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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (April 17, 2018)
THE DAILY ASTORIAN • TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018
JIM VAN NOSTRAND
Founded in 1873
JOHN D. BRUIJN
Fire budget fix to help Oregon — eventually
or five years, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden has pushed Congress to address how U.S.
Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management leaders often must divert
money from other programs, including fire prevention and forest management
budgets, to cover the increasingly high cost of fighting massive wildfires.
Season after season, fire spending consumed an ever-increasing percentage of the
federal agencies’ relatively flat budgets.
Finally, Congress listened and
“The summer,” he said recently, “was
Oregon is likely to benefit. Eventually.
a wake-up call of what’s to come.”
The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act
Firefighting agencies spent a record
was a part of the $1.3 trillion fed-
$2.9 billion nationwide fighting wild-
eral spending package passed by fed-
fires last year alone. The destruction hit
eral lawmakers and signed by the pres-
close to home again last summer, when
ident late last month. The act creates an
the Eagle Creek Fire burned nearly 78.1
emergency fund of as much as $2.2 bil-
square miles in the Columbia River
lion, which Forest Service and Land
Gorge and the Chetco Bar fire burned
Management officials can access once
another 298.4 square miles on the coast
they’ve tapped out firefighting budgets.
in southern Oregon. Both cost millions
That fund will increase to a maximum
of $2.9 billion by 2027. It’s a common
Unfortunately, a few more fire sea-
system used to pay for hurricane and
sons will pass before the change takes
floods and — as Wyden and others have
effect in 2020.
long called for — finally treats wildfires
And, while the new law should stop
as the natural disasters they are.
the budget drain, no additional money
The Oregonian highlighted the neces-
has been set aside to recoup the dol-
sity for such a change in its 2016 inves-
lars lost from needed fire prevention
tigation “Burned” that delved into the
and habitat recovery programs. Years of
devastating Canyon Creek fire in John
so-called “fire borrowing” from those
Day. That wildfire destroyed 43 homes
programs and nearly flat funding to
and burned through 171.9 million
those federal agencies have left many of
square miles of private and federal for-
our federal forests at risk — along with
est land — some that had been sched-
those communities that have grown up
uled for fire-prevention work that was
Hopefully we’ll begin to see
Wyden, who has worked doggedly
improvements from the financial stabil-
on the issue along with Republican Sen.
ity this new law should help provide.
Mike Crapo of Idaho, said it finally
Even better, lawmakers could continue
became impossible for lawmakers to
pushing for transparency and regular
ignore as the devastating 2017 sea-
audits of these federal agencies to be
son that left 43 dead and 2,187.5 square
sure that all that firefighting money is
miles destroyed in California alone.
well spent. Wyden promises he’ll keep a
The Eagle Creek Fire burns in the Columbia River Gorge above Cascade Locks in Sep-
A wildfire near Sisters in August 2017.
close eye on that, too.
It shouldn’t have taken five years for
this logical fix to move forward. Yet
this positive, bipartisan work should be
lauded by Oregonians who stand to ben-
efit from the improved health and safety
of the federal forests that blanket so
much of our state.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Animal shelter needs
donations and adoptions
itten season is at the very brink of starting,
meaning that donations and adoptions are
needed at the Clatsop County Animal Shelter
during this time.
This is also a reminder to please spay and
neuter your animals, which helps keep the
number of animals in the shelter lower; cats
can become pregnant at only 5 months old. Kit-
ten season starts in the beginning of spring,
peaks in early summer, and lasts until the fall,
according to the Humane Society.
Our local animal shelter is always needing
volunteers. It doesn’t matter if you are a dog or
cat person — there is an opportunity for you.
Walking the dogs or playing with the kittens
gives them the socialization with humans that
they need to help them become the ideal pet.
faith in community
hank you, Andy Davis, for reaffirming my
faith in our little community. In effect, he
told me there was no real difference between
his views and George McCartin’s, who’s run-
ning for the same county seat. I’d hope that
good people in our small community would
speak warmly, respectfully and honestly (but
tactfully) about those working hard everyday to
keep our community a wonderful work in prog-
ress, even when that other person is seeking the
I’m glad I’m not in their district, and don’t
have to choose between Andy Davis and George
McCartin, who would both deserve my vote.
