18 September 2013 by Published in: News No comments yet

Wauna Mill Receives Awards from National Guard

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A CEREMONY AT THE GEORGIA-PACIFIC WAUNA MILL last Wednesday, Sept. 11, saw the “Patriot Award” being presented to operations manager – pulp Greg Bosch (top photo at right) and the “Above and Beyond Award” to the mill from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

 

Bosch was nominated for the award by Mike Burghardt (top photo at left), the Wauna Mill energy leader who also serves as the Brigade Support Battalion Commander for the Oregon National Guard.

 

The Patriot Award, presented to Bosch by Command Sergeant Major Mike Kalberg (Ret.) (top photo center), recognizes individual supervisors and bosses nominated by an employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve for support provided directly to the nominating service member. The award reflects the efforts made to support “citizen warriors” through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.

 

During the ceremony at the Wauna Mill, Burghardt spoke about how Bosch “is extremely supportive” of him and the mill’s other three employees who are currently serving in the National Guard or Reserves.

 

“It’s part of our culture to support our veterans,” Bosch stated, noting that approximately 10 percent of the mill’s employees – about 120 individuals – are veterans or active military reservists.

 

In the photo at right, Kalberg presented the “Above and Beyond Award” to Wauna Mill manager and Georgia-Pacific vice president Steve Francoeur.

 

The “Above and Beyond Award” is presented by ESGR state committees to recognize employers at the local level who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

 

In addition to their support of employees serving in the military, Georgia-Pacific’s Brawny® brand towels, manufactured at the Wauna Mill, contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project. In 2012, Brawny® towels raised $549,294 to help wounded veterans, and so far in 2013, the brand has raised nearly $650,000.

 

After the ceremony, guests, including several uniformed National Guard members and State Representative Brad Witt plus mill employees, were treated to a hamburger and hot dog barbecue.  Chief Photo by Deborah Steele Hazen

Contract Signed with New PUD Manager

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by Deborah Steele Hazen

 

In a brief special meeting Monday, Sept. 16, the Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD) board of directors approved various agreements regarding the position of general manager.

 

At its Aug. 21st meeting, the five PUD directors voted unanimously to appoint Marc Farmer, currently manager of the West Oregon Electric Cooperative based in Vernonia, to succeed current general manager Greg Booth, who annnounced in April his plans to retire next February.

 

Under the the terms of the employment agreements approved Monday, Farmer will be paid an initial salary of $165,000 per year calculated on a full-time basis beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The contract calls for annual base salary increases equal to the general cost of living/market adjustment provided to other non-union PUD employees.

 

The new general manager’s contract also includes a health and welfare package including medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance coverage, as well as the Oregon Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) benefit. Farmer will also have 25 days of paid vacation each calendar year. The district will reimburse Farmer for moving and relocation expenses incurred up to a maximum of $20,000.

 

Farmer will begin serving as the Clatskanie PUD’s general manager on a half-time basis Oct. 1, while continuing to provide general manager services to West Oregon Electric Cooperative. The PUD will pay a portion of his West Oregon salary to enable the transitioning of duties to a new general manager there.

 

Farmer has served as general manager of the West Oregon Electric Cooperative since mid-2005. Prior to that he was regional business manager for the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative for six years.

 

Booth Completes 15-Year Career with PUD

 

In the meantime, as of Oct. 1, Booth will transition from general manager to “consulting executive” through Feb. 28, 2014 – his retirement date. During that period he will perform various tasks and duties for the PUD until Farmer becomes fulltime.

 

Booth’s current salary is $185,182.40, computed on a weekly basis of $3561.20 per week. He will continue to be paid at that rate through Dec. 31. From Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, Booth will receive $3,623.60 per week. He will receive full benefits until Feb. 28.

 

If the board decides to continue to have Booth perform some services for the district after his retirement date, according to the contract approved Monday, he will be paid at the rate of $100 per hour.

 

Booth has served as the Clatskanie PUD’s general manager since July of 1998. Under his leadership, the PUD took steps that helped keep its rates the lowest in the state and the third lowest in the nation, including purchasing a “slice” of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) output with surplus power sold to produce revenues applied as credits to customer bills. Also during Booth’s tenure, the PUD built a natural gas generator at the Wauna Substation and participated in the construction of a hydroelectric plant at the Arrowrock Dam, gaining all of the power produced. Both of those actions make the Clatskanie PUD less dependent on the BPA.

 

Under Booth’s leadership, the PUD has also constructed two new substations – the Conyers and Bradbury substations – as well as various system upgrades to make service more reliable, including the new Clatskanie to Wauna transmission line which is now being built.

 

BPA Rates on Agenda for Sept. 25th Meeting

 

The Clatskanie PUD board will meet next Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m., with a proposed rate increase on the agenda in response to the BPA’s overall nine percent rate hike that will go into effect Oct. 1.

 

 

Congressional Town Hall Meeting with Suzanne Bonamici Set Sept. 21 in Clatskanie

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici will kick off her  fall town hall meeting schedule this Saturday, Sept. 21, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Clatskanie Middle/High School auditorium, 471 SW BelAir Drive in Clatskanie.

“Congress is working on many important issues that directly affect our quality of life in Oregon,” said Bonamici. “I’m holding these meetings to discuss issues, answer questions and gather ideas. Hearing directly from my constituents will help me better represent the needs of this diverse district.”

