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April, 2014

NEWS RELEASEAPRIL 30, 2014

Governor Kitzhaber Commends Rail Car Safety Commitment from Global Partners

Company announces all tank cars received at Clatskanie facility must meet higher safety standards

(Salem, OR) — After consulting with Governor Kitzhaber on his efforts to improve rail safety in Oregon, Global Partners announced today that beginning June 1, 2014, the company will no longer accept shipments of crude oil in DOT-111 tank cars that do not meet CPC-1232 safety standards. Instead, Global Partners, which owns an ethanol manufacturing and crude oil transloading facility at Port Westward in Clatskanie, will only accept shipments of crude oil in newer CPC-1232 tank rail cars. The Governor applauded the announcement.

“I appreciate the commitment to safety Global Partners is showing to its neighbors in northwest Oregon,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “Rail operators, shippers, and facility owners have an obligation to take every measure possible to ensure hazardous materials they transport and receive are shipped as safely as possible.”

DOT-111 tank cars have been involved in some of the most notable rail accidents in North America over the last year. Starting in June, all crude oil shipments to Global’s Clatskanie facility must arrive in the newer CPC-1232 tank cars. The CPC-1232 standards add safety features for leak prevention and puncture resistance. They also include a thicker, more puncture-resistant shell or jacket around rail cars, extra protective head shields at both ends of the tank car, and additional protection for the top fittings.

“Global is committed to safety, and as part of that commitment we are requiring that all crude oil shipped by rail to our Clatskanie facility is transported in CPC 1232-compliant cars,” said Eric Slifka, Global Partner’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to continuing our work with the state and local community to strengthen the safe transloading of crude oil and commence ethanol manufacturing to create new clean energy sources and economic opportunities for the region.”

“We also need leadership at the federal level to phase out unsafe and outdated tank cars,” said Governor Kitzhaber. The Governor recently spoke with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx requesting that the Administration adopt a new national policy to upgrade safety standards of tank rail cars. The Governor also wrote to Oregon’s congressional delegation expressing concerns about how slowly federal agencies have moved to update tank car designs. In the letter, the Governor wrote, the “National Surface Transportation Board first identified these rail cars on its ‘Most Wanted List’ in 1991, saying they are ‘more susceptible to damage’ than other rail cars, and therefore ‘pose a substantial danger to life, property, and the environment.’”

Global’s announcement comes one day after state legislators, local government officials, and congressional staff met with local, state, and federal agencies and railroad companies to discuss rail safety in Oregon. The group gathered in Linnton, Oregon, for a comprehensive look at current programs and resources in place for rail safety and emergency training and response. The briefing was part of Governor Kitzhaber’s ongoing efforts to identify where more funding and oversight are needed at the state level, and to identify additional actions to improve rail safety and emergency response efforts.

 

Eight-Hour Standoff Ends with Tear Gas, Two Arrests

OREGON STATE POLICE SWAT team responded to an apartment at the corner of SW Bryant and 2nd Streets in Clatskanie on Saturday afternoon, April 26, after a man barricaded himself in his girlfriend’s apartment in an attempt to avoid arrest by City of Clatskanie police officers on multiple charges. The over-eight-hour-standoff ended after lengthy negotiations failed and the SWAT team shot tear gas into the apartment. See the accompanying story for more details. Chief Photo by Adam J. Wehrley

OREGON STATE POLICE SWAT team responded to an apartment at the corner of SW Bryant and 2nd Streets in Clatskanie on Saturday afternoon, April 26, after a man barricaded himself in his girlfriend’s apartment in an attempt to avoid arrest by City of Clatskanie police officers on multiple charges. The over-eight-hour-standoff ended after lengthy negotiations failed and the SWAT team shot tear gas into the apartment. See the accompanying story for more details. Chief Photo by Adam J. Wehrley

by Deborah Steele Hazen and Adam J. Wehrley

Oregon State Police SWAT team members shot tear gas into a Clatskanie residence Saturday evening, April 26, to end an over eight-hour stand-off with a man wanted on multiple charges.

Clatskanie Police Chief Marvin Hoover said he  called in the SWAT (special weapons and tactics team)  after the behavior of James Marco Bryan, 44, became increasingly volatile.

WEBJames-Bryan

James Marco Bryan
Booking Photo from
Columbia County Jail

Bryan barricaded himself in the SW Bryant Street apartment of his girlfriend, Carrie Hurley, 44, of Clatskanie, at about noon on Saturday.

