The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, March 30, 2017, Page 9A, Image 9

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Astoria Police: Youth camp: ‘Program we ought to protect’
‘We need to be
more transparent’
Continued from Page 1A
Continued from Page 1A
More than six years later,
Johnston and Detective
Nicole Riley continue to
post various updates on the
Astoria Police Department
Facebook page.
The department’s social
media presence and events
such as Coffee with a Cop
are part of an ever-evolving
effort to modernize public
In the aftermath of a fatal
police shooting in Ferguson,
Missouri, in 2014, a U.S.
Department of Justice task
force published a report with
six pillars to modernizing
police work. One of them,
— called “building trust and
legitimacy” — called for
a culture of transparency,
while another was specifi-
cally titled “technology and
social media.”
“The business used to be
pretty insulary,” Johnston
said. “That’s not the busi-
ness anymore. We need to
be more transparent.”
Off sidewalks
The Police Depart-
ment has been operating
since Astoria’s incorpora-
tion in 1876. In the first few
decades of its existence, offi-
cers would patrol sections of
the city on foot. But as cars
began to flood roads across
the country, police cars pro-
gressively became a staple
of police work.
Pulling officers off side-
walks and into cars, while
response times, also meant
they would spend less time
conversing with the public,
Deputy Chief Eric Halver-
son said.
“We have to figure out
ways to fill that void,” Halv-
erson said.
One such attempt is Cof-
fee with a Cop, held multi-
ple times each year since
2015. Residents are typi-
cally invited to go to a cof-
fee shop, where officers will
be waiting to answer any
questions they may have.
Some questions center on
larger national issues, such
as officers’ thoughts on the
Ferguson shooting and how
police would handle a sim-
ilar situation here. Others
may revolve around smaller
issues like how to report
when someone leaves their
garbage can in a neighbor’s
Officers, who tend to
focus on tackling some of
the major issues in the com-
munity, benefit from hearing
that smaller problems are
also important to residents,
Halverson said.
But community rela-
tions can also put a strain
on police departments in
small towns such as Astoria.
One of the department’s 16
deployable officers spends
overtime hours planning,
scheduling and publicizing
meet-up programs such as
Coffee with a Cop.
“We have to be selec-
tive in what we do,” Halver-
son said. “We ask our peo-
ple to do a lot. They believe
in these things. That’s why
we’re able to make it work.”
Daily posts
In 2010, debates, includ-
ing locally, still swirled
about whether law enforce-
ment agencies should create
social media accounts. After
Johnston shared the fire pic-
tures, for instance, some of
his supervisors questioned
whether it was appropriate
to continue the page.
“I think we won the argu-
ment,” a post from the page
stated on the four-year anni-
versary of its founding.
Daily posts from the page
include police logs, press
releases, emergency alerts
and media links and the
occasional joke. Oftentimes
the page serves as an alterna-
tive form of communication
when certain pieces of infor-
mation do not meet media
outlets’ news threshold.
Johnston recalls a photo
of an officer helping a
stranded motorist change
a tire — 332 likes and 49
comments — and a dash-
board video of a jaywalker
throwing a bag of her-
oin and oxycodone under a
parked car — 323 likes and
83 comments — as some of
the most popular posts.
The Facebook page tries
to avoid police jargon so
those who like it can follow
along, Johnston said.
One of the decisions
Johnston and others who
posted to the account needed
to make was whether to
allow unedited comments.
Though comments are
allowed, they will delete
those that are particularly
nasty or advertise a product.
Commenters occasion-
ally do criticize the depart-
ment or police in general.
“When people are unnec-
essarily critical of some-
thing, the community tends
to police itself,” Johnston
Due to the amount of
time it takes to maintain the
page and the increased neg-
ativity associated with Face-
book — especially since the
November election — John-
ston and Riley have posted
fewer non-news items lately,
Johnston said.
The department does
have a Twitter account, but
it serves mainly as a quick
access point for emergency
alerts and police logs.
“Facebook is like stand-
ing in the town square and
talking to your friend,”
ter is like standing in the
town square and yelling at
Long-term fixtures
The social media and
Coffee with a Cop programs,
along with the department’s
annual nine-week Citizen
Police Academy, appear to
be long-term fixtures. But
as has happened in the past,
new realities may shift the
way police conduct com-
munity outreach, Halverson
With a new administra-
tion overseeing the Depart-
ment of Justice, national
news may affect future con-
versations between Astoria
Police and residents.
“We can’t change the
national conversation in
our own little corner of the
northwest,” Johnston said.
“But we can work to inform
our residents.”
so I felt pretty good that we had
a good argument based on the
savings,” he said. “I worked
the budget people on the House
and Senate, both D and R, and
there was support” for keeping
the camp open, he said.
