Letters to St. Helens Update

 

Letters to the Update are the opinions of the  writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Bill Eagle, or that of his wife, children, mother, father, sisters , brothers, domestic pets etc..

See My Standard Disclaimer.  Send all  letters to eaglew@sthelensupdate.com

From: Joe Turner 2/19/19

While deplorable conservatives basked in the glorious rays of President Trump’s State of the Union address and despicable liberal socialists spewed their hate and dissent for our current president and nation, a major milestone in American history passed without a word in our local or national news.

On Tuesday, Febg12, 2019, the United States National Debt surpassed $22 Trillion dollars as the Untied States Credit Rating teeters betw3een AAA and AA+, and consumer credit reports show some citizens are lagging 90 days behind in their auto payments and even some homes are facing foreclosure less than ten year after a  major recession. Charlie Chesbrough, a senior economist for Cox Automotive is quoted as saying “I ahtink it’s a little to soon to say that the sky is falling, but it’s time to look up and double check to make sure nothing is about to hit you on the head.”

The 2010 recession was a great opportunity for Americans to get and stay out of debt. That once in a lifetime chance to purchase and restore a foreclosed home at fire sale prices, yet many Americans were just too far in debt to dig their way out. 

As Oregon raised its bottle deposit and minimum wage, the success of our small businesses began swirling around the toilet bowl, and I see in the next 18-22 months Oregonians will need to tighten their austerity belts to afford the onslaught of an aggressive progressive liberal agenda coming from both Washington D.C. and Salem.

It’s time for the Stewardesses to hand out the barf bags, financial storms are on the horizon.

 

From: Chris Brambles 2/7/19

Thank you, Columbia County

This past November Columbia County stepped to the ballot box and did some wonderful things and, I believe, set some records. The people of this county passed the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance (SAPO) protecting their rights, those of their children, and sending a strong message to Salem that they may not have our fundamental, inherent, and unalienable rights.

We didn't just pass the SAPO here; the SAPO was on 10 ballots throughout the state and was verified in eight of those counties. Now, 13 counties in the state have the SAPO in one form or another as their county law — and it is just the beginning. If our employees won't do their job to protect our rights, we will do it for them.

We the people also elected Sheriff Brian Pixley who was the only one who went on the record as "The People's Sheriff," pledging to uphold the SAPO and defend our rights. If Sheriff Pixley honors his oath of office, and his promises, we couldn't have hoped for a better sheriff.

We tried to get rid of the hypocrite Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, and came very close with challenger Brian Stout. Brian had very little money and was going up against a 14-year do-nothing incumbent, who wants to steal rights from young veterans. Brian got over 14,000 votes and had the highest percentages with the least amount of money in the state.

The last I checked, 81 percent of Republicans had turned out to vote, which was the highest in the state and, I believe, an all-time record in this county.

This county proved that your vote counts ... we will get rid of Witt in 2020.

I want to thank everyone who helped with the SAPO and showed up to vote. The Ameriphobes and some who are just ignorant about what rights are, are not happy with our success. Some of these people have been trying to block our effort at every level, but liberty has always been popular, and always will be preferable to slavery. Our rights are just that: ours. And it is not up for debate. Every law that Infringes on your natural born rights are illegal and meant to control you.

We must remain vigilant, because people like crazy Gov. Kate Brown and hypocrite Witt are catering to far left radical communists and are planning to assault us again in the loooong legislative session coming up. Prepare for IP 43-like unconstitutional legislation and more plunder of your property to be pushed.

We have spoken, but they hear not. There are no angels in government ... it's up to us to remind them that they are our employees, and we do not elect kings.

 

From: Bill Eagle 2/3/19

I have noticed that some people seem to think that unless our CCRider Transportation system can survive on fares, then it should not be allowed to exist.

It is evident that the writers do not realize that there are no Public transportation systems in the United states that exist on fares alone. In fact, there are no public transportation systems in all of North America, South America, Europe or Africa that exist on fares alone. All of these systems require additional money to exist.

How is this so?

Public Transpiration is part of a community’s infrastructure. Most governments realize that for every dollar spent on public transportation, an additional 4 dollars is generated in economic returns. *

We cannot survive on private automobiles alone. If we want our community to thrive, if we want local jobs, if we want to enhance the lives of our local people, we need to support our CCRider public transportation system.

* https://www.apta.com/mediacenter/ptbenefits/Pages/FactSheet.aspx

 

From: Richard Ellmyer 2/1/19

Donald Trump is an existential threat to democracy in Oregon, America and around the world as well as to the climate enveloping our planet.

As the 2019 session rolls on our Oregon Legislature will have the same old perennial debates about how much or how little to fund education, housing etc. But none of that can compete with the overarching political issue of the day, How do we remove Donald Trump from office? As long as that question is unresolved the daily chatter about our state’s ordinary legislative agenda is merely a sideshow to the main event.

 Every day the Democrats’ supermajorities in the Oregon legislature must remind Oregonians that the 34 Republican members*1 of the Oregon House and Senate have for two years, and continue to this day, indicated that Donald Trump is fit to be President of the United States of America and a moral, ethical and political exemplar for Oregon and America’s children.

