Friday, April 27, 2012

Staggering Profiteering Potential:Sumitomo/Tokyo Gas Secures U.S. LNG From Dominion's Cove Point

Artwork by Jack Guyot - Astoria, Oregon
Article by Humber -
Apr 26, 2012 9:32 PM

Henry Hub futures rose 4.8 percent to $2.134 per million British thermal units as of 12:29 a.m. in New York. Japan, which has just one of its 54 nuclear reactors in operation since a March 2011 meltdown at its Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, paid about $18.85 per million Btu in the first 11 months of last year, according to finance ministry data. At current U.S. prices, the Japanese partners will be able to sell their contracted LNG in the domestic market at less than $10 per million Btu, Kunio Nohata, senior general manager at Tokyo Gas, told reporters in Tokyo today.

Read Full Article

Bloomberg Reports warning from Dow chief that U.S. NG exports should not exceed 10%

From - Japanese firms to participate in Australian LNG export project

"THE TRIAL"!!!! Today Is The Day To Settle The Issue Of DUII Prosecutions In Astoria Municipal Court.....?

Clatsop County Court House - Today, Friday, April 27, 2012 - 1:30 PM - Courtroom 300
And now, "The Wait" for the decision.

Clatsop County Election Department Makes Ballot Marking Assistance Available To Those With Disabilities

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Oregon Secretary of State and the Clatsop County Elections Office are committed to making voting more accessible to people with disabilities.

The Help America Vote Act has provided funding to assist states and counties with this goal. Any voter who needs assistance in voting in the May 15 Primary Election because they have trouble filling out traditional paper ballots is invited to contact the Clatsop County Elections Office at (503) 325-8511 for assistance.

Accessible ballot marking can be completed by using special computer equipment which is available at the Clatsop County Clerk and Elections Office or by appointment at local facilities.

· Using the iPad, disabled voters can call up the right ballot and tap the screen to pick a candidate and ballot measures.

· Voters with poor vision can adjust the font size and screen color, or have the computer read the ballot out loud.

· The voters then print the completed ballot and place it in their return ballot envelope, sign it and return it to the Elections Office.

Ballots for the May 15 election will begin arriving in voters’ mailboxes Friday and Saturday, April 27-28. Accessible ballot marking will be available between April 30 and May 15 at the Clatsop County Elections Office on the 2nd floor of 820 Exchange St. in Astoria. In addition, the Elections Office can schedule time to come to facilities and offer voters access to this equipment.

Any voter wishing to utilize this new program for accessible ballot marking is asked to please bring their RETURN ballot envelope with them when they come to mark their ballot. The voter must be an active registered voter. If the voter is unsure of their registration status, our Elections Official can verify their status through the Oregon Secretary of State’s website.

Any residential facility or senior center wishing to set up a time for Clerk and Elections staff to come out and set up at their facility to provide access to this new voting system is encouraged to call the Clerk and Elections Office at (503) 325-8511 to schedule an appointment. Please make an appointment early in the election cycle because the last few days before an election are typically busy and there may be a longer wait.

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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Highlights Of April 25, 2012 Clatsop County Board Of Commissioners Meeting

Clatsop County Board of Commissioners
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 regular meeting
Official minutes available once approved by board

Service contract transferred

The board voted to approve the transfer of county services for the developmentally disabled from Columbia Community Mental Health to Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare. Columbia Community Mental Health, which has provided residential and vocational services to about 180 clients since 2006, informed the county in March that it would end its contract effective July 1.

Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare is the county’s contract provider of mental health and alcohol and drug prevention and treatment services. A one-year contract assigning the agency the developmentally disabled services will be brought to the board in May or June.

Ordinance amended, event permit approved

The board amended the county’s Social Gathering Ordinance to eliminate ambiguities in the original wording. The ordinance, adopted in December 2011, requires the organizers of large events held in the unincorporated county to obtain permits that regulate numbers of attendees, hours of operation, sanitation, fire protection and other issues. The new language of the amendment prohibits events from occurring between 12 a.m. midnight and 9 a.m. without the specific approval of the board of commissioners.

Following approval of the amendment, the board unanimously approved a permit under the Social Gathering Ordinance for organizers of the Run 21 event, an annual fundraising gathering of motorcycle riders in the Birkenfeld area July 27-29 organized by the SE Portland Chapter of ABATE of Oregon.

Ocean planning reviewed

The board opened a public hearing on the proposed Goal 19-Ocean Resources amendment to the county comprehensive land-use plan. No testimony was offered – the hearing will be continued at the board’s May 23 meeting.

The amendment would provide the county an avenue to review applications for developments within the territorial sea, the three-mile section of ocean off the county coastline. While the State of Oregon reserves final jurisdiction on the approval of developments, the Goal 19 element is designed to give the county the opportunity to comment on applications’ potential effects on fisheries, scenic values and other resources.

