May, 2012

Memorial Day: Flags, Flowers, Veterans

FLAGS, FLOWERS AND VETERANS were featured in local Memorial Day observances. In the top photo, veterans saluted as LaVeta Roberts sang the national anthem at the beginning of the service held Monday morning at the Clatskanie Veterans Memorial. The services at the memorial and at the nearby Nehalem Street bridge were organized by the Clatskanie Louis Larsen American Legion Post 68 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 68. A breakfast, put on by the veterans’ organizations and the Clatskanie Kiwanis Club, preceded the services and proceeds benefited the upkeep of the veterans memorial. An avenue of flags, newly purchased by the local Legion post, as well as flags on veterans graves, placed with the assistance of local scouts, and flowers beside many gravestones made Murray Hill Cemetery a place of solemn beauty last weekend.                                                              Photos by Amanda Gail Moravec


Local Governments Set Budget Hearings  

by Adam J. Wehrley

Local school districts, cities, counties and special districts are busy wading through the state regulated budget process as the fiscal year draws to an end June 30.

Oregon law requires schools, counties, cities, fire districts, urban renewal agencies, and most special districts to form and meet with budget committees including citizen representation, publish budget summaries and hold public budget hearings prior to adopting a budget.

As the June 30th deadline approaches, budget committees have been meeting and are in the process of approving budgets, which are then returned to each entity’s governing board. Those boards or councils must hold budget hearings prior to adoption.

This issue of The Chief contains several budget summaries from local governments.

Columbia County’s budget committee approved a $47,930,675 budget which is a $14.7 million decrease over the 2011-12 budget. Over $12 million of the budget decline is attributed to one time aid received in flood recovery grants for Vernonia last year. There has also been a $2.7 million decrease to the general fund budget.

Columbia County is holding two budget hearings, one on June 6 at the county court house in St. Helens at 6 p.m., the other at the Vernonia library on June 7 at 5:30 p.m.

The county commissioners are expected to adopt the budget at their June 27th meeting.

The budget committee for Clatsop County approved its $54,801,500 budget in a May 8th meeting. This included a three percent increase to the general fund, but an 8.8 percent decrease in the total budget from the 2011-12 budget, reflecting reductions in capital projects, debt service and contractual services.

The City of Clatskanie will hold its budget hearing on June 6 at 7 p.m. at city hall. The city’s 2012-13 budget shows a 17 percent increase over 2011-12 budget. However, the current year’s budget was 13.69 percent lower than 2010-11

According to the budget summary the increases are partially based on funds made available from higher than estimated beginning fund balances and projected revenues from timber harvests on city property.

The City of Rainier held its first budget committee meeting May 24, with the general fund still pending direction from the city council. The city’s second budget committee meeting was to be held on Wednesday, May 30 at 6 p.m.

The Clatskanie School District’s budget committee approved a $9,352,104 budget on May 15. School budgets are based primarily on biennial funding rates set by the state legislature every two years.

Since the 2012-13 budget year is the second of the biennium and last year’s budget was based on 49 percent of the state’s biennial funding, Superintendent Mary Mitchell described the coming year’s proposal as a “status quo” budget.

The Rainier School district has an $8,829,295 proposed budget for 2012-13. It contains few changes from the 2011-12 budget, with a $45,637 increase over the first year of the biennium.

The budget committee for the Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District (CRFPD) approved a $1,700,696 budget for 2012-13 at a May 9th meeting. The overall budget was a $140,000 decrease from the previous year. CRFPD’s budget hearing is scheduled for June 13.

Columbia River Fire and Rescue will hold its budget hearing on June 12 at 6 p.m.

The Clatskanie Park and Recreation District has an approved budget of $363,897, cutting $21,365 from the 2011-12 funding level.  It is holding its budget hearing on June 7, at 7 p.m., at Clatskanie Middle/High School.

With the annexation of the three Clatskanie cemeteries to the Rainier Cemetery District, that district’s budget has been increased from $177,000 in 2011-12 to $372,099 in 2012-13. The annexation was approved in the May 15th election and will go into effect on July 1. The budget hearing will be held June 11 at 5 p.m. at the Rainier Cemetery office, 75900 Larson Road, Rainier.

Significant cuts to the Clatskanie Library District’s materials and services, and capital outlay funds account for much of the $74,495 in budget cuts for 2012-13, giving it a $225,070 budget. Its budget hearing is scheduled for June 12 at 7 p.m. at the Clatskanie Library.


Heritage Court, Grand Marshal Named; Schedule Announced

Three local girls have been named to the court of the 2012 Clatskanie Heritage Days celebration.

