Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Highlights Of July 11, 2012 Clatsop County Board Of Commissioners Meeting

County Code
The board adopted a
newly revised County Code of Regulations. The code contains all county
ordinances except for land-use ordinances.
County Counsel
Heather Reynolds explained that the year-long review process, conducted with the
help of a private consultant, fixed outdated and obsolete ordinances and made
code enforcement clearer. The revision also collects the ordinances in a single
location for easy access by county staff and the public.
Along with the code
adoption the board also approved an ordinance-adoption process that allows for
public hearings extended over two consecutive meetings.

Gillnet committee
The board voted to
establish a committee to lead a public educational effort related to a November
2012 ballot measure that would ban the use of gillnets in the Columbia River
salmon fishery. The board voted to appoint Commissioners Scott Lee and Dirk
Rohne to the committee and authorize Chairman Peter Huhtala to appoint the
remaining members, who will include, a fisherman, fish processor and up to four
at-large members and would lead an effort to provide impartial information to
voters about the county’s Select Area Fishery Enhancement (SAFE) salmon net-pen
program and the local commercial salmon industry.
In May the county
Budget Committee voted to earmark $18,000 from the county’s Special Projects
fund to pay for educational outreach on the SAFE program.

Land-use appeal
The board approved
findings of fact upholding a “vested rights” claim from landowner Dale Marshal
granting him development rights on five residential lots in the Knappa area
under the Measure 49 land-use initiative. The board originally approved the
claim on appeal in 2010, overturning a decision from the county Community
Development director, but final findings of fact were never adopted. The lack of
findings was discovered earlier this year when Marshal inquired about the status
of the property to the Community Development Department.

Hearings officer
The board approved a
recommendation from the Clatsop County Planning Commission that the county
assign Type IIa land-use applications to a hearings officer. Type IIa
applications typically involve requests for conditional use permits or
variances, but do not involve changes to land-use regulations or zoning. A
hearings officer heard Type IIa applications for the county until 2007, when the
board assigned those applications to the planning commission.

In other business the
-Approved a four-year
collective bargaining contract with the union representing deputy district
attorneys. The agreement sets salary ranges for the three position
classifications, annual cost-of-living adjustments, and minimum requirements for
promotion to the top Deputy III position. There are currently five deputy
district attorneys.
-Appointed the
following people to the Clatsop Forestry and Wood Products Economic Development
Committee: Dennis Creel of Hampton Affiliates; Eric Oien of Teevin Bros. Land
and Timber; Jim Reeb of OSU Extension Service; John Larson of Georgia-Pacific
Wauna mill; Kevin Leahy of Clatsop Economic Development Resources; Mark
Gustafson of Gustafson Logging Co.; and Michael Bunch of the Oregon Small
Woodlands Association.

Tom Bennett
Community Relations Coordinator
(503) 325-1000 ext. 1312ll July 11, 2012 Agenda Packet

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Clatsop County In The Forefront Of Youth Offender Rehabilitation

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Some innovative approaches to rehabilitation have put Clatsop County’s Youngs Bay Juvenile Detention Center at the forefront of youth offender programs in Oregon.

The facility’s Youth Care Center provides a 120-day program combining cognitive behavior modification, “mindfulness” and health and wellness in a holistic approach aimed at steering young offenders away from a future in the criminal justice system.

The YCC program is believed to be the only one in the state that’s adopted meditation-based mindfulness practice into its detention system, and other counties and the state are taking notice.

The program takes in youth between ages 15 and 19 who are on parole or probation from state or county juvenile corrections programs, and who are at risk of entering the state detention system. Seriously violent offenders, sex offenders and juveniles with mental illness are not eligible.

On Wednesday the board of commissioners is scheduled to approve a new one-year contract for up to $102,930 with the Oregon Youth Authority to place youth in the YCC program. The contract gives priority to local youth and those from neighboring counties, although juveniles from other counties can be considered for the program.

The county Juvenile Department has also received a $5,000 grant from the Trust for the Meditation Process foundation for staff training and program materials.

Cognitive restructuring is a central part of most juvenile – and adult – rehab programs aimed at breaking cycles of addictive and destructive behavior. But even young offenders have often gone through these programs so many times they know the process by heart, and most YCC participants come to the program because they have failed other corrective programs, according to Janet Evans, Juvenile Department director.

Mindfulness is designed to complement the cognitive treatment programs with exercises designed to build self-awareness and self-control.

“We give kids a grounding in cognitive restructuring, but take it to a deeper level,” Evans said. “You start with an awareness of who you are, in relationship to your community.”

Juvenile counselor Ryan Moore brought his background in contemplative psychotherapy when he helped the Juvenile Department add the mindfulness element to its detention program three years ago. The approach centers on meditation – both in groups and individually – aimed at getting the youth to focus on the present and let go of the stresses from past mistakes or future challenges.

The concentration required to meditate can be a challenge for kids who often come to the program with attention-deficit disorder or other behavioral issues. But the detention setting provides a controlled atmosphere where not only drugs and alcohol but also distractions like phones and Internet are gone. Staff members leading the meditation practice start with 10-minute sessions that are gradually expanded, and youth meditate on their own in their cells.

“You can see the difference the grounding makes – you can see them calm themselves in stressful situations,” Moore said. “It’s a tool they can take with them when they get out.”

The self-control that the mindfulness training brings also reduces problems in the facility; the youth are more respectful to staff and each other, and behavioral issues requiring staff intervention are rare, Moore said.

The department is now adding a third element – wellness – to the YCC program. Youth learn the benefits of not only kicking drugs and alcohol but also good nutrition and exercise.

Evans called her detention center staff “amazing,” noting that they are responsible for both the YCC program participants as well as rest of the detention population. For many of the youth, the staff become mentors and role models – most of the juveniles stay in contact even after finishing the four-month program.

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

Applicants Sought For County Human Services Committee

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Clatsop County is seeking applicants for two positions on the Human Services Advisory Committee.

The committee advises the Clatsop County Public Health Department on services for local residents with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and drug or alcohol addictions.

There are two openings – one for an unexpired term ending February 2013, and a second for a full term ending February 2015. The Board of Commissioners will make the appointments.

Applications will be taken through July 20. Application forms are available online at under “Your County-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