 At the beginning of each business day the House and Senate are in session a member must address their respective bodies and say, “As of this date all 34 Republican members of the Oregon legislature have NOT called for Donald Trump to resign or be impeached. They continue to extol Trump’s behavior as an exemplar to Oregon’s children.” This could be followed by a short summary of Trump’s lies and bad judgements from the previous day.

 Dear readers, if you are represented by a Democrat then please encourage them to speak out against the Republicans in the legislature who continue to enable Donald Trump. If you are represented by a Republican please encourage them to publicly ask for Donald Trump’s resignation or impeachment.

 There can NOT be business as usual in the Oregon legislature as long as a madman, Donald Trump, remains President.

 Richard Ellmyer

North Portland

NAV, Non-Aligned Voter

Citizen activist since 1975

Legislative Assistant to former state senator Bill McCoy, 1981 session.

 

From: Nancy Whitney 1/29/19

Today is Tuesday, January 29, 2019.  I specifically tell you this because St. Helens City Manager John Walsh told me in person just this morning that the old green milk truck I referenced in last week’s letter to the editor would be moved today.

Walsh said the City of St. Helens owns that old wreck and has for several years. It is not licensed. It does not run of its own accord and must be towed and I cannot even begin to understand why the City of St. Helens would claim title to this junk. I want to see the title for this vehicle and am filing a request for public information to do so.

Walsh continued to tell me he had contacted Neil Shepherd, Director of Operations for the Public Works Department and that Shepherd was making arrangements to have it towed.

So, I called Mr. Shepherd. Mr. Shepherd told me Walsh had mentioned the removal of said vehicle at an earlier meeting today but that Tina Curry Canard, former contracted events director for the City of St. Helens, would make arrangements for the vehicle to be towed by a private towing company.

Which brings up another conundrum (a confusing and difficult problem or question). If the City of St. Helens owns this vehicle, why is Curry-Canard in charge of moving this eyesore and hiring a private towing company and who is going to pay for the private towing company?

This afternoon I was taking pictures of the old green milk truck (OGMT) and the garbage and Styrofoam piled behind it. Since the vehicle had not been moved at that time, I again went to City Hall to talk with John Walsh. Unfortunately, former contracted events director for the City of St. Helens Tina Curry Canard walked into Walsh’s office in front of me and Walsh had to step out to talk with me. Walsh reiterated that Neil Shepherd was taking care of the OGMT. Thus my call to Neil Shepherd from whom I have found I can at least glean the truth.

I cannot even fathom why all these made up stories and secrets surround the removal of a piece of junk from property owned by me and all the other taxpayers and citizens of St. Helens. Why not just tell the damn truth? And no, Mr. Walsh, I did not believe you when you told me the removal of the OGMT was in the works long before my letter to the editor appeared in the Scappoose Spotlight.

I refer to Tina Curry-Canard as the former contracted events director because John Walsh also told me today that Ms. Curry-Canard was no longer under contract to the City but that she was now employed on a monthly basis. Perhaps the City can save some of the $120,000 per year previously paid to her. I have asked for further information on this through a request for public information.

This is not what I had intended to write about this week. I have a myriad of other city subjects on which I want to comment - such as the leakage in the city water reservoir resulting in a two million gallons water shortage- and the environmental disaster at the old paper mill.

However, I am angry about the events of my day. There is absolutely no purpose in making up stories and keeping secrets from the people who elect you and who pay your salaries. What are you all doing that is so bad, you need to hide it from us? What happened to the total transparency which was being passed around during election time?

I have several requests for public records I intend to file this week but getting straight information from the City of St. Helens is like wrestling with squirrels for nuts. They bury it deep and cover it completely.

From Jay Schmidt 1/28/19

Roy Marcus Cohn is best known for being Senator Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel during the Army–McCarthy hearings, in 1954. Cohn advised and trained Donald Trump, The unabashed pursuit of power, quick resort to threats, a love of being in the tabloid spotlight – all of these are things Trump took from his mentor.  He was also famous for his trickery and was a huge part of the Nixon presidency which relied on lies, manipulation and under handed illegal actions, all which lead to Nixon’s resignation. So the circus started many years ago. And Trump has learned very well from Mr. Cohn and is following his idea’s.

 

From: Nancy Whitney 1/20/19

TO THE CITY OF ST. HELENS – It‘s 2019. Happy Belated New Year!!

The Courthouse Plaza looks good - no cardboard cutout setting in the corner making people guess as to what it is supposed to represent - no gaudy lights, no giant pumpkins or old taxis - just trees and grass and a lovely informative footpath meandering through - waiting for Spring.

The same old metal fence surrounds the publicly owned property next to Gazebo Park. The barbed wire is gone this year but the fence remains - waiting for the time when the public can be locked out for another gala festival put on by the City’s Vancouver based “events director”. Or was this “director” fired in December as some of the St. Helens City Council people suggested she might be?

