We all go back to the mailbox to vote in special district elections in May that includes some interesting Port races and two ballot measures seeking funding.
In the Port of Astoria commission races there are three positions up for election in the May 16th Special Election.
The Port of Astoria is going to voters with a request to issue $1.96 million in general obligation bonds that would be paid off by property owners over a four year period. The funds would be dedicated to extending utilities to an undeveloped portion of the Airport Industrial Park that would allow for future expansion at the south end of the airport.
One project is already targeted for that area. Life Flight, a non-profit medical helicopter transport service that already serves the area hospitals with fast express transfer of critical patients to larger medical centers in the Northwest is looking at constructing a new base of operations on that patch of ground with access to the runways.
In a recent interview on KAST Morning News Port Executive Director Jim Knight pointed out that it would be a safer area for the helicopters to operate that would not interfere with fixed wing aircraft operations.
That new hanger and associated maintenance area and office space would take just a small portion of the ten acres that would become available for further development if the bond is approved by voters who would pay about 12 cents per thousand on property valuations over a period not to exceed four years.
Another bond request comes from the City of Seaside. It’s time to replace a critical piece of firefighting equipment there. The Fire Department has been taking great care of a 1997 Ladder Truck, considered the department’s most valuable asset. The truck has outlived its useful life and to ensure safety and efficiency it’s time to replace it.
In addition the department would replace its self-contained breathing systems that protect firefighters. Those units firefighters wear to protect against smoke inhalation are 13 years old and will be obsolete in less than two years.
The levy would also provide funding for a training/safety officer position through 2023. It would be a five year levy asking for $403,600 a year for a total of $2,018,000.00. This is a replacement levy. The per thousand estimate for the first year is thirty-four cents.
The elective offices in the Special District Election cover positions on the public transportation board, Clatsop Community College and the Port of Astoria countywide and a number of special districts governing fire districts, and school boards, water districts, health districts and sewer districts, amongst others.
Some familiar names have stepped up for the Port of Astoria. Jim Campbell is running for re-election to position one with former position two commissioner Stephen Fulton running against him in what has already become a controversial campaign with Mr. Fulton firing off letters to the press claiming Campbell lacks the patience to fully discuss issues at commission meetings and alleging Campbell’s complicity and knowledge of what has been described as a Man Cave set-up by the lessee of an airport private plane hangar whom Fulton claims uses the facility to host get-togethers.
For position two there are two well known, experienced people seeking the job. Long time Warrenton City Commission Dick Hellberg and former Clatsop County Commissioner and Clatsop Community College Director Dirk Rohne are running against each other to take Port seat
A relative newcomer with a body of experience in municipal government, Frank Spence is running for Position Five on the Port Commission. Spence moved to the area a few years ago and immediately became involved in city committees and serves on the Astoria Planning Commission. His opponent is a well-known man in Warrenton who rarely misses a Port meeting. Local business owner Pat O’Grady has an understanding of Port operations and some background in longshore operations as well.
There are five seats up for election on the Sunset Empire Transportation District board and none are contested.
For Clatsop Community College there is one contested position with Pamela Mattson McDonald running against incumbent director Patrick Wingard.
For a complete list of positions and descriptions of measure for the May 17th Special District Election go to the Clatsop County Elections Website HERE.