Newport Considered For Hosting Coast Guard Cutters

CutterDuring the last Port of Newport Board of commissioners meeting Port General Manager Kevin Greenwood told the commissioners that the Coast Guard is now taking a serious look at Newport as a possible location to host two of the 154-foot fast response cutter ships. They are looking to share dock space with NOAA. In addition to Newport, the Coast Guard is considering space in Astoria. The Coast Guard plans to purchase 58 of the Sentinel fast response cutters at a cost of $73 million a ship. Staffed by a crew of 24, the cutters mount a cannon and four machine guns.

These new vessels are not primarily search and rescue but more for homeland security. Commissioner Barton expressed some concerns of this changing the dynamic of Yaquina Bay. “I think it will definitely change the vibe on Yaquina Bay” Greenwood replied. “I don’t see this as a negative. Anytime that you can diversify, and one of the things I think is a real credit to Yaquina Bay and Newport is the diversity.” Greenwood said “I think having the FRC’s wouldn’t necessarily be a negative it would just be a different part of the dynamic here.”

To meet National Environmental Policy Act or NEPA requirements, the agency is requesting the Port of Newport’s input on a draft environmental assessment as part of a homeport feasibility study. Commissioners also said they needed more information before they were able to say if they could get behind the proposal or not. It felt very rushed. The Coast Guard said they would like to get input back from the selected communities by April 7th. Greenwood said this was just an opportunity to get feedback on weather or not the community and the port want to pursue moving forward from here. Greenwood said this is a much different process then what the Port went through with NOAA.

Coast Guard photo

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More Confusion Over VRD’s In Lincoln City

By Jeremy C. Ruark/ The News Guard/ jruark@countrymedia.net

lincoln city logoLINCOLN CITY-More debate and more confusion surfaced during the Lincoln City City Council meeting Monday, March 23 over a new vacation rental dwelling (VRD) ordinance that would establish zones in the northwest quadrant of Lincoln City. The Vacation Rental Zone (VR) is a city-initiated proposal to re-zone 340 tax lots totaling approximately 57.5 acres, which are now zoned Single-Family Residential (R-1-5), to a newly created comprehensive plan and zoning designation of Vacation Rental District (VR). The Vacation Rental District is a mixed-use zone that will permit the VRD use without the restriction of the existing accessory use limitation applicable to residential zones.

Confusion About Boundaries

During deliberations of the proposed VR re-zoning on March 9, the city council voted to have the number of lots significantly reduced from the proposed 340 lots suggested by Lincoln City Community Development Director Richard Townsend. But as Townsend began outlining the new map during the March 23 council meeting, he, and the councilors, expressed concerns and confusion about the boundaries. Councilor Chester Noreikis offered a new motion with new boundaries, but Councilor Susan Wahlke expressed concerns about the traffic, parking and the impact on existing homes within the new boundaries suggested by Noreikis and Councilor Wes Ryan expressed frustration with the continuing process.

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Newport Seeking Input on Possible Smoke Free Parks

Newport city hallThe Newport City Council will hold a public hearing on a recommendation from the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee to designate all city parks as “smoke-free” zones. The hearing will be held at the City Council meeting on Monday, April 6, 2015, at 6:00 P.M., in the City Council Chambers of the Newport City Hall, 169 SW Coast Highway. The recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee is to amend the existing ordinance to prohibit smoking in the interior of all parks, including picnic shelters and playgrounds.

Based on public comment received at the hearing, the City Council may direct staff to develop an ordinance or rules related to this issue. The public is encouraged to attend the public hearing on April 6, 2015 to provide comments on the recommendation to designate city parks as “smoke-free” zones. Written comments regarding the recommendation may be submitted to the City Recorder, via e-mail, at publiccomment@newportoregon.gov, or by mail, or dropped off to the City Recorder at City Hall, 169 SW Coast Highway, Newport, Oregon 97365. Written comments must be submitted by 4:00 P.M. on Monday, April 6, 2015, and will be included as a part of the record during the public hearing scheduled that evening.

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Alsea Bay Granite  through 4/13

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March 30, 2015 · 1:06 pm

Depoe Bay Easter Egg Hunt

Egg Hunt flier

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March 30, 2015 · 12:51 pm

Ballot Measure Asks $57-million For New Hospital

SPCHComing up on the May ballot in a few months voters will be asked to vote on a $57 million dollar complete replacement of the Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport. If voters approve the tax increase, the expected building replacement would be completed by the summer of 2017. Hospital staff assured that while building the new hospital and renovating of the buildings takes place hospital intake and clinic services will remain available throughout construction period.

Expected improvements would include hospital rooms will be 20% larger, imaging services will be upgraded along other high demand services will be much easier to administer. According to the hospital foundation the Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital has no room for growth and needs to be updated to current seismic, ADA and energy efficiency standards – making it safer for patients. It can’t house any additional services, making it difficult to add physicians or treatments to meet the diverse health needs of the community. Another issue is patients are experiencing long wait times and are challenged to find a new doctor.

According to the hospital the original building is more than 60 years old and the physical plant is such that new health care technologies cannot be installed, resulting in patients not receiving the most advanced care they can possibly get. The area that the hospital district covers and voters will be asked to approve the bond is along the coast from Gleneden Beach to Yachats. The $57 million being asked for is .98 cents per $1,000 increase that would mean a home valued at $150,000 the bond would equal an additional $147 annually. More information about the hospital bond can be found online at http://www.NeighborsForNewHospital.org.

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Dr. Jane Lubchenco Receives Tyler Award

Jane LubchencoJane Lubchenco, the University Distinguished Professor of Marine Biology at Oregon State University, today was named as one of two recipients of the 2015 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, a prestigious award made for leadership in conservation and sustainability policies. The award includes a gold medallion and $200,000 cash prize, which will be shared by Lubchenco and the other award recipient, Madhav Gadgil, a forestry and environmental leader at Goa University in India.

Since its inception in 1973 as one of the world’s first international environmental awards, the Tyler Prize has been the premier award for environmental science, environmental health and energy. “Drs. Lubchenco and Gadgil represent the very best in bringing high-quality science to policymaking, to protect our environment and ensure the sustainability of natural resources in their respective countries and around the world,” said Owen T. Lind, chair of the Tyler Prize executive committee.

“Both of these laureates have bridged science with cultural and economic realities – like the impact on indigenous peoples in India or fishing communities in the United States – to advance the best possible conservation policies,” Lind said. Lubchenco has served as administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and was recently named the first-ever U.S. Science Envoy for the Oceans by the U.S. Department of State. She is also a past-president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has helped launch several programs to train scientists to engage more effectively with non-scientists. Continue reading

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