As we prepare to close the door on 2019, we at the News-Times have taken a look back at the stories we covered over the past 12 months. A list of some of those top stories, along with a few photos from the past year, are included in this edition.
It’s always interesting to take a look back at the issues and events our reporters have covered. When looking over a whole year at once, it always amazes us how much has taken place, from the good to the bad, and everything in between.
The year got off to a pretty rough start for Lincoln County when the F/V Mary B II capsized while trying to enter Yaquina Bay on Jan. 8. Three fishermen lost the lives in that tragedy.
Also related to the fishing industry was a bill proposed by an Oregon legislator that called for the state to take over operations of the Port of Newport, with five commissioners appointed by the governor. That bill failed to gain traction, but there have been rumors that we haven’t seen the last of that idea.
The new Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport opened its doors in late January, and construction continued on a new building for Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital in Lincoln City, which is projected to open in early 2020.
In early March, the governing boards of the Depoe Bay and North Lincoln Fire & Rescue districts voted to consolidate. The process will likely take quite some time to complete, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see other public safety agencies consider similar moves in the future.
The City of Depoe Bay has suffered from some significant financial issues this past year, going as far as the Oregon Department of Revenue levying penalties against the city. Work continues to right that financial ship.
In April, the Newport City Council approved a ban on single-use plastic bags, becoming the eighth city in Oregon to do so. The Oregon Legislature later passed a bill that will impose a plastic bag ban statewide — that ban goes into effect on Wednesday, Jan. 1.
The Lincoln County Health Department open an investigation last spring to test Crestview Elementary School in Waldport for the presence of carbon monoxide in classrooms. The investigation raised no red flags, and carbon monoxide alarms have been placed in classrooms.
Also this past year, the City of Newport ramped up its efforts to develop a plan for replacement of the dams at its Big Creek Reservoir, which are expected to fail in the event of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. Newport Mayor Dean Sawyer even traveled to Washington, D.C., to investigate the possibility of federal funding to by used for new dam construction. And speaking of Newport’s mayor, Sawyer, a pilot of 40 years, was flying a plane in July when mechanical problems forced him to land on the beach in Newport. Sawyer, along with two passengers with him, all survived the crash.
Another big story from 2019 involved the Lincoln County Animal Shelter closing its doors after an inspection determined the building was unfit for human and animal occupancy. The building was torn down, and the shelter is now operating in temporary facilities until a new building is constructed. We hope to see progress move quickly on that.
This fall, the Lincoln County District Court overturned an ordinance that banned the aerial spraying of pesticides in the county. That ban had been approved by voters in 2017.
On a lighter note, the first-ever Newport Cider Festival has held in early October, something organizers hope will become an annual event on the central coast.
These are just a few of the stories we covered this past year, and 2020 is already stacking up to be another memorable one, both locally and nationally, with a general election coming up in the fall.
As we kick off a new year, you can rest assured we will continue to bring you all of the important news in Lincoln County — both on the printed page and online — and we look forward to traveling on that journey with you.
Happy New Year from all of us here at the News-Times.