Bryan was wanted on a statewide felony warrant for Reckless Driving, Probation Violation and Parole Violation, on an original charge of Attempted Assault I.

After several weeks of volatile behavior associated with contact with his parole and probation officers, Bryan, a former resident of Rainier, began making threats against law enforcement personnel, according to Hoover. He was banned from meeting with his parole and probation officers at the Clatskanie Police Department because of his behavior towards the department’s personnel.

Bryan then allegedly slashed tires on four cars parked at the Clatskanie City Hall, three belonging to the City of Clatskanie and a fourth belonging to the Clatsop County Sheriff’s office. Those crimes were discovered Friday morning, April 25.

On Saturday morning, Bryan made a series of calls to the Columbia 9-1-1 Communications District dispatch center making threats against law enforcement. With an arrest warrant in hand, Clatskanie police officers tried to take him into custody outside of Hurley’s apartment, but Bryan went inside and barricaded himself.

Hoover said Bryan kicked out windows in the apartment, and displayed signs with threats, obscenities and racial slurs. He also allegedly exposed himself and made crude gestures to Clatskanie police.

By about 12 noon Saturday, Hoover said Bryan’s behavior had reached a level that met the criteria for calling in the Oregon State Police (OSP) SWAT team, which responded to the scene along with OSP troopers, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office personnel, Rainier city police officers as well as Clatskanie police officers and members of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

The area around the apartment was blocked to traffic during the stand-off.

Bryan and Hurley made a series of calls to Portland-based television stations, four of which responded to the scene.

They stated that they were afraid to surrender to Clatskanie Police and demanded that they be allowed to surrender to a federal agent. An FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) agent also responded to the scene.

Bryan and Hurley made various demands including being provided with Mountain Dew, cigarettes, marijuana, and the arrests of Chief Hoover and Bryan’s parole officer.

While the negotiations were underway, the police obtained a search warrant to search Hurley’s apartment.

When Bryan failed to surrender to the FBI agent, and other attempts at negotiations and mediations failed, the SWAT team shot tear gas into the apartment at 8:30 p.m. Saturday evening, and both Bryan and Hurley exited the building. They had to unscrew the boards with which they had barricaded themselves inside the apartment, in order to exit.

Bryan was charged with Resisting Arrest, Private Indecency and Criminal Mischief I. Hurley was taken into custody for Hindering Prosecution.

According to Hoover, neither Hurley or Bryan were injured and were taken to the Columbia County Jail. By Tuesday, Hurley had been released, but Bryan was still in custody.

During a search of the apartment after the arrests, Hoover said evidence confirming Bryan’s involvement in the tire-slashing incident was obtained. A dog found in the apartment during the police search appeared to be suffering respiratory symptoms and was given over to the care of Columbia County animal control officers.

Ballots Mailed to Voters in May Primary

by Deborah Steele Hazen

Oregon voters, including those in Columbia and Clatsop counties, were mailed ballots for the May 20th primary election on Wednesday, April 30.

On the Columbia County ballot are three non-partisan, county-wide offices, plus three Columbia County Circuit Court seats, and a Columbia County Jail operating levy.

Jail Levy

The Columbia County Jail is scheduled to close June 30, unless the three year local option levy for jail operations – Measure No. 5-238 – is passed. It would add 58 cents per $1,000 of assessed value ($58 on a $100,000 home) to property taxes for three years beginning in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The estimated money raised will be $2,287,572 in the first year, $2,356,199 in fiscal year 2015-16, and $2,426,885 in the 2016-17 fiscal year, for a total of $7,070,656.

The jail operating levy would allow for the operation of a total of 100 beds for Columbia County prisoners, including those arrested by city police forces. It would fund six additional corrections deputies to run the jail and one supervisory position, and provide constitutionally required food, clothing, management and health care to inmates.

With rising personnel costs, major decreases in the county general fund from the loss of federal (O&C) timber payments to counties and property tax revenues not keeping pace with costs, the county has only been able to have 25 beds for local inmates operating this year, down from 65 last year, resulting in many arrestees being cited and released. There are also some federal prisoners housed at the Columbia County Jail and the fees received for them have helped subsidize the operation of the jail. But the number of rented beds are also declining.

If the operating levy fails, Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson has announced that the jail, opened in 2001 with a capacity of 255 beds, will close and the county will rent 10 beds, probably in Polk County, for only the worst offenders.

