To Gearhart City Councilor Kerry Smith:
I want to thank you. Over the last several years your efforts to begin the restoration of the Gearhart Dunes as well as your diligent oversight through the 10 months since the revised code was put into place is truly appreciated.
Beyond your leadership of the dunes committee, you have continued to impress upon the Gearhart City Council that the best practices your committee generated are critical to ensuring prevention and control of noxious weeds. During the January 2019 City Council meeting, the mayor and city attorney both acknowledged the State of Oregon requires the city to do this work and the limited city budget is inadequate for the work that needs to be done.
ORS 569.180 states: “Noxious weeds are declared to be a public nuisance and shall be eradicated …. It is declared to be the policy of this state that priority shall be given first to the prevention of new infestations of noxious weeds and then to control and, where feasible, eradication of noxious weeds in infested areas.”
The Dunes Committee meeting on June 14, 2017, included discussion of the leadership role and community outreach done by the North Coast Land Conservancy during the month of May, promoted as Broom Buster month.
The audience in attendance at your meeting included members of the North Coast Land Conservancy, the Necanicum Watershed, Clatsop County Soil and Water Conservation District, former Gearhart City Mayor Dianne Widdop along with several homeowners. It was clear you and specific committee members understood and agreed how important the month of May would be for Gearhart in going forward with active management and control. One committee member extended that conversation to include responsibility for a similar plan for Gearhart and her dedication, deep knowledge and involvement with NCLC.
You and the council are to be commended for enabling the work to go forward on Dune Meadows Park at the start of 2019. The hand cutting and removal of all old growth noxious weeds will be instrumental in future control of an area that was in severe neglect.
On April 4, you and two other councilors had the opportunity to meet in the dunes and jointly review the work being done that day. Hopefully the next time such a meeting occurs, the discussion can be open to the rest of the community so we can all learn about the progress being made.
The work you’re doing for noxious weed management in 2019 is key to allowing the city to apply for the Oregon State Weed grant for 2020. It is unfortunate the city did not apply for a portion of the $1.33 million that was granted this past February for 2019 calendar year. I know you will guide the city to ensure a timely submission this December to enable additional funds for the city budget.
We are now entering the month of May and your leadership for our own Gearhart “Broom Busters” month will make such an impact for our community.