Selected to reign over this year’s 4th of July festivities are Annalee Hastings, Amanda Paul and Whitney Sherman..

Additionally, Rich Larsen, a lifelong Clatskanie resident, a local businessman for over 50 years, an active volunteer with the Clatskanie Kiwanis Club, Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce and other community service projects, and the president of the Clatskanie Foundation, has been chosen to serve as grand marshal of the Heritage Days parade.

Theme of this year’s parade and celebration is “Once Upon a Time in Clatskanie.”

A tentative schedule of events was announced this week by Heritage Days chair Dave Borgstrom, as follows:

Princess in Training: Saturday, June 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., The Castle. Open to girls ages 5 to 10. Pre-register by calling The Clatskanie Chief at 503 728-3350 or e-mail

Clatskanie Arts Commission Breakfast: Saturday, June 30, 7 to 10 a.m., Legion Hall.

Heritage Cruise Car Show: Saturday, June 30, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., city park.

Pie in the Park: Saturday,  June 30, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., city park. Enter pies in contest from 9 to 10 a.m.

Community Emergency Response Team Dog Events: Sunday, July 1, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., city park.

All-School Reunion: Sunday, July 1, 12 noon, city park.

Strut Your Mutt Dog Show: Sunday, July 1, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., city park.

YoungLife Activities: Sunday July 1, 4 p.m., city park.

Talent Show Practice: Monday, July 2, by appointment, city park stage.  Limited space available, call Matt Hadley at 503 341-3707 or e-mail

Skate Competition: Monday, July 2, 4 p.m. skate park. To register contact Aasa Carmack,

Alumni Ball Games: Tuesday, July 3, afternoon, high school athletic fields.

Talent Show/Coronation: Tuesday, July 3, 7-9 p.m., city park stage.

4th of July Parade: Wednesday, July 4, 11 a.m., Nehalem Street.

Activities in the Park: Wednesday, July 4, all afternoon and evening including Bingo, food and vendors, trout pond, logging show, old fashioned games for kids, live music, rubber ducky races, fireworks.

Heritage Days is sponsored annually by the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce, with the participation and support of numerous organizations, businesses, industries and individuals throughout the community.

Those wishing more information, including vendor and applications, may contact Heritage Days chair Dave Borgstrom at 503 728-4248 or e-mail

Contributions to help meet the cost of the celebration may be sent to Clatskanie Heritage Days, P.O. Box 635, Clatskanie, OR 97016.

Parade Judges Sought

Judges for the 4th of July are being sought. Those interested in serving as a judge are asked to contact Ed Franklin of the Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District volunteers at 503 369-3265, e-mail:



PUD Gets Clean Audit; CoGen Benefit Lowers Rate

by Deborah Steele Hazen

A clean audit report, an increase in the cogeneration benefit, reports on construction projects and new personnel were on the agenda for the Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD) at a workshop and board meeting May 23.

Julie Desimone of the auditing firm of Moss-Adams presented a report on the 2011 financial audit and stated that it was an “unqualified, clean opinion.” It is the auditor’s opinion that the board and public may have confidence in the accuracy of the district’s books, Desimone said.

Following the presentation, the board unanimously accepted the 2011 audit.

During the workshop session that preceded the regular meeting, general manager Greg Booth reported that the district had received a distribution of $200,000 from the proceeds of the cogeneration plant at the Wauna Mill which the district owns in partnership with Georgia-Pacific and the Eugene Water and Electric Board.

As per PUD policy, the $200,000 is being applied as a cogeneration benefit to customers’ bills, resulting in a $.002 per kilowatt hour credit effective June 1. The existing benefit of $.01 is expiring, Booth explained, so the net impact is a reduction of $.001 per kilowatt hour on retail bills. The new cogeneration benefit will lower the effective rate to 4.15 cents per kilowatt hour, about a 2.4 percent reduction in electric bills from its current level.

The last portion of the 12.5 kilovolt interconnection between the Conyers and Delena substations is under construction along S. Nehalem Street in Clatskanie. When the project is done it will result in fewer poles and a new top circuit with adequate capacity.

Design and equipment acquisition is underway for the Clatskanie-Wauna interconnection. The first phase of construction is for the section from the west end of Clatskanie to Marshland, about 4.5 miles. The line will be located along the north side of Highway 30, and difficult to access lines across fields will be removed and service rerouted along roadways.

Booth reported that two new department managers were hired to replace Joe Taffe who retired as power manager, and Leo Quiachon, who took another position after serving as engineering and operations manager.

Charles Young will be the new director of energy resources/services. He is a professional electrical engineer, who most recently was the director of utilities for Hamilton, Ohio. Young will begin his duties with the Clatskanie PUD on July 1.

