Saturday, October 08, 2011

Democrats Define Rich!

Andrew Stiles
The National Review On-Line
October 7, 2011 6:00 P.M.

Is the threshold $250,000 or $1 million in income?

In his role as head of the Democratic party’s political-messaging operation, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has been one of the prominent voices in the ongoing and often heated debate in Congress over federal deficits and debt. At every turn, he has loudly accused Republicans of risking a government shutdown, or even default, in order to protect “tax breaks for the wealthy.” However, when it comes to actual tax policy — and the precise definition of the term “wealthy” — Schumer and his Democratic colleagues, most notably President Obama, don’t exactly see eye to eye.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Clatsop County Sheriff's Office Hosts ATV Safety Courses At Fairgrounds Oct. 22-23, 2011

Friday, Oct. 7, 2011


The Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office is making available ATV Safety classes to Clatsop County youth Oct. 22-23.

By January of 2012 all youth riding ATV's on public lands in Oregon will be required to have completed a "hands-on" class. The Sheriff’s Office presents the ATV Safety Institute Ridercourse, a four-hour ATV safety course, and the OSU/4H Youth Rider Evaluation Program, a two-hour session designed for those youth who already possess riding skills beyond the basic level.

The classes take place at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds on Walluski Loop.

The OSU/4H evaluations take place Saturday, Oct. 22 beginning at 10 a.m. To register, go online to There is a $20 fee for the evaluation which will be collected online when registering.

Students registering for this program will be required to have obtained the Oregon ATV Safety Education Program card prior to enrolling. To obtain this card go to and complete the on line training. This training is free.

Two ATV Safety Institute Ridercourse classes will be conducted Sunday, Oct. 23, also at the fairgrounds. The 9 a.m. class will be for youth 6 to 11 years old, and the 2 p.m. class will be for youth 12 to 15 years old. To register for these classes call 1-800-887-2887. There is a $55 fee for these classes, but Oregon residents are eligible for a $50 subsidy making the cost to the student only $5. Be sure to request this subsidy when registering.

There will be one 50cc and one 90cc loaner ATV available for each scheduled session. To request a loaner for the Saturday session contact the instructor at (503) 791-4978. For the Sunday sessions request the loaner when registering.

Additional information is available on the internet at,, or, or call Deputy Michael Nelson, (503) 791-4978.

Released by:
Tom Bennett
Community Relations Coordinator
(503) 338-3622

Open House On Oregon Health Plan Changes Scheduled For October 13, 2011

Friday, Oct. 7, 2011

The public is invited to learn more about proposed changes to the Oregon Health Plan at a community meeting Thursday, Oct. 13 in Astoria.

The meeting takes place 6-8 p.m. at Clatsop Community College in Columbia Hall Room 219.

The new program, approved by the Oregon Legislature and set to go into effect in 2012, calls for organizing Oregon Health Plan providers into Coordinated Care Organizations. It is designed to provide a continuum of integrated care for OHP patients’ physical, mental and dental health services, while at the same time reducing the state’s Medicare and Medicaid expenses.

For more information go to

Released by:
Tom Bennett
Community Relations Coordinator
(503) 338-3622

Clatsop County Sheriff's Office And Astoria Police Department Arrest Four Suspects In Local Area Robberies

Friday, Oct. 7, 2011

Personnel from the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office and Astoria Police Department arrested four individuals in connection with a number of local burglaries Friday morning.

A search warrant was executed at residences at 1729 5th Street and 40991 Grand View Lane at about 6 a.m. Friday. The warrant was related to evidence from recent residential burglaries. A pistol stolen from a Warrenton residence was recovered, as well as evidence connected to other area burglaries.

Taken into custody were:

Amy Kelly, 1729 5th St., dob 9/13/72, charged on an outstanding warrant

James R. McGuire, 1729 5th St., dob 7/11/69, possession of a stolen firearm; possession of heroin

Matthew Betts, 40991 Grand View Lane, dob 4/23/80, possession of heroin

Keith Murray, 1729 5th St., dob 5/12/75, possession of methamphetamine

All four suspects were lodged in Clatsop County Jail.

Released by:
Tom Bennett
Community Relations Coordinator
(503) 338-3622

Clatsop County To Hold Panel Discussion To Examine Its Role In Ocean Resources Planning

Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011


Clatsop County’s land-use review program may soon extend beyond the land itself.

County officials are crafting an Ocean Resources development code covering the territorial sea off the county’s coastline. The code would provide the county with the authority to review applications for wave-energy, aquaculture and other in-water development projects within the strip of ocean extending roughly 3.5 miles from shore.

To more fully examine the issues surrounding this proposal, the county is hosting a panel discussion Oct. 17 featuring land-use and ocean policy experts. The event, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. at Seaside City Hall, 989 Broadway.

Panelists are:

· Mark Barnes, Planning Consultant, Clatsop County

· Belinda Batten, Director, NW National Marine Renewable Energy Center, Oregon State University

· Jason Busch, Executive Director, Oregon Wave Energy Trust

· Onno Husing, Director, Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association (OCZMA)

· Paul Klarin, Marine Program Coordinator, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development

· Matt Spangler, North Coast Regional Representative, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development

Panel moderator is Clatsop County Commissioner and OCZMA Chair Peter Huhtala.

Ocean policy falls under Goal 19 of the Oregon statewide planning goals, but Clatsop County did not adopt a code specific to Goal 19 when it enacted its land-use program in 1980. With no official process in place in the county’s comprehensive land-use plan, county staff are concerned that there is no avenue for the county to provide input on such projects as wave-energy facilities and other uses not envisioned when the plan was originally adopted.

Goal 19 calls for “(conserving) marine resources and ecological functions for the purpose of providing long-term ecological, economic and social value and benefits to future generations.”

If Clatsop County adds a Goal 19 component to its comprehensive plan, projects proposed for the territorial sea would go to the county Planning Division and be reviewed for consistency with the relevant criteria. The review would allow the county to examine the project’s potential impact on fishing activity and viewsheds.

As currently proposed, the code would cover only fixed structures such as piers, cables and wind- and wave-energy devices. Activities like commercial and recreational fishing would not fall under the new review system.

Released by:

Tom Bennett

Community Relations Coordinator

(503) 338-3622

Suspicious Package Leads To Evacuation Of Clatsop County Courthouse!!!

Friday, Oct. 7, 2011


The Clatsop County Courthouse was briefly evacuated Friday morning as a precaution after a suspicious package was found in an employee break room.

The package was inspected and found to be harmless, and employees were allowed into the building at about 8:15 a.m.

Released by:

Tom Bennett

Community Relations Coordinator

(503) 338-3622

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Clatsop County May Take An Updated, 170 Bed, Existing Sheriff's Department/Jail To The Voters In 2012!For Approval

Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011


Clatsop County officials are updating an existing plan for expanding the obsolete county jail, with the goal of seeking voter approval next year for the long-sought project.

At its Oct. 12 meeting the county board of commissioners will be asked to allocate up to $100,000 to revisit a five-year-old study that recommended remodeling the facility at Seventh and Duane streets in Astoria.

The funds will pay for schematic plans for a new expansion option based on the old study, as well as a new cost estimate for the construction of an all-new jail facility for cost-comparison purposes.

If the board approves the allocation, the county will seek bids for detailed schematics and cost estimates for the remodel option. County officials hope to put a bond measure before Clatsop County voters in the May or November election in 2012.

The expansion would add up to 100 beds to the existing 69-bed facility, which has long been deemed inadequate in size and design for the needs of the county’s public safety and criminal justice systems.

“We have known for years that the current jail doesn’t meet our needs, and the county commissioners have made it one of their top priorities to address this issue,” County Manager Duane Cole said.

The 2006 study, completed by the DLR Group architectural firm, proposed adding 80 dormitory-style housing units to the ground level of the facility where administrative space for the Sheriff’s Office is currently located, at an estimated cost of just under $5 million. County staff has determined that this option would not work due to operational and constructability issues.

A new second option, for which no detailed engineering or design work has yet be completed, would involve a more extensive remodel of the current jail and boost its total capacity to 170 beds.

Construction of an all-new jail, which has been tentatively proposed for the county’s North Coast Business Park in Warrenton, has previously been estimated to cost approximately $12 million, not including site preparation.

Numerous studies have illustrated the inadequacy of the existing jail, which first opened in 1977. Built with an original capacity of 29, its capacity has been increased with the use of portable beds and other make-shift measures. But even the expanded number is deemed too small by the Sheriff’s Office and consultants, who say the county needs at least 120 jail beds to meet its needs.

