REMINDING CHIEF READERS that Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday morning, Nov. 3, and it will be time to roll back those clocks one hour before going to bed this Saturday night – or at 2 a.m. Sunday morning – are: Hayley Rose (four years old), Jacob Alexander (four months old) seated on the lap of Hannah Rose (six years old), Jordan Alexander (8 years old), holding the clock, and Heidi Rose (two years old), children of Dean and Wendy Isaacson of Clatskanie, and the grandchildren of Ernie and the late Nilce Carman, and Rob and Terri Isaacson, all of Clatskanie. Photo for The Chief by Ernest A. Carman
by Deborah Steele Hazen
Global Partners LP is ready to invest $50 to $70 million and add over 30 more “family wage” jobs to its Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery (CPBR) at the Port Westward industrial park near Clatskanie, but in order to do so, it needs the ability to bring in up to 34 trains per month, rather than the current limit of 17.
There is much support for Global’s expansion plans at Port Westward if the issues with the rail line running through Columbia County are addressed.
Those were the messages received by the Port of St. Helens board of commissioners at a meeting Oct. 23 at the Columbia River People’s Utility District (PUD) community room in Deer Island.
About 80 people were in attendance at the meeting, including a large contingent of union workers, expressing their support for the expansion of the facility.
While there were many comments regarding concerns that rail improvements be made to accommodate the safe expansion of traffic on the Portland & Western (P&W) short line, there was virtually no outright opposition to the proposal.
After hearing lengthy presentations from representatives of Global Partners and P&W, and questioning them on the proposal, the Port commissioners also took testimony from state economic development officials, State Representative Brad Witt, speaking on behalf of the labor unions; State Senator Betsy Johnson, three Columbia County mayors and various citizens.
The Port commission will make its decision on whether to adopt the resolution raising the cap on trains going to Port Westward at its meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 8:30 a.m. at the Port office in Columbia City.
Global Presents Plans
Bill Davidson, a senior vice president overseeing terminals, operations and acquisitions for Global, led off the presentations at the Port commission meeting, noting that the company, based in Boston, started out as a one-truck heating oil business in the 1930s. The two sons of the original owner expanded the operations, and the expansion has continued under the third generation president of the company and chief executive officer, Eric Slifka.
Global Partners, which went public in 2007 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange as GLP, is a Fortune 200 company – ranking 157th in revenues in 2013 among American companies in the list compiled by Fortune magazine.
Davidson described Global as a mid-stream logistics company that moves crude (unrefined) oil and ethanol. It owns one of the largest terminal networks in the Northeastern United States, and is one of the largest distributors of those products in the Northeast – owning, leasing or supplying over 100 retail gas stations.
“We have 75 years of experience in the distribution of energy products,” Davidson told the Port commission and the citizens in attendance. “We take pride in being involved in the communities where we do business.”
The purchase of CPBR last February, was Global’s first venture onto the West Coast.
Davidson explained that the ethanol plant, now known as CPBR, had failed twice operating just as an ethanol producer because of the shifting market conditions. The previous owner – J.H. Kelly – added the transloading of crude oil from trains to barges bound for West Coast refineries in November 2012.
The facility cannot survive long-term as just an ethanol plant, Davidson emphasized. It can survive as a crude oil terminal with an ethanol plant that operates when market conditions permit, but only if it can bring in enough trains for both operations.
“We invested $95 million in the facility, and we’re looking to spend another $50 to $70 million. We think this can be a wonderful success story.” But, that success depends on the ability to increase the number of trains, Davidson said.
“We’re a company that’s really happy to be in Oregon. The people and the experiences we’ve had are great…We are here. We’re ready to go, we just need your approval.”
Asked if 34 trains per month would be the limit, or if the company might come back asking for more, Davidson said “it depends on market conditions at the time, and what infrastructure has been put in place.”
The company’s plans for improvements to the site – as soon as the necessary permits, including raising the rail cap, are obtained – include increasing storage tank and offloading capacity which will better allow for the scheduling of trains; modernization and expansion of the Port Westward dock to allow for transporting the crude oil by ship rather than barge, and installation of a state-of-the-art vapor combustion unit to control emissions from the marine vessels.
