28 December 2010 by Published in: News No comments yet

Happy New Year from the Fifth Generation

FIVE MEMBERS OF THE FIFTH GENERATION of the family that has owned and operated The Clatskanie Chief since 1922 bring “Happy New Year” wishes to readers. Pictured from left on a snow throne at Great Wolf Lodge (pausing in the midst of a “MagiQuest”) are, from left: Elias Wehrley, 6; Ana Sophia Wehrley, who will be three on Feb. 1, being held by her cousin Madeline Moravec, 10; Jonathan Moravec, 9, and Natasha Wehrley, 8. Elias, Ana Sophia and Natasha are the children of Adam and Molly Wehrley, currently home on leave from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where Adam teaches at Hebron Seminary. Madeline and Jonathan are the children of Amanda and Michael Moravec of Clatskanie. The five cousins, and a sixth who is not pictured (four-year-old Owen, son of Erika and Alex Weisensee of Milwaukie) are the grandchildren of current publisher/editor Deborah Steele Hazen, the great-grandchildren of the late Gail and Alvista Steele, and the great-great-grandchildren of the late Art and Malvina Steele, who purchased The Chief in 1922. For more information on a family trip to Great Wolf Lodge see The Trident on the opinion page. Chief Photo by Amanda Gail Moravec

Mixture of Good and Bad News Makes Headlines in 2010

by Deborah Steele Hazen

Crime and good works, accomplishments of youth, continued high unemployment, industrial promise and failure, and projects of the Clatskanie People’s Utility District dominated the news in the first half of 2010.

Following is a month-by-month breakdown of the news of the past year.


With the start of 2010, Clatskanie’s K-9 police officer Ike and his new handler Officer Ken Short were back on the streets and fully certificated. After a change in handlers, Ike initially requalified only for narcotics detection, but with the new year, the announcement came that he was fully certified not only for narcotics but as a patrol and tracking dog.

Law enforcement officers from around Northwest Oregon responded to the Price Road trailer park at Alston’s Corner the morning of Jan. 7, during a three-hour standoff that ended with the arrest of Greg Richard Wilson, 49, a resident of the area.

Wilson surrendered to sheriff’s deputies after members of two tactical teams, which responded to aid the deputies, introduced a chemical agent into the trailer in which he was hiding. Under a Columbia County grand jury indictment, Wilson was wanted on charges of Attempted Murder with a Firearm, Assault First Degree with a Firearm, Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Menacing.

Other charges against him included Parole Violation, Failure to Appear II, and two counts of being a fugitive from another state. Following his arrest he was being held in the Columbia County Jail on a bond of $204,110.

The stand-off began when a Columbia County sheriff’s deputy observed Wilson entering his trailer at 75885 Price Road just before 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 7, and requested assistance before making contact with Wilson. Efforts to have Wilson leave the trailer were unsuccessful, although three other people came out, telling the police that he was still inside. He didn’t come out until a “chemical agent” was deployed inside the trailer.

“The Amazing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe,” a new twist on a classic story came to the stage of the Donavon Wooley Performing Arts Center at Clatskanie Middle/High School the second week of January thanks to the annual Clatskanie Arts Commission-sponsored visitation by the Missoula 12th graders presented performances on the evening of Friday, Jan. 15, and the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 16.

Georgia-Pacific Corporation re-started its No. 2 paper machine at the Wauna Mill Jan. 13, less than two weeks after an indefinite shutdown began Dec. 31. A spokesperson for the mill said that “our business conditions have changed and we have a need to start up the machine to support our customers.”

In another step toward the proposed construction of a second unit at Portland General Electric’s (PGE) Port Westward Generating Project near Clatskanie, the Oregon Department of Energy recommended that the Energy Facility Siting Council approve the project.

PGE, which also operates the over 30-year-old Beaver generating plant at the Port of St. Helens-owned Port Westward Energy Park, constructed its 425-megawatt natural gas-fired Port Westward Generating Plant Unit 1 in 2005-2007. It has been operating continuously as a “base-load” plant for PGE since then.

