On April 11, the three-member subcommittee of the Port Orford City Council met in their first public meeting. And again, as in their previous secret meetings, they voted 2 to 1 in favor of sending a thumbs-up to the council. If the council agrees, then Elk River Property Development will be one step closer to building a pipeline from the city’s wastewater treatment plant to leased land north of the Urban Growth Boundary.
Citizens in attendance at the meeting raised many, many questions about this plan. There were few answers from Troy Russell, ERPD’s representative. In fact, it quickly became known that information critical to any decision had not yet been provided to the members of the subcommittee. Russell said that the Land Use Compatibility Statement had been filed with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality back in December of 2015 — over the signature of Port Orford’s contract City Planner, Crystal Shoji. Yet the completed LUCS was not given to the subcommittee during deliberations in February and March. Nor was it available for this meeting. Councilor Tim Pogwizd requested that the City Administrator provide the documents to each councilor by the end of the week.
In spite of the YES vote, a second subcommittee meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 18, at 10 a.m. in the council chambers. At that time, the new documents will be reviewed. Is it possible that the decision will be rescinded? It should be! Questions should be answered. Hearings should be held before both the Port Orford Planning Commission and Curry County Planning. And DEQ should not go forward until this process is complete.
Citizens, water and sewer ratepayers, and local residents with personal and business ties to the City of Port Orford are urged to come to the meeting on Monday, and the full council meeting on April 21, and see how casually vital decisions are made for us. It is a murky process at best; at worst, we will be committed to a very dark and dangerous road.
Port Orford’s future hangs by a thread. In that we are like many small cities in Oregon and around the country. Is tying us to this golf course what will finally snap our ability to survive? How much of our independence will be traded away for a few bright promises? We don’t know yet. We just don’t know.
View the video recording of the meeting here:
View the documents supplied this week to the public: