145TH YEAR, NO. 144 ONE DOLLAR WEEKEND EDITION // Waves crash over the South Jetty at Fort Stevens State Park. Colin Murphey The Daily Astorian STORM WAVES POUND COAST SEE MORE PHOTOS ON PAGE 5A TRUMP’S FIRST YEAR North Coast reflects on Trump Activists believe they’ve made a mark County voter registration rose by 7 percent By JACK HEFFERNAN The Daily Astorian S cott Lee, chairman of the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners, stood outside his bike shop on the corner of 11th Street and Marine Drive on a drizzly January after- noon last year. Lee had been distressed for two months after Donald Trump was elected president. Even his father, a Vietnam War veteran who had voted Republican since 1960 and often disagrees with his son politically, could not bring himself to vote for the billionaire businessman. But on that January day, hundreds of peo- ple strode through downtown Astoria as part of the Women’s March to counter Trump’s inauguration. On the first full day of Trump’s presidency, Lee wore a smile. “I was very pleased to see one of the largest marches I had ever seen in Astoria,” Lee said. “After such a difficult time, it brought hope back to me. I was really hopeful people could push back against the Trump regime.” The march was like an exorcism for pro- gressive activists disappointed with the elec- tion. Many directed the energy from the march into a grassroots call to action. “My concern is that I didn’t want it to stop. I wanted to turn it into action,” said Deb Vanasse, one of the march organizers. “We need civic engagement. This is no time for complacency from our perspective.” Vanasse and a handful of others launched Indivisible North Coast Oregon, which is loosely affiliated with a nationwide activ- ist organization started by former congres- sional staffers. The movement encourages civic engagement and promotes progressive See ACTIVISTS, Page 7A Photos by Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian Activists voiced their opinions in front of the Clatsop County Courthouse in September. Republicans hopeful about president For supporters, few cracks after an unsteady first year TRUMPVILLE Map shows where President Trump earned votes in Clatsop County. Page 7A By DERRICK DePLEDGE The Daily Astorian House was an unqualified success. ARRENTON — Christine Bridgens Trump’s low job approval rating — likes President Donald Trump on 39 percent, according to Gallup — is shrugged off as inaccurate. The spe- the economy and national security, cial counsel’s investigation into Russia’s the way the Republican has lifted regulations meddling in the election, which has led on business, the way he has defended the coun- try on the international stage. to federal charges against several of Trump’s “There’s nothing I don’t support about what former advisers, is dismissed as a politically he has done to put America first,” said Brid- motivated witch hunt. The warnings from gens, who serves on the Warrenton Planning Democrats and some establishment Republi- cans that Trump is a demagogue who is steer- Commission. ing the country in a dangerous direction are Michael Seppa, a retired dairy farmer in mocked as hysteria. Lewis and Clark, likes that Trump was the Jim Hoffman, the chairman of the first president in 26 years to speak at county’s Republican Central Commit- the American Farm Bureau Federa- tion’s annual convention, a nod to rural tee, who lives in Gearhart, believes most local Republicans are optimistic. America. “I talk to people every day that are “I think he’s actually done way bet- ter than the press and everybody gives just so happy with what he’s doing,” he said, even some he doesn’t know. him credit for,” said Seppa, the board “They see my Jeep running around and chairman of the Clatsop Soil and Water they have a tendency to open up and Conservation District. “I think the tax Donald start talking with me.” cuts are going to be helpful. I just think Trump Why? he’s got us headed in the right direction “Well, it’s got a Trump-Pence sticker for as far as foreign and national policy.” one,” Hoffman said. “The wheel cover on the Clatsop County reliably votes for Demo- crats in presidential elections. Trump, despite back says, ‘Help save America, have your lib- eral spayed or neutered.’” being the most polarizing Republican to win the party’s nomination in the modern polit- ‘Confidence’ ical era, still captured 41 percent of the vote Asked to assess Trump’s first year, Trump here in 2016. Trump’s footprint in the county voters interviewed by The Daily Astorian — was roughly the same as former Massachusetts including several, like Bridgens and Seppa, Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012 — 41 percent — who represent precincts on the Republican and U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona in 2008 Central Committee — did not mention Russia — 39 percent. or the parade of other controversies that have Like across Oregon and the United States, undermined his administration. there is something of an urban and rural chasm. “I had a lot of confidence in his honesty, his Trump fared better in Warrenton and in rural business sense, his faithfulness to America,” Brid- precincts like Lewis and Clark, Knappa and gens said of her view of Trump before the elec- Olney, while former U.S. Secretary of State tion. “I think he is a sincere man who loves this Hillary Clinton, the Democrat, won in Astoria, country and cares a great deal about its success. Gearhart, Seaside and Cannon Beach. For many voters in Trumpville, the billion- See VOTERS, Page 7A aire real estate tycoon’s first year in the White W Preservationists spar over demolition request Appeal headed to City Council By KATIE FRANKOWICZ The Daily Astorian Ted Osborn realizes it’s awkward. The retired architect and former president of the Lower Columbia Preservation Society — who once presented plans to save the dilapidated Waldorf Hotel downtown and received an award from the city for his- toric preservation — wants to tear down a historic building. At a Historic Landmarks Commission meeting Wednes- day night, he argued that a long-neglected house-turned- apartments he and his wife bought last summer on Ala- meda Avenue is past the point of saving. Six of the seven commis- sioners were present and all of them said they could see both sides of the issue. Commissioner McAndrew Burns pointed out that every- one in the room, whether they were in favor of demolish- ing the 110-year-old building or not, was a preservationist, dedicated to Astoria’s historic buildings. “It’s difficult when every- one is right,” Commissioner Kevin McHone observed. Ultimately, half of the com- mission agreed with Osborn’s argument, questioning the his- toric value of a building that has undergone substantial changes over the decades as well as the feasibility of trying to restore it after so many years of neglect. The other half did not, agreeing instead with the Lower Columbia Preservation Society and city staff who said Osborn had not exhausted all of his options for restoring an important piece of Astoria’s history. City staff recommended denying Osborn’s request, saying it did not meet the city’s criteria. The vote split down the middle — 3-3 — and Osborn’s request failed. After talking it over, Osborn and his wife, Wendy, have decided to appeal the deci- sion to the City Council. Maybe there was a time when the building could have been saved, he said. He believes pieces of it — features like win- dows and old growth tim- bers — could still be sal- vaged, but the whole building? “I hate tearing down buildings, but this is no longer a building,” See HOUSE, Page 7A Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian A house on Alameda Street in Astoria is the subject of a preservation debate.