Those improvements will create hundreds of construction jobs over about a one year period, and allow for the addition of at least 30 permanent jobs besides sustaining the 47 current CPBR employees. Over half of the current employees are union personnel, and most of the new jobs will be union.
State Representative Brad Witt, “speaking from under my union hat,” noted that the jobs Global provides are in the range of $40,000 to $60,000 with “a full compliment of benefits, a health insurance plan for the entire family, and a union pension plan that we are proud of and which will enable the work force to retire in comfort when it is time to do that.”
He said that Global had kept the current employees on the job even though, “if you looked at the amount of work, it may have been hard to justify keeping the entire workforce.” Global has kept them on the payroll because of its plans for expansion. “I can tell you that this company has won the loyalty of its workers and this union is here in support of this request as a testimony of the faith we have in this company and their style of management.”
Commitment to Safety
Dan Luckett, general manager of CPBR, spoke about the company’s commitment to safety and the environment, noting that the employees of the operation have worked in excess of 220,000 man-hours without a single lost time accident, and have worked more than 700 days without an OSHA-recordable injury.
“CPBR embraces a culture of continuous improvement, which applies to all aspects of our work,” Luckett told the Port commission. “we are not content to rest on our laurels and actively improve our safety.”
In regard to the environment, Luckett said, “we see commitment to the environment as the opposite side of the same coin as safety. Protecting the environment and stewardship of our Port Westward location are of prime importance to CPBR.
“To date, CPBR has experienced no reportable spills or unpermitted emissions.
“CPBR is an active member of the Clean Rivers Cooperative and actively participates in training exercises along the Columbia.
“CPBR regularly conducts audits of our spill response preparedness and coordinates drills with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), USCG (United States Coast Guard), and the ODEQ (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality).
“CPBR operations at Port Westward are highly overseen and regulated by both state and federal agencies. CPBR has coordinated/integrated: four separate air permits/programs/plans; five separate water permits, five separate spill response plans, nine separate hazardous material safety and security plans, three separate commercial permits or registrations, and an additional three outstanding permit applications.
“In addition, we are regulated by five separate state and/or federal agencies. We have been audited by said agencies a total of 27 times over the last 15 months, resulting in no significant or actionable items. In fact, during the EPA Government Initiated Unannounced Exercise in March of this year, CPBR received a grade of A- from the federal inspector.”
Assurances of Rail
Joel Haka, senior vice president of Genessee & Wyoming Inc., the parent company of the Portland & Western rail line, as well as other representatives of the company spoke to the Port commission about its commitment to safety.
The rail spokesmen emphasized that the added business Global is proposing necessitates rail improvements to allow for 25 mph speeds rather than the current 15, and more sidings.
Port Commissioner Iverson spoke about the timing of trains going through intersections in the south county at 5 to 6 mph during school hours. “That’s terrible timing on an empty train heading back to Portland. Those issues sometimes seem to fall on deaf ears. It sure seems like you could control some of those things.”
“We should go every mile an hour that we’re capable of,” a representative of the rail line responded. “We’ll monitor that with our train crews. Those things we can control, we’ll look at. With increased capital improvement comes some of that flexibility. Sidings will help.”
“We’ve talked ad nauseam about this,” responded Iverson. “The issues with the rail haven’t changed… The rail can make or break this deal.”
“The current freight volumes really dictate the capital investment,” Haka said. “If we can go ahead with more volume, we’ll be able to make some of the infrastructure improvements that you would like.”
“From my perspective, we need guarantees that these improvements are going to be done, and that it’s going to be followed through on,” said Iverson.
“I have to improve velocity and I have to make those improvements for the volume that’s coming,” said the rail spokesman.
“Will you have some kind of a written agreement with Global that you will improve the track?” Iverson asked.
“Yes,” was the reply.
The issue of quiet zones through some Columbia County communities, including Rainier, also came up..
It is the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) that controls quiet zones – where train whistles aren’t blown.
Matt Robinson, of the Portland mayor’s office, said he had been working with the railroad and the FRA to establish a quiet zone in Linnton. “The railroad has been a pretty good partner in this and we appreciate it.”