CRFR Bond Levy

Residents of the Columbia River Fire and Rescue (CRFR) district, which serves the Rainier and St. Helens areas, will be asked to approve Measure No. 5-237, which would allow the district to issue $15 million in general obligation bonds to purchase equipment, including new and replacement fire apparatus, ambulances, rescue vehicles, and safety equipment such as self-contained breathing apparatus, protective clothing, and radios; make station improvements, including seismic upgrades at the Rainier fire station, plus expansion and seismic upgrades of the fairgrounds station.

Additionally, if approved by voters, the bonds would also allow for the refinancing of outstanding debt for the Lee Broadbent Training Center.

If the measure is approved, the CRFR plans to issue bonds in no less than three issuances to coincide with the district’s apparatus replacement schedule and the planned improvements. Each bond issuance would be payable over 20 years with an estimated cost to CRFR property tax payers of 30 cents per $1000 of assessed value ($30 on a $100,000 house).

Race for County Commissioner

County offices up for election include Columbia County Commissioner Position 2, in which incumbent Henry B. Heimuller of St. Helens is being challenged by Wayne Mayo of Scappoose for a four-year term. If one candidate receives 50 percent plus one vote, that candidate is elected in the May primary.

The Chief was in error in the election article in the April 24th edition, regarding the county clerk’s position. That will not be on the primary election ballot, but will be on the general election ballot in November. Longtime County Clerk Elizabeth (Betty) Huser, of Scappoose, is being challenged by Brady N. Preheim, also of Scappoose.

County Assessor Sue Martin is unchallenged for re-election to another four-year term. Her election will be final in the primary.

Justice of the Peace Wallace E. Thompson, of St. Helens, is also unchallenged for another six year term.

Circuit Court Positions Contested

Two Columbia County Circuit Court positions are also up for election.

Three attorneys are seeking Position 1 on the Columbia County Circuit Court, which was vacated last year by the retirement of longtime Judge Steven B. Reed. Jean Martwick, of Scappoose, who was appointed last year to fill the vacancy, is seeking re-election. She is being challenged by former Clatskanie attorney and city prosecutor Cathleen B. Callahan, of Rainier, and Jason A. Heym, of Scappoose.

Judge Ted. E. Grove is running unopposed for re-election to Position 2 on the Columbia County Circuit Court.

Judge Jenefer S. Grant, the incumbent in Position 3, is the only candidate on the ballot, but longtime St. Helens area attorney, Agnes “Agi” Petersen, is staging a write-in campaign.

Certification Test, Drop Sites

The public is invited to the certification test of the counting equipment for the primary election on Tuesday, May 13, at 10 a.m. in the county elections department in the Columbia County Courthouse.

Those who do not wish to mail their ballots may drop them off between April 30 and May 20 at various sites throughout the county, including the Clatskanie Library, 11 Lillich Street; Rainier City Hall, 106 B St. West; Mist-Birkenfeld Rural Fire Protection District, 12525 Highway 202; Vernonia Library, 701 Weed Ave.; Scappoose City Hall, 33568 E. Columbia Ave., or the elections department at the county courthouse, 230 Strand Street in St. Helens.

The drop sites will open during regular office hours, and from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, May 20.

The county courthouse will also be open to receive ballots on Friday, May 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon, and on Saturday, May 17, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

A drive-by drop box is located in the lower parking lot of the courthouse.

Committee Approves “Status Quo” City of Clatskanie Budget

by Deborah Steele Hazen

A budget that is “pretty much status quo,” with an emphasis on providing “effective water and sewer services plus street maintenance,” and a “strong commitment to public safety all within a budget framework of prudent and diligent fiscal management,” was unanimously approved by the City of Clatskanie budget committee April 24.

The budget, as approved by the committee, is $8,729,977, a 15 percent decrease from last year. That decrease is due to the completion of the harvesting of a section of the city’s timberland which netted over $2 million for the Timber and Infrastructure Improvement Fund.

That harvest, timed to coincide with rebounding timber prices, was the largest done by the city in 12 years.

Other than the timber harvest, City Manager Greg Hinkelman told the committee that the “regular operating budget is virtually identical to what it has been for the past three years.”

“We are now fully staffed in the Police Department with our newest officer on the road, solo, having completed the police academy and field training,” Hinkelman wrote in his budget message. “This past year we purchased a new police cruiser to replace the K-9 SUV. We have recycled that vehicle and it is now being used by the Public Works Department. This coming year we will look to recruit a new police chief to replace our retiring chief. Operationally, the biggest external impact for the Police Department is the proposed closing of the Columbia County Jail… Failure of the levy (on the May ballot, see separate story) and subsequent jail closure will have a significant and potentially devastating impact on the city police department.Budget-wise, we are looking for grants to purchase equipment such as a fingerprint machine that would allow us to process book-and-release functions at our police station.

