Saturday, July 21, 2012

Auditors Say Port Of Astoria Has Approached Insolvency!!!

Auditors say Port of Astoria has approached insolvency

Fri Jul 20, 2012.
By EDWARD STRATTON - The Daily AstorianDaily Astorian

After years of paying for major deferred maintenance and considerable litigation, investing in acquisitions and dealing with a down economy, the Port of Astoria has approached insolvency.

In financial statements for fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11, accepted by the Port Commission at its June 19 meeting, auditors attached “NOTE 18 – Going Concern.” That is accounting parlance for whether a business is able to pay its bills and continue operating.

The fiscal years run from July 1 to June 30 each year.
Read Full Daily Astorian Article

Friday, July 20, 2012

Clatsop County Officials Sign Agreement For Wauna Tax Settlement

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Clatsop County officials on Thursday signed documents for a loan covering a settlement payment in the Georgia-Pacific tax appeal case.

The loan, from Bank of America, will cover a $2.5 million payment from the county and 60 other taxing districts to the owner of the Wauna pulp and paper mill.

The payment was agreed to under a settlement reached last May between Clatsop County and Georgia-Pacific over the company’s appeal of a tax penalty and tax assessments on part of the facility.

The county was able to secure an interest rate on the loan of 2.18 percent – below the 3 percent originally envisioned. Annual payments on the 10-year loan will total $283,251.30 and will be covered by all taxing districts in the county – the funds will be deducted from the districts’ yearly property tax disbursements, under the terms of an intergovernmental agreement that was signed by all the districts in 2009 in anticipation of a refund payment.

The case dates to 2004, when Georgia-Pacific was granted tax exemptions under the Lower Columbia Maritime Enterprise Zone for construction of its new No. 6 paper-making machine. Under the exemption, property taxes assessed on the new machine were to be waived for five years.

In 2007 the company was disqualified from the exemption program for failing to maintain a minimum required number of employees at the mill site. As a result of the disqualification, the company had to repay the exempted taxes, totaling approximately $4.1 million. That money was distributed among the 60 taxing districts.

Georgia-Pacific filed an appeal in Oregon Tax Court challenging not only the exemption penalty but also the assessed valuation of the entire mill for three tax years. The appeal claimed that the assessment, on which Wauna’s annual property tax bill is calculated, overvalued the mill by approximately $154 million.

Along with the payment, the settlement establishes the real market value for the mill at $291 million. Georgia-Pacific cannot challenge that assessment for five years.

Under Georgia-Pacific’s claim, Clatsop County and the other districts could have been required to refund more than $11 million if the company had prevailed on all appeals at trial.

State statute mandates that all of the 60 taxing districts in Clatsop County are liable for a portion of the settlement, regardless of whether Wauna Mill lies within their boundaries.

Wauna pays a total of $3,410,536 a year in property taxes to taxing entities in Clatsop County, making it by far the county’s biggest single taxpayer.

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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

5:00 PM Executive Session Precedes Regular July 25, 2012 CCBofC Regular Meeting

Astoria School Superintendent Hoppes Announces Future Of Warren Field Development



DATE: JULY 18, 2012


During the past year, the Astoria School District has consulted with Columbia Memorial Hospital on developing the Warren Field property. The hospital wishes to obtain Warren Field and use it for future hospital expansion.

In a meeting earlier this year, the hospital’s management team offered to provide a modern sports facility within the City of Astoria at no cost to the school district—a facility that will benefit all the kids in our community—in return for Warren Field. The Astoria School District recommends accepting this mutually beneficial offer.

* Note: Under the proposed agreement, the school district would not give up using Warren Field until after the new sports facility is finished, tentatively scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2013.

*Note: The hospital’s offer has never included a cash payment for Warren Field. The offer is to provide a new multi-sport facility at the hospital’s expense, with no cost to the Astoria School District.

Site for the new sports facility

While discussions about Warren Field were under way between Columbia Memorial Hospital and the school district, the City of Astoria talked about starting the process of “capping” the old city landfill facility. “Capping” means taking steps to convert the landfill to a clean, safe facility that is desirable for other uses. Numerous communities throughout the nation have used this technique successfully to convert landfills to healthy recreational assets. The following are just a few examples:

* Warrenton, Oregon: The City of Warrenton capped a landfill, located on Ridge Road, more than twenty years ago. The area was cultivated into a fine soccer complex and is now home to Lower Columbia Youth Soccer Association.

* Danville, Indiana: The capped landfill at the Twin Bridges site has a golf course, soccer complex, softball fields, archery range, trails and firing range.

*Northbrook, Illinois: This community used clean soil from a construction project to convert a landfill into a nine-hole golf course and pro-shop.

