Water rates increase, sewer rates increase, recycling rates increase and the municipal fuel tax has been renewed for another decade for the city of Warrenton after action by the city commission Tuesday.

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The big Fourth of July holiday is coming up next weekend and should be a big travel time with Independence Day coming up on Monday this year. Along with parades, fireworks and picnics this three day celebration is shaping up to be a dangerous one on the road.

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The board opened a public hearing on Ordinance 16-04, which strengthens the county’s ability to enforce rules covering on-site wastewater systems. The county assumed authority for septic system licensing and monitoring from the State of Oregon in 2014, using a hearings officer for enforcement. Because the hearings officer approach has made it difficult and costly to pursue enforcement action, the ordinance brings on-site wastewater under the county’s Code Violations provisions, allowing the county to issue citations.

The hearing was continued to the board’s July 13 meeting.

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Things are looking good for the Port of Astoria proposal for state grant funding to repair Pier Two. Depending on the outcome of storm damage claims, the Port could be looking at a fresh start for its marine infrastructure

The funding to support the work would come from transportation dollars designated for the Connect Oregon 6 program. Grants under that program are considered for marine, rail, and aviation and multimodal projects throughout the state. Port Executive Director Jim Knight says that his project was bumped up the priority list at a review committee meeting this month.

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Port of Astoria executive director Jim Knight is fielding an idea that could well resolve the multiple issues arising from the uncertified levees in Warrenton.

Knight is suggesting that it may be possible to build new levees just inland from the existing earthen structures protecting the skipanon and the regional airport. It would cost many millions of dollars to accomplish. He is suggesting that perhaps that money could come from the Bonneville Power Administration.

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UPDATE:   Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin tells KAST News that Monday's search by the county Dive team had to called off due to rough water Monday afternoon.  The team had been searching for a man who reportedly fell off a boat that was tied up to a fueling dock on the Astoria waterfront between 5th and 6th streets.  No further details have been released regarding the victim, the boat he was on or the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The search began following an emergency call to Astoria Dispatch around 8:00 am Monday morning. Many people watched from the riverwalk as a Cost Guard Helicopter joined in that search, making slow passes over the waterfront in an attempt to locate the victim.  Two Coast Guard boats, boats from the sheriff's office, and the county dive team combed the murky waters under difficult conditions as the winds drove waves along the shore. Bergin told KAST News that by 3:00 pm Divers had to abandon the search as the rough waters became too dangerous to dive.  The Sheriff said that with the incident happening close to the main river channel he has doubts that a body will be recovered due to the swift tidal currents.

Port of Astoria Executive Director Jim Knight said this morning he was contacted by the authorities with a request that he help with the search by sending staff to check under the docks on Monday. He said his crew searched and found no sign of a body.

Sheriff Bergin says the case has been handed over to the Astoria Police Department for follow-up

KAST news will continue to update this story as new information becomes available.

 

Weyerhaeuser has agreed to donate land to the Seaside School District that would allow the relocation of the district schools that are now in the Tsunami Inundation zone.

In a news release District Superintendent Doug Dougherty said the 80 acre donation uphill from Seaside Heights Elementary was found to be the safest relocation site after extensive field studies by the Oregon Department of Geologic and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) found the parcel meets three specifications. The land is stable, will not liquefy during an earthquake, and is at least 80 to 100 feet in elevation.

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Each year the North Coast celebrates some deep ties to Scandinavian culture with the Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds.

The event started out as a small folk festival held at Astoria High School each June featuring traditional dancing, a May Pole, and a Tug Of War pitting the men of different lodges representing the Danes, Swedes, Fins, Norwegians and, at one point, Icelanders competing for bragging rights.

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The final draft of the Astoria Parks and Recreation Master Plan will be modified following discussion at the Wednesday morning advisory committee meeting. After hearing public comment regarding the possible sale of under-utilized parks and facilities the Mayor’s citizen committee asked that Planner Ian Sisson clarify that point.

Sisson told KAST News that the final wording will be more specific about those properties that might be sold at some point. Sisson said there are very few that don’t have deed restrictions preventing their use for anything other than parks. The major focus is working toward combining the city Aquatic Center with the city Recreation Center. That change would make the current recreation center building on Youngs Bay surplus. The plan calls for continuing to make accommodation in some for public access to boat launch facilities currently on the bay but would close the Astoria Recreation Center and explore replacing the current parks maintenance building.

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ConnectOregon is a lottery-backed bond initiative to invest in air, rail, marine, transit, and bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure. The money can't be used for highway work, instead the program focus is on intermodal transport improvements. This is the sixth year of the program in Oregon and has resulted in millions of dollars applied to built or improve docks, runways and airfield operations, improve rail lines and provide safer ways for pedestrians and bicyclists to get around.

For our area that would mean big improvements to the port docks, new facilties at the airport, more places for barges to tie up in the river, and a new home for emergency medical service.

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Two of the Portland area’s most ambitious developers, once rejected for a west basin redevelopment plan by the Astoria Port Commission, are now busy selling their latest idea to deal with the need for homeless sheltering in the metro area.

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