In its request for an amendment to its site certificate, PGE is proposing to build a second unit as a “variable load generating plant,” rather than a “base-load” plant.

Windstorms over the weekend of Jan. 16-18 caused a series of short power outages to customers of the Clatskanie PUD.

The majority of voters in Columbia and Clatsop counties agreed with the majority in the state in passing Measures 66 and 67 in the special election Jan. 26. The state passed Measure 66, raising taxes on household income at and above $250,000, or $125,000 for individual filers, and Measure 67, raising corporate taxes, including a tax on gross revenues as opposed to profits.

A resolution approving a purchase and sale agreement between the Port of St. Helens (POSH) and Westward Energy, LLC, for 41 acres of undeveloped property adjacent to the Port Westward Energy Park was adopted unanimously by the POSH board of commissioners at its meeting Jan. 27. The Port paid $949,000 for the property, which has drawn the interest of potential developers.

The need for a Columbia County nuisance ordinance, which would give law enforcement and county code officers “more teeth” to deal with properties chronically troubled with crime, public safety or sanitation issues, was the topic of a meeting held Jan. 28 at the Alston’s Corner Assembly of God meeting room. Undersheriff Andy Moyer told a crowd of over 70 persons gathered for the meeting that Columbia County has no nuisance ordinance, although most counties in the state do.

The meeting at Alston’s Corner was called by the sheriff’s office as the first of three planned around the county to gain citizen support for a countywide nuisance ordinance, with the hope that the same ordinance would also be adopted by the cities in the county to make enforcement consistent around the county and minimalize jurisdictional issues.

Hydroelectric unit one at the Arrowrock Dam on the Boise River in Idaho was synchronized to the power grid on Jan. 28, and began producing electricity for the Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD). The hydroelectric project was built by several Idaho and eastern Oregon irrigation districts on the existing Arrowrock Dam. Under the terms of the agreement, Clatskanie PUD receives 100 percent of the “green” power produced by the hydro units.

Columbia County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 12.2 percent in January, a significant decrease from the previous month’s 13.4 percent, but higher than January 2009’s 10.2 percent. Columbia County’s rate was significantly higher than the statewide rate of 10.7 percent and the national rate of 9.7 percent.

Clatsop County’s unemployment rate was much lower at 8.8 percent.


Clatskanie Elementary School third graders raised over $600 for victims of the Haitian earthquake.

Clatskanie High School basketball player Holly Burghardt got a joyful surprise Feb. 9, when her father, Major Mike Burghardt, arrived home from Iraq on a 15-day leave in time to watch her play in the Clatskanie-Rainier girls varsity basketball game. Burghardt served with Oregon’s 41st Infantry Brigade stationed in Baghdad. He returned to Iraq after the 15-day leave, but arrived home for good later in the spring.

A donation of 682 acres of prime Sitka spruce swamp to The Nature Conservancy by Georgia-Pacific’s Wauna Mill was announced Feb. 10 at a luncheon at the mill. The land is part of the Blind Slough Swamp Preserve located near Brownsmead, and is known as one of the best examples remaining in Oregon of a Sitka spruce swamp. The area also provides habitat for coho and fall Chinook salmon and winter steelhead, as well as an abundance of birds and other wildlife, including nesting bald eagles.

The property was originally owned by Crown Zellerbach, a previous owner of the Wauna Mill, and was used to store log rafts. In 1992, the subsequent owner, James River Corporation, which no longer stored logs there, donated a conservation easement on the land to The Nature Conservancy to create the Blind Slough Swamp Preserve. Georgia-Pacific purchased the Wauna Mill in 2000. In 2005, the Wauna Mill donated $15,000 to The Nature Conservancy to assist with invasive species monitoring and removal at the preserve. “We’ve been impressed with how The Nature Conservancy has been actively managing the property and it makes sense for Georgia-Pacific to donate the property outright to them,” Wauna Mill spokesperson Kristi Ward said.

Clatskanie Masonic Lodge #133 held its annual Washington’s birthday breakfast Sunday, Feb. 14. Half of the proceeds raised went to scholarships for local youth.

