Thursday, March 29, 2012

FERC Withdraws Consultation Request For Oregon LNG Terminal/Pipeline Proposal

Sutherlan LNG Law
March 29, 2012

Noting that the developers of the Oregon LNG terminal and pipeline project expect to change their plans for the project, FERC informed the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that it is withdrawing its Endangered Species Act section 7 consultation request regarding the proposed project. In its letters to each agency, available under Docket No. CP09-6 in eLibrary, FERC said it would "re-initiate consultation" on the revised version of the project "at the appropriate time."

Highlights Of The March 28, 2012 Clatsop County Board Of Commissioners Meeting

Clatsop County Board of Commissioners

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 regular meeting

Official minutes available once approved by board

Strategic Plan adopted

The board adopted the Clatsop County Strategic Plan. The strategic plan is designed to provide a framework for planning and pursuing the various major projects proposed by the county.

The document lists a total of 42 items, including projects already underway such as the Ensign Lane extension at the North Coast Business Park, Highway 101 flooding solution and Emergency Operations Center addition, as well as future initiatives such as the county comprehensive plan update and Clatsop Plains wastewater solution. The plan also includes the projects’ cost, potential funding sources and estimated time for completion.

The items were prioritized by the county planning commission and board of commissioners.

County Manager Duane Cole told the board that the plan is intended to be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it reflects the county’s goals.

Ocean planning discussed

The board discussed the proposed addition of a Goal 19-Ocean Resources planning element to the county’s comprehensive land-use plan.

Community Development Director Hiller West explained that the State of Oregon reserves jurisdiction for regulating uses in the Goal 19 area, which covers the three-mile stretch of ocean off the coastline. As a result, the county has refocused its work on policy-making and setting up a framework for allowing public participation in the state’s reviews of proposed offshore developments.

West noted that the Goal 19 element does not regulate fishing.

The county Planning Commission hosted public workshops on the Goal 19 element and policies in December through February, and held a public hearing March 10. The board of commissioners scheduled a public hearing on the issue April 25.

No action on Wauna fee request

The board declined to take action on a request from the Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District Board of Directors to include the district in the distribution of funds from the Wauna Mill Strategic Investment Plan Community Service Fee.

The fee was established in 2007 through an agreement between Clatsop County, the State of Oregon and Wauna Mill owner Georgia-Pacific. The fee provides payments to local taxing districts in lieu of property taxes that were waived under the Lower Columbia Maritime Enterprise Zone, through which Georgia-Pacific received tax breaks for a new paper-making machine installed at the mill in 2004.

The service fee totals up to $500,000 a year and is disbursed to 10 taxing districts: Clatsop County, Rural Law Enforcement District, Road District #1, Port of Astoria, Sunset Empire Transportation District, Clatsop Care Center District, 4H and Extension Service District, Clatsop Community College District, NW Regional Educational Service District and Clatskanie School District #6J. Under the agreement Georgia-Pacific will pay the fee through 2022.

Robert Keyser, president of the Clatskanie Fire board, said that the district provides advanced life-support responder service to Westport and other areas along Highway 30 in eastern Clatsop County. Rising costs are forcing the district to consider dropping the service to the area, which is not within the district’s taxing boundaries.

County Manager Duane Cole told the board that the county board of commissioners in 2007 relied on state administrative rules to make the service fee available only to taxing districts whose boundaries include Wauna Mill, and who as a result had property tax revenue withheld under the enterprise zone tax break. Wauna Mill does not lie within the Clatskanie district’s boundaries, he said.

Cole also noted that the service fee was approved by the county Board of Commissioners in January 2007 following a six-month-long public process, and that the county received no input from the Clatskanie district at that time.

Commissioners said that the issue could be addressed by the newly re-activated Ambulance Service Agreement Advisory Committee.

Building fees updated

The board approved a new permit fee schedule for the county Building Codes Division. The update is the first since 2003 and includes adjustments to existing fees as well as the inclusion of fees for new permits.

Community Development Director Hiller West told the board that under state law, local building permit services must be entirely fee-supported. Since 2008, revenue from permits has been insufficient to cover the costs of permit processing and inspections in the Clatsop County office, and the shortfall has been covered by contingency funds.

The new fees take effect July 1. Projects permitted before that date will not be subject to the new fee schedule.

Jail nurse position expanded

The board approved an increase in the Clatsop County Jail nurse position from 0.5 FTE (fulltime equivalent) to 1.0 FTE in the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year budget. The increase will allow the jail nurse to provide services to the county Juvenile Department detention facility in place of the Oregon Youth Authority, which is reducing its nursing staff. It will also increase hours of service at the county jail with the aim of reducing inmate hospital trips and medical-based grievances.

The increase will come from the money the Juvenile Department currently gives to the state to contract for nursing services, as well as projected savings in overtime pay to the current jail nurse.

