09 January 2013 by Published in: News No comments yet

Senator Merkley Meets with Local Officials

U.S. SENATOR JEFF MERKLEY held a town hall meeting in Columbia City Monday afternoon, attended by many local elected officials, including, from left: St. Helens Mayor Randy Peterson, Columbia County Commissioner Tony Hyde, Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole, Senator Merkley, Columbia City Mayor Cheryl Young, Columbia County Commissioner Earl Fisher, State Senator Betsy Johnson, Port of St. Helens Commissioner Terry Luttrell, City of Clatskanie Mayor Diane Pohl, Columbia County Commissioner Henry Heimuller, Port of St. Helens executive director Patrick Trapp and Clatskanie city manager Greg Hinkelman. Topics discussed at the meeting included the  “fiscal cliff,” gun control, filibuster rules, rail and infrastructure, coal and global warming.    Photo Courtesy of Randy Larson

Volunteers Sought for School Board Vacancies 

“What better way to enrich our community than to serve in a position that enriches our community’s students?” asked Clatskanie School District board of directors chair Megan Evenson this week.

Following the resignation last month of two board members, Janet Willey and Karen George, both of whose terms expire June 30, the remaining three board members are seeking volunteers to fill those vacancies.

Evenson explained that the Clatskanie school board is a five member board which provides direction and vision, and keeps the district financially sound. Michael Moravec and Monty Akin are the other two current board members.

“You may be asking yourself, what does it take to be a good school board member?  It doesn’t take a college degree or a high-powered job, or even a child in the school system. What it does require is the ability to really listen, think critically, be creative, and most importantly, have the ability to make decisions that hold the best possible outcomes for our students,” explained Evenson.

“Our schools are the foundation of our community. To be a sustainable and enriched community, our schools rely on our outstanding teachers and administrators and the dedication and volunteerism of community members who are willing to run for the school board.”

Interested parties are asked to submit a resumé, a letter of interest and letter of recommendation to the Clatskanie School District Office by next Wednesday, Jan. 16. They may be submitted by mail to Beth Gregg, Clatskanie School District Administrative office, P.O. Box 678, Clatskanie, OR 97016, or e-mailed to bgregg@csd.k12.or.us. Those with questions may call 503 728-0587, ext. 2003, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The board will interview potential candidates at the Jan. 28th board meeting, and plans to appoint two new board members at that time.

The newly-appointed board members will serve out the remaining terms through June 30 of this year. If the appointed board members wish to run for a school board position, they may file in March to run in the May election for a full four-year term.

In calling for interested persons to apply for the school board vacancies, Evenson quoted businessman and philanthropist Arnold Hiatt: “Our nation will succeed or fail to the degree that all of us, citizens and businesses alike, are active participants in building strong, sustainable and enriching communities.”

Celebrations, School, Economic Development Issues in News of 2012

by Deborah Steele Hazen

Community celebrations, school-related news and economic development issues were in the headlines from June through December of 2012.

Following is a month by month review of the headlines during the last seven months of the just-ended year. The top stories of January through May were reviewed in last week’s Chief.


Three local girls – Annalee Hastings, Amanda Paul and Whitney Sherman – were chosen to reign over the annual Clatskanie Heritage Days 4th of July celebration.

Rich Larsen, a lifelong Clatskanie resident, a local businessman for over 50 years, and an active volunteer with the Clatskanie Kiwanis Club, Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce and Clatskanie Foundation, was chosen to serve as grand marshal of the Heritage Days parade.

Theme for the celebration was “Once Upon a Time in Clatskanie.”

A home, shop and several vehicles belonging to the Honeycutt family were lost in an early morning fire June 4 in the Mayger area.

Graduation ceremonies for both Clatskanie and Rainier high schools were held on June 9.

The cities of Rainier and Clatskanie, the school districts, and other taxing districts were in the process of holding budget hearings.