He said that if the effort to create a quiet zone in Linnton is successful, he would be happy to share information with Columbia County communities.
Mark Ellsworth, regional coordinator for the Governor’s Regional Solutions Team; Tim McCabe, director of the Oregon Business Development Department, Senator Johnson, and Rep. Witt all spoke highly of Global, and the current effort to address the rail issues with a combination of private and public funds.
“I’ve been given my marching orders to improve the safety in downtown Rainier,” said Larry McKinley, area manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) District 1. The ODOT rail division was due in Rainier this week to work with the railroad and local property owners.
“Safety is the primary focus,” said McKinley. We have a collaborative group including the railroad, the state, Foss Maritime and the City of Rainier. The money is there… The director of my agency has had his arm twisted up behind his back and we’ll figure out how to cover any gap in doing the necessary street improvements, including rail.”
ODOT will also assist with working on the quiet zone process, he said.
“There is adequate funding,” McKinley emphasized. “The money is there.”
“The commission is struggling with how we make sure that what needs to get done – gets done,” said Port commission president Robert Keyser. “Can ODOT and ODOT rail help get us an assurance that these things can be done?”
“I’ve been involved in business development in Oregon for 18 years and I can count on one hand the opportunities like this that have come to the state – a Fortune 200 company,” said McCabe. “I understand your concerns and encourage you to work very closely with the railroad and ODOT to make this project happen.”
“I would add my personal validation of cooperation with the railroad,” said Sen. Johnson. “We are making huge strides to resolve some of the issues. The railroad is fully participatory. This is a great opportunity for jobs in this district that desperately needs them – construction jobs as well as permanent jobs. This is the opportunity to realize the vision that many of us have had for decades about the possibilities and potential at Port Westward. It is an important opportunity, and I hope you move forward expeditiously.”
Clatskanie Mayor Diane Pohl submitted a letter from the City of Clatskanie urging the Port’s approval of increasing rail traffic to allow for the expansion of Global’s operations at Port Westward. She also spoke about the out-reach of Global to the local communities, and the need for the different areas of Columbia County to cooperate for the good of all. “Let’s work together and find that sweet spot where we can encourage economic development and come together. If Columbia County is going to survive it’s going to survive by working together.”
Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole stated that “the City of Rainier is not against expansion.” He called Global “a great company,” and said the people of Rainier support the expansion at Port Westward so long as the rail issues are solved.
Mayor Randy Peterson of St. Helens also spoke about rail issues in his city, but noted that “we’ve talked about economic development to create jobs and bring industries to town for years. Anybody who thinks we’re going to be able to do that without impacts has another think coming. We have to realize that there are going to be impacts and figure out how to deal with them.”
Halloween activities culminate on Thursday, Oct. 31, in Clatskanie and Rainier with activities planned for all ages.
Ushering in the festivities is a Halloween costume parade down Nehalem Street for Clatskanie Elementary School students on Thursday afternoon, and trick-or-treating at many Clatskanie businesses.
In Rainier, a harvest party will be held on Halloween night at Riverside Community Church, and the Beaver Homes Grange in Goble will offer its final round of haunted house tours.
Scheduled activities in the Clatskanie area include:
Students at Clatskanie Elementary school will parade in costume starting at the elementary school at 1:30 p.m. “rain or shine” on Halloween and proceed down Nehalem Street, ending at the Clatskanie Police Department.
Members of the community are welcome to gather along Nehalem Street to watch the festivities.
Trick or Treating at Clatskanie Businesses
In keeping with annual tradition, Clatskanie businesses will extend a welcome to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, under the sponsorship of the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce.
Participating businesses will distribute treats to children in costume on Thursday, Oct 31. Trick-or-treating will be available during normal operating hours at each location.