A 26-year-old Clatskanie resident, Devin John Wilmoth, was arrested Feb. 11 and held in the Columbia County Jail  after an incident that began on the evening of Feb. 9 when a call came into 9-1-1 reporting a carjacking with several gunshots fired in the area of Shepard Road between Delena-Mayger and Harms roads. In addition to Columbia County sheriff’s deputies, officers from the Clatskanie, Rainier and St. Helens police departments and the Oregon State Police responded.

Upon arriving, they learned that a man identified as Wilmoth, allegedly held an acquaintance at gunpoint as he stole money and a vehicle – a black 2006 Chevy pickup. The pickup was recovered the next morning about five miles from where the carjacking occurred, but Wilmoth was nowhere to be found.

Investigators with the U.S. Marshal’s office joined in the search and developed a lead that Wilmoth was in the Gaston area. He was arrested there. On Feb. 19, a Columbia County grand jury indicted Wilmoth on two counts of Attempted Murder, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, two counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, two counts of Robbery I, two counts of Unlawful Use of a Firearm and Theft I.

Two more suspects were arrested Feb. 26, in the ongoing criminal investigation stemming from the arrest of Wilmoth. Also charged in relation to a crime spree in Columbia County that allegedly included burglary, robbery, attempted murder, attempted kidnapping and theft were Ezra St. Helen, 23, of Rainier, and Darren Cornwell, 36, of Fairview.

Investigators believe that Wilmoth, St. Helen and Cornwell were responsible for a string of violent crimes against numerous individuals in Columbia County.

A four-year-old girl, Ashlynn Anderson, of the Svensen area, died Feb. 28 at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland after being attacked by a Rottweiller dog owned by her family.

Brad White, of Clatskanie, won the 215 pound state championship, and Tyler Strenke, of Rainier won the 140 pound state title, at the Oregon State Athletic Association (OSAA) state wrestling tournament in Portland on the last weekend of February.

A number of local men sacrificed their dignity Feb. 27 at the “Fantasy Fashion Revue,” a first of its kind event in Clatskanie which benefited the Turning Point Community Service Center. Dressed in women’s clothing, wigs and makeup, the men “strutted their stuff” for a standing-room-only crowd at the Clatskanie American Legion Hall.

Columbia County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 11.3 percent in February, a decrease from January’s 12 percent and also lower than a year before when unemployment was also at 12 percent. However, Columbia County’s unemployment rate remained above the statewide rate of 10.5 percent and the national rate of 9.7 percent. Clatsop County’s unemployment rate was 8.5 percent in February, essentially unchanged from January’s 8.9 percent.


An Oregon Department of Environmental Quality informational meeting on water quality, wastewater, stormwater and air quality permits for the proposed Bradwood Landing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal and pipeline drew a crowd of approximately 200 people to the Knappa High School gym on the evening of March 3. Most of those in attendance and testifying at the meeting were opposed to the project, which, with the associated Palomar pipeline, was expectd to have injected more than $1.5 billion of private capital into the local economy.

City of Clatskanie residents turned down a three-cents-per-gallon gas tax proposal in a special election that ended March 9. Voters rejected the gas tax by a 93 yes to 304 no margin. The city council approved the gas tax proposal in the fall of 2009 as a means of raising funds to maintain and improve city streets, but opponents gathered enough signatures to put the question on the ballot.

After months of negotiations with Columbia County, the Clatskanie city council authorized at is March 10th meeting the signing of an intergovernmental agreement that provides for the county’s justice court to administer the city’s municipal court cases. The next step, city manager Greg Hinkelman said, was to discuss with Columbia County Justice of the Peace Wally Thompson and Clatskanie Municipal Court Judge Gil Gramson a timetable to make the change as of July 1.

Employees of the USG plant in Rainier cheered the raising of the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) “Star” award flag during a celebration Friday, March 12. The flag and a plaque were presented to USG by officials from the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OR-OSHA) in recognition of the Rainier plant’s outstanding safety performance and processes. The award is the highest given by OSHA and only 2,000 of more than seven million worksites in the United States have achieved VPP Star status.

