DailyAstorian.com // WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018 145TH YEAR, NO. 142 ONE DOLLAR Fires on Uppertown street cause alarm Four fires leave neighbors uneasy on 38th Street A fire in Uppertown burned a pickup truck. By JACK HEFFERNAN The Daily Astorian After someone appeared to set fire to an Uppertown home last week, Mari Inaba Fisherman sues after boat crash near Hammond fires at three more residences broke out on the same street in the past few days. One of the fires appears to acci- dental — not that it matters to con- cerned residents in the neighborhood. Emergency personnel responded to a truck on fire in a driveway on 38th Street near Harrison Avenue shortly before 2:30 a.m. this morning. The fire damaged the front of a red pickup, melting the engine. “The front was totally demol- ished,” Interim Police Chief Geoff Spalding said. “It was a large fire.” Two burn marks also appeared near the front door of the house behind the driveway. No injuries were reported. Astoria police also responded to a report Saturday morning that a small See FIRES, Page 7A RECYCLING GOING STRONG IN ASTORIA Video released Tuesday By JACK HEFFERNAN The Daily Astorian A sport fisherman has filed a lawsuit after being rammed in a harrowing boat crash on the Columbia River near Hammond in August. Bryan Maess is suing the alleged driver of the boat — Marlin Lee Larsen — for $372,500 after his boat was slammed while trolling for Chinook salmon during the popular Buoy 10 fishery sea- son. The lawsuit claims Larsen caused physical and emotional injury in his negligence prior to the crash. Maess, Christopher McMahon and Roni Durham were standing in a 20-foot Weldcraft about 8:30 a.m. near Tansy Point when they noticed a 31-foot Bayliner Trophy speeding toward them. After yelling at the boat and waving their hands, the trio leaped into the river seconds before crash. The three were eventually pulled from the water and treated at Columbia Memorial Hospital for minor injuries. Their boat was severely damaged by the crash. The lawsuit alleges Larsen was traveling at an excessive speed, distracted from using his cell- phone and did not have one of the two other occu- pants of the vessel keep watch of surrounding boat traffic. Maess sustained injuries to the right side of his body. He continues to wear a knee brace on his knee, his ankle still hurts and a wound on his shin has not fully healed, according to the law- suit. He initially experienced neck pain, vision issues, headaches and a hyperextended left thumb after floating with the debris from the wreck in water. The lawsuit also claims Maess, a 47-year-old sergeant with the Hermiston Police Department, suffered emotionally and financially after needing to take time off work. Photos by Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian Recology employees using heavy equipment at the Astoria Transfer Station process recyclables. Program diverts about 30 tons of material a month By KATIE FRANKOWICZ The Daily Astorian M See BOAT CRASH, Page 7A Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office A sport fisherman has filed a lawsuit over a boat crash near Hammond in August. ost Astorians have embraced expanded curb- side recycling. Since a program for the pickup of glass, yard debris and compost rolled out in September, Astoria has been divert- ing around 30 tons of material a month. Recology, which collects trash and recy- cling in the city, reports there are 2,300 compost and glass customers, putting participation in the new curbside collec- tion program at about 70 percent. “It’s proving to be a pretty good pro- gram,” Carl Peters, Recology’s gen- eral manager for the region, told Asto- ria city councilors during a presentation Tuesday. But a situation unfolding in China over the past year could complicate the future of recycling programs. China, which recycles around half of the world’s paper and plastics products, announced last summer that it would no longer take 24 varieties of solid waste. The ban went into effect Jan. 1 and includes common types of plastic and paper sent from the U.S. to China. National Public Radio reports that the U.S. exports about one-third of its recycling, half of which ends up in China. Disposal sites and plants in many Bales of recycled paper products await shipment by Recology at the Asto- ria Transfer Station. Western nations are now experiencing huge backups. For companies in the garbage busi- ness, the decision by the Chinese govern- ment to crack down on foreign waste has made recycling more complicated and more expensive. Recology is no excep- tion, Peters said. Private trash companies used to be able to make some money off recycled materials by selling bales to countries like China. But the new mea- sures come with new costs. More people must be on the line to ensure items are clean, slowing down the entire sorting and packing process. The Portland-area companies that process recycling for Recology are taking a hit. They are paying to recycle, Peters said. Trash is a market and has its own fluctuations, but Peters said he hasn’t seen a downturn quite like this one in his 31 years in the business. When City Councilor Zetty Nem- lowill asked what a ban in China could mean for Astoria, Peters said, “In a lot of places in Portland right now it’s actu- ally cheaper for me to throw (recyclable material) away than to recycle it. But we don’t do that.” See RECYCLING, Page 7A Port tenant seeks answers on stormwater treatment Uncertainty around plans for cost sharing By EDWARD STRATTON The Daily Astorian Port of Astoria Commis- sioner Bill Hunsinger has questioned how the agency plans to cover a $1.75 million loan taken out to pay for a new stormwater treatment system on Pier 3, and how it plans to have tenants cover about half the cost. “Which tenants are respon- sible for half of the total loan cost, and have they been con- tacted?” Hunsinger asked in a guest column published Friday in The Daily Astorian. On Tuesday, Kurt Englund of Englund Marine & Indus- trial Supply, one of the Port’s largest tenants affected by the stormwater system, asked the Port Commission for an audi- ence with the agency to answer those questions. His company has not had any formal communication from the Port regarding the stormwater system in a year and a half, Englund said. “We don’t know where we stand on that, along with prob- ably a lot of other tenants as well,” Englund said. The Port was required by the state Department of Envi- ronmental Quality in August 2014 to install a stormwater treatment system by July 2016 after monitoring found unsafe amounts of copper entering the Columbia River, potentially harming salmon and other aquatic life. The Port’s contrac- tor started construction in 2016 on a system of ponds and a bioswale to leach harmful substances out of storm runoff before discharge into the river. The system was See PORT, Page 7A Edward Stratton/The Daily Astorian The Port of Astoria’s recently activated stormwater treat- ment system sits along the western edge of Pier 3, next to Astoria Forest Products’ processing yard.