Local News Digest – Water PUD; Wave Power; Drifting Boats and Shifting Ground

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Group seeking protection for Heceta Water District

Heceta Water District residents will likely vote in February on a proposal to convert the district to a People’s Utility District.  It’s a technical move that would protect Heceta from future encroachment by the City of Florence says one of the chief petitioners, Ron Gerber.  Under the current rules, as Florence annexes property into the city, they have the right to also take the water customers

Ron Gerber — “They can’t do that with a PUD and if enough customers are withdrawn from a district, the water district would really have to substantially raise their rates or they go out of business.”

Gerber, who is also the husband of water district commissioner Debby Todd, says they already have the 51 signatures needed to place the matter on the ballot, but they will continue to circulate petitions for the next six to eight weeks.  Gerber and other petitioners have tried to find out how much the February special election would cost.


Ron Gerber — “Well, we still don’t know the answer to that because the county’s been unable to tell us. Initially they told us we were going to have to file a $24-thousand bound and then we pointed out that yes, there could be a bond required but the people that had to post that bond were the county and all of a sudden the $24,000 bond went away.”

But, he said, a recent recall election in the district cost approximately $6,000.  If voters say yes to the PUD, that cost would be one of the first paid by the new entity.  If voters say no, Heceta Water District would bear the cost.


Vandals set boats adrift

Authorities say someone likely untied two boats in the Port of Siuslaw Commercial Marina Tuesday night.  Interim Port Manager Suzy Lacer said workers on the docks were doing a routine check yesterday morning and noticed two vessels were not in their regular slips.

Suzy Lacer – There were no cut lines, there were no ripped off cleats, so it appears that the boats were just untied and let free.”

One wound up downstream and had to be pulled away from the Siuslaw River Bridge.  The other went upstream and wound up aground just east of the marina.  Lacer said police are investigating.


Earthquake felt across wide area

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake jolted the ocean floor 140 miles west of Bandon last night at about 8:15.  The National Earthquake Information Center said there was no danger of a tsunami and there was no damage, but residents from Portland to San Francisco reported feeling it.  Geophysicist Rafael Abreu said the quake occurred at the spot where the Juan de Fuca Plate is sliding past the Pacific Plate.


Ocean Wave Power gets water quality approval

Oregon environmental regulators have put their stamp of approval on a proposal to place ten electrical generating buoys off the Central Oregon Coast.  The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality gave water quality approval to the Ocean Power Technologies project near Reedsport and Gardiner.  The company wants to install the first buoy 2 ½ miles off shore by mid next year.  Federal Energy Regulatory and Army Corps of Engineers approval is still needed.  A hearing is set for October 25th in Reedsport.