Longview Man Killed in Single Vehicle Crash
HIGH SPEED AND A LACK OF SEAT BELTS were involved in a fatal single vehicle crash on the approach to the Lewis and Clark Bridge Friday night, Jan. 10.
According to an Oregon State Police (OSP) report Mark Vanzanten, 41 of Longview, was eastbound on Highway 30 at approximately 11:26 p.m., when he took the bridge approach at a high rate of speed and the 2002 Chevy S10 pickup he was driving left the road and hit the rock face adjacent to the ramp.
The Rainier Police Department responded to the scene and requested OSP’s help with the investigation. Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Columbia River Fire Rescue and the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the incident. Photo Courtesy of OSP
by Deborah Steele Hazen
A proposal to turn the Clatskanie Drainage District – or portions of it – back into a wetland was the main topic of discussion at the Jan. 8th meeting of the Clatskanie City Council.
After hearing that Greenwood Resources, which owns approximately 200 acres on the 312-acre drainage district just north of the Clatskanie city limits, is interested in removing a portion of the dike to create a salmon habitat wetland area, the city asked Margaret Magruder, coordinator of the Lower Columbia River Watershed Council, to come to the meeting to discuss the proposal.
The city owns approximately 100 acres on the drainage district – the former Beaver Lumber Company property, which was donated to the city in 1998 after the lumber mill was destroyed by the flood of 1996.
The city subsequently leased a small portion of the property to the Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD) for outdoor storage. With the construction of the new PUD headquarters, the city now uses that fenced area. Other portions of the property are used for the disposal of fill material by the city, the Columbia County road department and the Oregon Department of Transportation. It is the only disposal site for those three agencies between Clatskanie and Astoria, and is “prized” by them, according to Clatskanie Public Works Director Ray DiPasquale.
Another portion of the city’s acreage is used for sludge disposal from the city’s wastewater treatment plant. City manager Greg Hinkelman and DiPasquale explained that with the recent notification from the owner of the property for the city’s other sludge disposal site, which it has been leasing, the value of the former Beaver Lumber site property becomes even more important to the city.
Additionally, Mayor Diane Pohl, the city councilors and administration have long hoped to establish a baseball/softball field complex for use by the community on the southeastern corner of the property, and have been working with the Department of State Lands to have it approved for that usage.
Magruder was accompanied at the city council meeting by Bill Bennett, restoration ecologist for the watershed council; Dennis DeLaHunt, the president and broker of Select Properties, who has worked to assemble properties for wetland restoration projects, and Tyler Joki of the Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District.
The Lower Columbia River Watershed Coucil was formed in 1996 in response to the State of Oregon’s programs for salmon habitat restoration. The idea behind the formation of the local watershed council is to “have a locally-controlled and driven process,” Magruder said. The focus has been on helping willing landowners with various watershed-related issues, including those who wish to “do something on their land” related to salmon habitat restoration.
Noting her long family history with the local dikelands – her grandfather Richard Brooke Magruder built the dikes on 10,000 acres in the Clatskanie area – Magruder stressed that “my interest is helping to protect the property rights of landowners.”
The proposal for the Clatskanie Drainage District – which she emphasized is still “in the very beginning stages” – was sparked by Greenwood Resources which approached the watershed council indicating that the levee on the Clatskanie district would no longer be certified after 2016.
During the discussion it was explained that in the wake of the extensive flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina, dikes and levees all over the nation are being required to be certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The cost of certification is unaffordable for most rural agricultural dikelands.
“There are only three districts in Columbia County – Scappoose, Beaver and West Rainier – that have any hope of being able to achieve certification because of the cost,” Magruder told the city council. “It’s a minimum of $250,000 just to achieve the paperwork of certification. That only gets you through the paperwork, not any of the work you may need to do to repair the dike.”
Consequently, Greenwood Resources, the largest property owner on the district, which is required by its Forest Stewardship Council certification to have 10 percent of its holdings dedicated to environmental enhancements and practices, is interested in doing a project on its Clatskanie Drainage District property similar to what was done recently on land near Marshland, restoring the Louisiana Swamp.
At least one of the three other private landowners on the district, “who is having challenges with flood insurance and trying to sell their property” is also interested in the possibility of selling their property to the Bonneville Power Administration or another funder for the potential restoration project.
However, Mayor Diane Pohl and other members of the city council, as well as DiPasquale and Hinkelman expressed concern about how the proposed project might effect the city’s usage and plans for the property.
DeLaHunt suggested that alternate sites for the city’s usage of the property might be located.
Bennett explained another option might be to not include the city’s property in the restoration project by building a setback dike.
