Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra
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Port Westward, Clatskanie Oregon

The Columbia County planning commission held their monthly meeting; the main topic at the meeting was the land use zone change at Port Westward. The court room was packed with standing room only. The only people that spoke in favor of the zone change were representatives from the Port of St. Helens and mayor Diane Pohl from Clatskanie. Their comments were poppycock siting the now 6,000 jobs being created by coal. The port stated the soils in the area were not important although the soils are of top quality and essential to the farms that are being farmed in the area.

The planning commission along with land development service people made it clear that the zone change was not for coal. But we all know that that is completely wrong. The port needs the zone change to accommodate the coal proposal because the port is in a contract with the coal company to export coal from port westward and if they do not get the zone change they will have to pay back money to the coal company.

The Port states in several of their own newspaper interviews that they are developing Port Westward Energy Park/ industrial as a place for RENEWABLE energy companies. The Port also talked about being the state's new hot bed for "GREEN COMPANIES".

Coal is not an energy until it is burned, coal is not a renewable resource and exporting coal does not fit in with the Port of St. Helens own mission statement, media information or even their own web page information.

Columbia County has gotten into a hot bed of debt at the Port Westward site investing over $74 million in upgrades at the cost to Columbia County taxpayers. This is not counting tax dollars from the state and other agencies with a total of approximately $100 million invested. The county and the Port have stuck out the necks of the taxpayers with fly by night companies that have terrible track records of being poor investments speculative and companies that are usually gone within a year or two of completion or ones that have never gotten of the ground to begin with.

The port tried to point out that the quality of a deep water port and how important a deep water port is. If deep water ports are so important why did the port and the county let 496 acres and a deep water port go for nothing at Water View at Deer Island? The property was listed as light industrial with all the rail, electricity water and natural gas lines and Hwy 30 access already available? The people that are in the position of making crucial decisions and who are spending your tax dollars unwisely continue to follow the same pattern over and over.  This property was on the market for $1 million and needed very little upgrades and would have been a suitable site for many good industry's without wetland problems, endangered species, or destroying farms.   

The mint farm that is in operation will employ 100 people by the end of the year. The mint farm produces quality oil that cannot be found elsewhere and have a nationwide market. The port and the county want to destroy this enterprise for coal.
Shame on the county and its bumbling leaders.

Please get involved and help stop the port and the county from taking away the lively hoods of the people near Port Westward and along the rail line from South County on. They will destroy more jobs than they will produce.


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