If so, perhaps the City will be able to save $120,000 and apply it to the water bills of over charged citizens. Perhaps the dreaded fake “Foamhenge” rocks will be no longer be put on display, finally returned to the “events director” and moved out of our City. I am certain the City owned building in which they are now being stored can be put to a far better use than protecting chunks of Styrofoam.

Today is Sunday, January 20. On Sunday, January 13, I phoned the non-emergency central dispatch number for St. Helens: 503-397-1521. I asked how I could make a formal complaint to the code enforcement officer about two sites I find particularly offensive within the city limits of St. Helens. I have yet to be contacted.

One site is the green piece of junk vehicle setting on the same publicly owned property next to Gazebo Park which I mentioned above - right on the edge of the beautiful Columbia River. I don’t care who owns it. If it belonged to me or another St. Helens citizen, it would have been hauled off and a healthy fine imposed. Get rid of it. It’s disgusting.

The other is a non-designated junkyard at the junction of Pittsburg Road and Highway 30 which has been developing for years. Many complaints have been made about this site and nothing has ever been done to stop it. Drive by - take a look. It, too. is disgusting.

I point these out because the City of St. Helens did not get the $15 million grant on which they were depending for waterfront development.  More businesses have closed in the city limits. Seventy to ninety percent of the people in Columbia County work out of the county. St. Helens will never have the industrial base on which it depended.

We need to look forward. We need clean industry. But first, we need to clean up the toxic waste ponds and the oversized water treatment plant left in the wake of Boise Cascade Corporation’s closure. The City should not be applying for grants to develop land for condos and high-end businesses and making promises to the citizens about parks and river access which they cannot keep.

The City and the council members should be applying for grants to help clean up the messes created on our land. With or without an “as is” clause signed with Boise upon the purchase of the land for $3 million by the City of St. Helens, Boise should not be allowed to get away with the toxic waste they have left behind. Sue their ass.

Don’t let this lovely City of St. Helens die. Don’t let it continue to fill up with closed storefronts and junkyards and “events” which continuously lose money.

The City cannot continue to expect raising water bills and taxes or accepting toxic waste from Portland Harbor’s Superfund will make this go away. The City needs to ask for a different kind of help. Find an environmental attorney. Contact the internationally successful Gerry Spence law firm in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They take on corporations throughout the world.

If St. Helens is to become a “bedroom” community, then help make it the best bedroom community in the county or in the state.

Just don’t let it fall to ruin.

Thanks for reading.

+

From: Tammy Maygra 1/17/19

With the introduction of SB 609 by Senator Johnson, it  is an amendment to ORS 192.314  which reads(2.) In order to invoke the right to inspect a public record, a requester must make the request in writing and must state with particularity: (a) A description of the records being sought; and(b) A statement of how the requester intends to use the requested records. If passed will truly be an attack on our democracy. The public’s ability to have unabridged access to public records to use freely as they wish will be gone. Johnson claims that she is introducing this bill as a favor to now retired colleague Debbie Boone, she must feel the same if she is introducing this bill, because why would anyone support something they did not believe in. What purpose does this bill reflect other than government controlling the freedom of information from its citizen’s. In the original statute, it allows the citizen the freedom to use the public documents with- out disclosure. The bill /amendment requires the citizen to disclose what they intend to do with the public records.  I am appalled with this entire bill, what is it any of anyone’s business what anyone uses public records for. Public means Public period. If a person does not disclose what they intend to use the information for, will they be sued by the government, for not using the information for what they originally said they were going to use it for. Is this a perjury trap? I think in good conscience Senator Johnson should withdraw this over reaching legislation. This is a thinly veiled attempt to curb public record requests; it is a sneaky way to keep the public from knowing what their government is doing and a way to keep the citizens from participating in their government. What do they have to hide? Senator Johnson needs to reexamine Presidents Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech which he addressed at Gettysburg. That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”. Senator Johnson you certainly are attempting to expire the people from their government.

From: Richard Ellmyer 1/14/19

As of January 3, 2019 the Democrats are in control of the United States House of Representatives. Special Counsel Robert Mueller will soon be releasing his report to those same now powerful Democrats on Donald Trump’s behavior before and during his presidency. Several DOJ and other state and local prosecutors are also pursuing investigations into Trump, his family, their business practices, the Trump Foundation and Trump’s inauguration festivities accounts (See FYI below). Before all that, and possibly much more, happens, I asked the 37 elected Republicans in Oregon: Have you publicly asked for Trump’s resignation or impeachment?

 

As of January 3, 2019, the beginning of the 116 congress, all 37 elected Oregon Republicans*1 indicated, NO, we stand with and defend Donald Trump’s VALUES and fitness to be President of the United States of America.

 

Donald Trump, and Richard Ellmyer well before him, said that every partisan election in America/Oregon this past November would be about Donald Trump. We were both right. There are now Democrat supermajorities in Oregon’s legislature and a 40 seat gain for Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

These 37 elected Oregon Republicans*1 chose to register and run for public office as Republicans knowing full well that the Republican party has been and is now, undeniably, the party of Donald Trump and HIS values. 