“We have no preconceived notions,” Bennett said. “We work only with willing landowners.” He suggested going forward with a feasibility analysis and preliminary engineering – “see what’s acceptable to the land owners, the cost, what’s permittable, and the ecological value.”
At the end of the discussion the city agreed to allow soil testing on its property, with the assurance that the city would be informed of when the tests would be taken, and kept apprised of all test results.
Reports on Logging, Capital Projects
In the only action item of the night, the council authorized Hinkelman to sign checks regarding the on-going logging project on the city’s watershed property.
DiPasquale reported on the progress of the capital improvement projects on the Tichenor Street sewer line replacement and the wastewater treatment plant.
The sewer line job has been challenging because of unconsolidated materials under the roadway and the misrepresentation of the location of the water line on old maps.
The contractor, Big River Excavating of Astoria, has done “an admirable job of keeping up with unexpected conditions,” DiPasquale told the council. However, the cost of the job – which will require more repaving of the roadway surface – is expected to exceed the bid.
Hinkelman said that when all costs are known, the administration will adjust the capital project listed in the current year’s budget, and bring recommendations to the council.
Clean Audit Report
Lyn Pope, audit manager with Merina and Co., which audits the city’s books, reported that the audit for 2012-13 resulted in “a clean, unmodified opinion. In our opinion the city’s financial statements are accurately stated.”
Special Meeting Set on Jail Issues
A special meeting of the Clatskanie City Council was set for Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Clatskanie City Hall, 95 S. Nehalem Street, to discuss issues related to the possible closure of the Columbia County Jail.
Mayor Pohl and Clatskanie Police Chief Marvin Hoover planned to attend a town hall meeting called by the Columbia County board of commissioners in St. Helens Tuesday night, and were expected to report back to the council and any interested citizens, on what was discussed at the meeting in St. Helens.
by Adam J. Wehrley
In the on-going effort to increase students’ long-term academic success, the Rainier School District, at its Monday, Jan 13, meeting, discussed policies over enforcing academic standards at the middle school level and offering payment of one year of community college for high school students.
The district has also restructured its administration, moving Superintendent Michael Carter out of his dual role as Rainier Junior/Senior High School (RJSHS) principal. RJSHS Vice-Principal Graden Blue was named interim principal. Erin Fox is now RJSHS dean of students, Doug Knox is athletic director and Megan Keplinger will start an administrative internship as Hudson Park Elementary (HPE) dean of students.
Dr. Carter will maintain an active role at RJSHS focusing on seniors. The administrative changes will be fully instituted as of the semester change on Jan. 27.
College Enrollment Program
Principal Blue and Dr. Carter announced the Rainier Commitment program which works with Lower Columbia College (LCC) to provide up to one year of college for eligible high school juniors, seniors and fifth-year seniors.
The program results from the passage of SB 300- Expanded Options program, focusing on low-income and at-risk students.
Dr. Carter noted that, because the program accepts students who have completed the requirements for graduation, but have not received a diploma, RJSHS seniors who could not afford college may choose to delay receiving their diploma, remain RJSHS students and attend LCC or another eligible college. The district would be reimbursed by the state for paying the students’ tuition, books and other expenses.
Throughout this school year, Carter has focused on efforts to increase the number of RJSHS students pursuing post-secondary education and vocational training. He proposed that the district allow eligible students, who inform the district of their intention to participate in the Rainier Commitment program by May 14, to walk in the graduation ceremony with their class, before attending community college under the program the following year. He also proposed that students who choose to delay receiving their diploma to participate, be immediately granted one in the event that they change their plans providing they have completed the graduation requirements.
Principal Blue issued a letter to parents of RJSHS students explaining the new program.
Stricter Middle School Academic Practices
The board also discussed the implementation of Principal Blue’s effort to reverse the lack of enforcement of academic standards at the middle school level. These include increased intervention, academic Saturday school and summer school for students not passing classes. Ultimately the school will prohibit failing students from participating in eighth grade promotion celebrations and retention for an additional year of middle school.
To help students pass classes, RJSHS is offer “re-take Wednesdays” to allow students to re-take quizzes and exams they did not pass.
HPE Reading Intervention
HPE Principal Dr Paul Coakley reported on reading intervention efforts which will gradually increase the time spent reading at grade level and at each student’s level.
The district is working on presenting a distracted driving awareness program through the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.
NCA Online Offerings
RSD’s charter school, the North Columbia Academy (NCA) has increased its enrollment to 53 on-campus students and 15 online students.
Dr. Coakley announced the addition of an online program broadening the elective course offerings through NCA.
