CLATSKANIE PUBLIC WORKS personnel did an investigative excavation on North Nehalem Street Monday, March 31, in preparation for water line improvements in the near future. Clatskanie public works director Ray DiPasquale reported that crews would likely install isolation valves on the water main next week. DiPasquale said scheduling of the work would be announced after parts and materials are secured. Chief Photo by Adam J. Wehrley
by Deborah Steele Hazen
A public hearing on permits needed by Global Partners LP’s Columbia Pacific (CPBR) oil transloading operation at the Port Westward industrial park near Clatskanie will be held by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) this Thursday, April 3, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS) auditorium, 471 Bel Air Drive.
According to a DEQ spokesperson, the meeting will begin with a 20-minute introduction and explanation of the hearing process which will include a question and answer session lasting until the pre-registered comments begin at 7:30 p.m. and continue until 9:30.
Because the times allotted were reserved early, the DEQ has also arranged to record comments from the public in the CMHS band room, on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning after the 20-minute introduction and continuing until the end of the hearing at 9:30 p.m.
Written comments will be received until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 11. They may be sent by mail, fax or email to:
DEQ Northwest Region
Air Quality Permit
2020 SW 4th Ave.,
Portland, OR 97201
Email: NWRAQPermits@ deq.state.or.us.
The public hearing is in regard to a new Standard Air Contaminant Discharge Permit for CPBR’s bulk organic liquid products storage and marine vessel loading operation at Port Westward. The liquid products include crude oil and ethanol. CPBR, formerly owned by Cascade Kelly Holdings, LLC, and now owned by Global Partners LP, manufactures ethanol at the site. It also brings crude (unrefined) oil by train from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Port Westward where it is transloaded onto barges for shipment to West Coast refineries.
DEQ officials have emphasized that it does not regulate trains, and comments based on the issue of oil trains, which has been the topic of several Port of St. Helens meetings, will not be taken at Thursday’s hearing.
Global has announced plans to invest $50 to $70 million in its Port Westward operations, and add over 30 additional family wage jobs to its existing workforce at Port Westward of approximately 47, if it is able to get the necessary permits.
In June of 2012, while the CPBR was still owned by Cascade Kelly, the DEQ approved a modification of the existing ethanol plant permit, allowing the company to receive and transload 50,000,000 gallons of crude oil per year. According to the DEQ, it approved the request because it could be performed with existing equipment and emission controls, resulting in insignificant emissions, and was considered an incidental activity.
With Global’s plans to receive and transload significantly more oil, the DEQ has ruled that the expansion of the operation will establish a new source of air contaminant emissions for which the company must obtain a new permit. CPBR applied for that permit last August.
DEQ Issues Penalty
The DEQ also contends that Global has exceeded the limits allowed under the existing permit, and last Friday, March 27, it issued notice of a civil penalty assessment of $117,292 for operating without the proper permit.
Global spokespersons have said they believe they have been operating within the limits of the DEQ permit currently in place.
Clatskanie School Board Hears New Facilities Proposals
by Adam J. Wehrley
Proposed construction projects and the extension of Superintendent Lloyd Hartley’s employment contract highlighted the Clatskanie School District’s (CSD) Monday, March 31, meeting.
Two new facilities were proposed for the Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS) campus, a multi-purpose building for wrestling practice, youth wrestling and other activities, and a school-based health center.
On behalf of the Clatskanie Boosters Club, CMHS athletic director Ryan Tompkins asked the board’s approval to seek funds to construct a 45×60 building on the south side of CMHS, between the locker rooms and the baseball diamond.
With volunteer labor and expected donations of materials, Tompkins estimates the initial cost of the building will be $20,000.
Career technical students may be involved in the framing of the building.
Additional users may include Clatskanie Head Start students and gymnastics, dance and self-defense classes.
Fundraising for the building is being undertaken by the Boosters Club, in cooperation with the Clatskanie Foundation. Construction grants are being sought, and the board was not asked to contribute CSD funds.
Once completed, facility maintenance and scheduling will be the district’s responsibility.
School-Based Health Center
Sherrie Ford of The Public Health Foundation of Columbia County (TPHFCC) announced that initial investigations are underway to place a school-based health center on the CMHS campus focused on providing health care to local youth and children, whether enrolled as a CSD student or not.
Ford cited the high incidence of suicidal ideology, emotional and mental conditions and body weight issues among Columbia County students. She said the school-based centers reduce the barriers that prevent youth from seeking health care.