Fair Board expansion eyed

The board directed staff to begin the process of expanding the membership of the Clatsop County Fair Board from five to seven, following testimony from former Fair Board member Jack Edwards, who the board of commissioners on March 28 voted to replace on the Fair Board with Mike Nelson. Edwards questioned why he was not re-appointed, pointing to his six years of service on the Fair Board.

Planner position expanded

The board unanimously approved a staffing addition in the Community Development Department. A planner/code enforcement position will be expanded to create one fulltime planner position and one fulltime code enforcement position.

Community Development Director Hiller West explained that, despite the recession, demand for building code enforcement has increased, while the department is experiencing the need for additional planner services with the additional of a planning overlay in the Arch Cape community and the new Social Gathering ordinance. Since 2008 the Planning and Building divisions have together seen the elimination of four positions.

Total cost of the staff increase is approximately $72,000. Half of the cost would be paid out of the county General Fund and half out of the fee-supported Building Codes budget.

County code reviewed

The board held a discussion on proposed updates to the county code of regulations. County Manager Duane Cole explained that the code – which codifies all county ordinances except for land-use ordinances – was subjected to review to find ordinances that need revision or removal, including ordinances based on state statutes that have been declared unconstitutional or dealing with property no longer owned by the county.

The completed code will be presented to the board for final approval in late May or June.

Other Business

In other business the board:

- Approved a contract for $125,000 with Helligso Construction for the construction of a new Sheriff’s Office Work Crew building. The 36-by-48-foot facility, to be built at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, will be funded out of the $135,000 proceeds from the sale of property on Highway 202 that formerly housed the Work Crew facilities. Work Crew personnel will perform part of the work. Chairman Peter Huhtala and Commissioner Debra Birkby voted no. Birkby said the scope of the project was excessive.

- Approved revisions to the county’s property management policies. The changes include: increasing the minimum required offer for county-owned property that has failed to draw bids at auction; requiring cash payment for sales of less than $20,000; and revising rules for sales or transfers to non-profit entities.

- Approved a letter to Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI) offering recommendations regarding its proposal to become the designated Coordinated Care Organization for Clatsop County under new state legislation establishing the CCO program.

Tom Bennett
Community Relations Coordinator
(503) 325-1000

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Clatsop County Planning Commission Seeks Applicants For Open Seats

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Clatsop County is taking applications for two positions on the county Planning Commission.
Both seats are for four-year terms ending June 30, 2016.

The Planning
Commission holds land-use hearings, reviews the county’s zoning ordinances and
comprehensive land-use plan and advises the county commissioners on land-use
The seven-member committee usually meets once a month for a full day.
Applications must be
turned in by May 21 to be considered for an appointment by the Board of
Commissioners. Application forms are available online
at under “Quick
Links-Citizen Involvement,” from the office at 800 Exchange St., Suite 410, or
by calling (503) 325-1000.

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Upcoming Clatsop County Budget Axes Several Staff Positions

Monday, April 23, 2012

Clatsop County proposes to eliminate several staff positions in its upcoming budget in the face of rising costs, limited revenue and reduced service needs.

The proposed 2012-13 fiscal year budget, released today, cuts three fulltime and one half-time positions and leaves two vacant jobs unfilled.

The cuts are proposed in order to close an estimated $500,000 gap between county departments’ original requested budgets and revenue forecasts for the upcoming year.

The projected budget shortfall is the result of several factors, including a 15-percent increase in health insurance costs and contracted cost-of-living salary increases for staff. These and other increases would boost spending next year by close to 3 percent under the county’s current staffing levels. At the same time, property tax revenue is forecast to grow by just 2 percent.

Proposed to be cut are:

· One cartographer position in the Assessment and Taxation Department

· One administrative support position in the County Clerk’s Office

· One clinical services manager in Public Health Department

· 0.6 FTE (fulltime equivalent) administrative support in Assessment and Taxation

In addition, two currently vacant positions – emergency services manager and a parole and probation officer – are proposed to be left unfilled.

At this time all cuts are proposed and subject to approval by the county budget committee and board of commissioners. The budget committee is scheduled to review the budget May 8.

The proposed 2012-13 budget totals $54,801,500, compared to $60,102,992 in the current year.

“These financial times pose challenges, although Clatsop County has not been impacted as severely as others,” County Manager Duane Cole said. “With the careful allocation of resources, we’re maintaining vital county services with the available funds.”

The staffing reductions would take effect at the beginning of the next fiscal year, July 1. But employees in the four affected positions were notified March 23 of the proposed cuts. Because of rules in the union contracts covering those positions, the affected employees may have “bumping rights” to move to other positions in the county, depending on seniority.

