out of its slip to be repaired and a smaller one put in its place. After many months, some members of the council said he’d had plenty of time to get it repaired and that having a small boat in a big slip was not in the interest of the city which is supposed to maximize revenues on behalf of Depoe Bay taxpayers. They also pointed to the fact that there is a long waiting list of other boat owners wanting to get a slip in the very small marina. Mattila has since relocated his smaller boat to a transient slip.

When the vote came to consider the “no time limit” rule change, it was 4 to 2 to approve it – Councilors Gambino, Berry, Olsen, and Mayor Mattila voting yes – councilors Leff and Goddard voting no. Councilor Hoitink was not in attendance.

Under the city charter a less than unanimous vote requires another public hearing on the rule change next city council meeting which is scheduled for September 3rd. Even with Hoitink’s expected support for a time limit, if no one else changes their mind, the “no time limit” provision will again prevail, but by a vote of 4 to 3.

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Putting City Council video or just audio on the city’s website

The City Council also continued to discuss whether to put their city council meetings live on the internet, play it back on the internet the next day or just play the audio part of it, live or delayed recording, on the internet. Councilor Zeke Olsen said Coast Com is in the process of laying new fiber through the town and that the city should wait to see how that might affect the issue, along with other data implications from the installation of much higher capacity and faster internet service.

Since there is no date certain as to when that service would be hooked up and operating out of city hall, other councilors suggested that just putting the audio of the meeting on the internet might be a good “temporary” arrangement. The council instructed Clerk-Recorder Pury Murray to check with Newport City Clerk-Recorder Peggy Hawker on how to do that since Hawker has been doing it for years so Newport residents can listen in on actual city council discussions.

Videos of city council meetings in Lincoln City, Newport and Toledo are offered on city websites. Yachats, Waldport, Depoe Bay and Siletz do not.

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