Through a combination of layoffs and reduced hours, Columbia County cut its staffing level by 13 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions in order to balance the budget. Half of the cuts were made in the sheriff’s office and the rest in general fund departments. The staff reductions resulted in approximately $1,124,000 in savings. The 2012-13 budget allowed for 148 FTE positions as opposed to 167 in the 2011-12 budget, and 181 in 2010-11.

The city of Clatskanie adopted an $8,747,054 budget for 2012-13, after lengthy discussions about how to fund needed infrastructure projects. In addition to adopting the budget, the city established an $8 surcharge to be added to monthly utility bills to help pay for maintenance and repairs of the water and sewer system.

A 20-year strategic plan calling for $24,787,000 in projects was the subject of a series of public hearings held by the Port of St. Helens. Those projects include improving the access to Port Westward via Hermo Road, hangars, new buildings and infrastructure improvements at the Scappoose Airpark, as well as needed improvements at the Port district’s facilities at the Columbia City, McNulty, Milton Creek and Multnomah industrial parks, and the Scappoose Bay Marine Park.

A stop at Mayger near Clatskanie was included in the ceremonial journey down the Lower Columbia River by the Chinook Indian National Council. The journey was the maiden voyage of the Klmin, the gift of descendants of Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition to replace the canoe taken from the Chinooks by the expedition in 1806.

Clatskanie’s annual Heritage Days – celebrating both the birth of the nation and the traditions of the community – kicked off on Saturday, June 30, with the 22nd annual Clatskanie Cruisers Car Show, the Clatskanie Arts Commission (CAC) breakfast, the Chapter T P.E.O. “Pie in the Park” baking contest and sale, and other events.

Robert Cunningham’s burgundy-colored 1946 Ford sedan won “Best of Show” at the car show, and Connie Sims baked the grand prize pie.


The first four days of Clatskanie Heritage Days 2012 created fun for hundreds of local residents and friends, despite the weather with the annual “Strut Your Mutt” dog show, a talent show, outdoor movies in the park and more, but Wednesday, July 4, was a blue sky day both literally and figuratively.

Early morning clouds on the 4th evaporated as the annual Clatskanie Heritage Days parade began to form. The 55-minute-long parade, with the theme “Once Upon a Time in Clatskanie,” marched down Nehalem Street at 11 a.m. under bright sunny skies while thousands gathered along the parade route. At about 11:15 a.m. as the first of the parade was passing through the downtown area, a bald eagle soared overhead.

The Johnson Family Feed and Supply’s float that featured two live calves won the Grand Marshal’s Award for the best overall entry with the theme “Once Upon a Time in Clatskanie There were Farmers.” The Abbott sisters, costumed as a World War II female soldier, nurse and “Rosie the Riveter,” won the Puzey Memorial Trophy for the best theme entry with “Once upon a time the women of Clatskanie responded to the challenge of World War II.”

The Heritage “Princesses-in-Training” Castle float won the Chris Emerson Memorial Award for the best children’s entry.

The 4th continuned with a variety of activities in the park, including live music the annual logging show, and the big fireworks show at dark.

While summer really didn’t arrive until the 4th of July, it got dry quickly, and fire season in Northwest Oregon was declared to begin on July 11.

The Rainier community held its annual Rainier Days in the Park celebration July 12-15 with a carnival and midway, a three-on-three basketball tournament, and many other activities, including live music by, among others, “The Fabulous Essentials,” featuring local vocalist Lisa Tyack, and another group with local connections, Kathy Boyd and Phoenix Rising, who composed and recorded “Twelve More Miles to Clatskanie.”

Nelson Lepin, a 90-year-old lifelong Rainier resident, a veteran, a longtime volunteer with the Rainier Volunteer Fire Department and a life member of the Rainier Rod and Gun Club, served as grand marshal of the Rainier Days in the Park parade.

After beginning discussions of a possible merger, Wauna Federal Credit Union (WFCU) and St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union (SHCU) announced on Friday, July 13, that the discussion – which had drawn concern and  board recall petitions from SHCU members – had been terminated.

“A Tradition to Treasure” was the theme of the 97th annual Columbia County Fair and Rodeo July 18-22.