 

Unless and until each of these 37 elected Oregon Republicans*1 renounce Donald Trump and publicly call for his resignation or impeachment they are fully invested and committed Trumpians who are willing to carry the weight of Trump’s every utterance, tweet and action upon their political personas.

 

Readers of The Ellmyer Report, constituents and colleagues of these 37 elected Oregon Republicans*1 will be watching, waiting to see at what moment each of them are willing to say “enough is enough” and abandon the stinking sinking ship as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has done. Remember, these 37 elected Oregon Republicans*1 have been on the record for the last two years:

A. As accepting Donald Trump as fit to be President of the United States of America despite everything Trump has said and done.

B. They have accepted Donald Trump as a moral, ethical and political exemplar for Oregon and America’s children.

C. They have rejected/ignored the abundance of public evidence that Donald Trump is a pathological liar*2 with Narcissistic Personality Disorder*3 who has engaged in unethical, immoral and criminal if not treasonous behavior before, during and after his presidential campaign.

 

These 37 elected Oregon Republicans*1 should be treated as political pariahs by their colleagues and every Oregonian who understands that they are ENABLING Donald Trump who is a danger to democracy in our Oregon, in our America and in countries that are our allies.

 

Dear readers, if you are angry at Donald Trump and his Oregon Republican enablers you should be. My anger fuels The Ellmyer Report. It is a perfectly natural, legitimate, defensible response. I urge you to take whatever legal, nonviolent action you deem appropriate to express your anger. You may not be able to reach the feckless Republican sycophants in the Washington DC pit of immorality, incompetence, deceit and corruption but you can confront, challenge and hold accountable those Trumpians in Oregon who are just as complicit and culpable.

 

The madness in the Oval Office must be stopped.

 

 

Richard Ellmyer

Author of The Ellmyer Report, a newsletter that informs, educates and influences on public policy. Occasionally distributed to more than a quarter of million readers in Oregon and beyond. Facebook, Portland Politics Plus .

 

*1

List of all 37 Republicans supporting Trump as of Jan. 3, 2019

U.S. House of Representatives

Greg Walden, Representative.Greg.Walden@mail.house.gov

Oregon Secretary of State

Dennis Richardson, Secretary.Richardson@state.or.us

Republican State Senators

Herman Baertschiger, Sen.HermanBaertschiger@oregonlegislature.gov

Cliff Bentz, Sen.CliffBentz@oregonlegislature.gov

Brian Boquist, Sen.BrianBoquist@oregonlegislature.gov

Alan DeBoer, Sen.AlanDeBoer@oregonlegislature.gov

Fred Girod, Sen.FredGirod@oregonlegislature.gov

Bill Hansell, Sen.BillHansell@oregonlegislature.gov

Dallas Heard, Sen.DallasHeard@oregonlegislature.gov

Tim Knopp, sen.timknopp@oregonlegislature.gov

Dennis Linthicum, Sen.DennisLinthicum@oregonlegislature.gov

Alan Olsen, Sen.AlanOlsen@oregonlegislature.gov

Kim Thatcher, Sen.KimThatcher@oregonlegislature.gov

Chuck Thomsen, Sen.ChuckThomsen@oregonlegislature.gov

Jackie Winters, Sen.JackieWinters@oregonlegislature.gov

Republican State Representatives

Greg Barreto, Rep.GregBarreto@oregonlegislature.gov

Denyc Boles, rep.denycboles@oregonlegislature.gov

Daniel Bonham, Rep.DanielBonham@oregonlegislature.gov

Shelly Boshart Davis, Rep.shellyboshartdavis@oregonlegislature.gov

Christine Drazan, Rep.Christinedrazan@oregonlegislature.gov

Lynn Findley, Rep.lynnfindley@oregonlegislature.gov

Cedric Hayden, Rep.CedricHayden@oregonlegislature.gov

Cheri Helt, Rep.cherihelt@oregonlegislature.gov

Gary Leif, Rep.garyleif@oregonlegislature.gov

Rick Lewis, Rep.RickLewis@oregonlegislature.gov

Mike McLane, Rep.MikeMcLane@oregonlegislature.gov

Mike Nearman, Rep.MikeNearman@oregonlegislature.gov

Ron Noble, Rep.RonNoble@oregonlegislature.gov

Bill Post, Rep.BillPost@oregonlegislature.gov

Werner Reschke, Rep.EWernerReschke@oregonlegislature.gov

David Smith, Rep.DavidBrockSmith@oregonlegislature.gov

Greg Smith, Rep.GregSmith@oregonlegislature.gov

Sherrie Sprenger, Rep.SherrieSprenger@oregonlegislature.gov

Duane Stark, Rep.DuaneStark@oregonlegislature.gov

Kim Wallan, Rep.kimwallan@oregonlegislature.gov

Carl Wilson, Rep.CarlWilson@oregonlegislature.gov

Jack Zika, Rep.jackzika@oregonlegislature.gov

 

*2

A year of unprecedented deception: Trump averaged 15 false claims a day in 2018

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/12/30/year-unprecedented-deception-trump-averaged-false-claims-day/?utm_term=.519f36c75618

 

“What is it that schoolchildren are taught about George Washington? That he never told a lie,” presidential historian Michael R. Beschloss said. “That is a bedrock expectation of a president by Americans.”

