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Coast Guard Sector Columbia River’s communication network is currently down following a storm along the Oregon Coast.

Working through the night, Pacific Power crews have restored power to thousands of customers after a strong storm caused outages from Grants Pass to Coos Bay to Lincoln City to Astoria. At peak, 29,000 customers were without power due to a severe wind storm that lashed the area with hurricane force winds.

According to Senior Trooper Lewis Topinka, on March 9, 2016 at approximately 6:01 p.m., OSP troopers and emergency responders were dispatched to Highway 26 near milepost 5 for a reported single vehicle fatal crash. Once on scene, troopers determined that a 2008 Toyota FJC, operated by Nicholas Jp HARRIS, age 37, from Portland, was traveling westbound when a large Alder tree came down from the west side of the highway and fell on top of his vehicle. HARRIS suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

OSP troopers from Astoria Area Command are continuing the investigation. The highway was closed for approximately (2.5) hours during the investigation.

In 2012 Portlanders decided, once again, not to allow the addition of flouride to the city water supply.  It's one of the exceptions when it comes to large cities adding the anti-cavity chemical to city water. Most do. The American Medical Association, and the American Dental Association, and the Centers for Desease Control all find that the addition of small amounts of flouride to drinking water is both safe and effective.  Astoria has been adding flouride for many years but when the public voted in favor of the action in the 50's it was controversial.  The leading opponent at the time was the right-wing John Birch Society that claimed adding flouride to drinking water was a communist plot.

Several months ago public hearings were held at the Warrenton Community Center regarding building permits sought by Oregon LNG to construct a liquid natural gas import/export terminal and a pipeline that would connect the plant.  The Warrenton Commission opted to hire a hearings officer, Daniel Kerns to preside over those hearings. His findings have just been released.

One dollar left over in an Oregon Lottery vending machine led an Astoria woman to win $7.8 million playing Oregon's Game Megabucks.

Pam Allen of Astoria put $7 into the Oregon Lottery vending machine at the Warrenton Fred Meyer on Wednesday, after purchasing three $2 Scratch-its, she had $1 dollar left, and on a whim picked a single, Quick Pick Megabucks ticket. 

Housing is complicated.

When you consider land use laws, permitting requirements, land availability issues, resistance to expansion of urban growth boundaries, resistance to the sale of government-owned property, State and Federal regulations (in some cases), OSHA regulation, construction regulations, geotechnical studies, planning fees, architectural fees, just to name a few of the requirements to ensure health, safety and best building practice, a clear path to more housing development seems nowhere to be found.

Three Directors of the Cannon Beach Fire Protection District will face a recall election in April over the recent dismissal of their Fire Chief.

The three directors under fire for the decision are identified as Linda Beck-Sweeny, Garry Smith and Sharon Clyde.  Local resident Susan Newirth organized a petition drive seeking to recall the three District Directors.

On February 29, 2016 at about 5:30PM, OSP Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a two vehicle, head-on crash on 30 near milepost 78 (about 20 miles east of Astoria).

Preliminary information indicates a 2003 Ford Focus was traveling eastbound on Highway 30 when it drifted onto the shoulder. The driver lost control, crossed over into the westbound lane of travel, and struck a 2013 Ford Fusion head-on.

The driver of the Focus, Randall T Haines, age 29, of Astoria, was pronounced deceased on scene.

One issue that continues to simmer in Astoria is short-term vacation rentals. Strictly speaking, they aren’t allowed in residential zones though city code differentiates between owner occupied home stay and bed and breakfast rentals and owner-absent vacation rentals.

If the property is owner occupied then, generally speaking, the use is allowed and those property owners are expected to pay a transient tax just like hotels and motels. That doesn’t mean everyone pays however.

It’s common for vacation rental properties of all types to be listed on line but it isn’t necessarily clear on sites like VRBO, Flipkey and Booking.com exactly what kind of designation the property may have. Tripping.com lists 69 vacation rental properties in Astoria and several of those appear to be in residential neighborhoods and are not necessarily owner occupied.

By Astoria Chief of Police Brad Johnston

Since the tragic events at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 law enforcement agencies have continued to evolve their thinking and training in their response to the intentional mass murders in workplaces and schools. Prior to that date, law enforcement used the tried and true time, talk and tactics method to address these events. Law enforcement learned that day that what we had done was no longer acceptable and that a new response was necessary. That response has evolved over time and will continue to evolve.

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