“The Public Works budget has little change from FY (fiscal year) 2013-14. We are fully staffed with essentially a whole new group of personnel in the department. This new group has been extremely innovative in their approach to operations in both the water and sewer plants. The biggest change has been at the sewer plant. We came upon the City of Wilsonville’s 5 year old used screen for a headworks which the city bought for essentially the scrap-metal price. We have installed the screen for less than $230,000 where the original estimate was for $750,000. For this year’s CIP (capital improvement project list), we are carrying forward $25,000 from FY 2013-14. This carry forward is due to our having to readjust the CIP list to accommodate the first phase of the Tichenor Sewer line project. The project was estimated at $95,000 but came in at $152,081; forcing us to delay some projects,” Hinkelman’s budget message stated.

Upcoming Projects

The CIP list for 2014-15 includes eight projects, including storm drain repair on Nehalem and Lillich streets; sidewalk work on N. Nehalem Street; sewer lift station capital parts, and an overlay of Conyers Creek Road in cooperation with the county from S. Nehalem to Hall Street.

Two items in the coming year’s budget are unique and are related to the reconstruction of the old Clatskanie IOOF Hall/theatre building into the Clatskanie Cultural Center, which will include a 2600-square-foot suite of offices for the City of Clatskanie to replace the current city hall, which is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, lacks adequate office and storage space, and has other problems.

While the Clatskanie Foundation is accomplishing the restoration of the historic building with grant funds and other donations, the city has budgeted $35,000 to cover the costs of moving into the building, as well as $175,000 from the Enterprise Zone Fund for the demolition of the current city hall and the construction of a parking lot on that site. In exchange, the city will receive rent-free use of the suite of offices.

Another “non-standard” expense in the 2014-15 budget is $10,000 budgeted to conduct the tri-annual union negotiations.

Morgan Elected Chair; Public Hearing June 4

At the beginning of the budget committee meeting Jim Morgan and Steve Constans were re-elected chair and co-chair of the committee.

A public hearing on the budget before the city council is set for Wednesday, June 4, at 7 p.m. at city hall.

Rainier Annual Clean-up This Saturday, May 3

Rainier area residents are invited to dispose of bulky items such as appliances and furniture free of charge during the annual “Rainier Clean-up Day” on Saturday, May 3.

Residents within the 97048 zip code area may bring items between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 690 West A Street in Rainier, behind the wastewater treatment plant.

Accepted items include televisions, dishwashers, stoves, water heaters, washers and dryers, microwaves, furniture, car batteries, scrap metal, computers, printers and monitors, and yard debris. A disposal fee of $2 per tire (not on rims) will be collected.

Items not accepted are car bodies, hazardous waste including pesticides, solvents, paint cans, liquids, commercial waste, propane bottles, concrete or bricks, tires on rims, household food and/or garbage, and sharps/needle containers.

Donations of canned food and monetary contributions for H.O.P.E. (Help Our People Eat), Rainier’s community food pantry, will be collected at the event.

The clean-up is sponsored by the City of Rainier. Other supporters are: the Deli Store, Hudson Garbage Service, Les Schwab Tire Center in St. Helens, Columbia County transfer station, Triton Lawn & Yard Maintenance, Rainier Sign Company, City of Rainier, Columbia County work crew, Rainier Appliance, and community volunteers.

Those who have questions may contact Rainier city hall at 503 556-7301.

“Healthy Hoedown” Thursday at RHS Promotes Health and Fitness

The community is invited for an evening of health, fitness and fun for all ages on Thursday, May 1, at a “Healthy Hoedown” to be held from 5-7:30 p.m. in the Rainier High School (RHS) commons.

The free event will feature line dancing, an obstacle course, fitness-based video games, blood pressure checks and more.  A dinner, prepared with locally-produced food, will be served throughout the evening.

The “Healthy Hoedown” is presented by Rainier School District’s food services and health and wellness departments, and was started as a way to bring health organizations and the community together, with a goal to promote a healthy, active lifestyle for life-long health and wellness.

Participants will receive a “passport” which will be stamped at stops along a tour of the district health clinic, greenhouse and various healthy-themed stations. Students with a stamped passport will receive a free T-shirt. Door prizes will be awarded at the end of the event.

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