In their Monday night meeting the Astoria City Council started early at 6:30pm with a presentation and discussion about the recent sister city trip to Waldorf, Germany which Mayor Willis Van Dusen told the audience was "very important" for the city.
One member of the audience commented that she wondered what made the trip beneficial directly to the citizens of Astoria. Another commented she thought it was important as a means to acheive world peace. Mayor Van Dusen said it's important to remember that this relationship was entered into shortly after World War two when Astoria's Jewish Mayor, Harry Steinbock championed the idea of forming a bond with Waldorf seeing an opportunity to heal wounds and perhaps learn something from each other. A main street in that city is named for the former Astoria Mayor and this year Waldorf dubbed it's newly completed traffic circle project the Astoria Circle. The relationship has afforded local students to participate in an educational echange program for years. Waldorf has often been a financial contributor to local projects.
In other action Monday:
The city council voted to vacate a portion of right of way on 1st and D street and passed it as an emergency ordinance to help a homeowner get clear title to her property after it was discovered the owner had encroached on a street right-of-way. Neighbors testified in support of the vacation. The council aopted a change in the city Historic Properties Ordinance that will set up a three phase approval process and providing a more simplified process for simple building changes. The council approved three liquor licences. One of those will allow Steve Allen to add a brewing operation to the old Andrew And Steve's he recently bought. Another would allow for brewing and sales at a proposed new brewpub that would reuse the old Bornstein Seafood Plant at the foot of 7th street, The third approval is for North Coast Distillery which would set up a new business in the space once occupied by Astoria Plumbing in the Liberty Theater building. The council discussed a proposal by Drew Herzig to establish a fund to help those in need to pay a portion of their water and sewer bill. Herzig proposes to set aside $10,000 in a fund for the project and contract with Clatsop Community Action to run the program. The city staff had suggested it would make sense to draw the money from the public works fund which is operated on user fees from sewer and water. The Mayor told staff to go back to the drawing board and bring back some other ideas because he didn't feel it would be right to use that money for this purpose. The direction from the council was to bring back more information about how the program would operate in addition to where the money would come from to fund it.
The council approved the Astoria landfill Closure plan which will see the old landfill properly vented for methane and designed to handle rainwater without leaching pollutants into the environment. The cap for the that landfill will be the new athletic field Columbia Memorial Hospital is building in exchange for the current high school football field and associated properties adjacent to the hospital's main campus.
The council approved a Ford Family Foundation grant application that will support the design work for the rest of Heritage Square now that all the money has been raised to complete the Garden Of Surging Waves corner of the old Safeway block.