COOS BAY — Last night, the Coos Bay City Council voted unanimously to oppose the Traditional Cultural Property application that the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw submitted for consideration to the National Register of Historic Places.
If approved this summer by the National Register, it would designate most of the bay as culturally significant and become the largest piece of land under this protection in Oregon.
“In my opinion we really need to get some definition on things,” said Joe Benetti, mayor of Coos Bay, during Tuesday evening's meeting. “The TCP program is one thing, but I think this application has some problems because there are so many undefined areas.”
Council members asked a number of times if the tribes would be willing to put the application on hold in order to further community education on the TCP and what it means for landowners within those areas.
“Because the option is not there to provide for a delay I am opposed to this,” said Councilor Drew Farmer. “You’ve acknowledged that this process started three years ago, and a better process would have been to talk with each other before two months ago. Because that didn’t happened, if this goes through, that puts the city in reactive footing. While this is a great process for the tribe, putting the city in a reactive position is not something I can move forward with.”
One unknown the city referenced a few times is how locally the City of Coos Bay would handle new development within the TCP. In order to evaluate a new development that occurs both within city limits and the proposed TCP, the city feels it would need to adopt a more stringent review process for new developments.
According to the tribes, private properties within the TCP will not be subject to extra state and local government regulations as there are current state and local requirements that require the protection of archaeological, historic and cultural resources.
Before the council made its decision, a public hearing was held. Members of the tribe stood up to once again to make their case when around a dozen property owners spoke against the TCP.