Other Business

-Approved a letter supporting the Oregon Board of Forestry’s consideration of “conservation area” designations for state forest lands.

-Approved a $67,897 contract with Bergeson Construction for the repair of a bridge on Hill Road in the Hamlet area.

-Postponed making an appointment to the Southwest Coastal Citizens Advisory Committee.

-Appointed Michael Autio and Mike Nelson to the Clatsop County Fair Board.

-Approved a proclamation recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

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

Clatsop County Jail Expansion - Ballot Measure 4-156

JAIL EXPANSION PROJECT - Ballot Measure 4-156

Ballot Measure 4-156, on the May 15, 2012 election ballot, proposes a $14 million bond to expand the Clatsop County Jail.

The Clatsop County Jail, located at 636 Duane St. in downtown Astoria, opened in 1980 with a maximum capacity of 29 beds. That number was later increased to 64 by double-bunking and converting other space into cells. In 2005 the daily population was capped at 60, due to concerns about staff and inmate safety

What is the proposed project?

· Expand and remodel the existing Clatsop County Jail to increase capacity from 60 to 164 beds and add units to hold inmates with contagious illnesses, mental health issues and behavioral problems separate from the main population;

· Provide new jail staff offices, intake and booking space, kitchen and laundry facilities and new entryways for offenders and the public.

· Remodel the existing Parole and Probation office in Warrenton to accommodate the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Division and support staff, who are currently housed in the lower level of the jail facility.

In the illustration above, the existing jail is shown in blue; the proposed addition is shown in white.

The construction schedule calls for the project to be completed by the end of 2014.

How much would it cost?

The total estimated cost, including design, permits, construction and contingency fund, is $14,114,118.14. Funding would come primarily from a $14 million, 20-year general obligation bond – the remainder of the cost would be covered by the county’s state timber revenue.

The tax rate for the bond would be an estimated 16.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, equal to an estimated $ 31.23 per year for the average owner of a property assessed at $ 189,291.

What would it cost to operate the expanded jail?

The expanded jail would cost an estimated $1,266,300 more per year to operate than the current facility. The increase is reflected in a larger jail staff, which would grow from the current 25.5 FTE (full-time equivalent) personnel to 34 FTE, as well as increases in supply and maintenance costs.

That increase would be offset with savings in other areas, including money now spent to rent jail beds in Tillamook County. Those savings would total an estimated $391,200, for an estimated net increase in annual operating expenses of $875,100.

As a comparison, in the 2010-11 fiscal year Clatsop County operated the 60 jail beds and 30-bed Transition Center at a total operating cost of $122.32 per bed per day. The operating costs of the expanded 164-bed jail is estimated to be $72.42 per bed per day.

To cover those additional operating costs, the county plans to use a portion of its annual revenue from the Clatsop State Forest, which would results in no additional taxes or cuts to existing services for county residents.

What is the jail’s current capacity?

The Clatsop County Jail currently operates at a 60-inmate capacity. The county also rents 18 beds at the Tillamook County Jail in Tillamook. By law the county can exceed the 60-inmate cap, but only for up to 96 hours. At times the population of the jail has reached 74 – the extra inmates are accommodated with portable beds placed on the floor.

With the current number of beds available, the Sheriff’s Office frequently must release convicted offenders before the end of their sentences due to lack of space – in December 2011, 81 inmates were released early.

The same goes for people in jail awaiting trials or hearings. In 2011 a total of 97 people were released before their scheduled court appearances.

People on parole or probation who commit violations of the terms of their supervision that would warrant jail sentences are frequently not incarcerated because no beds are available at the jail to hold them.

The Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office currently has almost 1,200 outstanding arrest warrants on file, most of which have not been served due to lack of space in the jail.

In 2010, 40 percent of people booked into Clatsop County Jail served less than one day behind bars. Offenders who have been released from the jail before the end of their sentences due to lack of space include people convicted of domestic violence assaults, first-degree burglary and drug-selling.

The 164-bed capacity of the expanded facility is designed to provide space for sentenced offenders to serve their full terms, with some additional beds for parole and probation violators and people arrested on warrants.

What other changes would be made?

The current configuration of the county jail limits the ability of staff to separate the population based on gender, criminal classification and other factors, as well as to isolate inmates with contagious illnesses, mental health issues or behavioral problems. At times, the need to isolate certain inmates for security reasons means that the total population is held below the 60-inmate maximum.

Since the jail opened in 1980, the average number of female inmates has increased from 1 or 2 to approximately 25 percent of the total population. Male and female inmates must be held separately in the facility.

The project would remodel the existing jail facility to increase room for all classifications of inmates. It would also add more isolation cells for inmates with illness or behavioral issues.

Are there alternative programs?

Clatsop County and our local circuit courts operate several programs designed to provide an alternative to incarceration for local offenders, including Drug Court and Mental Health Court. Plus, Sheriff’s Office Parole and Probation supervises 419 people.