The Morrow Pacific Project, Ambre Energy’s proposal to bring coal to the Port of Morrow at Boardman by rail, load it onto enclosed barges that would transport it to Port Westward near Clatskanie where it would be transloaded onto ocean-going ships, continued in the news with the announcement by the Oregon Department of Quality that it had changed its mind and would require an air contaminant discharge permit for the Boardman end of the project in case there were any “fugitive emissions.”

Previously, the DEQ staff had said that the plans to unload the coal from trains into enclosed warehouses at Boardman and then onto the enclosed barges would not require an air permit.

Megan Evenson was elected as the new chair of the Clatskanie School District board of directors, succeeding Janet Willey. Karen George was elected to serve as vice chair.

Five outstanding blues bands performed at the sixth annual Rhythm on the River Blues Benefit in the Clatskanie City Park on July 28. The event raised funds for the United Way of Columbia County.

Officials of the Morrow Pacific Project signed letters of intent with Gunderson and Vigor Industrial, two Portland companies, for the construction of 20 enclosed barges, a combined purchase of over $75 million. The deal is contingent on the coal exporting project getting its state and federal permits.

The Clatskanie school board approved the hiring of Amy McNeil as the new assistant principal and athletic director at Clatskanie Middle/High School.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael C. Burghardt of Clatskanie took command of the 141st Brigade Support Battalion of the Oregon Army National Guard during a change of command ceremony July 28 at the Kliever Memorial Armory in Portland.

A rash of cougar sightings in the Bellflower and BelAir neighborhoods of Clatskanie occurred in late July.


The second biggest festival of the year in Clatskanie occurred the first weekend in August with the 17th annual Clatskanie Bluegrass Festival, the Outdoor Quilt and Craft Show, the Clatskanie Friends of the Library “Buck-a-Book” sale, and the community-wide garage sale.

Ambulance crews treated 16 people for minor injuries, following a collison between a worker transport van, carrying 15 people, and a car early on the morning of Aug. 4 on Highway 30 near Alston’s Corner.

A crew member of the Queen of the West sternwheeler fell off the back of the vessel early in the morning of Aug. 7 while it was moored in Rainier. His body was later recovered in the Columbia River.

Rainier’s 20th annual city-wide garage sale occurred on Saturday, Aug. 11.

A 100-yard section of the last remaining fish station at Mayger fell into the Columbia River as the wake of a passing ship struck its pilings on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 11. The picturesque old fish station was approximately 100 years old.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission (OFWC) directed agency staff on Aug. 14 to begin rule-making that would implement Governor John Kitzhaber’s proposed reforms of Lower Columbia River fisheries management.Those “reforms” became reality in December.

The Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) approved $40 million for 38 multimodal projects around the state, including two in Columbia County and one in Clatsop County.

Teevin Bros. Land & Timber Co. received a $2,8181,155 grant for construction of a new T-pier to increase shipping and barging activities at its Rainier facility. Total project cost is $3,522,694.

A ballot measure which would institute a five year serial levy adding $1.25 in taxes per $1000 of assessed property value was unanimously approved by the Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District (CRFPD) board of directors at its Aug. 15th special meeting. The measure is planned for the May 2013 election, as is a renewal of the Columbia 9-1-1 levy.

Concerns over the possible loss of public beach access and the destruction of a popular walking trail on the Rainier riverfront caused debate over a planned mitigation project for Foss Maritime, that was being directed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Oregon Department of State Lands.

The citizens, City of Rainier, Foss, the DSL and the Army Corps of Engineers eventually reached agreement on the mitigation project.

Clatsop County’s board of commissioners went on the record opposing Gov. Kitzhaber’s plan to restrict commercial salmon gillnet fishing on the lower Columbia River to off-channel select areas.


The annual Labor Day performance of the North Coast Big Band, sponsored by the Clatskanie Park and Recreation District, took place on Monday, Sept. 30. The annual outdoor free concert also celebrated the kick-off of the 24th annual CAC performing arts season.