The California Guitar Trio featuring Hideyo Moriya, Paul Richards and Bert Lams concluded the Clatskanie Arts Commission’s 2009-10 performing arts season on March 14 at the Donavon Wooley Performing Art Center at Clatskanie Middle/High School.

With over 70 persons in the audience at the Monday, March 15th meeting, the Clatskanie School District board of directors suspended a recently implemented facility use fee schedule that had stirred controversy, particularly among volunteers who provide programs for local youth.

Superintendent Ed Serra explained that the intent of the fee structure was to offset some of the cost to the district of having the facilities used after school hours. However, he said, the schedule would not bring in the revenue to address needed repairs and maintenance on some of the district’s facilities, including replacement of the CMHS gym floor, resurfacing of the upper CMHS gym, resurfacing or replacing the middle school gym floor, replacement of the high school stadium scoreboard, repairs to the baseball field scoreboard, repairs to the home grandstand and visitors stand, and re-sodding of the football field.

Serra suggested that “we re-look at the fee structure to address only profit-generating groups,” and develop a per event fee schedule that includes number of days or hours, equipment needed, school personnel time and cost of utilities. He also suggested creating a task force to explore the feasibility of a bond to meet the maintenance and replacement costs of the school facilities.

School board director Michael Moravec moved, with director Dave True seconding, to suspend the fee schedule until the board and administration could re-evaluate it, and to reimburse the groups that had paid under the previous schedule. The motion passed unanimously. Moravec then moved to create a task force to look into the feasibility of a bond levy to meet the district’s maintenance needs. Director Stuart Haas seconded, and that motion also carried unanimously.

Clatskanie Elementary School students and staff raised $1250 for the annual “Kids Making Miracles” fundraising campaign for the Doernbecher Chiildren’s Hospital. Retired teacher Lynné Svenson has led the CES Doernbecher campaign for 14 years.

The Clatskanie PUD board of directors adopted a resolution at its meeting March 17 under which it would jointly apply with Cascade Networks for a Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture grant to fund the installation of a fiber-optic backbone system between the PUD’s headquarters, substations and local generation facilities.

From the standpoint of the citizens of the rural area of the district, the grant – which was successful – would also bring fiber-optic cable service to 1,350 households in the rural Clatskanie area.

United Way of Columbia County announced allocations of $196,634 to 27 partner programs, an additional $22,004 in donor-directed funds to 26 other non-profits and organizations making a total of $218,638. Nonetheless, that giving was down from the previous year, and only 88 percent of the projected goal. United Way director Kathye Beck noted the recent loss of jobs and the poor economy had much to do with the downturn in giving.

A grand total of $56,442 was raised at the 13th annual Knappa Schools Foundation dinner and auction Saturday, March 20, in the Knappa High School gym – a new record.

Clatskanie PUD officials traveled to Idaho March 23 to attend the dedication ceremony for the Arrowrock hydroelectric project on the Boise River. The Clatskanie PUD developed the project with five Boise-area irrigation districts and the Big Bend district of Oregon. The local PUD will receive the 91,000 megawatt hours of electricity expected to be produced in an average year, satisfying approximately eight percent of the Clatskanie PUD’s current energy needs. Construction of the project took less than 18 months and was done within budget.

“It can be touted as perhaps the most modern and green hydroelectric project in the world,” said PUD general manager Greg Booth.

The addition of Arrorock to the Clatskanie PUD’s power portfolio helps meet Oregon Renewable Energy mandates, which require mid-size utilities to get 10 percent of their power from qualifying renewable energy resources by 2025. It also helps to maintain the Clatskanie PUD’s ability to provide among the lowest electrical rates in the nation.

Blustery winds early Monday morning, March 28, caused power outages for Clatskanie PUD customers when the Bonneville Power Administration’s 115-kilovolt transmission line lost power for about two and a half hours.

