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County Commissioners Debate VRD/STR issues…again.

Oregon Coast VRD
Archive photo

The Lincoln County Commission this week tried to again wrap their arms around how to accommodate visitors to the coast who want to temporarily move into vacation homes, or “short term rentals” (STRs) as they’re increasingly being referred to.

And with the growth of STRs comes a lot more people to the coast causing disruptions to the peace and quiet of already established coastal neighborhoods. County Commissioners got a dose of game-changing methods of gauging the pro’s and con’s of changing residential environments.  Year round neighbors are more and more loudly complaining about the growth of STRs in terms of noise, garbage and parking.

County Commissioners this week appeared to see their way forward to allow STRs but with a “cap,” or  “limits” to STRs in any given area.  The commissioners also discussed a “cap” on each STR as to the number of persons allowed to visit or stay overnight in STRs…the idea being that STRs should have adequate parking without lining both sides of the street – and in some instances blocking the driveways of year round residents.

Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital

Another aspect to the problem of over-crowded STRs is the fact many of them are on septic-systems.  The Commissioners acknowledged that small crowds of people stay in the STRs causing overloaded septic tanks and septic fields that can, and frequently do, cause noxious odors far beyond their property lines.  A county septic system inspector told the commissioners that septic tanks and septic fields work well when there is a low-even-levels of septic waste that can be treated in the septic fields.  But when overloaded due to crowded weekend STR occupancies, it stinks up the neighborhood and systems have to be pumped out because the systems are largely sized for single family homes – not for 10 to 15 people in a house at the same time.  At the end of the discussion the Commissioners said if STRs are used by a small number of visitors the system can work properly.  But not when it becomes what amounts to a college frat house – which happens a lot.  

The Commissioners re-iterated their opinions about caps on the number of STRs as well as caps on the number of people allowed to use any single STR.  Commissioners referred the issue back to County Counsel to evaluate methods to keep a better handle on STRs.  There appears to be quite a few STRs being treated like hotels to the detriment of their neighbors.  We’ll see what County Counsel Wayne Belmont and his staff come up with.


Newport Chamber of Commerce Holds Online Auction

Newport Chamber of Commerce

Newport, OR –  The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce will be holding their annual spring auction online this year. The auction will include over 100 packages of valuable items, and a special “wine weekend” where registered guests can bid on specialty wines from the 2021 Seafood & Wine Festival. The auction will be held May 10-16 and is presented by Ripley’s World of Adventure.

The theme for the online auction is “Spring Flings and Auction Things.” Items up for bid will include quality wine from the Seafood & Wine Festival, gift baskets from Newport Fishermen’s Wives, Oceana Natural Foods, Oregon Coast Aquarium, and others; stays at the Landing at Newport, Best Western Plus Agate Beach Inn, Sweet Homes Vacation Getaways, and The Whaler; gift certificates from the Newport School of Artistic Movement, Agate Beach Golf Course, JC Market Newport, Grocery Outlet and Rogue Ales; and many more valued items. There will also be a couple exciting mystery packages revealed during the week, so participants are encouraged to check back throughout the auction.

The auction link to register for the event will be available (www.32auctions.com/springthings) from Monday, May 10 at noon through Sunday, May 16 at noon.

All sponsorship and monies raised through the auction will directly benefit the Newport Chamber’s initiatives to continue providing professional assistance, programs, resources, and advocacy to our Chamber businesses and community. The Chamber wishes to recognize all the auction donors, sponsors, auction committee, and volunteers for their support. 

Many thanks to the auction sponsors to date:

Iris Presenting Sponsor – 

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! World of Adventure

Daffodil Sponsors

Bateman Funeral Home

US Bank–Thompson’s Sanitary Service

TLC, A Division of Fibre Federal Credit Union

Tulip Sponsors

NextHome Picket Fence Realty

Farmers Insurance, Susan Beck

Newport Grocery Outlet


Still talking airplane crash at the beach – also major commercial development at the Newport Airport and… a horse doesn’t belong in a tightly packed neighborhood

Newport City Hall

The Newport City Council got off to a prickly start Monday night – callers on the phone chastising Mayor Dean Sawyer for being behind the wheel of his single engine private aircraft and who barely managed to crash land it on the Newport beach just north of the jetties last year.  A woman and her young son who wanted to go flying over large groups of whales around Depoe Bay were having a wonderful time – that is until Mayor Sawyer’s plane started losing power.  The Mayor managed to get them back to Newport, but not quite to the Newport Airport.  Mayor Sawyer fought with his controls and managed to belly-flop his plane on the beach without anyone around, just north of the jetties.  The mother was badly injured but her son and Mayor Sawyer were not seriously hurt.

Months later a settlement between Mayor Sawyer and his passenger family seemed  to write the last chapter in the ordeal.  But the Federal Aviation Administration had the final word.  They claimed that Sawyer had not properly maintained his plane by not having it inspected according to FAA regulations.  FAA inspectors also pointed out that Mayor Sawyer failed to be consistently tested for medical fitness as part of his qualifications to be a pilot.