He and fellow lawmakers
remain convinced the youth
camp is effective at turning
young lives around.
“Over the years I think we
have shown that this is a good
program,” Takko said. “Even
though it is important to jobs, I
always talk about how well the
program works for kids.”
GOP support
Sen. John Braun, R-Centra-
lia, who serves as chief bud-
get writer in the Senate and
sponsored the budget that pro-
tects funding for the camp,
said last week in a GOP press
release that freshman Rep. Jim
Walsh’s work was instrumen-
tal in getting the camp added to
the Senate’s proposal.
“The Naselle Youth Camp
She attended Otis College
of Art and Design in Los Ange-
les before she decided to make
the switch to study environ-
mental science. She moved to
San Diego and then to Oregon
State University to study it,
with the logic that this degree
and her job as a consultant
would be more practical. But
soon she found herself missing
making art.
“It wasn’t going to make
me happy,” she said.
So she made a U-turn, and
enrolled in the University of
Oregon’s master of arts admin-
istration and nonprofit man-
agement program, where she
expects to graduate in June.
She returned to her North
Coast roots and started as pro-
gram director in February.
“Now I get to spend my
entire day with artists, and
have paint all over me, and I
get paid for that,” she laughed.
As director, her primary
work will be to promote local
art in the gallery, as well as act
as a bridge between the needs
of the artists and board of
directors. “Part of what drew
me into working at a gallery
was because I genuinely care
about the artists I promote,”
she said.
As the director, Mico plans
to maintain and sustain the
scholarship and internship pro-
Walsh defends
youth camp
EO Media Group/File Photo
The school at Naselle Youth Camp has proven successful
in helping youthful offenders complete their diplomas.
in Pacific County offers a
unique and potentially life
changing opportunity for
young men who have made
mistakes in the past, but can
have a productive future with
the right intervention and train-
ing,” Braun said. “Rep. Walsh
has been a tremendous advo-
cate for this program that the
governor proposed cutting. I
want to send a strong message
to the community and employ-
ees that this is a beneficial pro-
gram we ought to protect.”
The Senate’s proposed $43
billion, two-year budget spends
about $5 billion more than the
current budget. It puts an addi-
tional $1.8 billion towards edu-
cation, paid for, in part, by a
statewide property tax that
would replace local district lev-
ies. It also relies on about $200
million in transfers from other
accounts and spending cuts in
some state programs.
The House budget released
this week proposes a capi-
tal gains tax on the wealthy to
meet the state’s budget goals,
including education. House
and Senate negotiators will
spend the rest of the legislative
Walsh, R-Aberdeen, tes-
tified before both the House
Appropriations and the Senate
Ways and Means committees
requesting the youth camp.
“This is what representing
the 19th Legislative District
in Olympia is all about. We’re
a rural area. But that doesn’t
mean we have to take a back
seat to other parts of the state.
… Naselle Youth Camp is
important to the local economy
in the southern part of Pacific
County,” Walsh said in the
press release. “But, more than
that, it’s an important asset in
our state’s juvenile rehabilita-
tion ‘toolbox.’ The staff there
does good work for the kids
at the camp and for all of us
who live here. Anyone who
cares about this part of the state
— or giving meaningful sec-
ond chances to at-risk youth
— should support this budget
Water: Other cities are dueling with FEMA
Continued from Page 1A
they’re not as easy to come by.
Peterson said, for those
planning to sell their homes, the
increase in base flood elevation
is cause for concern.
last week to answer questions
and help them understand what
the changing maps mean.
Other cities along the coast
— including Warrenton — are
also dueling with FEMA over
whether there is adequate pro-
tection for high water, a costly,
and some say, frustrating, regu-
latory experience.
Hesitant on mortgages
New elevation
People with existing homes
in those coastal zones are
grandfathered in — they don’t
have to raise their homes just
because the maps now show a
higher base flood elevation. But
if they do a substantial home
remodel or addition, or if the
house is destroyed and must
be rebuilt, they would have to
rebuild at the new elevation,
which, depending on the area,
can be several feet higher.
Most at the meeting were
worried about how and if the
higher elevations will affect
their insurance rates, because
mortgage-holders must have
flood insurance in those areas.
Lundblad’s next-door neigh-
bor, Chris Nichols, said he pays
about $6,500 a year for flood
insurance and was told in Jan-
uary the rate will start going up
25 percent every year.
FEMA said that’s because
the agency is phasing out flood
insurance subsidies for homes,
like Nichols’ and others in Tit-
low Beach and Salmon Beach,
that were built before the city
adopted its first FEMA flood
maps in the 1980s.