Columbia County’s unemployment rate for March was 12.1 percent, an increase over February’s 11.3 percent, but lower than February 2009’s 12.8 percent. The county’s unemployment rate remained above both the state and national jobless percentages.


Easter coincided with the first weekend in April, and the annual Clatskanie Kiwanis and Rainier Eagles Easter egg hunts were held on Saturday, April 3. Local churches held special services.

The  community of Clatskanie and the chess community around the Pacific Northwest was shaken by the sudden and unexpected death April 3 of Kate Taylor, the co-founder and guiding force behind the Clatskanie Chess Club and the “Chess in the Schools” program.

Steven Michael Cook, 59, who had been living in Clatskanie for a short time, was killed as he walked along Highway 30 about a mile east of town April 7. He was struck by a car driven by Eugene Bauman, of Clatskanie, who did not see Cook. Bauman pulled over immediately. He and a passerby found the man’s body and immediately contacted police.

Clatskanie School District Superintendent Ed Serra announced that he expected the district to be about $700,000 short of maintaining staffing and programs at current levels for the 2010-11 school year.

A “survival mode” budget, requiring the elmination of four full-time and one half-time positions, was presented by Rainier Superintendent Michael Carter at the first meeting of the Rainier School District budget committee.

The estimates of the superintendents were both “best guesses” based on the uncertainty of information being received from the state of Oregon regarding school funding.

Public education was the topic of town hall meetings hosted by State Senator Betsy Johnson and State Representative Brad Witt on Saturday, April 10, in Astoria and Rainier.

Thousands of pounds of bulky waste were unloaded by volunteers at the eighth annual bulky waste cleanup day held on Saturday, April 17, in the Clatskanie City Park. It was reportedly one of the most successful cleanups ever in terms of raising funds for Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce-sponsored community beautification projects.

The event was spearheaded by the City of Clatskanie, the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce and Clatskanie Sanitary Service, with help and cooperation from Clatskanie Park and Recreation District, Clatskanie PUD, Sterling Savings Bank, Les Schwab Tires, Clatskanie Builders Supply, Clatskanie Senior Center, Metro Metals, Stan’s Refrigeration and Columbia County Land and Development Services.

Numerous volunteers from the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce, Cub Scout Pack #241, Clatskanie Masonic Lodge #133, Clatskanie Kiwanis Club and the Great Vow Zen Monastery, as well as City of Clatskanie crews and Columbia County Jail inmate workers, assisted with unloading, sorting and disposing of the waste, and the collection of the fees.

After several hours of discussion at two separate meetings, and several different options for sewer revenue increases presented by staff, the Rainier city council directed staff to continue negotiations with the Rainier School District over its sewer rates. Finance manager Debra Dudley told the council the sewer fund would be $104,000 in the hole by the end of the 2010-11 fiscal year, if revenues weren’t increased. But councilors expressed hesitation in raising individuals’ sewer rates because of promises made to the citizens of Rainier when the general obligation bond was passed to build the wastewater treatment plant.

Rainier Junior/Senior High School history club invited the public to a re-enactment of local history from the year 1853. The re-enactment was held April 24 at the Beaver Homes Grange near Goble.

The Department of State Lands (DSL) announced that it was indefinitely suspending an effort to update administrative rules regarding waterway authorizations. The proposed new administrative rules would have raised fees and added classifications to DSL registration and leases on submerged and submersible lands. The only scheduled public hearing on the most recent version of the rules was set for April 28 in Astoria. But a few days before that date the cancellation of that hearing was announced.

Originally proposed in the fall of 2009, the rules were revised after many public comments were received opposing them. Most of those comments came from citizens of Columbia and Clatsop counties, who were particularly concerned about the DSL’s proposal to add “rip-rap, dikes and similar retaining structures, tide gates, and erosion control structures” to the list of facilities requiring authorizations and fees from the DSL.

On April 20, State Senator Betsy Johnson held a well-attended meeting of Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook county officials, diking district representatives and other community leaders interested in the DSL rulemaking – as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dike recertification issues.

