06 February 2013 by Published in: News No comments yet

Bottom Line Duo Continues CAC’s 24th Season Friday

by Special Correspondent, Ernest A. Carman

Setting the mood for Valentine’s Day in what promises to be a heartwarming bass and cello evening onstage, Bottom Line Duo is set to perform on Friday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m., in the Donavon Wooley Performing Arts Center, at Clatskanie Middle/High School, 471 SW BelAir Drive.

Spencer and Traci Hoveskeland of Bottom Line Duo orchestrate a romp through musical history that features virtuosity, joy, a bit of competitiveness, and a well-tuned sense of humor between cello and bass.

They are described as “romantic, passionate, erudite and incredibly talented  like Victor Borge with strings attached.”

The performance is presented in a chamber music “21st century” style and features music from Bach to Rock, honoring many musical genres in between.

The Hoveskelands, Seattle residents who were brought up in Port Angeles, received the beginnings of their musical careers in the public school system. They met for the first time during their freshman year in high school, continued their relationship and studies at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Now they perform internationally as well as in the United States.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Bottom Line Duo is known for its performances at the Juan de Fuca Arts Festival, Seattle’s Bumbershoot, the Anacortes Arts Festival, and Tacoma’s First Night Festival. They also have been featured on Seattle’s classical station KING-FM, KCTS and RCTV public television, and “All Things Considered” on National Public Radio.

An exclusive performing entity since 1996, they also devote a major part of their time insuring that music education continues in the public school systems with their “outreach” program.

Spencer and Traci first heard live music as five-year-olds, when touring musicians performed at their elementary school. In step with that background, they plan an outreach assembly approximately 30-40 minutes long at Clatskanie Elementary School (CES) at 1:05 p.m. the day of the show.

Tickets, at $10 adults, $8 senior citizens or students, and $5 for children 5 and under, are available at Some Like It Hot, 401 W. Columbia River Highway, in the Evergreen Shopping Center, or at the door a half hour before the show.

The performance, sponsored by the Clatskanie Arts Commission, is partially funded by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) and also receives grant support from the Oregon Cultural Trust administered through the Columbia County Cultural Coalition.

For more information about this and other CAC offerings call 503 728-3403 or visit www.clatskaniearts.org.

PGE to Build New Generating Plant at Port Westward Industrial Park

by Deborah Steele Hazen

Portland General Electric Company (PGE) has announced its proposed new flexible generating plant, will be built at the Port of St. Helens-owned Port Westward Industrial Park near Clatskanie.

Port Westward Unit 2 was selected as the successful bid  to help meet PGE’s customer needs and provide system reliability – backing up wind and solar power.

According to a press release issued Jan. 31, PGE will begin construction of the plant this year, and expects to have it online in 2015.

Port Westward Unit 2 was the company’s benchmark proposal in a competitive bidding process seeking approximately 200 megawatts of flexible peaking capacity. The process began in 2011 and was overseen by an independent evaluator who reports to the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC).

“Port Westward Unit 2 will be an important, versatile resource to meet our customers’ current and future needs,” said Jim Piro, PGE’s president and chief executive officer.

“The new natural gas plant will be a highly efficient and environmentally responsible facility designed for maximum flexibility to help meet real-time fluctuations in customer demand and integrate variable renewable resources like wind and solar into PGE’s system. It will also serve as a ‘peaking’ resource during periods of high demand, helping maintain system reliability.”

The 220-megawatt plant will be located adjacent to PGE’s existing natural gas-fired Port Westward and Beaver plants. The project will create up to 200 new construction jobs, and is expected to cost between $285 million and $310 million, excluding allowance for funds used during construction.

The project is not expected to add significantly to the permanent PGE workforce at Port Westward.

Port Westward Unit 2, which was first proposed at the same time as the Unit 1 plant, will use reciprocating engine gensets supplied by Wärtsilä. Black & Veatch and Oregon-based Harder Mechanical, as a contractual joint venture, will have the “turnkey” contract for construction of the project.

The Port Westward Unit 2 was selected after a request for proposals (RFP) process that was conducted pursuant to competitive bidding guidelines established by the OPUC, using objective scoring criteria intended to identify projects that will provide the best balance of cost and risk while meeting PGE customers’ needs for reliable, affordable electric power.

Accion Group Inc., the independent evaluator selected by the OPUC, oversaw the RFP and review of bids to assure an objective and impartial process. On Jan. 30, Accion gave the OPUC its final assessment.

ODOE Recommends Approval of Construction Deadline Extension

Also related to the new PGE plant at Port Westward, the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) announced Tuesday that it has issued a proposed order recommending approval of PGE’s request for an amendment to the original Port Westward generating project site certificate, reflecting the now-expected 2015 completion of Unit 2.

The proposed Amendment #9 would extend both the deadline to complete construction and the deadline to make beneficial use of a water right for the second phase of the facility.

More details on the  ODOE site certificate and amendment for the plant are available at: http://www.oregon.gov/energy/Siting/Pages/PWG.aspx.

Payments for Local Governments

In 2011, the Oregon Business Development Commission approved an application by PGE for a partial property tax exemption under the State of Oregon Strategic Investment Program (SIP) for the Port Westward Unit 2 project.

As part of the SIP tax exemption, PGE and Columbia County entered into a SIP agreement wherein PGE agreed to annually pay to the county a community service fee for a period of 15 years beginning in the tax year after the project begins commercial operation, in an amount equal to 25 percent of the property taxes that would have otherwise been due, not to exceed $500,000.