 

*3

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20366662

 

 

From: Greg Pettit 12/27/18

 I am opposed to the Port Commission changing existing agreements to allow heavy tar sand oil containing products to be shipped out of Port Westward.

 

The proposed Resolution 2018-69 to amend a sublease agreement may do that.

The proposed resolution is not the way to develop good public policy that includes fact finding, opportunity for thoroughly understanding potential consequences, public involvement and transparency.

 

The timing of this proposal seems to be intentionally calculated to avoid public awareness and involvement; just after an election where people are tired of politics, and in the middle of the holiday season just before Christmas.

 

The resolution itself is written in such a way as to intentionally confuse and obscure the real reason for the amendment to the Sublease. There is nothing in the resolution that provides the reason a proposed amendment is necessary.

 

The proposed action was not properly public noticed. The amendment does not include the proposed deleted language.

 

Good public policy making should include proposed deleted language in the notices. The proposed amendment has a blank space when referring to API gravity ranges of degrees (density of product). I am not a lawyer, so I don’t know if these omissions fully meet the law, but as a citizen they certainly seem intended to hide transparency of intent, and obscure motivation.

The real reason for this amendment, we all know, is to open the door to using Port Westward and our counties rails to ship Canadian Tar Sand Crude to Asia. If that is what the Port wants to propose, then that should be the subject on the table and we should have a thorough public review process with adequate time for public awareness, fact findings, and debate.

 

I oppose the shipping of heavy crude oil products through Columbia County and out of Port Westward. Based on prior history of false promises of jobs, the economic benefit to such an outcome to our county would be minimal. The environmental and public health risks to our county (and the world) on the other hand are very substantial. Impacts on traffic congestion and emergency services delivery in South Columbia County alone outweigh potential economic benefits to our County.

 

Columbia County is being targeted for this proposal because of a perceived weakness to false promises of an economic a pot of gold, and a lack of organizational and economic capabilities to mount effective resistance. There are many good reasons they are not able to get this through anywhere else on the west coast.

 

From: Nancy Whitney 12/23/18

Back in June of 2011, the Scappoose Spotlight ran a huge headline stating: WHEN GOVERNMENT BREAKS DOWN.

This, of course, was in reference to Columbia County ballot measure 5-209 in November of 2010. This ballot measure passed by 74 percent of the vote throughout the health district and put an end to the Columbia Health District pursuit of the Columbia River Community Hospital and its use of tax money to build said hospital.

Property owners throughout the health district voted to halt the district’s collection of a 38 cent tax per $1,000 of assessed property value. Five new district health board members were elected - some by as much as 90 percent of the vote. These new members were slated to take over on July 1, 2011.

Where did all the money go - the nearly $7 million in taxes collected from out taxes? This, sadly, is where the government broke down.

The Old CHD board managed to get help from the County Commissions and the City of St. Helens to transfer all remaining funds from the $7 million collected from taxpayers plus two pieces of real property to the City of St. Helens and the county. Taxpayers from the Scappoose area were not included in this distribution of funds and property even though they paid their due amount of taxes.

The original CHD board managed to divest themselves of these funds and properties two days before the new CHD board was sworn into office - thus leaving the new duly elected board with no assets, no meeting place, no money for an in-depth audit and no way to return these funds to the taxpayers.

Why do I want to rehash this government breakdown at this time? Here is my answer to that. The Columbia Health District was part of a Special District Association (SDA). Members of the SDA pretty much have their own little fifedom. They set their own taxes, they have their own attorneys, they make their own rules and they spend money in just about any way they want - and it is damn near impossible to close them down and stop the taxes.

However, back in 2010, a determined group of people got an initiative on the ballot - won that ballot measure by 74 percent - and brought down a member of the Special District Association. That was the first time the SDA had lost a suit and the voters in Columbia County’s special district did it. Unfortunately, these people and the voters were not prepared for the crooked politicians who fought to keep that money instead of returning it to the taxpayers.

So, now we have another chance to see what we have learned. The Port of Columbia County is a Special District.

The Port commissioners recently amended their contract with Global Partners to relax the rules on hauling crude oil through Columbia County. Not only have the rules been relaxed, the number of oil tankers allowed on one run has been increased to one and one-half miles long. This pretty much divides the cities of Scappoose and St. Helens in half with no way for emergency vehicles to cross railroad tracks.

I hope most of you have read and comprehend the enormous damages these trains will cause upon derailment or explosion. If you have a child in schools in Scappoose, all three of your schools are within the perimeters which would be destroyed when an accident occurs. In St. Helens, three of your schools are within these dead zones.

It is not a matter of if an accident will occur, but when. The railway companies do own the railroad tracks  but they do not own Port Westward and if they do not have a destination, they won’t ship the oil. It’s that simple.

Initially, with no input from the citizens of the county, the Port of Columbia County once again attempted a backroom deal. We have been through this fight before and nearly all the same commissioners have heard the same arguments and they didn’t listen to those either.