Businesses inviting trick-or-treaters on Halloween include: The Amber, Bag Ladies Yarn Shop, Big Guy’s Restaurant, Clatskanie Builders Supply, The Clatskanie Chief, Clatskanie City Hall, Clatskanie Computers, Clatskanie fire department main station, Clatskanie Insurance Agency, Clatskanie Library, Clatskanie Market, Clatskanie Mini Storage, Clatskanie Police Department, Clatskanie PUD, Clatskanie River Inn, Clatskanie Safeway, Clatskanie Subway, Colvin’s Pub and Grill, Conestoga Pub & Grill, Discounts & Deals, Dr. Briggs office, Eastside Plaza – Latté Da, Carla’s Closet and Clatskanie Floral, Evenson Logging, Flowers ‘N Fluff, Fultano’s Pizza Parlor, GreenWood Resources – Grannis Square, The Hair Place, Hazen Hardware, Hi-School Pharmacy, Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant, Jim’s Garage, M & N Workwear, NAPA Quality Auto Parts, Quilted Dandelion, Rockcrest Realty, Singing Dog Jewelry, Some Like It Hot, State Farm Insurance, Sterling Bank, Tri-City Insurance, Turning Point Community Service Center, Tyack Dental Group, US Bank, Wauna Federal Credit Union and Windermere/St. Helens Real Estate.
A chili feed at Flowers ‘N Fluff Thursday on Halloween from 4 to 6:30 p.m. will benefit Young Life and Wyldlife. Chili and hot dogs will be served free of charge and donations will go toward summer camp programs for local youth.
“Trunk or Treat” at Faith Lutheran
Children are invited to “trunk or treat” on Halloween at Faith Lutheran Church in Clatskanie, 1010 NE 5th Street.
Church members will dispense treats from 4 to 6 p.m. to children in costume from the trunks of decorated cars parked in the church parking lot.
Halloween Musical Program
An autumn and Halloween-themed musical program will be presented at The Amber assisted living facility in Clatskanie on Thursday, Oct. 31, at 11:15 a.m.
Carol Fiel, Wenda Hall and Janice Youra will present the program. All are welcome to attend.
Free Chili and Hot Dog Feed
A “cauldron of red bean brew and dog tails on bread” will be served free of charge at Flowers ‘N Fluff on Halloween from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Donations for the chili and hot dogs meal will go to Young Life and Wyldlife, which provide summer camp programs for local youth.
Quincy Grange Halloween Carnival
A Halloween carnival for all ages will be held at Quincy Grange on Thursday, Oct. 31, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Planned activities include bingo, a cake walk, games and food.
Quincy Grange is located three and a half miles northeast of Clatskanie on Rutters Road.
Harvest Party in Rainier
Riverside Community Church in Rainier will hold its 10th annual harvest party on Halloween night, Oct. 31.
The party runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and is open to the community free of charge. There will be free food, carnival games with candy and prizes and bouncy houses for children of all ages.
A free concert for youth in 7th-12th grades will follow from 9 to 10 p.m.
The church is located at 305 West 3rd Street in the old Rainier elementary school building.
Beaver Homes Grange Haunted House
Haunted house tours on Halloween night will be held at the Beaver Homes Grange hall in Goble from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Concessions and “fright-free” children’s games will be available downstairs, noted a Grange spokesperson.
Admission is $5, children under six years are free. Those who bring a canned food donation will receive $4 admission.
Signs will guide attendees onto Nicolai Road from Highway 30 to the Grange hall located at 31105 Beaver Homes Road in Goble.
In Wake of Lawsuit…
by Deborah Steele Hazen
In the wake of the Oct. 15th filing of a federal lawsuit against the Clatskanie School District (CSD) and Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS) Principal Jeff Baughman, the CSD issued a press release Monday affirming its “commitment to safe school environment by working to improve school culture.”
Also, as of Oct. 24, Baughman has been placed on paid administrative leave pending further notice. CSD Superintendent Lloyd Hartley declined to comment further. “We’re not allowed to comment on personnel matters nor litigation as per the advice of our attorneys.”
CMHS vice principal Amy McNeil has been named acting CMHS principal. The district has posted the position of athletic director, “to free up some of (McNeil’s) time,” Dr. Hartley said at a special meeting of the school board Monday evening. Part of McNeil’s duties as vice principal included the athletic director position. “We can’t lose a full-time administrator without needing to do some backfilling.” Hartley said he expected that several current district employees would be interested in the athletic director job.