Also on Saturday, Sept. 21, Bonamici will hold a town hall from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Astoria Public Library Flag Room, 450 10th Street.

Sunday, Sept. 22, will see town hall meetings at the Tualatin Public Library Community Room, 18878 SW Martinazzi Aveue in Tualatin from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., and at the Hillsboro Civic Center C117 Auditorium, 150 E. Main Street, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The next weekend, Congresswoman Bonamici will meet with constituents on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon at the BanksFire Station training room, 300 S Main Street, and from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Yamhill-Carlton High School gymnasium, 120 North Larch Place in Yamhill.

On Sunday, Sept. 29, town halls are planned from 12 noon to 1 p.m. at the Beaverton Interpretive Center, Beaver Den Room, Nature Park Interpretive Center, 15655 SW Millikan Way, Beaverton, and from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Sauvie Island Academy gym, 14445 NW Charlton Road, Portland.

Rainier City Approves Music Festival, Opposes Rezone

by Adam J. Wehrley

At its Monday, Sept. 16, meeting, the Rainier City Council approved a permit for organizers of the Countrystock music festival to use Riverside Park. The council also authorized a letter to the county commissioners opposing the rezoning of 957 acres near Port Westward, and accepted a bid to paint City Hall.

Susan Roberts and David Mack of the Countrystock music festival spoke with the council and discussed the logistics of the event being held this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21 and 22, in Riverside Park.

The two-day festival features over 20 artists from across the country, including Julie Roberts, Carrie Cunningham, Jessica Lynne, Amy Taylor and the Sacred Road Country Band.

Music starts at noon both days and runs until 10 p.m. Entry is $10 per person with a two-can donation of food requested for H.O.P.E. of Rainier. A portion of the proceeds from the festival will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

After discussing insurance and logistics, the council unanimously approved a permit to use the park and on Mayor Jerry Cole’s recommendation waived the $300 fee in light of the food donations and contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Numerous vendors are expected at the event along with a motorcycle ride-in.

Although he expressed concern over a delay in working out permit and insurance issues, Councilor Scott Cooper echoed the feelings of several councilors stating, “We are definitely wanting to grow our use of the park.”

Port Rezone Opposed

Citing concerns over rail traffic and safety if future industrial developments utilize rail lines through Rainier, the city council authorized a letter to the Columbia County commissioners opposing the rezoning of 957 acres of land adjacent to Port Westward until the rail issues are adequately addressed.

The rezone of the property from agricultural to industrial use was requested by the Port of St. Helens to make it available for industrial development.

A hearing on the issue was scheduled on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Clatskanie High School auditorium. Councilors Sloan Nelson and Steve Massey stated they planned to attend and one or the other would read the letter on behalf of the council.

The council discussed current levels of rail use, crude oil trains and noise from train whistles. Cooper had been unaware of the shipment of oil by Global Partners through their Port Westward facility and expressed concern over future increase in traffic. No mention was made of the rail usage by industries located in Rainier.

Mayor Cole and Councilor James Bradfield discussed what steps would be necessary to make Rainier a quiet zone, and stated that safety improvements to crossings along A Street would be required. Both have been investigating that process. Councilor Sloan concurred with Cole on the need for safety improvements.

City Hall Painting Bid

The council accepted a $59,895 bid from Long Painting Co. of Portland to repaint the city hall. The bids will be officially awarded on Sept. 20.

Consulting engineers recommended the acceptance of the low bid, based on Long’s portfolio of successful commercial and industrial painting projects.

Ebooks Available Soon to Library Patrons

City librarian Patty Stanley reported on progress towards offering ebooks to patrons through the library’s website. The program is undergoing testing and should be in use by the end of the week, according to Stanley.

To access ebooks patrons must enter the bar code on their Rainier Library cards.

Lawana Poirier presented a petition with 100 signatures opposing business licenses for businesses selling pornography.

Mayor Cole said that the issue had been brought before the council and ordinances were being investigated. “We’re doing our homework,” said Cole.

Dan Jacobson asked the council for a letter of support for Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici regarding the reinstatement of the Clatsop-Nehalem Indian Tribe. The council supported the request.

Police Chief Gregg Griffith reported that the department had received a new patrol car and was waiting for the installation of necessary equipment.

Chief Griffith also reported that the department had apprehended a suspect who had held up someone making a night deposit drop.

PUD Continues Work on New Transmission Line

CONTINUING WORK ON THE NEW TRANSMISSION LINE from Clatskanie to Wauna are crews from the Clatskanie People’s Utility District. The work requires some one-way traffic stops on Highway 30 west of Clatskanie as was the case when this picture was taken Sept. 11. Chief Photo by Deborah Steele Hazen

CONTINUING WORK ON THE NEW TRANSMISSION LINE from Clatskanie to Wauna are crews from the Clatskanie People’s Utility District. The work requires some one-way traffic stops on Highway 30 west of Clatskanie as was the case when this picture was taken Sept. 11. Chief Photo by Deborah Steele Hazen

Rezoning Hearing Wednesday Night

A large crowd was expected Wednesday night, Sept. 18, for the much-publicized public hearing on the proposal to rezone 957 acres of land next to the Port Westward industrial park north of Clatskanie.

The hearing before the Columbia County board of commissioners was to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Clatskanie Middle/High School auditorium.

The question before the commissioners is whether to rezone the acreage contiguous with the industrial park from the current primary agriculture (PA-80) to Rural Industrial-Planned Development (RIPD).

 

 

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