While the center would bill insurance companies covering students and could assist families to enroll in government health care programs, students would not be turned away because of inability to pay for services. If established, the center will be operated on state funds with initial grants of $53,000 per year.
Representatives from Coastal Family Health Center in Astoria are participating in the initial planning of the facility and may operate it. Coastal Family is planning on reopening the clinic on Bel Air Drive and is planning on reopening the clinic in June.
Other community members have also been involved in the early planning process.
Columbia Community Mental Health may also provide services through the center.
Currently, the health center is proposed to be located on the southwest corner of CMHS between the gyms and football field.
TPHFCC currently operates health centers at Rainier, St. Helens and Vernonia schools, with the Rainier facility open to Clatskanie area students.
More information on services provided by school based health centers may be found at www.tphfcc.org.
Longtime Clatskanie area resident Kirk Fraser answered questions about his application to fill one of two vacant board positions. No board action was taken to fill the positions.
Student Body Update
CMHS Associated Student Body (ASB) treasurer Ryan Froke reported on various events at the school.
He emphasized the impact of the recent Challenge Day, teaching respect of others. A Change Club has been started to continue the work of the event.
Froke also mentioned the upcoming fundraising run and other events for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital as part of Doernbecher week April 7-12. The Doernbecher Dash will be held on Saturday, April 12, with a carnival and a dance later that day.
The board approved a proposal allowing 20 students per year to transfer to other districts and 20 to transfer into CSD. Dr. Hartley said that inter-district transfers were one of six ways for students to attend school outside their home district. He also noted that the Oregon Legislature was moving towards open enrollment, giving families more choice in where their children attend school.
The approved transfers must be instituted within the first three weeks of a semester and will be in effect until the student reaches either sixth or 12th grade.
CMHS Principal Amy McNeil reported on progress towards scheduling courses for the 2014-15 school year, stating that most students had forecast their class preferences.
Classes will be scheduled based on student needs, choices and available staff and resources.
Dr. Hartley announced that a surplus property sale will be held Friday, April 4, starting at 9 a.m.
Superintendent Contract Extended
Following an executive session, the board unanimously voted to extend Dr. Hartley’s three-year contract by one year, through June 2017.
Board chair Megan Evenson released the following statement regarding Dr. Hartley’s evaluation:
“The Clatskanie School District board of directors recently conducted an evaluation of our current superintendent, Dr. Lloyd Hartley. We would like to share these results with our community. Each board member rated Dr. Hartley using an evaluation form that included six performance standards, and the goal statements that were created by the board at the beginning of his tenure this past July.
“Dr. Hartley also conducted his own self performance achievement record. The board was unable to rate some of the performance standards as we have not yet started the negotiating process with the unions, or begun the budgeting process.
“Overall the board is very pleased with Dr. Hartley’s work here in Clatskanie. He has taken on a big job. This is the first time our district has combined the superintendent and principal positions and we are glad that he came to us with experience in this type of system. We have found Dr. Hartley to have many strengths including; open communication, using a collaborative process, recognizing and utilizing leadership in other staff members, and being creative in dealing with issues, all with a focus on student learning.
“Dr. Hartley is an open and honest communicator, which has helped strengthen the morale and productivity of the board and staff. He has proven himself to be a valuable mentor during our recent administrative restructuring. Dr. Hartley has been working closely with the board and our financial director in determining highest priority needs for our district and creating a sustainable budget.
“He has also shown a keen interest in working with staff to come up with alternative solutions to issues facing the district. We encouraged Dr. Hartley to increase his communication with the community at large by participating more with community organizations and utilizing The Chief or other media on a more regular basis.
“The Clatskanie School Board of Directors unanimously approved the extension of Dr. Hartley’s three-year contract by one year, which extends it to June, 2017. We appreciate the hard work he has put into our district and look forward to working with him as we continue to build and improve our schools.”
All veterans are welcome to attend a breakfast on Thursday, April 3, at 10 a.m. at the Clatskanie American Legion Hall, 930 NE 5th Street.
This is the first of monthly veterans breakfasts to be held at the Legion Hall on the first Thursday of every month.
Cost is $5. The American Legion auxiliary will provide the breakfast, and the menu for Thursday includes scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy.
Veterans Services Officer Russ Clark will attend the breakfast and will be available to talk to veterans about various issues. After the breakfast, he will spend the rest of the day at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Hall, 960 NW 5th, and all veterans are welcome to visit him there to talk to him about benefits and other veterans issues from 12 noon to 7 p.m.
The breakfasts are being sonsored by the Clatskanie American Legion and VFW posts, but they are not designed as “a membership drive,” a spokesman emphasized. “The purpose is to get veterans together once a month to talk about veterans issues.”
