Responding to citizen complaints the Astoria City Council met in an unusual closed door session Thursday afternoon to discuss the condition of city parks and facilities.

 City Councilor Karen Mellin was angry saying that at a time when Astoria is still hosting tourists and cruise ship visitors the public toilets at the Column and downtown are filthy.

 She and other private citizens had taken it on themselves to clean the restrooms at the Column Park several times.  She said that the trash cans were overflowing everywhere.  After a lengthy discussion between council members, City Manager Paul Benoit was directed to present two plans to the council.  The first plan must be ready by the next regular city council meeting in two weeks time that would detail how Benoit plans to clean up the areas that are the responsibility of the Parks Department which would include the Astoria Column park and restrooms, Downtown restrooms and the River Walk along with other parks facilities in the city.  The second plan is due within six weeks time and must include a comprehensive blueprint for the entire parks department.  Mayor Willis Van Dusen said that presentation of the plans is condition of Benoit's employment.

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