Depoe Bay: Punt back to the Chamber, easier way for CG Aux. Safety Booth, Bike/Ped south of bridge project funded, and re-thinking the city park bridge
The Depoe Bay City Council came close to writing the town’s Chamber of Commerce an annual check for $4,999 Tuesday night but they didn’t quite get across the threshold. Several council members wanted not only a greater understanding of how past advertising funds were spent on behalf of the city but also what specific advertising strategies seem to work best. The council said they would like the chamber to report back to them with some answers.
Councilor Barbara Leff reasoned that other ‘advertising placement agencies’ provide their clients with such feedback and that the city council (not to mention the taxpayers) should be afforded the same information. Other suggestions that included “What is the chamber doing to increase membership,” “What new special events are they contemplating,” “How is the chamber planning to play a more prominent role in local economic development,” “We need to see the chamber’s financials,” were all advanced by other councilors. It’s not clear which questions might actually wind up in front of the chamber board – but it was agreed that the advertising “performance indicators” are the most important. In the end it was decided that staff will relay the council’s questions to the chamber, elicit a response and then re-visit the issue again during the city council’s second meeting in October. There doesn’t seem to be any threat to the chamber’s acquiring the $5,000 – $1.00 contract to handle Depoe Bay’s tourism promoting advertising. The council just wants some accountability strings attached. By the way by keeping a contract amount under $5,000 – in this case $4,999, the city dodges, by one dollar, the amount that triggers a “go to bid” procedure, mandated by state law, for any contracted service. The council says they want the chamber to handle the job because they’re a hometown agency and is easily contacted.
Coast Guard Auxiliary Safety Booth
The council talked more about the Depoe Bay Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Safety Booth, to be positioned right off the boat ramp in the harbor. It’s to be staffed by friendly auxiliary volunteers who remind boaters how to set sail or motor out onto the ocean and then return safely back to port.
There was an issue of whether the booth should be a little more than as first envisioned – by adding electrical service to it. The suggestion instantly challenged the belief that the booth should only be in the boat ramp area during the tourist season. If electrical power is added, it would require the booth have a permanent foundation under it and code approved electrical wiring. A permanent set up with a lot of additional expense to go with it.
It was obvious that the council wanted to punt and city Public Works Supervisor Brady Weidner was only too happy to provide them the ball. Weidner said there would be too much extra expense, as well as spatial concerns, with having a year round safety booth down by the ramp. He said if the auxiliary wants electricity, then they might affix a solar panel on the roof to make it happen. Weidner said the safety booth contemplated would be easily transported at the beginning and end of each tourist season by using a city front loader. He said he’ll find a good place to store it for the winter.
“We’ll take it ‘as is!’ Council: “Oh no you won’t!”
The council received a letter from Living Pacific, LLC which wants to rent the old and decaying fish processing plant at the southwest corner of the harbor. In his letter to the council, Jerome Grant said he would rent the facility as is and make sure that the area they work in is safe. Grant even offered to indemnify the city for anything that might go wrong or if anyone’s hurt.
City Clerk Recorder Pery Murray informed the council that on advice of the city attorney, no such arrangement be allowed due to exposure to legal repercussions. Grant, in his letter, offered to hold the city harmless for anything bad that happened and that he was anxious to get the old fish plant ready for the upcoming crabbing season.
But Murray was adamant that the city attorney was very clear as to what the council shouldn’t do – in this case rent the property before it’s brought back up into compliance with the building code.
Mayor Matilla asked Murry to send Mr. Grant a letter to that effect. The city is in the process of getting engineering drawings as to what needs to be done to rehabilitate the building to the point it can be rented or leased. Then when the city figures out how the city will pay that bill they’ll be open to receiving bids from interested parties who want to fire-up the old fish plant.
Making Depoe Bay safe for bicyclists and pedestrians
The council got some welcome news on the town’s hopes for sidewalks south of the bridge, along with bike lanes and landscaping. The town qualified for a huge grant that will allow the project to move forward starting in 2015. The nearly $700,000 project will improve the look and functionality of areas from the south end of the bridge down to School House Drive.
The development, which is expected to be built in 2015, will provide bicyclists, pedestrians and others not in cars, greater safety when traveling south of the Depoe Bay Bridge. There will be new sidewalks, crosswalks, landscaping and other amenities that will make it nicer to be a bicyclist or walker in such spectacular natural surroundings.
Replacing the old walking bridge in the city park.
And finally, the council decided to move ahead with a smaller version of the footbridge that crosses the creek in the City Park. Initially the council wanted a bigger, tougher and wider bridge that could handle truck traffic in the event of a disaster or nasty earthquake. But when the engineer’s estimates of a much stronger bridge came in, it was priced well beyond the reach of the city. So the council decided to kick the project back to the engineer asking him to come up with an 8′ wide galvanized foot bridge for an affordable price. We’ll know more about it sometime next month.