From what I hear, the people in opposition to crude oil being shipped by rail to Port Westward far outnumber those who approve of what the Port Commissioners have done by amending the Global Partners contract.  Too few jobs for too great of a risk.

So, let’s put it to a vote before these long, long - potentially explosive -crude oil trains begin traveling through our county. Here’s the concept: let’s write a resolution and get it on the ballot to shut down the Port of Columbia County’s Special District. If enough of us work together, we can get this on the May ballot.

We’ve brought down a Special District once before. We can do it again. Only this time, we know what to expect - and that is not the support of many of those we elect to hold public office.

 

From: Tammy Maygra  12/19/18

I would like to wish all of the St. Helens Update readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope the New Year brings a new sense of community. I hope it brings all sides together to solve many issues that plague our community. I know there are many issues which many of us will never agree on, but that does not mean we cannot move forward on issues which we do.

Merry Christmas,

From: Curt Odell 12/18/18

Does the Port of St. Helens actually think that the members of the public cannot see through their theater of ruse, and dictatorship of controlling the public’s ability to give a full, detailed, and educated testimony by limiting their participation by enforcing a inadequate time limit. The Port allowed Global to have a much time as they needed to plead their case for a change to the lease agreement.

But when it came to the public—they were allowed 2 minutes per person under public comment time. At the second meeting, the Port allowed elected officials all the time they wanted, they invited DEQ to come who took up a good portion of the allotted time, the Port allowed people to speak who never spoke at the last meeting first then other people.

I find that wrong, as this was not a continuation of a hearing, it was a public meeting. It was a new public meeting where everyone pro or con- who wanted to speak- should have had that opportunity. Under public comments, unfortunately the port failed again to be fair.

There were many people who wanted to speak that did not get to do so, but o-well the outcome would have been the same. The Port would have voted yes to the lease agreement change come hell or high water. The board individually had decided in their own minds to allow the lease change weeks prior, and these meetings were held to say they allowed the process. Everyone knew that their testimony meant zilch. Onward oil trains.

From: The Pen 12/18/18

Dear Bill,

Please forward this message to everyone else you know.

As we mentioned yesterday, before we jump into today's important

message, we've got big plans for the upcoming year. With a new

Democratic majority in the House we want to crank up our progressive

issue advocacy to the max, with our free fax to Congress resource you

can use to apply pressure on your own representatives.

 

But we have to tell you, we're frankly kinda hurting right now. We

hardly ever complain when things are tight, we just plow on. So if

you can make a valiant contribution to support our progressive policy

work in this holiday season, that would be just wonderful.

 

Donations: https://www.utalk.us/?p=donate

 

And here is the mailing address if you would prefer to send a check.

 

The People's Email Network, PO Box 35022, L.A., CA 90035

 

OK, It's seems prosecutors can hardly take a step in any direction

without tripping over a witch.

 

"Witch hunt," Trumps rapidly thinning ranks of defenders continue to

shout. But a hunt is hardly required, just a simple investigation.

 

Our starting point for today's analysis is the FACT that Donald J.

Trump is a major life long criminal, and every business venture he

has ever been involved with was a criminal enterprise, including his

presidential campaign. All someone had to do was take a look, and

there would be a bumper crop of indictments.

 

This is of course what happened to both Paul Manafort and Michael

Cohen. Both had been committing massive federal crimes for years, but

only because of their association with Trump did this finally catch

up to them. Even Michael Flynn was guilty of illegal lobbying for

Turkey, preexisting baggage he brought into the campaign with him,

that suddenly federal prosecutors became very interested in.

 

It is in this context that Trump, the new king of stupid, has gone

out of his way to smear the justice system itself en masse. Attacks

on the character of your political opponents may win some votes with

your diehard base, but it does nothing to deter professional

prosecutors with integrity. Quite they opposite, it just motivates

them to throw more books at you.

 

Think about it this way, the prosecutors who work in the justice

department get paid far less than their counterparts in the private

sector. Their remuneration is largely the pride and satisfaction they

derive from seeing justice done. And nothing can be calculated to

more motivate them to nail you to the wall than attacking their

integrity.

 

If Trump thought he could sway the jury pool with his social media

diatribes, it sure wasn't sufficiently successful for Manafort. When

Mueller is finished building an air tight case, then he will pounce.

 

And not just Mueller, and not just the Southern District of New York.

There are now investigations of illegal contributions of the

transition team, the inauguration fund, the Trump Foundation, tax

fraud investigations, and that's before the state prosecutors even

have their say in New York, New Jersey and Virginia.

 

Sometimes when you think the whole world is against you, you're not

paranoid, you're just an offensive jerk on Twitter.

 

Because Trump has now succeeded in one thing and one thing only,

uniting the entire U.S. Justice System in being out to get him. With

all these witches to trip over, how could they not?

 

From: Sue S. 12/11/18

The city of St Helens actually told the Port of St. Helens “NO” to their lease agreement with Global Partners; this is a bold move by the city of St. Helens and a good move. Maybe we will get some positive action from the port and the people who want to transport more dangerous oil through our community. Maybe some over passes and other needed things.

