Astoria City Council Meeting Summary
Astoria Mayor Arline LaMear changed the agenda Monday night to put public comments ahead of almost everything else the city council considers during the course of a typical meeting. Moving up that opportunity for the public to comment on any item not on the meeting agenda was something the council had considered doing as they continue what has become a lengthy process of establishing written rules of conduct. Councilor Herzig expressed surprise that the Mayor had made that change without further input or consensus from the full council. The Mayor has the power to set the agenda according to the city charter. She said she moved forward to better accommodate people who may travel some distance to address the council.
Resident Ted Osborne was the first to make use of the comment time saying he was disappointed in the handling of the city library project. He said he had attended both work sessions on the Library and after the first meeting he had expected the staff to come back with several potential locations for a new facility. Osborne said he had also expected that more specific criteria would be presented by staff. That didn't happen either. He said it was a surprise that the media reported that building the library on Heritage Square was essentially a "done deal". Mayor LaMear responded that the motion passed by council directed staff to explore the Heritage Square option more fully and report back.
Beginning today, Oregon consumers can see proposed rates for 2016 individual and small employer health insurance plans.
Health insurance companies submitted rate requests to the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Insurance Division on April 30. The division must approve any rates before they can be charged to policyholders.
The Oregon Supreme Court says some of the 2013 cuts to public-employee retirement benefits are unconstitutional. According to the Oregon School Boards Association Thursday's state Supreme Court ruling on a Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) lawsuit could cost Oregon's K-12 schools as much as $358 million in the 2017-19 biennium, according to official government estimates.
Axial Seamount, an active underwater volcano located about 300 miles off the coast of Oregon and Washington, appears to be erupting – after two scientists had forecast that such an event would take place there in 2015. Geologists Bill Chadwick of Oregon State University and Scott Nooner of the University of North Carolina Wilmington made their forecast last September during a public lecture and followed it up with blog posts and a reiteration of their forecast just last week at a scientific workshop.
They based their forecast on some of their previous research – funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which showed how the volcano inflates and deflates like a balloon in a repeatable pattern as it responds to magma being fed into the seamount.
The Avenue U Bridge will close temporarily for a few hours this Thursday, April 30, as part of the Oregon Department of Transportation's regular inspection process. While an exact start and end time is unknown, residents should plan on the bridge being closed from noon until 3 p.m. with the majority of the work lasting for two hours.
ODOT workers will be using a 'snooper' truck and crane to inspect the structure. This type of device is a bucket truck that can look underneath the bridge with two people in the bucket. Traffic will be detoured to Avenue G during the closure.
Improving the response capacity of Pacific County and other Washington State coastal communities at risk of tsunami presents an on-going challenge. To meet this challenge Pacific County Emergency Management has supported an evaluation program to monitor and improve earthquake and tsunami education and preparedness programs. The next phase of that effort is getting underway.
As the death toll climbs in Nepal following the massive earthquake over the weekend, Better Business Bureau along with Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Attorney General Bob Ferguson are urging Washingtonians to be on guard for charity scams targeting donors.
Former Astoria Mayor Willis L Van Dusen never missed an Astoria Regatta Grand Land parade. He was a part of every one and usually commanded a LEKTRO airplane tug, perfectly executing complex maneuvers along the downtown route. We don't know if he'll be showing off his tug operating expertise but he will be leading the 2015 Grand Land Parade as the Grand Marshall according to a news release from Regatta President Kevin Leahy.
Astoria Downtown Historic District Association is organizing its annual Spring Clean Up of downtown, Sunday, May 3 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. With a team of community volunteers, ADHDA will be getting the downtown shopping area clean and attractive to ensure our town sparkles for both locals and visitors.
The clean-up crews will be working on various projects throughout the downtown historic district, including picking up trash, cleaning lamp posts and trash cans, and clearing moss. They will be meeting at the Columbia Bank parking lot (corner of 11th and Duane Streets) at 10 a.m. to hand out materials and assign jobs. Volunteers should bring their own working gloves and additional tools to remove weeds and moss. ADHDA will provide garbage bags and other cleaning materials, as well as a free BBQ hotdog lunch for all volunteers!