Oregon Coast Alliance Newsletter
Cannon Beach Sheet-Pile And Other News
Cannon Beach Sheet Pile Wall: Hearing May 28th

Ecola Creek by Breakers Point Condominiums in King Tide, January 18, 2018. Courtesy ORCA
Cannon Beach has really been in the spotlight lately. First they ended all foredune-grading for views, after having experimented with it for some twenty-two years. Now the city planning commission is hearing an application from Breakers Point Homeowners Association for a very different kind of shoreline project: a sheet pile wall sunk into the ground so it will not be visible at all.

Breakers Point, when built, was located too close to the north bank of Ecola Creek. Over the decades since, the creek has repeatedly cut closer and closer to the north, eroding the bank near the Breakers Point buildings. A couple of years ago the HOA tried a "burrito," a soft kind of beach protection that uses plantings to try and stabilize eroding banks. Unfortunately it didn't work; the tidal currents in the area are too fierce.

But the proposed sheet-pile wall would not solve the problem of Ecola Creek erosion either. It would temporarily buttress the condominium buildings' foundation from erosion, but that is all. The sheet-pile wall would be thirty feet long, twenty feet tall, twenty-five feet from the top of the bank, and buried two feet below the surface. But it would still affect the creek, which will erode to the wall, and probably erode even faster around  the edges of the  wall. 

ORCA opposes this sheet-pile  proposal,  because it solves no problems and creates a slew of new ones. What is needed here is professional coastal engineering to figure out how to deflect Ecola Creek slightly, so it does not erode northwards and also does not begin swinging south, and at the same time how to permanently shield the fragile north bank. There are no quick fixes. ORCA hopes to collaborate with Breakers Point and the city to tackle this problem in the serious way it deserves.  To submit testimony, click here
Wheeler Ulbricht Development Design Review Approvals

Wheeler Waterfront. Courtesy City of Wheeler
Wheeler planning commission last week approved the Design Review applications for both buildings in the Ulbricht development: the commercial building and the hotel. Design Review is supposed to be the second-level decision-making on the smaller  details,  once the overall development concept is approved or underway. 

But in this case, though Council has approved both permits for the Ulbricht development, the applications were so incomplete, and the city failed so  miserably  to require full information, that Design Review turned into a mockery. The applications had no narrative, but merely consisted of a few hard-to-read schematic drawings. Serious underlying  problems  have never been dealt with, such as the geological issues of building large buildings on fill land. There is no complete geological report except an old one from 2006, written for an entirely different development. There is no plan for dealing with stormwater. The Nehalem Bay Wastewater  Agency   has  not received any final plans from Ulbricht, and so cannot  make decisions  on wastewater-related  questions.

The best thing the city could do is stop this charade, and require the developer to provide the information necessary for the city to make a responsible decision about the project. As it is now, the Ulbricht project does not fit the zoning, fails to meet the mandatory criteria of the Vision Plan, and has a host of internal problems.
Port Orford Approves Another Illegal Extension on Knapp Ranch Golf Course Pipeline

Port Orford heads. Courtesy Wikimedia
Port Orford continues to prop up the Knapp Ranch golf course proposal. The planning commission approved a second illegal extension to Elk River Property Development (ERPD), the developer, last month. The city had granted permits for ERPD to build a wastewater pipeline out to the (not built) golf course, to irrigate it. ERPD having so far failed to do any construction at all, applied for a one-year extension, as is allowed under city ordinances. But then they applied for another one in 2019, though illegal; and the city granted it. And now again in 2020. A local resident appealed the planning commission decision, but City Council affirmed the extension without even addressing the city's failure to obey its own ordinances.

ORCA continues to watch this project closely, because  it is an  ill omen when a city bends over backwards into  questionable interpretations or worse  to foster a project. It means the public process, and the public trust, are compromised, and that is always a sign of poor decision-making.
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