In a letter from FEMA,
Nichols was told his insurance
rates will continue to rise 25
percent a year unless he gets
an elevation certificate, which
costs about $1,000 but would
give FEMA a firm understand-
ing of his actual elevation and
of the flood risk. Chances are
he is below the base flood ele-
vation, as are most of the
houses in Titlow Beach and all
of the homes in Salmon Beach,
many of which were built in the
early 1900s.
“For future work, it could
influence insurance rates and,
unless they get an elevation
certificate, it may affect insur-
ance rates if they can show that
where they are relative to the
base flood elevation is not as
bad as the worst case that the
Director: ‘I care about the artists I promote’
Continued from Page 1A
session attempting to reconcile
their tax and spending plans.
grams, but hopes to expand
workshop offerings to make
them more consistent, diverse
and available.
Another goal is to expand
representation from artists of
color. She hopes to work with
local historical organizations to
include more work from His-
panic artists, as well as high-
light more Asian-American
and Native American art.
“Right now we are focused
in the fine arts, but there is a
lot of room to grow, like with
graphic design or portfolio
development,” she said. “There
are lots of organizations with
similar goals around the coast.
I want to connect with those
with similar missions to ours.”
Lui Kit Wong/The News Tribune
Titlow Beach homeowner Julia Lundblad and her son,
Marcus Raschkow, look at a view of Puget Sound.
insurance is being based on,”
Coffman said.
Updated maps
Pierce County recently
adopted FEMA’s updated flood
maps as well for unincorporated
areas of the county. Municipali-
ties in the county have to adopt
the maps separately.
Coffman said the upward
creep of insurance premiums
is not a Tacoma problem — it’s
everywhere. FEMA is trying to
recoup losses it incurred in the
wake of major weather events.
“After Hurricane Katrina,
they’ve been slowly increasing
the insurance rates, so everyone
is seeing increases in flood plain
insurance,” Coffman said. “It’s
my understanding that they’re
trying to get insurance rates
closer to where they should be
and not so subsidized.”
Dave Peterson, a 30-year
Salmon Beach resident who
works as a real estate broker,
said the new maps and climb-
ing insurance rates are going
to make it harder and harder
to sell houses in those coastal
Peterson said it will be a
game-changer. When a poten-
tial buyer finds out they must
have flood insurance and
researches the cost of premi-
ums — a number that will only
trend up — it may have a neg-
ative impact on home values.
Cash buyers are an option,
because they wouldn’t have
to have flood insurance, but
Lenders may be hesitant
to offer mortgages in places
where homes are below the
base flood elevation. Lund-
blad doesn’t have a mortgage
and owns her home outright, so
she doesn’t have to have insur-
ance, and she doesn’t right now
— it was too expensive. So she
lives with the risk of something
happening to her home and not
being covered.
Lundblad said she couldn’t
get a clear answer on whether
FEMA or private flood insur-
ance would even cover events
like tidal waters rushing into
her house. When shopping for
insurance, Lundblad was told
the policy wouldn’t cover tidal
overflow or flooding caused by
high tides. Insurance was too
pricey, she said, given that she
wasn’t sure she’d be covered if
the Sound flooded her house.
Nichols said the rising cost
of insurance has been a big
“I think it’s going to get
either more expensive to the
point where it’s just not feasible
— right now my backup plan is
to empty my 401K and buy out
my mortgage so that I can drop
my insurance,” he said, “but I
would rather not do that if I
don’t have to.”
Pulitzer Prize Winning
Author and Journalist
Buzz Bissinger
A Columbia Forum Presentation
Buzz Bissinger is among the nation’s most honored and
distinguished writers. A native of New York City, Buzz is
the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Livingston Award,
the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award and
the National Headliners Award, among others. He
also was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He is
the author of the highly acclaimed nonfi ction books:
Friday Night Lights, A Prayer for the City, Three Nights in
August, Shooting Stars and Father’s Day.
Buzz has been a reporter for some of the nation’s most
prestigious newspapers; a magazine writer with published work in Vanity Fair,
The New York Times Magazine and Sports Illustrated; and a co-producer and
writer for the ABC television drama NYPD Blue. Two of his works were made
into the critically acclaimed fi lms: Friday Night Lights and Shattered Glass .
Three more are in active development. Friday Night Lights also served as the
inspiration for the television series of the same name.
For Members: Dinner & Lecture: $25 each; Lecture only: no charge
For Non-Members: Dinner & Lecture: $35 each; Lecture only: $15 ea.
Appetizers will be available at 6 p.m. • Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.
The speaker will begin after the dinner service is complete and non-dinner
members and guests of the audience take their seats.
Forum to be held at the CMH Community Center at 2021 Exchange St., Astoria.
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