Tuesday the Astoria Port Commission took the entire day to interview and then deliberate on the finalist candidates for Port Executive Director. The candidates are interim executive director Mike Weston, Port of Olympia business manager Jim Knight, and Joe Webber, retired executive.
Jessica Smith, the mother accused of murdering her two year-old daughter and attempting to murder her 13 year-old daughter at a Canon Beach resort faced a grand jury indictment Tuesday afternoon in Clatsop County Circuit Court. Smith is charged with aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder.
Following an executive session discussion Monday afternoon the Astoria City Council agreed to authorize Mayor Willis Van Dusen to go into contract negotigations with Brett Estes to take the City Manager job permanently. Este has been serving as interim manager since February with the departure of Paul Benoit. Previously Estes had served as the assistant City manager and Community Development Director, a hat he still wears.
Estes was not considered for the permanent city manager position in the last round of interviews because he had withdrawn his name from consideration as a finalist. With none of the four finalists selected by the council, or getting a recommendation from the separate committees that also interviewed them the council met behind closed doors Monday to determine what the next steps might be. It was revealed that Estes had approached the council members separately to say his personal issues are resolved and he would like to to considered as a candidate in the next round the hiring. After the meeting Mayor Van Dusen told KAST news that he feels Estes is the best fit for the city and he got the consensus of most of the city council to approach Estes and work on a hiring agreement.
Estes had already been authorized to start the hiring process for other open positions on the city staff including Finance Director, and someone to replace retiring planner Rosemary Johnson.
A wildfire trapped 19 hikers for a time Sunday at Saddle Mountain State Park near Seaside. The Coast Guard sent a helicopter to assess the situation and plans were being made for an airlift. But rescuers on the ground were able to escort the hikers safely out of the area. Meanwhile, firefighters from several agencies are trying to contain the fire, and an Oregon Department of Forestry helicopter is dropping water.
Cindy Price, a self-described community activist, has qualified for the November election for Astoria City Council, Ward 3. The ward comprises central Astoria and the seat is currently held by Karen Mellin. Mellin has withdrawn her name for another term telling KAST news Tuesday afternoon that she has pressing family matters that she must attend to which precludes another term on city council. That means the race is down to Chef Marco Davis and Cindy Price.
"I want to help lay out policies that give transparency and accountability to the work of the Council," Price states in a news release announcing her candidacy, "from basic job descriptions and expectations for employees and commissions, to balancing development that respects Astoria's heritage, authenticity, and natural beauty. I want to advocate for protecting the vulnerable, and that means people and our environment. I'd like to see a member of the Astoria Police Department returned to the county's drug team. I will advocate for residents struggling with mental health issues and for victims of sexual abuse. I want DUIIs prosecuted by the county. And I want to help ensure that the city's continued growth respects our lands and waters."
(By Nicole Bales for KAST News)
Jessica Smith was found and arrested on Aug. 3 on accusation of aggravated murder of her 2 year-old daughter, Isabella, and the attempted aggravated murder of her 13 year-old daughter, Alana; of which took place at a Cannon Beach resort on Aug. 1.
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter spotted Smith's vehicle about 15 miles east of Cannon Beach on a logging road at about 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. The helicopter was unable to land in the heavily forested area, so Coast Guards hovered over the vehicle until Clatsop County Major Crime Units arrived on ground.
A familiar face will be providing new leadership for the Seaside police come October. City Manager Mark Winstanley has announced that he has selected Lt. David Ham as the new Seaside Police Chief taking over for the retiring Bob Gross.
With the help of a Coast Guard helicopter search police were able to locate and arrest 40-year-old Jessica Smith who was found east of Cannon Beach off a logging road. Authorities had said the mother of the toddler and a teen girl found seriously injured in a resort room was wanted on suspicion of murder. Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn announced the capture at a late night news conference last night.
The Cannon Beach Police Department and Clatsop County Major Teams are still investigating the death of a two year-old girl and serious injury to a thirteen year-old girl at the Surfsand Resort. The 13 year-old had surgery at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland and is now in stable condition and recovering. Her injuries are no longer life threatening. "This isn't something that any community should be dealing with especially when it involves children," Schermerhorn said. "Our hearts and prayers and thoughts go out to the family and those involved."
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