The Astoria Development Commission is moving forward with a plan that, in the end, will see Bond Street repaired, improved, and reopened to two way traffic in the area where years ago a massive land movement caused the road to be narrowed to a one-lane, one-way. If successful this new plan for the Astoria West Urban Renewal District would expand the district to include Bond Street and update the entire district planning process.
Clatsop County’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes a modest increase in staffing while maintaining a healthy financial position according to a county news release. The proposed budget totals $57,116,390, roughly 9 percent higher than the current year’s budget. The increase is largely due to budgeting contingency funds within the General Roads Fund instead of leaving the reserves unappropriated.
The Fiscal Year 2016-17 budget will be presented to the county Budget Committee for review and approval Monday, May 9 at 9 a.m. at the Judge Guy Boyington Building, 857 Commercial St., Astoria. Public comment will be taken.
The budget committees for the four service districts under the county’s jurisdiction – 4-H & Extension Service District, Road District #1, Rural Law Enforcement District and Westport Sewer Service District – will meet Wednesday, May 11 at 4 p.m. at the same location to review their respective budgets.
The Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings on all five budgets June 8.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has fined Norden Shipping PTE, LTD. $2,100 for allowing oil to enter the Columbia River. On Feb. 18, 2016, the company's bulk carrier vessel Nord Auckland, anchored in the Columbia River near the Port of Kalama in Kalama, Washington, spilled approximately 13 gallons of waste oil into the Columbia River. A waste oil incinerator tank on Nord Auckland overflowed causing waste oil to flow onto the deck of the vessel and into the Columbia River. On Feb. 18 through Feb. 19, 2016, there was an oil sheen on the Columbia River downstream of Nord Auckland up to three quarters of a mile long.
State Representative Brad Witt is named along with two other legislators in an ethics complaint brought by environmentalists who say the lawmakers broke state law by deliberately misrepresenting the purpose behind House Bill 4040, the so-called wolf delisting bill, during the legislative session earlier this year.
Columbia Memorial Hospital takes its plans for a new two story cancer treatment center to the Astoria Design Review Committee for a public hearing on Thursday evening. The center will provide radiation therapy for the first time locally in cooperation with Oregon Health and Science University Hospital.
The Astoria City Council met Monday evening and took the following actions:
Honoring the vital work of emergency medical services and police agencies Mayor Arline LaMear proclaimed next week in their honor and took note of National Historic Preservation month that runs through May.
Each year local organizations report on their activities to the city council. Monday night it was the Friends of The Astoria Column who gave an accounting of the past year operating the Column Park amenities including the gift shop visitor center and working on upkeep and improvements at the iconic city park.
Astoria has had a temporary arrangement with Clatsop County for building inspection services that expired at the end of April. The Community Development Department has been pleased with the arrangement but after considering other options and based on a financial analysis has determined the city really needs its own inspection and code enforcement officer. This issue came up recently when the council was discussing short term vacation rentals. Community Development Director Kevin Cronin conducted some research into how many home owners are offering short term rentals on line and determined there are a few that may be in violation by doing so, either because the owner doesn’t have a registered city business license, or pay the required hotel/motel taxes, or may be offering the service in a zone where homestay accommodations are not permitted.
Clatsop Community College reports the Outstanding Student Scholars for 2016, Alex Autio of Astoria and Georges Oates Larsen also of Astoria. Faculty and staff nominate students whom they believe are most outstanding in terms of excellence in the classroom, general intellectual curiosity, service to the college and their community, and the ability to share their talents with others.
The two finalists will be honored with a trip to Salem for a luncheon with student scholars selected by other Oregon community colleges and their presidents on Tuesday, May 3rd. On that day, they will be presented to the House and the Senate where the governor will meet each scholar individually and present them with a plaque noting their academic accomplishments. They also receive a $1,000 Oregon transfer scholarship.
The City of Seaside will close Broadway between Highway 101 (Roosevelt) and the Turnaround beginning at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 30. The city’s Public Works department will utilize these early morning hours to clean and pressure wash the downtown core before giving way to the already planned shutdown of Broadway for the Seaside Dash to Safety 5K Run/Walk and 2K Doggy Dash. The 5K race begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Seaside Cove with runners navigating north along the Promenade to the Turnaround before heading east on Broadway.
Clatsop County has received funding for two local projects from the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.
Earlier this week the OEM announced the release of the ranked project application funding list for the Fiscal Year 2016 State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) grant. Oregon will be receiving a total of $3,837,000 in State Homeland Program grant funds in fiscal year 2016. Of that, 80 percent, or $3,069,600 was made available for local projects. Clatsop County received $55,000.
A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 270,411 visitors to Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in 2015 spent $15,484,100 in communities near the park. That spending supported 226 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $21,559,900.
Even though we had a very wet winter, recent weather has created conditions for fire to spread quickly. Warmer temperatures are expected this weekend along with strong dry east winds forecasted for next week.
“This is actually a good time of year to clean up around homes,” says Oregon Department of Forestry spokesman Dave Horning, “left unattended and with a little wind, a controlled debris pile can escape and cause real damage.”