* Wilmington, North Carolina: The Cape Fear Youth Soccer Association converted the Flemington Landfill into a soccer complex with 16 fields, trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, concessions stands and bleachers. Other communities in North Carolina have undertaken such projects, including two landfills converted to municipal golf courses in Charlotte.

* Virginia Beach, Virginia: The community converted Mount Trashmore, a former 165-acre landfill, to a full-blown municipal park. Park facilities include picnic shelters, playground areas, a basketball court, volleyball areas, parking, a walking trail, and restrooms. The park also features two lakes for fishing.

The management team of Columbia Memorial Hospital reached an agreement with the city to use the rehabilitated landfill site for a new multi-sport facility.

Benefits to the community

The long-term public benefits of the proposed agreements among Columbia Memorial Hospital, the Astoria School District and the City of Astoria would be substantial:

*Columbia Memorial Hospital would be able to provide excellent health care facilities for this community over the next 75-100 years. The hospital would utilize the Warren Field property either for a new hospital or expansion of the present hospital to meet Astoria’s ever-growing health care needs.

* The Astoria School District would be able to provide safe, clean and accessible athletic facilities to the children of our community for many years. Our chief concern, as always, is the safety and wellbeing of our students, and we believe that this new facility will provide the means to achieve and maintain a high standard of physical fitness and healthy sports competition in our schools.

This is a true community collaboration that has tremendous benefits for all the parties involved.

The next steps

The Astoria School District Board of Directors will invite public comment on the Warren Field proposal at its meeting on August 8. Members of the public will have an opportunity to offer their views and ask questions. The Board will use this public input in evaluating the proposal and assessing the impacts on the district.

Ask questions

Large-scale public projects like this one often generate rumors and give rise to incorrect information. I strongly urge you to contact me if you have questions or concerns. I will share with you exactly what I know about this plan and all its ramifications.

Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

County Authorities Monitor Algae In Cullaby Lake And Urges Caution To Public

Friday, July 13, 2012


Tests of water from Cullaby Lake show no evidence of harmful toxins related to recently observed algae blooms on the lake surface.

Visitors to the lake may recreate in the water, but are still urged to stay away from any areas where blue-green algae blooms are visible. Both Cullaby Lake Park and Carnahan Park, located on the lake’s north shore, are open to the public.

The county issued a notice earlier this week after blue-green algae blooms were observed on the lake surface. Water samples were collected to test for the presence of potentially harmful toxins that can be given off by certain species of the algae. Those toxins are particularly harmful to children and pets if ingested; symptoms can include nausea, cramps, dizziness, numbness and breathing and heart problems.

Because no toxins were detected, the Oregon Public Health Division will not issue a no-contact advisory for Cullaby Lake. Nevertheless, Clatsop County officials will continue to monitor the lake daily for blue-green algae, and will take water samples every other week to test for toxins.

For more information, contact the Oregon Public Health toll-free information line at 1-877-290-6767, Clatsop County Public Health Department at (503) 325-8500 or the Harmful Algae Bloom Surveillance Program online at

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11. 2012

Clatsop County officials are asking the public to use caution while recreating at Cullaby Lake while they monitor a potentially harmful algae bloom at the popular recreation site.

Water samples from the lake have been collected and sent for testing for evidence of harmful toxins associated with blue-green algae, which was recently observed on the lake. Test results are expected by early next week – in the meantime, the county recommends that the public avoid contact with the water when algae is visibly present, especially activities that could result in swallowing or inhaling water.

Depending on the results from the water tests at Cullaby Lake, the Oregon Public Health Division will determine whether an official health advisory is issued. Under new state options for monitoring harmful algae blooms, the County Parks Department will conduct daily monitoring of the lake surface and continue sampling for toxins while a bloom is present.

Both Cullaby Lake Park as well as Carnahan Park, located on the lake’s north shore, remain open.

Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, are naturally occurring organisms; certain species can release nerve and liver toxins into the water that are particularly harmful to children and pets if ingested. Symptoms can include nausea, cramps, dizziness, numbness and breathing and heart problems. Most all blue-green algae can cause skin irritation on contact even if they are free of toxins.

Cyanobacteria algae blooms occur in many fresh-water bodies, but it is not possible to determine if a bloom is potentially toxic simply by looking at it. If you see bluish-green, green, white or brown scum on the surface of any body of fresh water, keep children, pets and yourself out of the water. Even if the algae appear to be isolated in a single area be aware that winds and currents can move algae across the surface in minutes.

For more information, contact the Oregon Public Health toll-free information line at 1-877-290-6767, Clatsop County Public Health Department at (503) 325-8500 or the Harmful Algae Bloom Surveillance Program online at

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