Dunes City, OR
In a 1957-58 Pacific Coast Recreation Area Survey, the National Park Service (NPS) initiated plans to incorporate a large area for preservation as the Oregon Dunes National Seashore. Various lands were previously acquired by the NPS in the United States for similar purposes. Some of these properties could not be purchased at a “reasonable price” from their owners. Therefore, the properties were condemned and acquired by the government anyway through eminent domain laws at prices set by the government and the property owners lost what they believed was the real value of their property. Residents of Dunes City sought to avoid this by incorporating and becoming a fully functioning municipality.
Dunes City was formally organized in August 1963. The town’s first meeting took place in the Woahink Lake home of Doctor E.S. Stong and in addition to Dr. Stong, the first Council members present were Phil Himmel (first Mayor), Martin Christensen, Ray Riesenhuber and Clair Hammond.
The first order of business brought before the new city was the appointment of a municipal judge, Bill Grenbremer, and the first ordinance passed concerned the construction of new houses and subdivisions within the city boundaries. A rather challenging problem for this new council was the Oregon state law which required all cities to adopt a budget before any spending could take place. No revenues could be collected until the following July when liquor and gas taxes would become available, so residents dedicated to the formation of Dunes City contributed the initial funds required for operations and this formed the basis for the City’s first budget. Initially there was a five person Budget Committee comprised. David Dier, Bernie LaForge, Ray Smith, Ted Simmoneau, and Bob Merz. Their initial budget required a vote of approval by the residents of Dunes City before any money could be spent so it is no surprise that Mayor Himmel was busy soliciting pledges of support from local residents.