GEARHART — Eight months ago, inspired by an ordinance in Warrenton, Bebe Michel asked Gearhart to ban wildlife feeding to discourage human interaction with elk, deer, bear and other wild animals.

Michel saw the ordinance as one way to cope with an ongoing concern over elk in Gearhart, where at times it seems the animals outnumber residents and every encounter comes with risk.

Bebe Michel

Bebe Michel helped develop and win passage of Gearhart’s prohibition on wildlife feeding.

On Wednesday, Michel was in the audience at the City Council meeting as Ordinance 917 received unanimous approval.

“The attracting or feeding of wildlife within the city limits is declared to be a public nuisance and safety issue and is prohibited,” the ordinance states.

Along with elk, residents and visitors may not feed bear, cougar, coyote or wolves, among other animals.

Feeding songbirds and squirrels is permitted, provided the food is contained in a feeder.

Violations could bring a penalty of up to $500, but officials hope they’ll find compliance before issuing fines.

The ordinance will become law in 30 days.

After the meeting, City Administrator Chad Sweet credited Michel with “a lot of great work. Not only does she come up with ideas, she also helps us with the solutions.”

For Michel, this is the first city ordinance she’s seen to fruition.

“Sitting here today, I was really kind of amazed at myself that I had proposed an ordinance and now seen how it went from proposal to work sessions and wended its way through the entire process to get to this point where we now have the ordinance in place,” she said.

“Two years ago, if you had told me that I would have done this, I would have said, ‘No, that’s not ever going to be something I’m going to do.’ When people say one person can’t do anything, I’m proof that that isn’t the case.”

(1) comment

Karen Lempea

As for Warrenton having this ordinance, it doesn’t stop those who want to feed the wildlife. I live in Warrenton and have a neighbor who feds seagulls, pigeons and blue jays. The birds make a mess with the empty peanut shells, feathers and the huge amount of bird poop. The police are aware and have actually cited him numerous times, but he still continues. I do realize it’s just “birds” but these birds carry diseases and with the amount of bird poop, unless it is cleaned up/off property it can do damage. At one point a few years ago there were so many pigeons on the power line, it broke the power line. I know that I am not the only one in the neighborhood who has talk to police about it but I guess there’s nothing they can do other than get him citations. The police said it would never come down to jail time for him.
His food for the birds is just on the ground, so imagine what other “wildlife” comes to eat...

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