Dec. 31, 2019 — Eagle Scouts and an abbreviated deer discussion were the topics of December’s Dune City council meeting, held earlier in the month.
Originally, the council meeting was to focus on the issue surrounding the seemingly large population of deer in the city, but Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) representatives had to postpone their appearance. This gave ODFW more time to conduct its deer count, which it has been doing throughout December.
In the meantime, Councilor Duke Wells has been asking residents their thoughts on deer in Dunes City.
“I’ve been paying attention to Hilltop, which is where most of the [deer] problems have been,” he said. “I talked to about 14 people. Myself, I’m about capturing and relocating them. I think that’s where most folks are feeling. Four people added that if it was a man-power problem for them to relocate them, then folks in Dunes City would be willing to help out with capturing the deer.”
Wells added that he saw around 20 deer on the side of the road while he was driving to the meeting that night.
Dunes City Council will have a clearer understanding of the deer issue on Jan. 8, when ODFW will speak to the city council and members of the public regarding both the deer population and what can be done.
The bulk of discussion during the meeting was the work that two Eagle Scout candidates had done to improve the south end of Spruce Street in Westlake, just next to Dunes City Hall. After months of work, Kyle Hughes and Jeff Edman completed their projects, improving the overlook park viewing platform and the river access path, as well as creating a new rock retaining wall, adding a bench and revitalizing the basketball hoop.
“We do not know exactly when the basketball hoop was installed, but we do know the corner was the schoolhouse for Westlake during the early 1900s,” Mayor Robert Forsythe wrote in a letter to the Scouts. “A former city employee informed other staff that she had played basketball there when she was a child. She celebrated her 50th birthday a couple of years ago. To say it’s time for an upgrade of the hoop with its chipped paint and broken chains is an understatement.”
The mayor thanked the Scouts for the work they had done, and in the manner in which they did it.
“You did a splendid job or organizing the project and working with the city administrator to ensure all the proper permits were obtained, and the work was conducted in a safe and efficient manner,” he said.
Wells was also impressed, stating, “I went to look at what those folks did, and it’s pretty amazing. They did a heck of a job. It makes me feel good to know that we have young folks like that coming up. It keeps up that spirit of the community.”
Forsythe tied the Scout’s work to the importance of volunteerism in the city.
“Dunes City will be installing and maintaining a sign to recognize prior and future volunteers for their time and effort over the years,” he said. “A small city such as ours with no property tax relies heavily on volunteers to conduct its day-to-day activities. We cannot express our gratitude for you for selecting our city to receive the benefit for this great project.”
In addition, Dunes City Recorder Jamie Mills gave an update on blue green algae levels in Siltcoos Lake, and reported that there was “little-to-no toxic microsystems found.”
As for water testing, Councilor Susan Snow said that they were done for the winter, but will begin again during the Spring.
“Water quality testing is going on at both lakes, and will continue at both lakes. We need to work on getting better equipment, and we’ve been working with Jamie to do that,” she said.
Mills then reported on the work the city had done trimming laurel bushes that had taken out some power lines in the area, as well as an accident that had occurred on the corner of Hilltop and Parkway drives. In that incident, a car ran into the front yard of a property, ripping out several shrubs and damaging trees.
Finally, Mills gave an update on the city’s ongoing issues with receiving shared revenue from the state. The state said that the city was viable for receiving revenue on cigarette and liquor distributions, but other shared revenue resources were being blocked because the city does not have a property tax.
Snow asked Mills how much money the city was losing from the state without a property tax.
“I have no idea how much. The best I can do is look at cities with comparable sizes,” Mills said. “We would get a whole lot more if we had a property tax to collect the shared revenue.”
Snow replied, “I think we need to know so we can go to the public and ask them.”
Mills stated she would look into exact calculations to present to the public.