Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing the investigation into the cause of Sunday afternoon’s two-vehicle head-on crash along Highway 30 at Bradley Hill that killed one and sent six other people, including four children, to the hospital.
The crash occurred at 5:36 p.m. Sunday, April 14, on Highway 30, about 13 miles west of Clatskanie in the Bradley Hill area when a 1998 Volkswagen Jetta, driven by Lucas William Brown, age 36, of Longview, crossed the double solid centerline and collided head-on with a westbound 2003 Mini Cooper driven by Kimberly Anne Sultan, 42, of Astoria
Brown was pronounced dead after being flown by Life Flight helicopter to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.
His two children, also of Longview, were passengers, Noah Waite-Brown, age 8, was flown to Legacy Emanuel and was listed in critical condition at Randall Children’s Hospital there. Kane G. Brown, age 7, was taken first to Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria, and was later transferred to Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland where he is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the Mini Cooper, Kimberly Sultan, was extricated from the wreckage by firefighters who responded to the scene and was transported by ambulance to St. John Medical Center in Longview. She was later transferred to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and is in critical condition.
The Mini Cooper passengers were transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. They are identified as right front passenger Ivan Sultan, age 44, and rear seat passengers Keanu Sultan, age 16, and Emily R. Lloyd, age 22 months.
All occupants in the Mini Cooper were using safety restraints. Safety restraint use by the occupants in the Volkswagen is pending confirmation.
After impact the Volkswagen came to rest on its top off the highway and the Mini Cooper stopped along the right shoulder and fog line. Vehicle debris was scattered across the highway.
OSP troopers from the Astoria and St. Helens offices responded and are involved with the ongoing investigation. Trooper Jessica Spurlock is the lead investigator.
OSP has confirmed that two complaints were called in to Astoria dispatch about speeding and dangerous passes made by a vehicle matching the Volkswagen Jetta’s description near the Svensen Market about 10 minutes before the crash, and at 5:33 p.m. from an unknown Highway 30 location
The Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District, Knappa Fire District, Medix Ambulance, and Oregon Department of Transportation all responded to the scene and assisted. The highway was closed about 3 hours.
The wreckage of a bright yellow Mini Cooper (above) tells the story of the force of the head-on collision late Sunday afternoon at Bradley Hill, about 13 miles west of Clatskanie. The Astoria woman who was driving the Mini Cooper was critically injured while her three passengers received minor injuries. The Mini Cooper, westbound on Highway 30, was hit by a 1998 Volkswagen Jetta (upside down in the grass in the lower picture) that crossed the centerline to cause the collision. Its driver, a Longview man, was killed, and his two sons were injured, one critically. Oregon State Police Photo
by Adam J. Wehrley
At the Rainier city council meeting Monday, April 15, Mayor Jerry Cole and councilors opposed to the rezoning of agricultural lands adjacent to the Port Westward Industrial Park, reiterated that their opposition is largely based on safety, noise, traffic and “livability” issues connected to increased use of the rail line through Rainier.
During his opening address Mayor Cole read a letter addressed to the Columbia County board of commissioners, regarding the rezoning 957 acres of land owned by the Port of St. Helens at the Port Westward site near Clatskanie. Currently the land is zoned for agricultural. The Port has applied to the Columbia County Planning Commission to rezone the property “rural industrial development.”
The letter, which was authorized by the council and signed by Cole, reads:
“At the council meeting on April 1, the City of Rainier unanimously agreed to oppose the Port of St. Helens’ request for a zone change from the current agricultural zone to an industrial zone at the Port Westward site.
“The city does not support the zone change if it increases rail traffic. The current rail system is insufficient to accommodate additional rail traffic.
“The city encourages the county to consider all aspects of the proposed zone change to all residents of Columbia County, including those most severely impacted by increased rail traffic; Scappoose, St. Helens, Columbia City, Prescott City and Rainier.
“As you consider this rezone application, please consider the livability, safety and welfare of all residents of Columbia County. Sincerely, Mayor Jerry Cole”
After reading the letter Mayor Cole emphasized the point that, “Our beef is with the rail traffic.”
The rezoning would have no effect on any of the current rail traffic to Port Westward or other industries now using the rail line.
Mayor Cole said that while offers to fund rail improvements in Rainier had been made in the past, nothing had been put in writing, and no one had “brought the city one of those big checks.”
He added that rail improvement discussions were underway and, “of all the years I’ve been involved in possible improvements, this is the best I’ve ever seen.”
He acknowledged that in some cases the city had little power to impede rail traffic, “The railroad starting tomorrow can bring through five unit trains per day, they have that right…We need help minimizing the impact.”
Clatskanie Mayor Pohl Speaks to Council
Clatskanie Mayor Diane Pohl attended the council meeting to ask Rainier officials to reconsider their opposition to the rezoning, which she wished to separate from the coal industry and from the railroad.
Mayor Pohl stated that her professional background was as a city planner and a land use consultant, “I am not unfamiliar with land use.”
She stated that the county and other taxing districts were in desparate need of the funds increased industries would bring. “Our jail and sheriff’s office are in trouble, by next year we may not have a jail. The only way to improvement is to grow. We need to replace the timber and fishing industries.”
Mayor Pohl stressed the need for family wage jobs in the north county area, “Port Westward is our only hope.”
“Kinder Morgan has a slim chance, the governor says no coal in Oregon,” she said, but stated other industries could locate at the rezoned acreage at Port Westward, some of which don’t need rail.
Pohl has been a major supporter of the Ambre Energy Morrow-Pacific coal transloading project, which would transport coal by barge to Port Westward and load it onto ocean-going vessels via enclosed conveyors.
Mayor Pohl stated that the reason she had never endorsed the Kinder Morgan project was its use of trains through her “sister city” of Rainier.