Students throughout Northwest Oregon headed back to school beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

The high school fall sports seasons began.

Hoping for a re-start of the Columbia Pacific Bio Refinery (ethanol plant) at the Port Westward Industrial Park near Clatskanie, plant managers began calling back workers who were laid-off in May.

A four million gallon water reservoir to increase fire suppression capability and serve as a valuable regional resource was nearing completion at the Mist-Birkenfeld Fire Protection District headquarters.

As warm, dry weather continued into mid-September, private timberland owners in Northwest Oregon closed their properties to motorized vehicles, and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) instituted an industrial fire precaution level 2 closedown order. By the next week all public-recreational entry was closed due to fire danger.

Stating that “it has been my honor to serve the citizens of Clatskanie and work with such a dedicated and committed crew during my tenure,” Clatskanie public works director Dave True tendered his resignation to the Clatskanie City Council, which expressed regret at losing True, but gratitude for his approximately 17 years of service to the city.

True accepted a position as Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) project manager for District 1, Region 2, overseeing new construction projects out of ODOT’s Astoria office.

The Rainier School District dedicated its new school-based health center.

With the declaration of September as Highway 30 Safety Awareness Month, the Highway 30 Safety Task Force released a history of approximately 800 crashes on the highway through Columbia County from 2007 to 2011.

Volunteers of all ages gathered at Rainier’s Dibblee Beach on Saturday, Sept. 22, to clean litter and illegally dumped trash from the brush, trails, road and beach. A total of 36 volunteers – 23 adults and 13 youth – collected almost two tons of solid waste, found 21 used tires and recovered one vehicle.

The campaign for Columbia County Sheriff grew increasingly hot as candidate Dave Fuller, who retired in early September after 29 years of service to the department, defended himself against allegations of misconduct.

Despite calls for a “programmatic environmental review” for all proposed coal export facilities in Oregon and Washington by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to continue with its standard environmental review and assessment process for permits for the proposed Ambre Energy Morrow Pacific coal export process.


Continued very dry weather kept Northwest Oregon’s woods closed as October began.

Charles William “Bill” Wiley Jr., an experienced bridge worker, fell from a platform under the midsection of the Lewis and Clark Bridge on Sunday, Oct. 7, and was killed. His body was later recovered several miles downstream.

“Swing Fever,” a small band with a big band sound, performed Saturday, Oct. 13, in the Donavon Wooley Performing Arts Center at Clatskanie Middle/High School as part of the CAC performing arts series.

Oct. 12 marked the 50th anniversary of the Columbus Day Storm, the “benchmark storm for which all other storms are compared to across the Pacific Northwest,” according to meteorologists and which had caused significant damage to the forests and some buildings in the Clatskanie area.

Columbus Day in 2012 brought the first fall weather, ending the long warm dry spell, and allowing the woods to open again to public recreational use.

The Clatskanie Tigers football team celebrated homecoming with a 35-14 victory over Warrenton. Sophomore Demi Farbo and senior George Poysky IV were crowned homecoming queen and king.

Columbia County board of commissioners chair Tony Hyde was named by Governor Kitzhaber to a statewide group charged with finding solutions to the challenges facing Oregon’s “O&C” counties. The group is composed of county officials, forest products industry representatives and conservation leaders. The governor has asked them to build on existing proposals and develop recommendations that help Oregon counties improve financial stability, ensure adequate sources of timber that support local mills and jobs, and meet Oregon’s water and land conservation goals.

Clatskanie resident Lori Sherman was a big winner on “The Price is Right” TV game show which aired Oct. 16. Lori was selected to “come on down” from among approximately 350 contestants in the audience. Her winning streak began with her bid on two digital cameras. Then she hooked a week-long trip to Key West, including a deep sea fishing adventure.

Lori made a point to say “hi” to everyone in Clatskanie as she spun the “big wheel” which determined her selection for the showcase round which concluded the show. Her bid on a prize grouping consisting of an espresso machine, 65-inch 3D flat screen television and a 2013 Dodge Journey sport utility vehicle of $23,491 was just $798 less than the actual retail price of the items, so she won those too.

