letter

One of the strengths which made my decision to retire in Oregon was the cleanliness of the highways. My thought was, “If the roads are relatively trash free, the local government and the departments responsible must care.”

I’ve lived here for seven years, and COVID notwithstanding, I have seen a decline in the cleanliness in Lincoln County. Travel from Lincoln City to Yachats, and you will see trash bags, empty gallon containers, dog poop bags, and other discarded debris strewn along the highway. Go into Newport and drivers are greeted by abandoned shopping carts and cardboard that isn’t used for the makeshift homeless camps off the highway.

I’m told the extra revenue tourists bring into our areas is a huge benefit and vital to our economy, and over the years, I’ve seen the number of tourists who flock to the coast grow exponentially. I wonder what impression, if any, this garbage has on those tourist as they enter Lincoln City, Newport, or just take a leisurely drive along the coast has. I’m sure it would be the same impression you would have if you walked up to someone’s porch and saw this waste scattered on their yard.

I realize our resources are stretched and, in some cases, almost non-existent. COVID has been catastrophic to our workforce and the need to reorganize departments and prioritize duties is a challenge. Some areas of concern are low priority but what will happen to this garbage when the rain comes? The fact this trash is ignored and just left on the side of the road, in my opinion, shows a lack of civic pride each of you should display. Take charge and do what you can to polish our coastline.

Another topic: the free RV camp site along 101 near Moolack Beach. Drive about 1/4 mile from Beverly Beach State Park, and you’ll see numerous RVs parked along a stretch of land on the west side of the highway (the trash here is aberrant and an example of the lack of respect human beings have for our area).

I’ve driven though this area, and, for safety reasons, did not take pictures of what I saw. But I witnessed campfires, people drinking, and a couple fornicating in their Subaru. Like Highway 101, this area also had trash strewn to and fro. I drove away wondering how many in this area were using illegal drugs.

These freeloaders are basically stealing from our county by camping for free. If you calculate the cost to camp an RV at our state parks ($34) times the number of RVs (at least 18), the state is losing about $614 for one night. I saw many of the same RVs parked two, three days in a row. Over the summer, that adds to thousands of dollars our county desperately needs.

I fear for the public areas along our coast and within The City of Newport and Lincoln City, especially once HB 3115 takes effect in July 2023. What will become of our county then? I’m for sharing with others the beauty our coastline has to offer, and as a taxpayer, I can claim ownership of our county. But unfortunately, I cannot claim if with the pride I used to have when I moved here seven years ago.

Honestly, I’m contemplating selling my house while the market is hot and taking my pension to another state.

Respectfully,

Phillip Pico

Gleneden Beach

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