Classes On Presidents’ Day
Due to the large number of weather-related school cancelations already this winter, Dr. Carter proposed using President’s Day, Feb. 17, as a make-up day. Additional days will be negotiated with the teacher’s union. The board accepted the calendar change.
Clean Audit Report, Other Business
The board accepted a clean audit report. Dr. Carter and business manager Lil Guisinger expressed their disappointment that the auditors had not issued the report until the afternoon of Dec. 31st, mere hours before it was due. They explained that audit reports had always been completed prior to the second week of November.
The only significant finding in the report was related to computer equipment purchased under the 2013-14 budget, but which arrived in June, prior to the change of the fiscal year. RSD staff had requested it be shipped in July. Guisinger made the appropriate budget adjustments.
Dr. Carter reported on the chipping of cedar branches and logging debris resulting from the culling of trees on campus infected with heart rot. The trees were deemed a hazard to students and facilities and harvested last fall. The harvest earned $39,800 for the district and chipped wood will be used in play areas and on campus paths.
The district is also laying 992 yards of fibre optic cable to increase Internet speeds on campus.
The district approved an agreement with the Northwest Regional Education Service District for the 2014-15 school year.
The board accepted a large number of district policy changes in accordance with Oregon School Board Association recommendations to bring the policies in line with state regulations and rule changes.
The board held an executive session, after which they approved a two-year contract extension with the classified employees’ union.
by Deborah Steele Hazen
“If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.”
Quoting Abraham Lincoln, to whom that statement is attributed, Michael Moravec opened the first Clatskanie school board meeting of 2014 stating: “Let’s try to be positive this year.”
The other board members and staff at the meeting echoed the school board chair’s sentiment in their reports and comments.
Clatskanie Middle/High School teacher and coach Jeff Skirvin asked for the board’s approval of a plan to name the CMHS weight room after Clatskanie’s Olympic weightlifter, Arnie E. Sundberg, who participated in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
The hope is that the reminder of Clatskanie’s Olympian, who died in 1970, will be an inspiration to CMHS students and staff. The school board approved the idea.
Science teacher Tim Kay and CMHS Principal Amy McNeil reported on the plans to bring the “Challenge Day – Be the Change” program to CMHS.
Kay, who participated in the program when he taught at Roseburg, said that he and leadership advisor Karen Slotten had encouraged a group of leadership students in their production of a video regarding school culture in early December.
That video won second place in a nationwide competition to earn a $4600 scholarship which will pay for almost half of the $9600 cost of bringing the “Be the Change” program to the school.
The program addresses common issues seen at most schools, Kay said, including cliques, gossip, rumors, negative judgments, teasing, harassment, isolation, stereotypes, intolerance, racism, sexism, bullying and violence, which harm students’ happiness, academic success, self-esteem, and causes a feeling of hopelessness that too frequently results in self-destructive behavior and even suicide.
Once they’ve experienced “Challenge Day,” Kay said “they will never be able to say that they didn’t know that negative judgments, thoughtless jokes, rumors, oppressive behaviors, negative comments or violence hurt people.”
The program, which will come to CMHS March 11, 12 and 13, will challenge students “to celebrate the diversity of all people…They will be encouraged to share and express their true selves instead of hiding who they are to fit in at school or their community. They will be provided with tools and alternatives for healthy self-expression while also being challenged to let go of self-limiting thoughts, beliefs or actions.”
The “Challenge Day” program will be a catalyst to help CMHS successfully deal with negative behaviors and create a climate with more connections between students, staff and parents, Kay and McNeil explained.
The CMHS student population and staff will be broken up into thirds, with the juniors and seniors experiencing “Challenge Day” on one day, then the freshman and sophomores, then the seventh and eighth graders.
McNeil urged the school board members to plan to attend on one of the days, and several adult community members are being asked to participate.
The positive change in attitudes and culture that is expected to come out of “Challenge Day” will be followed up by the establishment of “Be the Change” teams which will plan continuing programs, McNeil and Kay explained.
Workshops for students, staff and community members conducted Dec. 2 at CMHS by Morgan Smith of the Oregon School Boards Association went very well.
The staff had a “great discussion” regarding the bullying and harassment presentation, McNeil reported. “We have agreed that cell phones are an immediate concern to be addressed. We noted some particular behaviors to keep an extra eye out, especially with certain students.”
Cell phone use is not allowed during class time or instructional time, unless they are being used as calculators or for research. The staff knows that if any cell phone use is allowed, it must be very closely monitored, McNeil said. Counselor Rhonda Stecker and McNeil are working on safety plans for students who feel uncomfortable or threatened by other students.