 

From: Tammy Maygra 12/11/18

Bill Eagle, you and Claudia deserve a thank you for all the volunteer work you do every year for our community. You two are gems. Thank You.

 

From: Larry Fitzgibbons 12/11/18.

The Port of St. Helens will most likely vote to approve the amended lease with Global Partners Wed. December 12, 2018 their approval will allow an increase in oil trains through the county to 1 ½ mile trains, blocking ingress and egress for about 12 minutes. Without any over passes this will cause added congestion, limited police and ambulance response time to the community. I hope the Port enjoys the increase in tariff revenue’s from this new lease while someone may die because the trains will be blocking all access in and out of town, and in a time sensitive issue the Port and their oil trains will be a deciding factor that may influence between living or dying, or whether a community member will have a home to come home to after a slow response from the fire dept. Awe what money does to folks.

 

From: Nancy Ward 12/4/18

Last week there was a bridge collapse. Not a real one, but still one of significance in our county. It was the recently erected bridge between the Port of St. Helens and many locals who have felt alienated and distrustful of the Port for many years.

With the arrival of Doug Hayes, as the new Executive Director, an outreach philosophy was immediately put into play. Mr. Hayes toured the county meeting people at their place of work, joining them for coffee and just simply getting to know people, whether they were friends or foes of the Port.

For those of us who had severed ties with the Port back in 2012 over the way they ambushed us with the crude oil trains, this new approach was impressive and much appreciated. We believed long gone were the days when the Port would make a hasty decision or leave the public out of the process of major decisions.

We were wrong. When Global Partners came to them and requested a change in the lease to expand the types of crude, the Port rolled over immediately. The only thing that saved it from being a slam dunk were the two Mayors of Scappoose and St. Helens who cried foul. The rest of us were crying foul, too but our cries were not heard ... at all. So, the Port delayed their decision and met with Mayor Burge on Monday and will meet with Mayor Scholl soon. But, as Mayor Burge said, "I know what the outcome is going to be." So do we.

Why the Port is in such a hurry to please Global and alienate the cities and the citizens, I'll probably never know. But I do know one thing for sure, bridges built on new relationships can collapse very quickly. What a shame because bridges that serve everyone are something built by both parties but can easily be sabotaged by just one. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

This whole thing is a damn shame.

From: Tammy Maygra 12/4/18

The Port of St. Helens wants to allow Global Partners to change their lease agreement for the API (weight of crude) for shipping and to allow 1 ½ miles train to pass through the county.. The port promised the people when Global first wanted to ship crude that the port would limit the number of crude trains. Yet now the Port wants to allow Global to increase their number of shipments and the length of the trains.

The Port claims that all the safety measures are in place. That is not completely true yet it is true and here is why. There are some safety measures that are law, but fall under federal regulations. It has been found that those measures are not enough.  Washington and California have a new set of regulations (Oil Spills ) which they have passed, to ensure the safety and well - being of the citizens and the environment. Without going into the boring details one new regulation is to require bonding in case of an accident. It makes the railroad and the oil company a bit more a tuned to the transport of a hazardous product, and finically responsible for the cost, clean-up and rebuilding of an accident, if need be.

Why don’t the Port wait six months before they make a decision on a lease change, let’s see what new regulations come into effect.

You ask why not, the answer is simple--- because Global needs the additional oil shipments financially. And the Port receives about $3 million in tariffs a year on current shipments and they want more money to fund the airport. It looks like they are putting money ahead of public safety, accident protection, and accident reimbursement. The federal government says that a dead American is worth only $250,000.

The DEQ is going to submit a proposal to the legislature similar to what Washington and California has already done. Hopefully it will make it out of committee and get passed. It would be in the right direction.

After talking with a DEQ person who is in charge of oil spills throughout Oregon I found out that there are 3,000 oil spills in Oregon each year. That is 12-14 a day from approximately a little bit to 5 gallons on up. With a total of 1 million gallons plus a year being spilt in our great state.

The new director Doug Hayes has been trying t build bridges with in the community, trying to involve all citizens but now with his support of the amended lease with no restriction, or caveats applied to the new lease – sadly---he has burnt that bridge.

I understand Global partners are already here, but the port does not need or have to amend the current lease agreement. If they chose to do so the Port could put in restrictions and ask for bonding, yet that wont happen because the Port does not want another failed business at the three legged dog, Port Westward. The Port already has a black eye when it comes to Port Westward and they are getting ready for number two.

Global Partners is one of several owners of the oil clean up company.. so they get paid to clean up their oil spills. And it has been admitted by the oil industry that only 10-15% of any oil spill is ever recovered. Less than 1% of oil contaminated animals survive, after washing them with Dawn soap they die a slow miserable death anyway. The oil companies admit the Dawn soap show is nothing more than a feel good thing for the public and theatre. So the oil issue drags continues on.

 

From: Nancy Whitney 11/26/18

You think Foam Henge was bad? Wait until you hear about this.

Foam Henge is the name allotted to the Styrofoam replicas of the ancient Stonehenge rock formations in England. Foam Henge has far outlived its uniqueness for any sort of awkward St. Helens waterfront celebrations.

