2022 was a year of getting back to “normal” after two years of precautions.
I think that most of us are a little more aware of the spread of germs and choosing to stay home when we are not feeling well.
The biggest accomplishment of 2022, as I see it, was the hiring of our new City Manager. Our city council hires for three positions: city manager, city attorney, and municipal judge. The city manager hires all other city employees. In early 2021 our city manager resigned. Long-time city employee Lila Bradley was named as interim city manager. It was a long process to find a new city manager, and with the help of department heads, in late April our new city manager, Daphne LeGarza began her work here.
We thank Ms. Bradley for her many years of service to the city.
In September of 2022 Chief of Police Jerry Palmer retired, after 43 years of service as a police officer, and 15 years with the Lincoln City Police Department. Lt. David Broderick was named Interim Chief to serve until a new Chief was named. In early December it was announced that Chief Broderick will be our new Chief of Police.
After a three-year hiatus, the citizens police academy resumed this fall. Enrollment for next year’s academy will begin next summer.
Another accomplishment of 2022 was placing a proposal on the November ballot to increase our lodging tax, for the first time since 2008. Thanks to the voters who approved a 2.5% increase, this added revenue will arrive next fall.
Lincoln City is fortunate to have both our State Senator and State Representative living nearby, who both understand the issues our city faces. City staff worked hard to receive $4.32 million in state and federal grants this past year.
The view along 101 has been changing. Work started last summer on two commercial buildings that have been in bad condition for many years. One was torn down completely and will be rebuilt. The other is in the process of being cleaned up and put to good use. We’ve had a few buildings that have been empty and/or being remodeled, open up for business recently. We’ve had new businesses open and NW Natural has built a new facility away from the highway. Our first food truck pod was opened in the south end of town.
We have had a lack of housing for our workforce for many years. That is changing. Two new apartment complexes of affordable housing (one of 107 units and one of 44 units) are under construction. Many new homes have been added to the Palisades subdivision, we have motels being converted to apartments, and new apartment complexes have opened and there are others under construction. There are two Habitat for Humanity homes under construction in the north end of town.
The Public Works department is busy keeping our city services working. Many stretches of sidewalk and upgraded parking lots were completed this year.
The Parks & Recreation department provides many activities for our residents and visitors. With the help of a local business, we now have a furnished teen center at the community center. There has been a plaza at NW 18th and 101 that was dedicated in January to long-time resident Ed Johann and other veterans. We opened our first dog park in June. A sculpture was created from a tree stump and named “Friends of the Forest”. We now have an Adopt-a-Park program to help keep our parks clean. Nature Explorers, a new program for our youth was developed. Mobi-mats were installed during the summer months to make access to the beach easier. Transient camp cleanups are ongoing.
Our library offers many programs and services. Explore Lincoln City has been working on an agreement with State Parks to replace the outdated restrooms with a new visitor center and restrooms at D River Wayside. We had great weather for both the summer and fall kite festivals this year. Our float fairies stay busy all year placing glass floats for anyone to find on the beach.
Some of the challenges I see our city facing in 2023 are planning and finding funding for the new park in the south end of town, working on our comprehensive plan to guide our work for the next 20 years, and continuing to work with developers to provide a variety of housing. Long-range planning and budgeting for those projects are always needed. Emergency preparedness and stocking our caches is critically important.
After an interesting election season, the four of us on council who were up for election were all re-elected to our positions. I look forward to serving with these 6 councilors for the next two years! Early in 2023 we will be setting goals and priorities for the coming years. We will work as a team to set these goals, and work throughout the year to focus our work on these goals.
Susan Wahlke is the mayor of Lincoln City. She may be reached at email@example.com, or at 541-996-1205.