The current lack of beds means criminal offenders frequently serve only a few days out of longer sentences, and probation violations often go unpunished. The crowding has also raised concerns about safety for staff and inmates, as the facility has limited space for separating violent offenders from the rest of the population.

Clatsop County last sought voter approval for a jail project in November 2002, when a bond for a new jail facility was defeated by a 59 percent to 41 percent margin.

Released by:

Tom Bennett

Community Relations Coordinator

(503) 338-3622

October 12, 2011 Clatsop County Board Of Commissioners Regular Meeting Agenda

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Highlights Of September 28, 2011 Clatsop County Board Of Commissioners Regular Meeting

Clatsop County Board of Commissioners

September 28, 2011 Work Session Audio Tanscript
September 28, 2011 Regular Session Audio Transcript

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011 regular meeting

Official minutes available once approved by board

Circus animal ordinance

The board voted to draft an ordinance for placement on the May 2012 election ballot banning elephants and other exotic animals from display within the county.

The ban would be limited to exotic animals used in circuses and other entertainment venues and would not cover rodeos and horse shows, 4-H and FFA events and educational displays. The ordinance would only cover the unincorporated county.

The ban was promoted by Astoria resident Janice Robertson and other supporters, who say elephants and other animals used in many travelling circuses suffer cruel and inhumane treatment.

The ordinance will be brought back to board for a public hearing at an upcoming meeting.

Ambulance plan reviewed

The board heard a report from County Manager Duane Cole on a pending update to the county’s Ambulance Service Area (ASA) plan, and approved the recruitment of members of an advisory oversight committee.

The ASA plan spells out the boundaries and minimum service standards for the service area, which covers the entire county. The current plan was adopted in 1996; the state of Oregon notified the county earlier this year that the plan was due for an update.

The plan update does not involve any change to the existing franchise agreement with the current service provider, MEDIX. The franchise agreement runs to 2016.

Health plan letter

The board approved a letter to be sent to the Governor’s Office regarding the pending changes to the Oregon Health Plan and reorganization of OHP service providers into Coordinated Care Organizations. The new program, approved by the Oregon Legislature and scheduled to launch in 2012, is designed to provide a continuum of integrated care for OHP patients’ physical, mental and dental health services, while at the same time reducing the state’s Medicare and Medicaid expenses.

The county’s proposed letter, drafted with input collected from local stakeholders by Public Health Director Margo Lalich, expresses concerns about data-sharing, unfunded mandates, allocation of funds saved by the program, and counties’ role within new regional structures.

Hood to Coast report

The board heard a report from organizers of the Hood to Coast Relay on the 2011 event, Bob Foote and Felicia Hubber. They said the number of running teams, which was increased from 1,000 to 1,250 for this year’s event, will be reduced to 1,050 for the 2012 running, due to congestion at the finish area in Seaside.

The event raised $517,000 for the American Cancer Society, they said.

Other Business

In other business the board:

-Approved a letter of support for a grant request from the Port of Astoria for federal funding to upgrade its Pier 3 facility for expanded log and lumber export activity. Commissioner Debra Birkby voted no, citing concerns about increased log truck traffic.

-Appointed Gary Sunderland, Bree Phillips and Clarke Powers to the Board of Property Tax Appeals. Patrick Jensen was appointed as an alternate.

-Approved a proclamation recognizing Oct. 1-8 as Oregon Days of Culture.

Tom Bennett
Community Relations Coordinator
(503) 325-1000 ext. 1312

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Clatsop Ambulance Service Area Advisory Committee Seeks Applicants To Serve

Friday, Sept. 30, 2011


Clatsop County is seeking applicants for open seats on the Ambulance Service Area Advisory Committee.

The committee provides input to the county Board of Commissioners on the ambulance service plan and ambulance service franchisee. The committee will review the service plan as part of mandated update of the document and recommend possible changes to the board.

The openings are for members who have no association with the emergency medical system. The county board of commissioners will make the appointments.

To apply, obtain an application form and return it to the Clatsop County Manager’s Office at 800 Exchange St., Suite 410, Astoria OR 97103, (503) 325-1000. Forms are available from the County Manager’s Office or can be downloaded from the county website at “Committee application forms” under “Administration/Board of Commissioners.”

Released by:
Tom Bennett
Community Relations Coordinator
(503) 338-3622