Don Smith, an electrical engineer currently serving as director of operations and engineering for Homer Electric in Homer, Alaska, has been hired as Quiachon’s replacement, and will begin here on June 1.

In regard to the partnership between Cascade Networks and the Clatskanie PUD, under which Cascade is using the PUD’s poles to run fiber optic cable in the rural Clatskanie area, it was reported that fiber optic communications should be in place for the PUD’s headquarters and the Delena substation by the end of the month. Connection to the Conyers Substation will await completion of the Nehalem Street feeder construction, and the connection to Bradbury is awaiting some minor work on the PUD’s distribution line along Kallunki Road.

Booth reported that about eight percent of the utility’s 867 “budget plan” customers, who pay the same amount each month, had a “true-up” this year of $200 or more.

“We are evaluating raising this amount to reduce the number of customers that have a true-up after a year, offering a one-year rolling average method, which eliminates the use of the true-up, and we are reviewing how we calculate the budget amount,” Booth reported to the board.

A hearing on the Clatskanie PUD’s lawsuit against the Bonneville Power Administration is scheduled for July 12 before the federal 9th Circuit Court. The lawsuit was discussed in executive session.

The next meeting of the PUD board is scheduled for June 20.


ATV Crash Injures Two on Nicolai

Alcohol appeared to be a factor in an all terrain vehicle (ATV) crash early Sunday morning, which resulted in the serious injury of both the driver and passenger according to a report by the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were dispatched to near milepost 1 of Nicolai Mainline road, near Bradley Park, in eastern Clatsop County at 2:36 a.m. Sunday, May 27.

Leroy “Lee” Cormican, 41, of Battle Ground, was transported by Life Flight to Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) medical center in Portland after the side-by-side ATV he was driving crashed into a ditch.

The passenger Cory Johnson, 22, of Woodland, was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria and later moved by Life Flight to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.

As of Tuesday afternoon Cormican was listed in serious condition and Johnson was in fair condition.

Neither subject was using safety restraints or wearing helmets. The sheriff’s office is continuing its investigation into the crash.  Deputies were assisted by the Knappa Fire District and Medix.


“Spring” Shopping Cards Due Thursday for Chance at Prizes

Winners in the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce “Springtime Spectacular” shop locally promotion will be drawn Friday.

Shoppers may drop off their completed “SPRING” cards at the Clatskanie People’s Utility District office until 5 p.m. Thursday, May 31, or after hours Thursday evening in the drop box in front of the PUD, located at 469 E. Columbia River Highway.

The “SPRING” cards are available from local participating businesses including Latté Da, M&N Workwear, Sporty’s Discounts & Deals, Cronies, Redemption, Sterling Bank, Wauna Federal Credit Union, Flowers ‘N Fluff, Colvin’s, City of Clatskanie, Quincy Greenhouse, Fultano’s Pizza, Ixtapa, Jim’s Garage, Carla’s Closet, Hazen Hardware, Clatskanie Builders Supply, Quality Auto Parts, Clatskanie PUD, Hi-School Pharmacy, Conestoga, The Hair Place, Turning Point Community Services Center, Clatskanie Floral, Clatskanie River Inn, The Bag Ladies Yarn Shop, Radio Shack, Subway, The Blue Nutria and State Farm.

For every $10 spent, one of 30 boxes on the “SPRING” card is marked off by participating businesses. The completed cards, with the shopper’s name and contact information, should be dropped off at the PUD.

Prizes include $100 in Clatskanie Chamber Checks, that can be spent like cash at local businesses; a flowering tree donated by Clatskanie Floral, $50 in Chamber Checks, a pair of “romeo” shoes from M&N Workwear, $30 in Chamber Checks, and a lawn ornament donated by Discounts & Deals.


CHS, RHS and KHS Graduations June 9

Clatskanie, Rainier and Knappa high schools will all hold their graduation ceremonies on Saturday, June 9.

Clatskanie High School graduation will be at 2:30 p.m. in the gymnasium. The Baccalaureate service will be held earlier on June 9, at 1 p.m. in the Donovan Wooley Auditorium.

Rainier High School graduation is at 7 p.m. on June 9 in the Chris Binder Memorial Gymnasium. Baccalaureate for Rainier will be held at the Riverside Community Church on Sunday, June 3, at 7 p.m.

Knappa High School is holding graduation at 7 p.m. at the school gymnasium on June 9. Baccalaureate will be at the Knappa Assembly of God on Wednesday, June 6, at 7 p.m.

See the special graduation section in next week’s Chief for full details on Clatkanie and Rainier graduations.



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