After that meeting, she summarized the opinions expressed to the governor and other state officials, which resulted in the DSL’s decision to suspend the rulemaking. Johnson credited the “informed and passionate” testimony given by diking district representatives, farmers and other citizens of the three counties which “offered an historic perspective” on the issues.

In a press release announcing the suspension of the rulemaking process, DSL Director Louise Solliday said. “We believe we need more time to listen and respond to the public’s issues and concerns relating to the waterway authorization process.”

A 2010-11 fiscal year budget which was less than one percent higher than the 2009-10 budget was approved by the City of Clatskanie budget committee at its first and final meeting April 22.

Columbia County’s unemployment rate was 12.6 percent in April, a significant increase from March’s 11.9 percent, but lower than April 2009’s 13.8 percent. The rate remained above the statewide rate of 10.8 percent and the national rate of 9.9 percent.


The first week in May brought the announcement that after years of controversy and extended delays in the processing of state and federal permits, combined with the “difficult investment environment,” NorthernStar Natural Gas suspended development of its proposed Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal on the Columbia River between Astoria and Clatskanie in eastern Clatsop County.

A day after announcing the suspension of its plans to build the $650 million LNG plant, NorthernStar Natural Gas Inc. filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Houston, Texas, claiming $165,930 in assets and $129.5 million in liabilities. Since 2005, the company had spent an estimated $50 to $100 million on consultants, lawyers, studies, lobbyists and regulatory filings in its attempt to obtain federal, state and county approval for the proposed Bradwood Landing LNG terminal.

Rainier’s city budget committee approved a proposed $7,043,737 budget May 3. But exactly what steps to take to increase the revenues necessary to balance that budget continued to stymie the Rainier city council.

Clatskanie School District’s budget committee received a balanced, but grim, budget for the 2010-11 school year at a meeting May 10. The proposed budget of $7,457,911 was almost $900,000 less than the 2009-10 budget of $8,329,355. In order to balance the budget, the administration proposed cutting five teaching positions and 3.75 full-time equivalent classified positions.

Rainier school board made the decision that beginning with the start of the 2010-11 school year, students would no longer be able to leave the RJSHS campus for lunch, except under certain conditions. The proposal to keep students on campus at lunch time came after numerous reports of speeding, careless driving and tardiness.

Monty Edward Multanen, 70, who grew up in Clatskanie and visited often with relatives here, and his wife Susan Mary Elisabeth (Wiinikka) Multanen, 68, were killed May 14 in Gig Harbor, Wash. during a visit at the home of their daughter and husband, Sara and Allen Myron. The son-in-law, Allen, first shot them and then killed himself.

The Clatskanie High School boys track team captured the Lewis and Clark League district championship, and six members qualified for state: Jason Childers, 200 meters and high jump; Adam Siltala, 1500 and 3000 meters; Tyler Hulegaard, 110-meter high hurdles; Connor Hulegaard, shotput and discus; Gary Points, pole vault, and Jessie Marvin, triple jump. The 4×400-meter relay team, comprised of Shelby Grittman, Bryce Horness, Jessie Marvin and Jason Childers, also qualified for state. Lady Tigers qualifying for state were Carley Lannan, shot put; Kaylee Taylor, javelin, and Matice Dameron, pole vault.

Both the Rainier High School softball and baseball teams won the league championship.

Kaylee Taylor of Clatskanie won the 3A state championship in the girls javelin with a throw of 122’5”, besting a field which included third-place finisher Jordan Connell of Riverside High School in Boardman. She is the granddaughter of Terry and Sandi Erickson of Clatskanie.

Kayla Nagunst of Rainier took the state titles in both the 400 and 800-meter races for the second year in a row.

The May 18th primary election saw Henry Heimuller winning a four-way race for the Democratic nomination for Columbia County commissioner, position 2, while Terry Luttrell received the Republican nomination, defeating Glenn Dorschler.

The 2010 Clatskanie Heritage Days Court, Mikkelann Briggs, Annie Hulegaard, Chelsea Backlin and Kierra Kallunki received their tiaras at a “crowning dessert” at The Blue Nutria May 24.

