Executive Order 23-08

Declaration of Disaster Emergency

WHEREAS, on March 3, 2022, the Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island experienced a sudden and catastrophic failure – a collapse of a section of its iconic walkway causing the City of Newport to close the section between Webster and Narragansett Avenues; and

WHEREAS, on December 23, 2022, an adjacent section of the Cliff Walk sustained a catastrophic failure in the form of further collapse, threatening the integrity of the Cliff Walk as a whole; and

WHEREAS, the area is now susceptible to further erosion and collapse, which poses an imminent threat to public safety and to public and private property along the Cliff Walk; and

WHEREAS, Newport’s Cliff Walk is one of Rhode Island’s top attractions, drawing over a million visitors per year. This sudden and catastrophic collapse, and the subsequent closure of the area, causes significant harm to Newport tourism, a top driver of the local economy.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DANIEL J. MCKEE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island, pursuant to Article IX of the Rhode Island Constitution and the Rhode Island General Laws, including, but not limited to, Title 30, Chapter 15, do hereby order and direct the following:

  1. A Declaration of Disaster is issued for the collapsed area of the Cliff Walk and its immediate surroundings due to the dangers to life, property and the local economy posed by the March and December of 2022 catastrophic collapses; and
  2. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation shall work with the City of Newport and my office to secure federal disaster relief funding under 23 U.S. Code § 125(a)(2); and
  3. The collapsed portion of the Cliff Walk shall remain closed until it is fully repaired and deemed structurally sound.

This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

So Ordered:

Daniel J. McKee