November, 2010

Too Sweet To Eat For Thanksgiving

DUDE THE TURKEY will remain “part of the family” instead of as the main meal course, as he dodges the hatchet one more time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Dude resides on the farm of Ronald and Julie Webster, west of Clatskanie and is celebrating his 11th Thanksgiving, alive, because his owners claim that, “He’s just too sweet to eat.”

Chief Photo by Veronica K. Willson

Arctic Blast Brings Snow and Ice to NW Oregon, Schools Closed, Roads Slick

by Deborah Steele Hazen

The arctic blast that swept across the Pacific Northwest closed schools, canceled meetings, caused numerous minor motor vehicle crashes, and some power outages in north Columbia and eastern Clatsop counties.

Snow fell throughout the day on Monday, Nov. 22, piling up to the depth of four to six inches in the higher elevations.

On the valley floor in Clatskanie, the snow melted as it hit the ground during the day Monday, making standing puddles and slush that froze hard when the temperatures dropped that night. About a half an inch of snow fell Monday night in downtown Clatskanie and stuck.

Clatskanie School District delayed the start of school for two hours Monday morning, then dismissed school at 12:30 p.m. Monday. Clatskanie students were already scheduled to have the rest of the week off, but parent-teacher conferences set for Monday evening, Tuesday and Wednesday were canceled because of the weather.

Monday night’s Clatskanie school board meeting was canceled because of the weather and rescheduled for next Monday, Nov. 29. (See separate story.)

Rainier School District closed school at 1:30 p.m. Monday and later unannounced no school for the rest of the week. The same was true for the Knappa and Jewell school districts.

Both Clatsop Community College in Astoria and Lower Columbia College in Longview also canceled classes Monday afternoon and Tuesday.

Numerous meetings around Northwest Oregon are being rescheduled because of the storm.

Mercury Dives, Turning Roads to Ice Rinks

Unofficial temperature readings were reported as low as 16 degrees near the valley floor in Clatskanie just before dawn Tuesday morning, warming only into the mid-20s during the day, before plunging again Tuesday night.

Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District crews were called to several non-injury, ice and snow-related motor vehicle accidents, and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office also confirmed numerous reports of minor accidents.

Traffic on Highway 30 on Bradley Hill was slowed Monday afternoon when trucks jack-knifed in the snow.

Drivers Tuesday morning reported very slick roads and streets, despite the efforts of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), county and city public works crews.

National Weather Service forecasts for the Clatskanie area predicted lows of 14 degrees overnight on Tuesday and a high of 34 degrees Wednesday, dropping to 27 degrees with a slight chance of snow.

Temperatures were expected to increase to a high of 42 degrees Thursday, Thanksgiving, with a low of 30 degrees and a 30 percent chance of rain or slow.

The arctic front was expected to clear out of the area on Thursday night when a low of 36 degrees with rain likely is predicted. Lows in the 30s, but above freezing, and highs in the low 40s were predicted through the weekend.

The lowest November temperature on record for Clatskanie is eight degrees recorded on Nov. 15, 1955. November of 1985 had the lowest mean temperature for the month of 36.2 degrees.

By contrast, Portland’s coldest November days on record were the 13 degrees recorded on both Nov. 24, 1985 and Nov. 15, 1955, the same day it was eight degrees in Clatskanie.

The lowest temperature ever officially recorded in Clatskanie, since weather records have been kept beginning in 1935, was one degree Fahrenheit recorded on both Feb. 4, 1989 and Dec. 21, 1990.

Storm Related Outages for Clatskanie PUD

The storm kept Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD) crews busy on Monday.

At 1:10 p.m. a tree fell through power lines on Lost Creek Road near Highway 30 damaging lines and the pole. Approximately 226 customers lost power immediately and an additional 114 customers had to be turned off at 2 p.m. to complete the repairs.

Also around 1 p.m., a limb fell on a power line on the Delena-Mayger Road, knocking out power to 125 customers. Power was restored to everyone by 3 p.m.

The PUD received a mutual aid request at 3 p.m. from West Oregon Electric Cooperative in Vernonia. A two-man crew was sent to assist in power restoration for WOEC customers and returned to Clatskanie Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m.

One additional outage occurred Monday evening at 8:50 p.m. when a limb fell on a line on Turner Road affecting eight customers. Power was restored by 10:30 p.m.