The Sheriff’s Office has also instituted an inmate work crew program, electronic monitoring (home arrest) and day reporting as jail alternatives, in part due to the jail’s lack of space.

Alternative programs like Drug Court are designed to help people break the cycle of substance abuse and other behaviors that frequently contribute to criminal activity, by offering the chance to clear a criminal charge off their record in return for successfully completing a treatment program. With the lack of space in the county jail, there are limited options to sanction program participants if they fail to abide by the programs’ conditions.

Why not just rent more beds elsewhere?

The county currently rents 18 beds in the Tillamook County Jail at a cost of $355,000 a year. Renting 104 beds – the amount that would be added to the Clatsop County Jail in the expansion project – at the $55 per bed per day rate charged by Tillamook would cost more than $2 million a year, assuming the beds were available in other counties at the same rate.

The $355,000 figure does not include the costs in money, time and manpower it takes to transport offenders to and from Tillamook.

Would the jail be shut down during the project?

The project has been designed to be constructed in phases that would allow the jail to operate throughout the project period. No inmates would need to be relocated or released.

Why move the Sheriff’s Office staff?

Relocating the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Division and support staff to the Parole and Probation office in Warrenton would provide more working space for those 26 personnel. It also would free up the bottom level of the jail facility to accommodate enlarged work space for jail staff, as well as new intake and booking space, enlarged laundry and kitchen facilities, and a larger “sally port” entryway for vehicles transporting offenders to the jail.

Why remodel the current jail?

Utilizing the existing facility is estimated to cost one-half as much as building an all-new jail. The current jail is located next to the Clatsop County Courthouse, minimizing the transport needs for inmates making court appearances.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Clatsop County Sheriff's Week In Review - March 19 Thru 25, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


The following are
weekly reports from the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Division,
Parole and Probation Division and Corrections Division.

The Criminal Division
of the Sheriff’s Office had 163 calls for service for the period of March 19
through March 25. They include five alarms, one assault, eight agency assists,
five disturbances, five animal/dog related complaints, one missing person case,
four motor vehicle accidents, four property crimes, one sexual assault
complaint, 33 traffic stops, two traffic citations, one unauthorized use of a
motor vehicle complaint, 21 warrant arrests, and 41 civil service documents
received, of which 34 were served by deputies. Crimes of note are as
· On March 19, a
citizen residing on Svensen Market Road reported a telephone scam where the
callers were attempting to obtain personal and banking information to facilitate
identity theft. The callers were unsuccessful in doing so.
· On March 19,
personnel investigated a road rage incident reported to have occurred on Highway
30 in the Knappa area.
· On March 19 and 20,
deputies investigated an ongoing dispute between neighbors on Young’s River
Road; the case is being forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review
and consideration of criminal charges.
· On March 20, at 90580
Sunset Beach Lane #1 a 17-year-old female from rural Warrenton was arrested on a
Juvenile Court warrant and lodged at the Young’s Bay Juvenile Detention
· On March 20, at 33242
Sunset Beach Lane #11A, Jacalyn Clark, 26, from rural Warrenton was arrested on
a Clatsop County felony warrant and lodged at the Clatsop County Jail where she
remains in custody.
· On March 21, Benjamin
Sieben, 27, from Astoria was arrested for Assault II and Driving Under the
Influence of Intoxicants following a disturbance at 92851 Pearson Road. Sieben
was lodged at the Clatsop County Jail where he remains in custody.
· On March 25, Daniel
Hughes, 24, from Westport was arrested on charges of Menacing and Criminal
Mischief following a disturbance at 47307 Fire Station Alley Road. Hughes was
lodged at the Clatsop County Jail where he remains in custody.

The Corrections
Division reports that from March 19 through March 25, 15 people were released
early from the Clatsop County Jail. Of those 15 inmates released early, six were
forced Matrix released for the following alleged crimes: Burglary I,
Interfering with Making a Police Report, Harassment, Probation
Violation-Possession of a Controlled Substance, Contempt of Court, Possession of
a Controlled Substance 2, Assault 4, Criminal Trespass 1, Possession of a
Controlled Substance-Heroin, Possession of a Controlled Substance-Meth, Assault
4, Possession of Controlled Substance-Heroin, Delivery of a Controlled
Substance, Out of County Contempt of Court, Probation Violation-Aggravated Theft
The other nine
released inmates were released prior to the end of their court-ordered sentence.
Their crimes were Violation of Post-Prison Supervision-Possession of a
Controlled Substance-Meth, Assault 4, Violation of Post-Prison Supervision-
Possession of a Controlled Substance, Violation of Post-Prison
Supervision-Assault 4 Domestic Violence-Felony, Probation Violation-Failure to
Appear, Theft I, DUII, Probation Violation-Escape III, Probation Violation-DUII,
and Driving While License Suspended
The early releases
resulted in a total of 80 days not served in jail for sentenced

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