Property tax bills were mailed to Columbia and Clatsop county property owners, and some residential  “real market values” fell below their assessed values, thus lowering some bills.

Five people were injured, one critically, in a head-on collision that occured Oct. 20 on Highway 30 near Rainier. The most seriously injured was Nathan Reeves, a former Clatskanie area resident.

In another Clatskanie Arts Commission-sponsored performance, the Oregon Symphonic Band performed songs, primarily by Russian composers, on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 28.

Halloween was celebrated with the annual Clatskanie Elementary School Halloween parade, trick-or-treating at downtown businesses, the Quincy Grange’s annual Halloween carnival, and the Beaver Homes Grange’s haunted house.


Cary Lee Woodward, a Clatskanie area resident who has a felony record, reportedly went “berserk” during an argument and began fireing a rifle inside a house on Friday, Nov. 2. He was taken into police custody after a 10-hour standoff.

Longtime, award-winning local teacher Elsa Wooley, who has also served her community in many other ways, including as a founder of the Clatskanie Arts Commission, became the recipient of the Oren C. Tweet Community Service Award, the City of Clatskanie’s highest honor, at the city council meeting Nov. 7.

Results of the Nov. 6 election saw the re-election in contested races of incumbent Columbia County Commissioners Earl Fisher and Tony Hyde, and Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. In contested races for the Rainier city council, Judith Taylor, Wiliam Vilardi and Steve Massey were elected.

Veterans Day was observed with the annual breakfast and assembly at Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS), a Veterans Day dinner at the Clatskanie American Legon Hall, and a dinner and awards presentation hosted by the Columbia River VFW and ladies auxiliary at Riverside Community Church in Rainier.

A complaint was filed by recalled Rainier city councilors Russ Moon and David Langford with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission against  city councilor Sloan Nelson and city administrator Debra Dudley. The complaint had to do with issues dealing with the water system’s equivalent dwelling unit (EDU) rate.

By the end of the year, the complaint against Dudley had been dropped. The complaint against Nelson was still pending.

After winning the Lewis and Clark League championship, the Rainier High School football team lost 21-30 to third-ranked Scio in the second round of state playoff action.

The second-place-in-league Tigers had lost to the same Scio team in the first round of the state playoffs the week before.

Over four inches of rain in 48 hours caused heavy run-off and local streams to rise on Monday, Nov. 19.

Concerns about the Clatskanie School District’s sharing program with Rainier, and related issues, especially an earlier school bus run that was instituted on Monday, Nov. 19, were major topics of discussion at both a community forum on Nov. 20 and the Clatskanie school board meeting on Monday, Nov. 26.

About 100 concerned parents, students, school district personnel and community members attended the Nov. 20th forum in the CMHS auditorium. The forum was called by CMHS principal Jeff Baughman for the purpose of gathering information and hearing questions, comments and feedback regarding sharing instructional services with Rainier to increase educational opportunities for students.

However, while some parents and students stated publicly – at the forum and various school board meetings – that they appreciated the increased learning opportunities, the program has been plagued, primarily by timing and transportation issues, since it began in the 2011-12 school year.

After hearing of the continuing problems with students arriving late for class, the school boards of both districts directed their superintendents to solve the problems associated with the sharing program. Both boards also emphasized that they thought the sharing program was vital in maintaining quality educational programs and avoiding a possible state-forced merger.

Nevertheless, false rumors persisted that the school boards and superintendents were trying to move the two districts towards consolidation.

The Nov. 20th community forum and the Nov. 26th school board meeting, included strong statements from Clatskanie school board chair Megan Evenson stating that “The goal of sharing is to prevent consolidation,” and “We’re dedicated to maintaining the autonomy of both districts.”

As part of the plan for “diversification and optionality” of the Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery (CPBR) at the Port Westward industrial park, the plant began the transloading of “light sweet crude” oil.