Shop Locally Promotion Complements “Spirit of Christmas in Clatskanie”

A “Spirit of Christmas in Clatskanie” program aimed at encouraging local residents to avoid long drives in inclement weather, traffic snarls and crowds, and enjoy the many holiday activities in their hometown, was announced this week by the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber-member businesses are offering weekly drawings for valuable prizes in December to those who shop, eat out, or otherwise do business locally.

Drawings will be held for the periods of Dec. 1-10, Dec. 11-17 and Dec. 18-24.

In order to be eligible for each drawing, shoppers must make minimum $10 purchases in five different Clatskanie Chamber businesses (stores, restaurants, financial institutions, offices) during those weeks.

Each participating business will display a “Spirit of Christmas in Clatskanie” sign on its door or window, and will have cards to give to customers, plus a list of participating businesses. Five boxes on the cards will be marked by the participating businesses as the minimum $10 purchases are made.

If the cards are full by the end of each week, shoppers are encouraged to turn the cards in at the Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD) office where the drawings will be done.

Shoppers completing cards for each of the three weekly drawings will be eligible for a grand prize drawing.

Details regarding participating businesses and prizes will be announced in next week’s Chief.

All current Chamber members have been notified of the promotion. Businesses which have not joined the Chamber, but would like to, are encouraged to call Chamber president John Moore at Sterling Savings, 503 728-2103,

Holiday season events planned in Clatskanie include the following.

CMHS Winter Program

The Clatskanie/Middle High School winter program will be on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. in the Donovan Wooley Performing Arts Center auditorium at CMHS.

The groups will be performing seasonal and holiday music and will include the middle school choir and band, the high school choir and band, and will also include the Clatskanie Community Choir.

Music will include Christmas favorites like “Frosty the Snowman”, “Silent Night”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Still, Still, Still”, and many others, according to CMHS music director Bob Emminger.

The final piece will combine the high school and community choirs performing the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah”.

“This will be the third Christmas program in which the community choir has participated and it has been very well received,” said Emminger. “It gives young students the opportunity to see the progression of learning over time, and that music can last well beyond the years in school.”

The community choir and high school choir students are also preparing to sing with the North Coast Symphonic Orchestra on Dec. 12 as part of the Clatskanie Arts Commission’s 2010-11 season. (See below for more details.)

There is no admission charge for the program on Nov. 30 and child care will be provided free of charge.

Kiwanis Auction Dec. 4

The public is invited to join in an evening of good food and fun, with opportunities to purchase interesting gifts – all while helping the community – at the annual Clatskanie Kiwanis Club Gala Dinner and Auction set for Saturday, Dec. 4.

Those wishing to attend or to get more information are encouraged to call Robert at 503 728-2771 during the day, or Sandy at 503 728-3203 in the evening.

Candlelight Memorial Service Dec. 5

Groulx Family Mortuary is sponsoring the annual Candlelight Memorial Service Sunday, Dec. 5, at 2 pm. at the Alston’s Corner Assembly of God Church, 25272 Alston’s Corner Road.

Ornaments with the names of loved ones who have passed away will combine the symbols of peace, hope and love.

Those wishing to have an ornament with their loved one’s name on the tree for the service and to take home afterwards are asked to call 503 556-1477 or 503 556-2323 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, no later than Friday, Dec. 3.

All interested persons are encouraged to attend the service.

Christmas at The Castle

The Clatskanie Senior Citizens organization is encouraging the public and various groups to schedule tours, teas, buffets or dinners at the historic Flippin Castle, 620 Tichenor Street in Clatskanie during the holiday season.

The Castle will be decorated for Christmas and available for events from Dec. 6 through Dec. 17.

Call 503 728-3608 for costs, reservations and more information.

Christmas Sing-Along

A Christmas sing-along with Wenda Hall is planned on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church, 1010 NE 5th Street.

The hour-long free family event will include standard Christmas carols and holiday songs, plus a few more modern songs.

All are invited to sing themselves into the holiday spirit with Wenda.

Those who wish may bring donations for Turning Point Community Service Center.

North Coast Symphony Community Choir Perform Dec. 12

The Clatskanie Arts Commission (CAC) will present a joint holiday performance of the North Oregon Coast Symphony and the Clatskanie Community Choir on Sunday, Dec. 12, at 3 p.m. in the Donavon Wooley Performing Arts Center at Clatskanie Middle/High School, 471 SW BelAir Drive, Clatskanie.

