"To protect the Oregon coast by working with coastal residents for sustainable communities; protection and restoration of coastal and marine natural resources; providing education and advocacy on land use development; and adaptation to climate change."

Oregon Coast Alliance is the coastal affiliate of 1000 Friends of Oregon
Oregon Coast Alliance Newsletter

  Bad Coastal Bills in the Legislature and Other News

Public Open House on the Future of Yaquina Bay: April 5th

Three Very Bad Coastal Bills at the Legislature

Tillamook County Continues as It Began
Public Open House on the Future of Yaquina Bay:
April 5th
Yaquina Bay Bridge at Sunset. Courtesy Port of Newport
The Department of Land Conservation and Development, in partnership with Lincoln County, the City of Newport and others, is updating the 1982 Yaquina Bay Management Plan. Many changes have taken place since then in population and resource use, and there are new issues now that were not considered in the earlier plan, such as climate change.

Does the future of Yaquina Bay interest you? Come to the Open House:

Wednesday, April 5, 2023  
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Newport Public Library 
35 Northwest Nye Street
Newport, OR

Estuaries are among the most productive, but also the most threatened, of Oregon’s ecosystems. They are the nurseries of much marine wildlife, including salmon, oysters and forage fish. In addition, they protect coastal communities from the ravages of storms and floods, and contribute enormously to costal economies. ORCA’s executive director sits on the Advisory Committee for the Plan update, and is deeply involved in the discussions about the estuary’s future.
Three Very Bad Coastal Bills at the Legislature
Oregon State Capitol. Image courtesy of M.O. Stevens (Wiki Commons)
The Oregon Legislature is almost finishing its third month now, and bills that could be major threats to coastal ecosystems and livability are much more clearly defined. All have had at least one major hearing, and in some cases, undergone amendments. Here are the three most serious:

HB 3382: this bill would allow Oregon’s deep-draft ports — Portland, St. Helens, Astoria, Newport and Coos Bay — to undertake major dredging and the building of docking/berthing facilities near a federal navigation channel without conforming to the land use laws. The bill completely frees these ports from obeying the state’s land use requirements. This is a bill that, originating to assist a proposed cargo facility at Coos Bay, would wreck the coastal land use system. If passed, it would be a terrible precedent for land use work statewide: if this group can get a free pass from land use requirements, why not the next group? HB 3382 might even jeopardize the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) approval of Oregon’s coastal program, and could compromise the millions of dollars Oregon receives to fund that program. The bill is in the Joint Transportation Committee, has had one hearing thus far, and will probably be amended in some way.

SB 873: this bill, as originally drafted, was a useless and unnecessary bill that would allow “bioengineering” on the coast, and state a preference for non-structural solutions to coastal erosion. However, both Goal 17 and 18, and administrative rules, already state such a preference. All the bill would do is add an alien term into the existing framework. Having been amended, it now calls for the use of “soil bioengineering systems” in shoreline stabilizations, with a long and clumsy definition of how these differ from structural solutions — such as riprap. The amended bill calls for creation of an advisory committee to draft rules. The bill passed out of Senate Committee on Natural Resources, but has not yet had a Senate floor vote.

SB 648: This is a deceptively simple bill that has two important provisions as a result of amendments. The harmful one (the -2 amendment) would force counties statewide to allow existing residential buildings on exclusive farm use, forest lands or mixed farm-forest lands to become short term rentals. A county would not be able to prohibit STRs in residential buildings on resource lands. On the other hand, under the bill as amended, counties would be allowed to regulate STRs by business license — a power they used to have, until a ruling from the Land Use Board of Appeals disallowed it. This is a good provision. Trying to separate these two provisions, one good and one bad, from the bill is now ORCA’s, and other concerned groups’ focus. It is in the Senate Committee on Housing and Development, and is scheduled for another work session on April 3rd.

ORCA has provided testimony on all three, and is actively involved in providing information on the changes, and getting the word out about testimony opportunities. For further information, please contact Cameron La Follette.
Tillamook County Continues as It Began
Pine Beach Neighborhood and Shorewood RV Park, 2020. Courtesy Tillamook County
ORCA recently won two Land Use Board of Appeals cases against Tillamook County. In the first, LUBA ruled against the county’s granting an Exception to Goal 18 to allow riprap to be put in at Pine Beach. In the second, the county Board of Commissioners approved a campground without considering, or even requiring, a wetland delineation and geological hazard report, contrary to county ordinance. In both cases, LUBA remanded the case back to the county for further work.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the county Board of Commissioners in both cases held a remand hearing, made some cosmetic changes to its earlier approvals, and reapproved their decision. In both cases, ORCA had asked for an additional fourteen days for testimony, and the BOC refused. It is disheartening to see such resistance in local government to following the land use laws and applying them for the purposes for which they were designed. ORCA continues to follow up on both cases.
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