Most of the proposed staff cuts were targeted at departments where activity has slowed as a result of the economic recession. The construction slow-down has led to a drop in property-related work and document-recording in Assessment and Taxation and the Clerk’s Office.

The Public Health clinical services manager position was proposed for elimination due to continued reductions in federal and state funding for health-related services.

The budget proposes to add one FTE in the Community Development Department by expanding a planner/code specialist position into two fulltime positions, one devoted solely to planning and the other to code enforcement. The demand for code enforcement has remained constant despite the construction slowdown, and the recent establishment of a planning overlay for the Arch Cape community has added additional design review duties for the department. Half the increased cost would be covered by the General Fund and half by the fee-supported Building Codes budget.

The board of commissioners is scheduled to vote on this staffing increase at its April 25 meeting.

In addition, the budget proposes that a half-time, non-management emergency services coordinator position be increased to fulltime, to partly cover the vacant emergency services manager post.

Along with the personnel cuts, department heads also have identified a total of $938,592 in savings in materials and services, equipment replacement and other areas in their respective 2012-13 budgets.

In the previous two years the county has cut or left vacant 12 positions, including two management posts.

Spending decisions are guided by the board of commissioners’ budget policies, which prioritize county services for funding and include, among others, the following guidelines:

· No new staff positions or programs unless specifically approved by the board of commissioners;

· Money saved during the year to be carried over to the next budget year;

· No “back-filling” or replacing lost state or federal dollars with county funds.

The complete proposed 2012-13 budget is viewable on the county website,, and copies will be available to view at public libraries in Astoria, Cannon Beach, Seaside and Warrenton, as well as at the Clatsop County Manager’s Office, 800 Exchange St., Suite 410, Astoria.

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

Second Annual Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Day Set For May 5

PHOTO CAPTION: An employee of Clean Harbor Environmental Services collects materials at the 2011 Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day event in Warrenton.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Are hidden dangers lurking in your home?

Cleansers, pesticides and other chemicals make our lives more convenient, but they can also pose health risks.

To help local residents get rid of unused or unneeded hazardous waste products in their homes, Clatsop County is hosting its second annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day, Saturday, May 5, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Seaside Public Works facility at 1387 Ave. U, Seaside.

County residents can bring in a variety of toxic, flammable and other materials for disposal at no charge.

The following items are examples of what will be accepted:

· Bug, weed, pest killers

· Poisons, cleaners, batteries

· Paints, stains, thinners, solvents, wood preservatives

· Car and boat fluids, gas, antifreeze

· Mercury-containing thermometers, fluorescent light tubes, compact fluorescent bulbs

· Toxic home arts, photography and hobby supplies

The Collection Day is the product of the Clatsop County Household Hazardous Waste Program, a collaborative project between the county, cities, Western Oregon Waste (WOW) and other stakeholders to develop a comprehensive strategy for reducing and properly disposing of residential hazardous waste. Each year the program hosts a waste collection event, alternating between the north and south county.

The program is funded by a small surcharge on all solid waste going through WOW’s Transfer Station in Astoria. Clean Harbors Environmental Services, a national hazardous waste management company, is contracted to collect and properly dispose of the materials brought to the Collection Day events.

Last year’s inaugural event in Warrenton collected more than 70,000 pounds of material, including 18,000 pounds of pesticides or poisons, 9,000 pounds of flammable liquids, 11,000 pounds of non-recyclable paint products and 1,200 pounds of fluorescent light bulbs containing mercury.

The following materials will NOT be accepted at the May 5 event:

· Medical waste, including syringes and other “sharps”

· Medications

· Explosives

· Radioactive or asbestos material

· Construction waste

· Business waste*

*A collection time for businesses that generate less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste a month, designated as Conditionally Exempt Generators (CEGs), will be held Friday, May 4 in Seaside by APPOINTMENT ONLY – no drop-ins will be accepted. For CEG registration call Clean Harbors Environmental Services at (503) 305-2158 or email

Properly getting rid of common hazardous materials can reduce a variety of risks, according to Maureen Taylor, Household Hazardous Waste Program Coordinator.

“Our mission is to provide a safe, easy way for residents to dispose of toxic dangerous products accumulating around their home,” she said. “We know this will decrease accidental poisoning and injuries to our children and pets, prevent unnecessary exposure to our waste haulers and fire fighters that come into contact with hazardous chemicals on the job, and decrease environmental damages that occur when people improperly discard hazardous wastes into the sewer, storm drains or on the ground.”

Residents with material for the Collection Day event should keep the products in their original containers, secured with lids, and placed in boxes.

For more information, go to “Household Hazardous Waste” at or call Clatsop County Public Health at (503) 325-8500.

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