In addition to the issues regarding school culture, McNeil reported that the school is making progress toward switching to a proficiency-based grading system, as was explained to parents during conferences. Eventually, a grade of “D” will be eliminated. Students will receive A, B, C or F. “They will need to be at 70 percent or higher to pass, but there are multiple ways of demonstrating their proficiency in a subject – through tests, verbally and with projects.
CMHS teacher Ryan Tompkins, who took on the added duty of athletic director when McNeil moved from the vice principal/athletic director position to principal with the resignation of former Principal Jeff Baughman, is “doing phenomenal” in the AD job, McNeil said.
It has been decided to offer girls soccer next fall, since the opportunity for Clatskanie girls to play on Rainier’s soccer team will no longer be available.
CES Report, Calendar Changes
As part of the consent agenda, the board approved the hiring of Clatskanie Elementary School (CES) teacher Brad Thorud to also serve as dean of students. His main duties will be working with the teaching staff to implement the Response To Intervention (RTI) project, which the CES staff has been working on to align curriculum between grades and with the new “common core” standards, and to intervene with students who are struggling.
Superintendent Lloyd Hartley recommended that two days, June 16 and 17, be added on to the end of the school year because of weather closures and delays.
Dr. Hartley also discussed with the board the concept of having an “open enrollment” of up to 50 students, allowing students to choose their own school district, rather than limiting access.
“Parents and kids should be able to go wherever they want,” said Moravec. “It’s a public education. Board vice chair Megan Evenson agreed. “Every kid deserves to be in the school where they feel the most comfortable.”
In order to better align with school board member Erick Holsey’s work schedule, the board decided to meet regularly on the fourth Monday of the month, except in March when they will meet on the fifth Monday (March 31), so as not to conflict with spring vacation, and in May, when they will meet on the 19th, because of Memorial Day on the fourth Monday.
The board approved the Northwest Regional Education Service District local service plan for 2014-15.
Following the open meeting, the school board met in executive session to discuss upcoming negotiations and Hartley’s evaluation.
A board workshop is planned on Jan. 27 to discuss student data, and an executive session is set Feb. 3 on the topic of negotiations.
Stormy weather on Saturday, Jan. 11, resulted in a number of wind-related power outages for Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD) customers in the Clatskanie and Rainier area.
A downed wire at Wauna Mill was reported at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. No outages were recorded and the dead wire was put back up.
On Taylorville Road, a limb falling onto a power line at approximately 11 a.m. caused an outage which affected one customer for two hours.
A tree blew down on Olson Road onto a power line Saturday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. Power was restored three hours later to the two residences which experienced the outage.
Nine residences were without power on Stewart Creek Road from about 5:50-8:50 p.m.
Affecting the broadest area was an outage caused by a tree which fell on a power line on Delena-Mayger Road at 6:30 p.m. Saturday evening. Service was interrupted for about an hour and a half while crews repaired the line and affected residences on the following roads: Delena-Mayger, Alston-Mayger, Cox, Reed, Warren, Anderson, Van Swoll and Marsten Lane.
In Rainier, an outage from an underground line on Maple Drive began around 7 p.m. Power was restored to three homes five hours later, and five residences experienced nine-hour outages.
All Clatskanie PUD customers were back in service by 4:30 a.m. on Sunday.
PUD crews responded to outages immediately and had customers back on line in just a few hours, said a Clatskanie PUD spokesperson. Don Smith, director of operations and engineering, says “These were typical storm work days for our local crews who are dedicated to providing high quality service to all of our customers regardless of the weather.”
The Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT) is set to perform “The Secret Garden” featuring local students on Friday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 25, at 3 p.m., at the Donavon Wooley Performing Arts Center, Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS), 471 SW BelAir Drive.
Open auditions will be held Monday, Jan. 20, at 3:30 p.m. at CMHS to cast 50 to 60 local students in grades kindergarten through 12th to perform in the musical adaptation by the MCT. Founded in 1970, the MCT is the nation’s largest touring children’s theatre.
“No experience needed, just a smile and the willingness to try!” is the criteria for young people wishing to audition, according to a spokesperson for the Clatskanie Arts Commission (CAC), which is sponsoring the MCT program as part of its 25th Performing arts Season.
Tickets for the show are now available at $5 for all ages at Some Like It Hot! coffee and tanning, 401 East Columbia River Highway, in the Evergreen Shopping Center, or at the door with the CAC box-office in the foyer of the auditorium open a half hour before the show.
This performance receives support through a grant from Portland General Electric’s Beaver Power Cogeneration plant at Port Westward. The in-school workshops that will be held next week are funded through the courtesy of the Kiwanis Club of Clatskanie.
For more information about this and other CAC offerings throughout the year, patrons are invited to call the commission at 503 728-3403 or visit the website at www.clatskaniearts.org.