A 35-year-old Rainier man, Andrew Stuart Church, was killed May 30 when the motorcycle he was operating was hit head-on by a pickup on Highway 30 near Tongue Point, just east of Astoria. Oregon State Police troopers arrested Kenneth Eugene Middleton, 44, from southeast Portland, on charges of Manslaughter in the first degree, Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Reckless Driving and Recklessly Endangering Another Person. Police said Middleton’s pickup crossed the double solid yellow center lines on a blind curve and collided with Church’s motorcycle.

The 55th annual Memorial Day breakfast was held Monday, May 31, under the sponsorship of Clatskanie’s American Legion Post 68, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2994 and Kiwanis Club. Following the breakfast, Memorial Day services were conducted at the Clatskanie Veterans Memorial and the Nehalem Street bridge.

Columbia River Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1909 and its auxiliary of Rainier held Memorial Day services at the Veterans Memorial located at Hudson Cemetery.


After over a year and a half without a full-service medical clinic, Clatskanie acquired that benefit again when physician assistant William “Bill” Dennis Leigh opened the Clatskanie Family Medical Clinc, Inc. in the remodeled facility on SW BelAir Drive. Lisa Dodson, M.D., director of the Area Health Education Center for Oregon and an instructor at Oregon Health Science University (OHSU), provides physician’s oversight for the clinic. Later in the year, the Clatskanie Family Health Clinic had been fully certified as a federally-qualified rural health clinic.

Seniors at Clatskanie and Rainier high schools received their diplomas in graduation ceremonies Saturday, June 5.

After years of discussing the need for a new Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD) headquarters, the PUD board of directors voted unanimously June 9 to authorize the general manager to award $7,316,000 in contracts to build it.

P&C Construction of Portland was selected as the construction management/general contractor. P&C was the lowest qualified bidder at $6,676,000 to build the new headquarters including a new administration building, warehouse, maintenance shop, covered storage facilities, site pavement and landscaping, plus $640,000 in metal buildings with the steel supply contract going to Pacific Building Systems.

With the awarding of the contract, bulldozers began leveling the fill previously brought to the site of the new headquarters on the south side of Highway 30 between the Clatskanie River and Wauna Federal Credit Union.

With a warning that yet another shortfall in state school funding may require further cuts, the Rainier School District board of directors adopted an $11,756,376 budget at its meeting June 21.

The same night, the Clatskanie school budget committee heard a report from Superintendent Ed Serra that the shortfall caused the Clatskanie district to be about $320,000 short of balancing. Serra said he was hoping to reach an agreement with the teachers union – the Clatskanie Education Association – under which the union would agree to unpaid furlough days to balance the budget.

The Rainier City Council unanimously approved a $6.68 million budget for 2010-11, but failed to reach agreement on water or sewer increases needed to avoid draining the city’s reserves.

A 1937 Ford Coupe owned by Al Pulliam won the “Best of Show” trophy sponsored by the Clatskanie Cruisers at the annual Heritage Cruise car show June 26 – the kick-off event for the annual Clatskanie Heritage Days event.

DSL Rulemaking Hearings Set Jan. 19 in Clatskanie; Jan. 20 in Astoria

A public hearing on the Department of State Lands (DSL) on proposed revisions to removal-fill, general authorization and state scenic waterway rules, and adopting a new division for general permits is set in Clatskanie on Wedesday, Jan. 19, from 3-4 p.m. in the Clatskanie City Hall, 95 S. Nehalem Street.

Other hearings on the proposed revised and new rules are scheduled on Jan. 19 from 9-10 a.m. at the DSL’s Land Board Room, 775 Summer St. NE in Salem, and on Thursday, Jan. 20, from 9 a.m.-10 a.m. at the Oregon State University Seafood Lab, 2001 Marine Drive, Room 231, Astoria, and on the same day from 2-3 p.m. at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Conference Room, 4907 Third Street in Tillamook.

Eric Metz will be the hearings officer at all four of the public meetings.

