Regional solution makes the best sense

Slow down Big Creek Dam builders. An up-to-date evaluation of regional water supply options in our area before building a big, new dam in Newport makes best sense.

With serious concern for and a wish to learn more about our streams and rivers, and about the best interests of my home (which I more think of as Lincoln County versus just Newport, where I was born, or Siletz, where I now live). I’ve had conversations with key public officials, scientists and citizens throughout our region, north to south, east to west and learned a lot about our region’s water conditions, water supplies and how we might best or at least better manage them. The result of my inquiry found near consensus that it makes sense to allow for a more comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of regional options, considering the interests of all of our towns and water sources prior to building a new dam in Newport.

(As an aside, I have spoken with engineers who indicate the seismic problems at the Big Creek Reservoirs could be mitigated without the construction of a new, $70 million dam on or near the very same site.)

If Newport is successful in its campaign to build its dam, it rings a death knell for the feasibility of acquiring money for a better-thought-out, regional solution for decades to come. As the county continues to grow, our communities will become ever more dependent on working together for the common good. Hopefully we can apply history’s lesson that more responsible, less flawed solutions result from inclusive, big picture planning. While in this case that would mean (the somewhat onerous task of) involving all of Lincoln County’s water suppliers, it is the best way to serve our region’s future.

It’s time now for an unselfish, forward-thinking look at what might best serve the entire county. Slow down Newport. A regional solution makes best sense.

Penelope Kaczmarek



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