The federal lawsuit alleges that the school district and Baughman failed to follow its own policies regarding sexual harassment and created “a hostile educational environment” that allowed acts of sextortion, bullying, harassment and assault to take place over a period of at least three years.
Plaintiffs in the case are Josi Harrison and her mother Annie Harrison, Allysun Harkleroad and her mother Sundee Mohning, and Laura Lefebvre and her mother Jennifer Lefebrve.
The lawsuit against the CSD and Baughman follows a civil lawsuit filed in Columbia County Circuit Court in June by Josi Harrison and her parents against five Clatskanie minors and 10 adults, the parents of the minors. That suit alleges the defendants’ involvement in the sextortion, bullying and sexual assault of Josi. That case, which has received regional and national media attention, is pending trial in Columbia County Circuit Court.
The cases revolve around the alleged bullying of the girls by boys with the intent to coerce the girls into sending nude photographs of themselves via cell phones and the Internet, and subsequent harassment and assault.
The lawsuit against the CSD and Baughman will be heard by Federal Magistrate Judge Janice M. Stewart of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon in Portland.
At its special meeting Monday, the school board met in executive session with attorney Karen M. Vickers of the firm of Mersereau Shannon LLP, of Portland. Vickers has been hired by the CSD’s insurance carrier to defend the district. Baughman has a separate attorney, also provided by the district’s insurance carrier.
CSD Affirms Commitment to Safe School Environment
The press release issued by the CSD Monday reads:
“The Clatskanie School District reaffirmed its commitment to student safety and a safe learning environment. Before the school year began, the district increased student supervision, trained staff in new discipline guidelines focused on teaching correct behaviors with clear consequences for violations, and communicated with parents about those positive changes.
“In accordance with the board adopted goals, the Clatskanie Middle/High School will research and choose an evidence based anti-bullying program to incorporate at CMHS. A committee will work on researching and choosing a program that best fits our needs and meets the following District goals:
“1. The District will create a system/pathway of problem solving/communicating to increase the culture of respect and trust for all.
“The program will be presented to the school board at their January meeting. An effort will be made by the team to begin developing strategies to incorporate the program for the second semester. The anti-bullying program will be fully implemented for the 2014-15 school year.
“2. Leadership Skill Development – The District will embed and acknowledge leadership skill development within school structures and pursue ways to increase leadership skill development for all.
“CMHS will develop teacher-leaders through collaborating to choose an evidence based anti-bullying program that fits the needs of CMHS. The program chosen will also develop student-leaders and community-leaders to develop a positive culture.
“‘The Clatskanie School District is committed to the safety of all students,’ said new Clatskanie School District Superintendent Dr. Lloyd Hartley. ‘We are looking forward to being more pro-active in addressing the safety and well-being of our students.’”
Additionally, CMHS policies ban cell phone use during class time. McNeil stated at a September school board meeting that the staff was enforcing that policy more stringently.
by Deborah Steele Hazen
Ballots for the Columbia County four-year local option levy for jail operations are due back next Tuesday, Nov. 5.
The jail levy, Measure 5-234, is the only issue on the ballot for Columbia County voters, and was placed on the ballot by the Columbia County board of commissioners.
If passed it would institute a $0.5797 per $1,000 of assessed value for four years beginning in the 2014-15 year for jail operations. The levy would restore 75 beds for local use, fund five additional corrections deputies, one technician and one supervisory position, and provide constitutionally required food, clothing, management and health care to inmates.
The estimated amount of money raised would be $2,287,572 in the 2015 fiscal year, $2,356,199 in the 2016 fiscal year, $2,426,885 in fiscal year 2017 and $2,499,691 in fiscal year 2018 for an estimated total levy of $9,570,348. The levy would expire after four years if not renewed by the voters.
In 1998, Columbia County voters approved a $13.9 million bond levy to build the new jail with a 255-bed capacity without operating funds.
Since it opened in January of 2001, the jail has been operated with money from the county’s general fund and by renting beds to the U.S. Marshal’s office and the federal immigration service.
However, it was stated at the time of the passage of the jail construction levy, that an operating levy would be needed at sometime in the future.