Getting back to the city council meeting, the callers called for Mayor Sawyer’s removal not only from the position of mayor but also from the council itself.  City councilors were quickly reminded that city ordinances do not allow city councilors to kick anyone off the council.  Only the voters have that power, according to City Manager Spencer Nebel.  We’ll just have to wait and see whether enough citizen voters are willing to vote Sawyer out of office or if the whole incident will blow over.

The City Council then turned their attention to something a bit lighter.  The city council was told by Newport Airport officials that a developer wants to take over ten acres at the south end of the Newport Airport for construction of light industrial and possibly even regular retail businesses.  The council appeared very interested in the plans and very pleased with the likelihood of expanding Newport’s overall distribution/or manufacturing operations that just might be under construction within a few months.  Final plans are a ways “out there” but the developer and airport staff sounded very optimistic about the project.

A Newport woman who owns a very old horse pleaded with the city council to allow her aging animal to remain at her home above the Bayfront.  Realizing a troublesome situation when they saw one – one that is not allowed under city codes – the council expressed their understanding but no willingness to break city laws.  In short, large farm animals don’t belong in the middle of city neighborhoods.  The horse owner pleaded with the council promising to eventually move her horse to a more suitable location.  The city council voted to remove the animal from the owners back yard but with no specific date in mind.  They’ll negotiate the date with the owner of the horse which had recently been treated for a medical issue.

And the City Council voted to upgrade their dialog with Newport residents.  The councilors agreed with City Manager Spencer Nebel that if the Covid-19 pandemic is any indicator it’s probably not a good idea to continue to expect that everyone will be cooped up in a room with the city councilors during a virus panemic.  The conversation quickly included setting up public gathering places either at City Hall or at some other Newport location where city officials and regular citizens can converse constructively via internet video-networking to find constructive solutions to city challenges.  There was a lot of support for conducting City Hall business from near and far via the internet.  The council agreed that a new system of dialog between city councilors and the citizens of Newport is on the horizon.



Newport’s Blessing of the Fleet coming up

Blessing of the Fleet coming up in Yaquina Bay!

On Saturday, May 15th at 11:30am Newport Fishermen’s wives will again be sponsoring a strong tradition in Newport’s fishing community called the Blessing of the Fleet. The Blessing is a community ceremony honoring local fishermen and their families. The Blessing is open to any and all who wish to ask blessings on their fishing vessel, charter vessel, pleasure craft, or research vessel. The Blessing of the Fleet began as an old-world Sicilian custom emphasizing faith and perseverance – qualities that have long fueled those who go to sea to earn their living.

Since the 1950’s Newport’s Blessing of the Fleet has continued the custom of asking for prayers for protection at sea, bountiful catches, and peace of mind for the families at home.  The Blessing begins May 15th at 10:00am with a Memorial Service at the Fishermen’s Memorial Sanctuary at Yaquina Bay State Park. This service is meant to offer support and encouragement to the families and community while remembering Lincoln County fishermen lost at sea.

Following the Blessing they will start the Boat Procession and Bless the Fleet.  This takes place in the harbor and can be viewed from most locations on the Newport Bayfront. The boat parade gets underway at 11:30 am from the area near the Port’s International Terminal. The USCG Search & Rescue Helicopter (if available) and the motor lifeboats of Station Yaquina Bay will signal the start of the parade.

All vessels will follow the lead vessel from the International Terminal heading west, turning just in front of the bridge before heading east to pass in front of the Coast Guard motor lifeboat where local ministers will bless each vessel. Vessel registration forms are also located at England and Schiewe Marine Supply on the Newport Bay Front. People can listen to the blessing as it is broadcast live on KNPT 1310 on the AM dial.

Fishermen’s Wives will end the special day with a BBQ hosted by Fishermen’s Wives at the Port of Newport parking lot at 1:30pm. They will be serving food and giving out “2021 Blessing of the Fleet” t-shirts and some comfortable cloth masks provided by the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission.  

Everyone is looking forward to taking this time to re-engage the Newport community and give thanks for all of the support the fishing industry has received throughout the years. This lunch, shirts and masks will be free of charge and is open to everyone in our community. It will take place at the Port of Newport, by the work dock. First come, first serve.  It is hard to estimate the crowd this year, so we will be serving food until it runs out. The same goes for our free shirts and masks.

Samaritan Pacific Hospital

Sadly, Fishermens’ Wives had to make the tough choices to postpone a couple of their events until after they got through this pandemic. They won’t be having their Highliner Competition and Survival Suit races but they are doing everything they can to make this a safe and fun event for everyone despite these weird times we are in.

See you there, and Thank You!

Taunette Dixon, Fishermen’s Wives

COVID-19 vaccination clinics open and free for walk-ins

Samaritan Hospitals in Lincoln County are giving away vaccinations….

LINCOLN, BENTON and LINN Counties in Oregon starting May 3rd.

COVID-19 vaccinations are available and free to everyone age 16 and older, regardless of citizenship status. To help ensure even more people in our communities get vaccinated, Samaritan Health Services, along with our county public health partners, have opened many of the community vaccine clinics to walk-ins – no appointment needed.

For more information visit samhealth.org/GetTheVaccine or call 855-441-2311.

Appointments are available, but walk-ins are welcome, and everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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