Additionally, PGE agreed to make payments for the benefit of nine affected local governments – including the 4-H and Extension Service District, Columbia 9-1-1 Communications District, Columbia Vector Control District, Rainier Cemetery District, Clatskanie Parks and Recreation District, Clatskanie Library District, Port of St. Helens, Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District.

Under an agreement negotiated between Columbia County and those nine local taxing districts, it was agreed to give the largest share to the Clatskanie School District, which would not have been otherwise included under the SIP program.

The amount of the community service fee depends on the exact valuation of the new plant. The percentage of the community service fee that will be paid to each district, depends on their tax rates, so the payments will range from a few thousand to as much as $400,000 per year.

CCRider Shifts Gears to Better Serve Community

The Columbia County board of commissioners will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 13, on proposed service changes to the CCRider Public Transit system, as recommended by the Columbia County Citizens Transit Advisory Committee (CCCTAC).

The changes will allow CCRider to improve service in a way that provides for long term growth and helps the system to live within its means in the present, according to director Janet Wright.

Funding for public transportation is provided by the Oregon Department of Transportation, Public Transit Division.  The state funds programs on a biennial basis.  CCRider staff members have been working with the CCCTAC to address the budget for the 2013-15 fiscal year.

Because of flat funding levels and because the county is

requiring the transit department to establish an operating reserve, some reductions in service must take place, Wright explained in a news release this week.

Wright said the CCCTAC meetings began addressing the service related to the upcoming budget process in October, reviewing current services and prioritizing future service to assure that any changes would be dictated by the following priorities:

1. Least effect to the majority of riders.

2. Allows for no single service to be eliminated.

3. In areas where service will be reduced, assure that service will continue on a consistent enough basis, to insure that riders will continue to have public transit as an option.

4. Identified Dial-a-Ride Service for the elderly and disabled as a priority for continuation, with a change from a general public service to a qualifying service that focuses on rides for medical trips, special needs, and life necessities, such as grocery, pharmacy, banking, etc. and other needs as space is available.

Changing this service from a general public to a service which focuses on riders with special needs, such as the elderly/disabled and those with medical needs encourages riders who are able, to use the system’s “fixed” and “flex” routes, which have lower fares.

5. Changes allow for adequate management of the transit system in addition to compliance with county finance and budget processes.

“In the last year, CCRider provided approximately 105,000 rides to county  residents, and we are very much aware that there are people behind the numbers that rely on public transportation,” said Joe Burks, CCCTAC chairman.

“And we know that any changes in the provision of services will affect our riders,” he added. “Our hope is that the changes will affect as few as possible.”

Rider staff provided the CCCTAC with rider numbers, hours of service and costs of service for all routes. As a result of the analysis that was completed, the CCCTAC has recommended to the board of county commissioners that the following service changes be considered for approval:

Fixed Routes:

• Weekend Connector: Eliminate connector service after the grant ends in August 2013, unless new grant funding is obtained to continue the service;

• Westport to Longview: Provide only M/W/F (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) service three times per day.

• Nehalem Valley: Provide only M/W/F service two times per day. Eliminate midday trip.

• North Flex: Provide service M/W/F.

• No changes to the St. Helens to Portland, South Flex and PCC routes.

Dial-A-Ride (DAR): 

• Establish an application process for elderly/disabled, special needs riders, and prioritize limiting DAR services for  riders with medical appointments, life needs, grocery, banking, etc., and other trips when able to be arranged.

• Vernonia: Reduce to five hours per day; two days a week

• Clatskanie/Rainier DAR: Will provide DAR service to north county – Monday, Wednesday, Friday service, five hours per day.

• DAR 1 (St. Helens/Scappoose): Reduce to five hours per day, five days per week

• DAR 2 (St. Helens/Scappoose): Reduce to five hours per day, five days per week.

• DAR 3 (St. Helens/Scappoose): Eliminate.

Riders and community residents affected by these service changes are encouraged to tell CCRider “how we are doing and provide comments to help us improve our service,” according to Wright.

Those with questions may call Janet Wright, CCRider Transit director, at 503 366-8504 or email janet.wright@co.columbia.or.us.

CPUD Crew Sets Transmission Line Poles

SETTING LARGE POWER POLES WEST of Clatskanie, near Palm Hill Road, Clatskanie People’s Utility District (CPUD) crews continued to work Monday afternoon on the first phase of the $4.2 million Conyers-Wauna transmission line project. The ongoing project will increase system flexibility and reliability. The transmission lines will run approximately 12 miles from the Conyers substation in Clatskanie to the Wauna substation. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2016, with $1.8 million of the work expected to be done this year. Chief Photo by Adam J. Wehrley

Library Repairs on Agenda for School Board Meeting

Approval of bids for repairs to the Clatskanie Elementary School library, swearing in of two new board members, and other business was on the agenda of a special Clatskanie school board meeting Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. in room 107 at Clatskanie Middle/High School.

The school board was expected to declare an emergency property loss regarding the flooding of the CES library because of a broken pipe during the freezing weather in early January.

Additionally, approval of project bids to accomplish the repairs to the library was expected.

John Moore and Erick Holsey were to be installed as new members of the board after they were appointed Jan. 28 to fill the seats vacated by the recent resignations of Janet Willey and Karen George.

Also on the agenda was an operation agreement between the board and interim superintendent George Lanning, who was appointed at the Jan. 28th meeting to lead the district for the rest of this school year, and assist the board in the process of selecting a new superintendent, which was also on the agenda for Wednesday’s special meeting.

Other agenda items included board committee appointments, and an executive session regarding negotiations.

 

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