DEPOE BAY – A skeptical city councilor told two government water warriors on Tuesday not to touch Depoe Bay’s unique water source.
Jerome Grant defended the city’s hold on clean-flowing Rocky Creek following a pitch to join a Lincoln County water supply consortium whose members are rapidly running out of water. Grant balked at the offer, telling self-proclaimed “passionate water professionals” how he planned to vote on the issue:
“There is no way in hell!” Grant exclaimed at the July 6 city council meeting, warning that the well-stocked town could be “at the mercy of a jealous water cartel” if it becomes an official member.
Depoe Bay’s uniquely clean drinking water is the product of a stream of hard rock two miles south of town. Even when county officials declared a drought emergency, the Depoe Bay reservoir was jam-packed, with a few wells and an abundant aquifer in reserve. “We’re in pretty good shape,” said public works chief Brady Weidner, who said there was plenty of salt-free water 130 feet below the city in the unlikely event the creek dries up.
Meanwhile, the towns of Seal Rock, Newport, Toledo and Siletz, which share the same water source, have struck a pact to combat the catastrophic low flows of the Siletz River. One of the group’s projects is to “explore alternative sources”, admitted Alexandria Scott, representative of the consortium. Union member Newport has offered to build a dam on the wildlife-rich Rocky Creek watershed to quench its growing thirst, Grant reminded the board.
Consortium spokesman Adam Denlinger accepted Grant’s comments, remarking that he was no stranger to blunt officials. Yet Oregonians use three times more water per person than Californians, he observed. The couple predicted tough conservation measures were in the works, including laundry ban orders, shearing bans, forced cuts at fish processing plants and cuts to ‘junior’ water rights – including farmers and businesses.
Raising the price of water for residents could be another solution. “I don’t understand why we don’t price water to reflect its value,” Denglinger said. “After all, this is the most essential of services.
City Councilor Fran Recht rushed to the consortium’s defense, citing the need for combined action. But all momentum to join the group stopped after she urged the water department to encourage the construction of beaver dams. “We have to maintain the beaver population,” insisted Recht, who said the animals would create new water reservoirs and fire protection for Depoe Bay.
Councilors have been considering posting “No Hunting” signs on North Creek until Weidner of Public Works said the beaver carries the waterborne parasitic protozoan, Cryptosporidium. “It kills people,” he remarked – as well as debates, apparently, since no further action has been taken on the alleged water scarcity.
In other city affairs, Representative David Gomberg has described how a “series of plagues” including armed protesters, a Covid-ravaged state budget and failing conference calls threatened to disrupt the flow of pigs to the country. House district 10. Gomberg, deputy chairman of the House money committee, claimed lawmakers were reduced to profit from marijuana and alcohol when the economy unexpectedly took off and 2 , $ 6 billion in federal aid has arrived. After 90 lawmakers fought for the windfall, Gomberg and State Senator Dick Anderson brought in $ 60 million worth of bacon, including $ 2.9 million for repairs to Depoe Bay harbor, dams for Newport and a sewage system for the port of Toledo.
“They promised me the first flush,” beamed Gomberg, although he only received a thank you card from Depoe Bay, the board later decided.