The removal-fill rules, specifically as they impact the cleaning of debris from ditches on dikelands in Columbia and Clatsop counties were the topic of a meeting Oct. 27 that drew a standing room only crowd to the Clatskanie City Hall.

At the end of the two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting, State Senator Betsy Johnson pledged to work with local drainage districts and DSL staff to craft legislation exempting agricultural drainage maintenance and disposal from the rules.

The proposed rule changes also apply to such situations as piling placement and removal, temporary impacts to freshwater wetlands, waterway bank stabilization, transportation, waterway habitat restoration, wetland eco-system restoration, and placer mining in essential salmonid habitat.

Statuatory authority for the new rules is listed as Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 196.825 and 196.600 through 196.665. Statutes implemented include 196.600 through 196.692 and 196.800 through 196.990.

According to the “rule summary” sent out by the DSL with the announcement of the Jan. 19th and 20th hearings:

“The Division 85 rules required revisions to be consistent with Division 89 and Division 93. Other changes were required in Division 85 to improve clarity and modify the agricultural exemptions. The Division 89 General Authorizations (GAs) completely revised to be consistent with statute (ORS 196.850). Statute requires only that a person notify the Department in writing before conducting an action under a General Authorization. This is a 30-day eligibility verification process. Division 100 revisions were required to be consistent with Division 85 and to make corrections. A new Diviison (Division 93) was established for the General Permit (GPs). Two new GPs are proposed: State General Permit for Transportation-Related Structures and General Permit for Minor Removal-Fill Impacts to Certain Non-Tidal Wetlands. Authorization under these GPs require a 40-day process. One new General Authorization is being proposed that covers activities not previously covered: General Authorization for Temporary Impact to Non-tidal Wetlands. The new GAs will require submission of an eligibility notice to the Department rather than a permit application.”

The DSL has requested public comments on whether other options should be considered “for achieving the rule’s substantive goals while reducing the negative economic impact of the rule on business.”

Links to the statute and rules are available on the DSL’s website: http://oregonstatelands.us/.

Office Closures, School Reopenings Announced

Some local offices will be closed in observance of New Years Day.

The Clatkanie post office will operate from 8:30 a.m. – 12 noon on Friday, Dec. 31, and will be closed on Saturday,  Jan. 1. Regular hours will resume on Monday, Jan. 3.

Rainier City Hall and Rainier City Library will be closed Friday, Dec. 31.

The Clatskanie Chief office will be closed Friday, Dec. 31.

Clatskanie and Rainier school districts remain closed until Monday, Jan. 3.

The Clatskanie City Hall will be closed Friday, Dec. 31.

Clatsop Community College (CCC) will remain closed until Monday, Jan. 3. Winter term classes will begin Tuesday, Jan. 4, Lower Columbia College (LCC) classes will resume Monday, Jan. 3.

Winners in Shop Locally Promotion Announced

Winners in the third week drawing and grand prize drawing in the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce “Spirit of Christmas in Clatskanie” shop locally promotion were announced Tuesday.

In the grand prize drawing, for which shoppers had to turn in completed cards during each of the three weeks of the promotion, Sandi Erickson won a cordless drill donated by Clatskanie Builders Supply, Laura Brajcich won a 128-piece mechanic’s tool set donated by Hazen Hardware, and Estrella Brown won a night at the Clatskanie River Inn or the use of the conference room at the inn.

Winners in the third week drawing were Terri Brajcich, a pair of romeos from M&N Workwear; Terri Isaacson, a collection of Clatskanie Christmas ornaments donated by the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce, and Shaun Ripplinger, Seely’s mint tea, candy and soap donated by Hump’s Restaurant.

In order to be eligible for each week’s drawings, shoppers had to purchase a minimum of $10 worth of merchandise or services at five Clatskanie Chamber businesses. The businesses marked the cards for that week which shoppers then turned into the Clatskanie PUD office.

Twenty-one local businesses participated in the promotion, which encouraged area residents to patronize the businesses which support public services through their taxes, community projects and youth programs through donations.


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