Darrel Whipple of the Alston area applauded Rainier’s opposition to the rezoning, saying the city could not function with increased rail use.
Rainier councilor Scott Cooper suggested that the Port “look outside the box” in bringing industry to the area and said, “We’re not against Port Westward growing, but we want quality of life.”
Councilor Steve Massey said, “I am against the expansion of Port Westward if it increases train traffic! We’ve already seen Global bringing in crude oil.” Massey added, “In order for me to support expansion we’d have to have an iron clad agreement that would limit rail use. Coal would be a disaster.”
Councilor Judith Taylor said she would like to see Rainier as a “quiet zone” for trains and that she was against coal.
David Sills thanked Mayor Pohl for coming and sharing her thoughts with the council.
At the close of the public meeting, the council agreed to move its May 6th meeting to May 7th to allow as many councilors the opportunity to attend a Columbia County planning commission hearing scheduled for public comment on the rezoning at Port Westward.
Cooper, who suggested the change, said, “I think that’s a great statement for us to make.”
Volleyball Courts Funded
An ongoing effort to install two regulation beach volleyball courts in the city park has received funding through the Rainier Economic Development Council (REDCO) in the amount of $7000. Councilor Cooper and Rainier resident Tina Edwards have been working on the project. A dozen Rainier High School and club volleyball players accompanied Edwards to show support for the courts.
Previous estimates for clay-free sand had exceeded funding availability. When a local vendor was found recently who could provide high quality sand at a fraction of the cost, the project was fast-tracked. Over time clay would cause the sand to harden making the courts dangerous for players.
City council members, who also serve as REDCO board members, agreed to fund the project during the REDCO meeting which preceded the council meeting. Later, the council offered public works manpower and equipment to install the courts.
Cooper stated he hoped a tournament could be established as part of Rainier Days in the Park.
Edwards said that summer volleyball players now carpool to out-of-town courts several times a week and that clubs could host tournaments with the courts in place.
Councilor Sloan Nelson suggested that local vendors be sought for the lumber to be used in constructing the border, which will be padded.
Funding for the courts was unanimously approved and supporters cheered.
“Month of HOPE” Proclaimed
Showing support for HOPE (Help Our People Eat), food bank Mayor Cole proclaimed April the month of HOPE, saying that in times of economic trouble it was important to make sure the food bank was there when citizens need help.
HOPE board members and staff were present for the proclamation.
Rainier Made Stop on Intertribal Canoe Route
Cowlitz Indian tribal representatives requested permission to encamp in the city park on the night of July 24 as members from several tribes participate in an annual intertribal canoe journey. This year’s route will take six to eight canoes from Fort Vancouver to the Pacific Ocean.
Phillip Harju and Dan Jacobson represented the tribe.
“I consider this an honor,” Cole said.
The council unanimously approved the use of the park.
Committee Recommends New EDU Sewer Rate
City administrator Debra Dudley reported that the sewer rate review committee formed to investigate the controversial equivalent dwelling unit (EDU) rate program for multiple-resident facilities had recommended that the EDU program be replaced with a consumption-based rate schedule.
The new rate will be implemented at the turn of the fiscal year, July 1.
OVER 130 LOADS OF BULKY WASTE were brought to the Clatskanie city park Saturday morning during the annual Bulky Waste Cleanup Day. Cars lined up early at 8 a.m. for the start of the event, but continued arriving throughout the morning bring a wide variety of bulky items to dispose of including old furniture, mattresses, appliances, lawn mowers, tires, etc. The 11th annual event was sponsored by the City of Clatskanie and the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce with the cooperation of Clatskanie Sanitary Service, Clatskanie Park and Recreation District, Clatskanie People’s Utility District, Sterling Bank-Clatskanie, Stan’s Refrigeration, Clatskanie Builders Supply, Kynsi Construction, Columbia County Land and Development Services, and volunteers from the Chamber, Clatskanie Kiwanis, Clatskanie Masonic Lodge #133, Cub Scout Pack #241, Great Vow Zen Monastery, and other community members. Chief Photo by Amanda Gail Moravec
The public is invited to “meet and greet” the two finalists for the position of Clatskanie School District superintendent/elementary school principal next Wednesday, April 24, from 5 to 6 p.m. at Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS).
After a screening committee comprised of the board, staff and community members narrowed the field from eight applicants to five last week, the board interviewed those five in executive sessions on Monday and Tuesday nights.
At the end of Tuesday night’s session, the two finalists were announced as Lloyd Hartley, currently superintendent/high school principal and formerly superintendent/elementary principal at the Glendale School District in Douglas County, Ore., and Craig Downs, superintendent of the Chimacum School District in Jefferson County, Wash., and formerly assistant superintendent in Woodland, and an elementary principal in Kelso.
Hartley and Downs will be in Clatskanie April 24 and will meet with students and staff members during the afternoon, and with interested members of the community in separate half hour sessions in the CMHS library and auditorium from 5 to 5:25 p.m. and from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
After the “meet and greet” sessions, the board will conduct final interviews Wednesday evening in executive session.
Another special board meeting is set for Thursday, April 25, for the board to meet in executive session followed by the announcement of the new superintendent/elementary school principal.
Budget and Board Meeting Monday
It will be a busy week for leaders of the Clatskanie School District, the budget committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 22, in Room 107 at CMHS to receive the proposed budget for the coming year.
That meeting will be followed by a regular school board meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the same room.
Oregon’s 1st Congressional District Representative Suzanne Bonamici has scheduled a town hall meeting this Sunday, April 21, from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. at the Community Hall, 1850 Second Street in Columbia City.
The public is invited to attend and ask Bonamici questions about Congress and congressional issues.