Under the baton of noted conductor and artistic director Collin Heade, the Christmas concert is partially funded through a grant from the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and students, and $5 for children 12 and under.

Tickets for the show are available at Hump’s Restaurant in Clatskanie, which continues to offer a complimentary dessert to ticket holders.

Tickets will also be available at the CAC box-offfice beginning at 2:30 p.m. in the foyer of the auditorium on the afternoon of the show.

For more information about this and other CAC offerings throughout the year, call 503 728-3403 or visit the website at

Fine Arts Bazaar, Santa Set Dec. 18

A Fine Arts Bazaar is planned Saturday, Dec. 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Blue Nutria, 80 Steele Street in downtown Clatskanie.

Artists are being sought to display and sell their artwork, including fine jewelry and fiber arts. Those interested are asked to call Kris at 503 369-6502 for more information.

Santa Claus will be in attendance at the bazaar from 10 a.m. until 12 noon. He will hear Christmas wishes and present candy canes to children. Pictures with Santa will be available.

Turning Point, Interfaith, Masons Help Less Fortunate

Turning Point Community Service Center, Clatskanie Christian Interfaith and the Clatskanie Masons are preparing for the annual Christmas dinner basket program “to help our less fortunate neighbors have a merry holiday”

Approximately 150 families have been helped with baskets in past years through this program.

Contributions of cash, food and gifts items, as well as sponsors for the needs of a specific family are being sought. Those interested should contact Sandra Davis, Turning Point director, at 503 728-3126, or stop by the center at 220 E. Columbia River Highway (Highway 30).

Volunteers are needed Dec 14-22 to set up and distribute baskets.

Clatskanie Christian Interfaith is also seeking volunteers Dec. 20, 21 and 22 to set up and operate its “toy shop” at the Clatskanie Masonic Hall where parents in the Christmas basket program may go to choose a gift for each child in their home.

Columbia, Clatsop Announces October Unemployment Rate

Columbia County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 12.2 percent in October, a decrease from the previous months 12.8 percent and the year before at 13.4 percent. The rate was above the statewide rate of 10.5 percent and the national rate of 9.6 percent.

Total employment climbed by 147 to 21,936 and the number of unemployed people decreased by 51 to 2,684. Total employment this October was 579 more than one year before and there were 230 fewer people unemployed this year.

Seasonally adjusted non-farm payroll employment rose by 100 jobs in October to 9,570. Seasonally adjusted figures compare expected changes with actual changes. A loss of 10 jobs is normal for the month but the county added 90. Employment in private sector industries decreased by 100 jobs but governments added 190. Manufacturing shed 40 jobs and trade, transportation and utilities cut 20. Local government education added 220 jobs as the school year continued to ramp up.

Total non-farm employment in October was 90 fewer than one year before. The county lost employment in nondurable goods manufacturing over the past year but added jobs in educational and health services. Total government employment was 20 jobs below its level of one year before.

Many Columbia County residents commute elsewhere for work, so it is not uncommon for the total number of employed people residing in the county to change without a similar change in the number of payroll jobs located within the county.

Clatsop County

Clatsop County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate soared to 10.2 percent in October. It was higher than the previous month at 9.7 percent and the year before at 9.5 percent and, in fact, was the highest it has been since at least 1990, when the current series of data began. It was well above the statewide rate of 9.6 percent.

This is a preliminary estimate and will be revised next month so it is possible that the final estimate may be somewhat lower.

Total employment in the county decreased by 431 from the previous month to 18,833. The estimated number of unemployment people rose by 175 to 1,884. The number of unemployed this October was 98 more than one year before and 378 fewer people were employed.

Seasonally adjusted non-farm payroll employment dropped up by 160 jobs in October to 15,930. Seasonally adjusted figures compare expected changes with actual changes. A loss of 390 jobs is normal for the month but the county lost 550 jobs. The private sector dropped 700 jobs and governments gained 150.

Food manufacturing cut 250 jobs and leisure and hospitality shed 340 jobs. Local government education grew by 170 jobs as the new school year continued but remained 140 below its level of one year before.

October’s total non-farm payroll employment was 1,000 below its level last year. The private sector shed 860 jobs in the past year and governments cut 140.

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