Local News: LUBA Remands Dunes City Septic Ordinance; Japanese Dock Stripped of Life; O’Mara Named Mapleton Superintendent; Siuslaw Pride

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Land Use Board of Appeals Says Dunes City Ordinance Needs More Work

A state panel says the Dunes City Council made some procedural errors last fall when it voted to repeal a controversial septic tank inspection ordinance.  In its place, the council voted to enact an ordinance that required the city to provide ongoing education to residents about how best to maintain a septic system.

The Land Use Board of Appeals said Dunes City should have had the educational program ready to go as soon as the change was made instead of waiting up to a year.  LUBA remanded the November 10th, 2011 decision back to the Dunes City Council in a decision released this week.

Dunes City Recorder Fred Hilden said the council reached a consensus on the education program earlier this spring, but had not yet taken formal action.    He said the result of the LUBA decision is that the original inspection ordinance is still in effect.  He said the matter will be on the Dunes City Council agenda next Thursday evening.

Fish and Wildlife Officials fear invasive species may have hitchiked from the Western Pacific on a dock that was cast adrift after the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. (Oregon Parks and Recreation photo)

Unwanted Hitchhikers Eliminated from Japanese Dock

About a dozen Fish and Wildlife staff members and volunteers worked quickly yesterday morning to remove marine organisms from a boxcar-sized piece of dock that washed up on the beach a mile north of Newport earlier this week.   The dock had spent the past 15 months adrift in the Pacific after being washed to sea following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Chris Havel with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said biologists identified several different species of mollusks, algae and vegetation that are not native to the Pacific Northwest and are considered invasive.  Workers scraped the 66-foot long, 7-foot high dock clean yesterday during low tide, then buried the debris in a giant hole well above the high water line.  They finished the project with a torch to kill any remaining life forms.

Officials have still not decided what to do with the dock, saying it’s a hazard if left on the beach. It would either be towed off the beach and taken to a location to be disposed of… or a contractor might disassemble it on the beach and haul it off.

O’Mara Named Mapleton Superintendent

The Mapleton Sailors will have a new admiral next month.  Jodi O’Mara is expected to take over as Superintendent beginning July 1st.  She’ll replace Kyle Tucker who is leaving for a position with the South Lane School District in Cottage Grove.  O’Mara was one of two finalists interviewed by the school board Tuesday night.  She is currently Principal of Blossom Gulch Elementary School in Coos Bay.  She confirmed yesterday that she had been offered the position and had accepted.  Contract language is still under negotiation.

Siuslaw Pride on Display

Several Florence businesses answered the call to display their Siuslaw “Pride” this week in preparation for this evening’s graduation ceremonies at the high school.  Businesses were invited to decorate their establishments with the school colors… Blue and Gold… to honor the 100-or-so seniors that will receive their diplomas this evening.  A committee of judges visited all of the businesses and determined the top two… Oregon Pacific Bank and Potters Tire and Automotive.  Commencement exercises are set for eight this evening at the high school.