Clatskanie’s Stimson Lumber Company’s mill received the first place Governor’s Award for Leadership in Energy Performance at an Oregon Department of Energy ceremony at the state capitol on Nov. 26.

After celebrating Thanksgiving, the communities covered by this newspaper announced a host of Christmas season events.

Portland General Electric (PGE) applied to the Oregon Department of Energy for an amendment to its site certificate to extend the deadline for completing phase 2 of its Port Westward generating project by two years, from May 8, 2013 to May 8, 2015.

A resolution of issues regarding overtime pay and scheduling of command officers came at the Nov. 28th Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District’s board meetings when a mutually-agreed-upon proposal was presented. Under that proposal, the assistant chief and division chief positions were reclassified as captains and assigned to 24-hour shifts.

Representatives of Governor John Kitzhaber’s senior staff and the Regional Solutions Team, along with local government and industrial leaders, got a first-hand look at the problems associated with freight trains in downtown Rainier, and at the assets of the Port Westward Industrial Park during a visit to north Columbia County Nov. 28.

The meeting was facilitated by Senator Betsy Johnson.Robert Keyser, president of the Port of St. Helens board of commissioners, had written to the governor in May, asking him to visit the local industrial sites after the governor voiced opposition to plans for coal export facilities.


Groups opposed to the exportation of coal dominated a public hearing held Dec. 5 at the CMHS auditorium, but numerous people also voiced their support for the Ambre Energy Morrow Pacific barge transloading facility at Port Westward.

About 150 people attended the hearing sponsored by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Hearings were also held during the first week in December in Boardman and Portland.

An extensive energy conservation project at Georgia-Pacific’s Wauna Mill, in partnership with the Clatskanie People’s Utility District and the Bonneville Power Administration’s Energy Smart Industrial Program, was celebrated by representatives of the mill and the PUD.

The energy efficiency project at the Wauna Mill will reduce energy consumption by nearly 5.5 million kilowatt hours per year, enough electricity to power 360 typical households.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission (OFWC) approved on Dec. 7 a new management framework for Columbia River fisheries that includes more salmon for the sports fishers, a gradual shift of commercial gillnett fishers to enhanced off-channel areas, and the development of new commercial selective gears for the main stem.

After Oregon voters had turned down a gillnet ban in the November election, commercial fishing interests were disappointed in the OFWC’s decision. However, anti-gillnetting interests said they had withdrawn their support of the ballot measure that would have banned gillnets because of the governor’s idea.

“With a sad heart, but also with excitement,” Clatskanie School District Superintendent Mary Mitchell announced her resignation at the school board meeting Dec. 17. Mitchell resigned to accept a position as special education director for the St. Helens School District.

Northwest Regional Education Service District Superintendent James Sager will fill the role of superintendent temporarily, and help the school board find an interim superintendent.

Coming at the same meeting as Mitchell’s resignation, school board members Janet Willey and Karen George resigned their positions on the board. As the new year began, the remaining three school board members were seeking volunteers to fill the board vacancies. Letters of interest, resumés and letters of recommendation will be accepted through Jan. 16.

A wind and rain storm late on the night of Dec. 16 and early on the morning of Dec. 17 caused some power outages around the area. By the evening of Dec. 18, the precipitation turned to snow in the higher elevations.

A Clatskanie PUD lineman, Mark Woodward, escaped serious injury when he fell while climbing a pole on the afternoon of Dec. 18 to repair a line damaged in the storm.

A $53.9 million operating budget for 2013, showing a net income of over $4 million, was adopted by the Clatskanie PUD board of directors at its meeting Dec. 19.

While it may be headquartered in a small town, the Clatskanie PUD is the second largest consumer-owned utility in the state in terms of the amount of electricity sold – primarily because of its large industrial load at the Wauna Mill. The Clatskanie PUD has the lowest electricity rates in the state and among the lowest in the nation.

The Columbia River PUD board approved a $33.2 million operating and capital budget for 2013.

The local communities ended the year with celebrations of Christmas.