The 12th annual Clatskanie Bulky Waste Cleanup Day is set for Saturday, April 12, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon in the Clatskanie City Park.
Sponsored by the City of Clatskanie with assistance from numerous other local organizations, agencies and businesses, the cleanup day offers Clatskanie area residents the opportunity to bring up to two car, pickup or small trailer loads per household of bulky waste to the park at a cost of $10 per load. Additionally, there is a $15 charge per Freon-containing appliance (refrigerators, freezers, etc.) and $1 per tires. Tires must be off the rims.
Items accepted as part of the $10 per load include televisions, dishwashers, stoves, water heaters, washers and dryers, microwaves, furniture, car batteries, scrap metal, computers, printers and monitors, etc.
Items not accepted include no food and/or household garbage, car bodies, hazardous waste including pesticides, solvents, paints and paint cans, thinners, etc.; commercial waste, propane bottles, concrete or bricks, tires on rims, and yard debris.
No commercial loads are allowed and proof of Clatskanie area residence – identification with the 97016 zip code – must be shown.
Additional monetary donations will be accepted to help with disposal costs. Proceeds are used for community beautification projects.
In conjunction with the bulky waste cleanup day, Sterling Bank and Recall Shredding will offer free shredding of documents in the Sterling Bank parking lot at the corner of N. Nehalem and Steele streets in downtown Clatskanie.
Sponsors, volunteers and donors, in addition to the City of Clatskanie, include the Clatskanie Sanitary Service, Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce, Clatskanie Park and Recreation District, Clatskanie People’s Utility District, Sterling Bank – Clatskanie, Les Schwab Tires – St. Helens, Clatskanie Masonic Lodge #133, Clatskanie Cub Scout Pack #241, The Clatskanie Chief, Clatskanie Kiwanis, Kynsi Construction, Great Vow Zen Monastery, Clatskanie Builders Supply, Stan’s Refrigeration, Columbia County Land & Development Services, and community volunteers.
For more information, to volunteer, and for senior assistance with delivery of bulky items, contact the City of Clatskanie at 503 728-2622 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Deborah Steele Hazen
While the anti-industry groups, Sierra Club and Columbia Riverkeeper, issued a press release Tuesday characterizing the request by Ambre Energy for an extension in providing certain information to the Department of State Lands (DSL) as an “enormous hurdle” for the Morrow Pacific coal export proposal, spokespersons for the project explained that the extension was necessary because the requested documents are tied to the on-going federal permitting process.
In response to the press release from opponents of the project, Ambre spokespersons issued the following statement:
“Coyote Island Terminal, LLC has requested an extension of the DSL permit timeline. The extension is necessary because a number of items requested by DSL are still under review in the ongoing Federal permit process. The project will provide the requested documents as soon as they become available. We are fully committed to meeting all permitting standards, and have provided an expanded alternatives analysis and purpose statement to aid in DSL’s process,”
The Coyote Island Terminal is at the Port of Morrow at Boardman in Eastern Oregon. Ambre Energy’s proposal calls for coal to be brought to Boardman by train. At the Coyote Island Terminal it will be transloaded onto fully-enclosed barges and brought downriver to Port Westward near Clatskanie, where it will be loaded – via a fully-enclosed conveyor system – into the holds of ships.
In a letter to the DSL dated March 31, Ambre Energy officials wrote:
“On October 21st, 2013, we mutually agreed to extend the decision making timeline for the Coyote Island Terminal (CIT) permit to April 30th, 2014. That extension became necessary because of the number of items the Department of State Lands (DSL) requested that are dependent on the ongoing Federal permit process.
“Final documents requested by DSL include the Biological Opinion, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and NEPA determination which are currently following timelines set by the appropriate federal agency and are not yet available.
“Because DSL has informed us that these documents are required for their decision making, we request that DSL extend their deadline to be thirty (30) days following the receipt of the CIT Biological Opinion, Section 106 and NEPA determination. If this is not acceptable to DSL we ask that you recommend an extension based on the completion of the federal documents that you are requesting, rather than a specific date. This will prevent future extension requests.
“In the interim, we have provided additional information for your review, including an expanded alternatives analysis and purpose statement. Again, we will comply with DSL’s document request; however, the information is currently tied to other federal permitting processes. Please inform us of any unanswered questions that are within our ability to respond currently.”
DAFFODILS RISE LIKE THE SPRING SUN as flowers bloomed throughout Clatskanie last week. Chief Photo by Amanda Gail Moravec