Chunks of this Styrofoam have been picked up along the waterfront and in the Columbia River for a few years now. Cleveland State University claims that more than a million years is required for this Styrofoam to decompose. And yet - the City of St. Helens is once again providing storage for this abomination of fake rocks.

Perhaps St. Helens City Council should take lessons from the St. Helens Community Action Team and work to provide shelter for the homeless instead of shelter for Styrofoam rocks.

So, on with this sordid account. As I have previously related, the City Council, using taxpayer money, purchased from Boise White Paper a section of land on the waterfront in the amount of $3,000,000. Unfortunately, this property was partnered with a carcinogenic, PCP-filled, toxic lagoon.

A portion of the contract on this sale, signed by former Mayor Randy Petersen, signed away the citizen’s rights to litigate the cost of cleanup. Page 8 of that contract reads: “PURCHASER UNDERSTANDS AND AGREES THE PREMISES ARE SOLD “AS-IS AND WHERE-IS” AND THAT SELLER MAKES NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, THAT THE PREMISES ARE FIT FOR ANY PARTICULAR USE OR PURPOSE”.

Just up river from this incredibly beautiful piece of land is a leftover from Boise White Paper now owned by a company called Cascade Paper; just up river from where the Willamette Slough meets the Columbia River is an environmental nightmare; just up river from the location of the land on which St. Helens City Council plans on opening high end businesses and condos; and just up river from the toxic lagoon - are acres and acres of rotting paper, piles of dug up blacktop, crumbling concrete and a huge cement pond full of repugnant liquid.

All this is surrounded by a metal fence, topped by barbed wire and probably about two stories of wild blackberry vines. It’s hard to get a look at this disgusting sight but it is there. The City knows about it. The citizens, as a whole, do not.

Now here is another conundrum (cause to feel awkward, self-conscious or ashamed). The City of St. Helens built a waste management plant ten times the size needed so that the former Boise Cascade could used the same dump site used by St. Helens’ waste.

When Boise left, the taxpayers got stuck with supporting a waste management system ten times larger than needed. Cascade Paper continues to send their dregs from the “pond full of repugnant liquid” into this waste dump.

Maul Foster Alongi is the Vancouver based consultancy firm with whom the City has been negotiating for years about the transfer of Portland Harbor’s Superfund sludge to the toxic lagoon in St. Helens and surrounding all of it with a rubber sealer. If this is a feasible answer to the sludge from Portland, why don’t they keep it themselves instead of offering St. Helens over $50,000,000 to bury it?

Hundreds of thousand of dollars were most likely spent on this “feasibility study”. St. Helens has now received a grant for another $100,000 feasibility study. For what? They don’t even have a plan other than building “high end businesses and condos” and keeping the toxic lagoon and the disgusting condition of the Cascade Paper land hidden from the public.

I attended a city council meeting last week in which a citizen testified against the sale of city land to a marijuana operation. This person objected to the fact that St. Helens considers any type of “garbage” business. He alluded to the now defunct battery business which left behind horrible environmental damage and the toxic lagoon which the City is now considering burying under Portland’s poison and rubber liners.

I agree with this gentleman. St. Helens is not a garbage dump and we need to get rid of those elected officials who are making these really bad decisions for the rest of us. Too bad we didn’t have this additional information before the last election.

 

From: Tammy Maygra 11/19/18

I attended and testified at the St. Helens City Council meeting last week. On the agenda for the special hearing was about whether to ok the sale  of the 8+acres to the pot business on the old Boise property. I happen to disagree with their decision to sell the property. here’s why…. the pot business is winding down there is a glut of harvested pot in Oregon, more pot in storage than Oregonians are using. The price has dropped from $1,500 an ounce to $100 to $400 an ounce. which means it has dropped from $8 a gram to $4 a gram. The overhead is still the same. Many growers have went out of business along with many dispensaries, many of the original starters of this business. This has been reported in several pot newspapers/ the Willamette Week, Guardian, Forbes all respect news media. And I believe this community is better than this, and we need big industry for a good taxbase.

 

With such a volatile market and its future unknown I felt it was a bad business decision. The city feels that if the company comes and builds buildings then goes belly up, the city will get the property back with improvements. Well I hope they are right. By the way the city is taking payments from the LLC for the sale for 5 years and the $3.5 million sale price. I thought if the LLC was a good strong company they would be able to purchase the property up front, instead of borrowing the money from the city as well, that is if I heard that correctly.

 

But to give the devil his due, with pot being illegal federally the sale of the property takes liability from the city in case the Feds decides to crack down on the growing and selling of pot. But I don’t think there will be any crackdown as many other states are growing and selling as well.

What I don’t understand is why the city and others are not pro-active in trying to recruit companies here, instead of sitting back collecting high wages and waiting for whatever comes along. Look for companies which would fit in the area and property location. Contact them, and if they are interested great-- if not move on to another company.

 

just my opinion..

 

 

From: Richard Ellmyer 11/18/18

From: The Ellmyer Report <richard@goodgrowthnw.org>

During our recent election for governor we voters were inundated with campaign