COAST WEEKEND: CRAB, SEAFOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL ARRIVES INSIDE DailyAstorian.com // THURSDAY, APRIL 27, 2017 144TH YEAR, NO. 215 ONE DOLLAR UNMOORED Colin Murphey The Daily Astorian Election may set new course at divided Port of Astoria POSITION 1 POSITION 2 POSITION 5 Campbell, Fulton square off for post Rohne, Hellberg are O’Grady, Spence experienced hands vie to replace Raichl Race could tip power on board Candidates strive for civility O’Grady is a Fulton ally By EDWARD STRATTON The Daily Astorian By EDWARD STRATTON The Daily Astorian By EDWARD STRATTON The Daily Astorian No campaign in the May election has embod- ied the acrimony and inﬁ ghting on the Port of Astoria Commission more than Stephen Ful- ton and James Campbell, James Stephen two incumbents battling Campbell Fulton for re-election . The race could tip the balance of power on the Port Commission between two camps with differing viewpoints about Port management . Seats on the Port’s ﬁ ve-member commission are not geographically based, allowing candidates to run for any position and county residents to vote in each race. Faced with a challenge for his existing seat from former Clatsop County Commissioner Dirk Rohne, Fulton took the rare move of ﬁ ling against Campbell . Dirk Rohne and Dick Hellberg recently stepped out of political retirement to run against each other for the Port of Astoria Commis- sion , albeit for different Dick Dirk reasons. Hellberg Rohne The two candidates are running for a seat held by Commissioner Stephen Fulton, who avoided a challenge from Rohne by ﬁ ling against fellow Commis- sioner James Campbell . Rohne, a Brownsmead dairy farmer and former Clat- sop County commissioner and Clatsop Community Col- lege board member, said the Port Commission needs more stability to attract investment and help from the state and federal governments. A chasm of govern- ment experience sep- arates the two candi- dates running to replace Port of Astoria Commis- sioner John Raichl, a for- mer appointee who is not Pat Frank seeking re-election . O’Grady Spence Patrick O’Grady, a longshoreman and owner of Warrenton Auto & Marine Repair for the past 15 years, said he is running to improve transparency at the Port. Frank Spence, a retired transplant to Astoria with more than 40 years of administrative experience in city and county governments in Florida, said he wants to bring his expertise in government and budgeting to the Port. See POSITION 1, Page 9A See POSITION 2, Page 9A See POSITION 5, Page 5A MAY ELECTION Ballots for the May special district election in Clatsop County started going out this week . Votes are due by mail or in-person by 8 p.m. May 16 at a designat- ed drop site or the county Clerk’s Office at 820 Exchange St. In races for the Port of Astoria Commission, all county voters can choose candidates for Position 1, Position 2 and Position 5, regardless of where they live. All voters can also choose candidates for the Clatsop Community College Board. For candidates for the Clatsop Care Center Health District Board and the Astoria School Board, only voters who live in the health district or in Astoria are eligible to vote. The American Association of University Women will hold a candi- date forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Columbia Hall Room 219 on Clatsop Community College’s main campus, 1651 Lexington Ave., in Astoria. The forum will include candidates for the Port of Astoria Commission, Clatsop Care Center Health District Board, Clatsop Community College Board and Astoria School Board. Thompson pushes back on questions about expenses Commissioner claimed more than half pool By JACK HEFFERNAN The Daily Astorian A Clatsop County c ommis- sioner is pushing back against accusations that her travel and education expenses have been excessive by questioning Scott Lee Lianne Thompson the B oard of Commissioners’ goals. Commissioner Lianne Thompson has claimed $7,328 in expenses during the ﬁ rst three quarters of the ﬁ scal year. The ﬁ ve commissioners combined are allotted a total of $13,500 each year. C ommissioners have spent $12,692 in the ﬁ rst three quar- ters, or 94 percent of the allot- ted amount . The board voted unani- mously Wednesday to direct $2,000 until the end of the ﬁ scal year in June to account for the decreasing amount of money for expenses. “We’ve got to wing this until June,” Scott Lee, the board’s chairman, said. Lee addressed the issue in a March 30 letter to Thompson . “I know that for the remainder of this ﬁ scal year you will be mindful that this budget is for all ﬁ ve c ommis- sioners who also may have travel or training plans,” he said in the letter. Need for expenses Thompson responded Wednesday. “Reimbursement for all actual and necessary expenses incurred on county business while outside the county is both required by the c ounty c harter and essential for commissioners doing that business,” she said. Thompson added she often seeks to limit expenses by avoiding hotels and eating cheaper food such as energy bars or take out from a grocery deli. While explaining her need for expenses, Thomp- son pointed to a lack of a con- crete vision or goals from other commissioners . Three issues — housing, economic devel- opment and emergency pre- paredness — have been the primary focus of her county-re- lated travel, Thompson said. See THOMPSON, Page 5A 168 days — and counting Record rainy days for Astoria By JACK HEFFERNAN The Daily Astorian Astorians love the rain, but even longtime residents felt something was different about this season. They were right. Rain has hit the area on 168 days since Oct. 1. That breaks a record of 166 set in 1894 and 1921. Astoria has seen 84.70 inches of rain to date, which lands in the top 10 in recorded history. The National Weather Service has kept track of rain- fall dating back to 1890. Astoria’s wettest year came in 1915, when it saw 91.55 inches of rain. The National Weather Service tracks rain locally from the Astoria Regional Airport. While Friday is expected to be dry, Saturday and Sunday likely will see some showers, meaning the October-through- April record could hit 170 days. The total rainfall, as usual, is higher than in other places throughout the state like Portland — 46.86 inches — Eugene — 42.31 inches — Klamath Falls — 10.68 inches — and Redmond — 7.97 inches. Portland is less than a half inch away from a record for total rainfall in the time period. Because of the coast range to the east, high -pressure systems that move through Astoria often rise, cool and condense, which cre- ates more rain, said Gerald Macke, a meteorological technician with the National Weather Service . When more high -pressure systems hit Astoria off the Paciﬁ c Ocean instead of moving north or south, heavy amounts of rain follow. Danny Miller/The Daily Astorian Afternoon rain drizzles in March. The National Weather Service says that Astoria has set a record for number of rainy days.