Opportunity for Veterans to Meet with VA Locally

Area veterans are invited to meet with representatives of the Veterans Administration (VA) who will be in Clatskanie this Saturday, Jan. 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The location has been changed from the Clatskanie Legion Hall, as previously announced, to the Clatskanie Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) hall at 960 NW 5th Street.

The VA representatives will be able to assist veterans in applying for VA programs including benefits, health care, education, home loans, and assistance with new and in-process claims.

Any local veterans who have questions about their claims will not have to travel to St. Helens or Portland to get answers to their questions.

Clatskanie American Legion Post 68 is sponsoring and hosting this event for local veterans as a way of thanking them for their service to the community and country.

The local VFW, American Legion and auxiliaries will sponsor a light lunch at the VFW hall to coincide with the VA representatives’ visit here.

Commercial Fishing Industries File Petition with Court of Appeals

A petition was filed Friday, Jan. 4, in the Oregon Court of Appeals asking for a review of the recent changes aimed at moving gillnets off the Columbia River.

The petition was filed on behalf of Steve Fick and his company, Fishhawk Fisheries of Astoria, and Jim Wells, a commercial gillnet fishermen and president of Salmon for All, an organization that supports the continuance of the commercial fishing industry on the Columbia River.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) recent rule change, aimed at enacting Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s plan to move gillnets off the Columbia River’s main stem -  restricting them to select area hatchery-fed fisheries such as Young’s Bay and Blind Slough – is the object of the appeal.

The petition filed last week is considered a first step. A motion to stay enforcement of the rule changes is expected this week.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is expected to vote on similar rules – banning gillnets on the Washington side of the river at meetings set for Jan. 11-12. An attorney for the petitioners has written to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, asking it to delay its decision.

“The ODFW rules should be invalidated because the ODFW rules conflict with controlling state law,” the petition filed with the Oregon Court of Appeals states. The new rules ban gillnets, but would allow other types of commercial fishing gear on the Columbia River main stem, specifically referencing seine nets, which have been illegal for decades.

The petition also states that banning gillnets on the Columbia’s main stem will “cause irreparable economic devastation for… commercial fisheries and the coastal communities dependent on them.”

Additionally, the new rules will effectively abolish the Columbia River’s commercial fishery which has provided salmon, sturgeon, smelt and other fish to the public for generations, the petitioners say.

Chamber Shop Locally Winners Announced

Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the “Spirit of Christmas in Clatskanie” shop locally promotion this week, as follows:

First prize, Holly Lever, $100 in Chamber Checks.

Second prize, Montana Helton, $50 in Chamber Checks.

Third prize, Vicki Holum, $30 in Chamber Checks

Fourth prize, Katelyn Dines, “Spirit of Christmas in Clatskanie” ornament collection, and a subscription to The Clatskanie Chief.

Fifth prize, Donna Garlock, “Spirit of Christmas in Clatskanie” ornament collection.

Sixth prize, Broderick Helton, a patriotic-themed serving tray donated by Discounts and Deals.

Local shoppers entered completed “Spirit” cards in the contest by making purchases equaling $300 at participating stores and offices.

Clatskanie City Officials Sworn In

CLATSKANIE CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT Ron Puzey read the oath of office to Clatskanie Mayor Diane Pohl, who was re-elected to a fourth two-year term in the November election, at the Jan. 2nd meeting of the council. Pohl then swore-in re-elected councilors Jim Morgan and Steve Constans. Councilor Kathy Engel, who was also re-elected in the November election, was unable to attend last week’s meeting. Puzey was re-elected council president at the first meeting of the year. Photos Courtesy of Greg Hinkelman

Wyden Schedules Town Halls in Clatsop and Columbia Counties Jan. 14th

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden will hold his annual town hall meetings in Clatsop and Columbia counties on January 14, 2013.

The Clatsop County Town Hall Meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 14, at 9:30 a.m. at Seaside High School, 1901 North Holladay Drive, Seaside.

The Columbia County Town Hall Meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 14, at 1 p.m. at Vernonia High School, 1000 Missouri Avenue, Vernonia.




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