“The county general fund has experienced financial deficits in the last several years and can no longer sufficiently support jail operations, leading to a reduced maximum bed capacity (25 for local inmates). The continued operation of the jail in any capacity is dependent upon federal bed rentals,” the ballot summary reads. “Federal bed rentals are not guaranteed. The city governments in Columbia County currently pay nothing for use of the jail for city inmates.”
Drop Sites Available
Ballots may be returned to the county clerk’s office by mail or may be left at the usual drop sites around the county, including the Clatskanie Library, Rainier City Hall, Mist-Birkenfeld Rural Fire Protection District, Vernonia Library, Scappoose City Hall or the Columbia County Courthouse Elections Department, 230 Strand Street in St. Helens. A drive-by drop box is located in the lower parking lot of the county courthouse.
The drop sites will be open during regular office hours, and until 8 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 5. Ballots must be received in the courthouse or at one of the drop sites by 8 p.m. on Nov. 5. Ballots mailed, but not received by that time, will not be counted.
If voters have not mailed their ballots by Thursday, Oct. 31, it is recommended that they use one of the drop sites.
The Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce and over 30 participating local businesses and offices will debut the “Holiday Spirit Spectacular” shop locally campaign this week (see ads on pages 4 and 5).
The promotion will run through the Christmas holiday season and will include prize awards of turkeys on Thanksgiving week, and Clatskanie Chamber Checks, which may be used like cash at local businesses, to be awarded at the end of the promotion on Dec. 27.
Clatskanie shoppers will receive “SPIRIT” cards with 30 squares to be marked or punched for every $10 spent at the 30 participating businesses. In the case of financial institutions, the Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD), and the City of Clatskanie, customers will receive one box checked off for every transaction – maximum one per day.
Shoppers who are not offered a card are encouraged to ask for one. The cards can then also be used at any of the participating businesses.
When all 30 boxes on the cards are filled out, participants may drop them off at the Clatskanie PUD office, 465 E. Columbia River Highway, to be eligible for the drawings. All cards received by 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 25, will go into the drawing for Thanksgiving turkeys. All cards received by 5 p.m. on Friday Dec. 27 will go into the final drawing, including those received prior to Thanksgiving.
Businesses participating in the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce Holiday Spirit Spectacular Shopping Spree are: Clatskanie Floral/Carla’s Closet/Latté Da, Wauna Credit Union, Ixtapa, Clatskanie PUD, Clatskanie River Inn, M&N Workwear, Jim’s Garage, Hi-School Pharmacy, The Bag Ladies Yarn Shop, Sporty’s, Colvin’s Pub & Grill, Johnson Family Feed, Singing Dog Jewelry, Radio Shack/Clatskanie Market, Clatskanie Subway, The Hair Place, Hazen Hardware, City of Clatskanie, Discounts & Deals, Cronies, Clatskanie Builders Supply, State Farm Insurance, Quilted Dandelion, Quality Auto Parts, Fultano’s Pizza, Sterling Bank, Clatskanie Mini Storage, US Bank, Bundy’s, and The Clatskanie Chief.
The annual Veterans’ Day recognition assembly and breakfast will be held at Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS) on Friday, Nov. 8.
All currently enlisted military personnel, veterans and their families are invited to the breakfast from 9-9:45 a.m. in the CMHS commons. The breakfast and the assembly which follows at 10 a.m. are hosted by the CMHS National Honor Society.
The assembly will open with a color guard and flag salute.
Mike Burghardt, brigade support commander for the Oregon National Guard; CMHS aacting principal Amy McNeil, and CMHS councilor Rhonda Stecker will speak.
The CMHS band and choir will perform patriotic music and the national anthem. Griffin Haas will play “Taps.”
The Columbia River Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post and Auxiliary 1909 is sponsoring events on Saturday, Nov. 9, and Monday, Nov. 11, at the Rainier Senior Center.
On Saturday, the VFW will hold a free potluck dinner, with a social time at 4 and dinner starting at 5. There will be an auction, door prizes, raffle and prizes for kids.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. a veterans service office representative will be at the senior center for an open house.