I do, however, have to cast a vote for either
Tiffiny Mitchell or John Orr for the House Dis-
trict 32 seat. I wish many of their supporters
had shown the maturity Andy did in speaking
about their candidate’s perceived opponent.
All politicians talk about values. I value
John. I value Tiffiny. I deeply value all who
support either of them, and form a such collec-
tive of knowledge, courage, and compassion.
What I don’t value are silly divisions
amongst our neighbors and friends, amongst
our allies against President Trump’s madness.
We need more than different leaders and
legislation. We need each other. Isn’t that the
bedrock idea of the left?
MICHAEL A. “SASHA” MILLER
Vote Mitchell for House
first met Tiffiny Mitchell through North
Coast Indivisible. Like me, Tiffiny joined
because she knows we need to stand up for
progressive policies that work for all. She
always brings her passion, her smarts, and her
fearlessness to the table as part of the leader-
ship of Indivisible.
When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke talks
about trying to drill for oil off our beautiful
Oregon, I know Tiffiny will fight in Salem to
protect our coastline.
When Immigration and Customs Enforce-
ment (ICE) comes into our communities and
pulls apart families, I know Tiffiny will stand
up for those most vulnerable.
And, when the federal government strips
away funding for services that so many people
here depend on, I know Tiffiny will ensure that
Salem picks up the slack.
I plan on voting for Tiffiny Mitchell for rep-
resentative of District 32 in the Democratic pri-
mary this month, and you should, too.
Vote Josi for state
uring his years as a state representative
and a Tillamook County commissioner,
Tim Josi has built a reputation as an informed
and thoughtful representative for our North
Coast communities. He has been a leader in
finding collaborative solutions on dairy and
other natural resource issues, and supportive
of our industries, while working to protect this
beautiful place we call home. I wholeheartedly
support Tim Josi for state representative.
Vote Orr for
ohn Orr is the best Democrat for the open
state representative seat for District 32 in
these turbulent times. Orr listens well, reflects
well, and has a very sharp, shrewd mind. He is
not shy about speaking truth to power on behalf
of others, is beholden to no special interests,
and is accessible to all.
He understands the value of our natural
resources both for a stable source of employ-
ment and for providing clean air and water. He
has accepted no donations from special interest
groups, to make plain his guarantee to decide
issues in favor of the people of Oregon.
As an attorney in Clatsop and Tillamook
counties for the last three decades, John has
worked with, and for, many hundreds of
women and men, crossing cultural and eco-
nomic boundaries. He knows our community,
its workers, and small business owners alike.
Neither of his opponents has his depth of
understanding of state law, or how changes can
impact us. He will hit the ground running, an
everyman dedicated to serving the public.
Vote Mitchell for
have lived in Astoria for 25 years, and have
made this wonderful community my home. In
my time here, I have witnessed firsthand many
of the trials Astorians face.
One of my closest family members has been
working the same service job for years, with
stagnant wages, and struggles to ensure basic
needs are met.
It is heartbreaking when young, hard-work-
ing Astorians don’t make enough to pay their
rent and utilities. Nobody should have to choose
between having a roof over their head and pay-
ing their power bill.
I didn’t believe things could change until I
met Tiffiny Mitchell. For those of you out of the
loop, Tiffiny is running as a Democrat to be our
representative for House District 32 in Salem.
Tiffiny is eager, ready to work on our behalf,
and has the values to fight for folks in our com-
munity that need help. For years, Salem has
been dragging its feet on passing legislation to
help create affordable housing. I know Tiffiny
will bring the fight for affordable housing to
Salem, and be the champion we need. That’s
why I plan on voting for her in this upcoming
Democratic primary, and in the general election.
he small city of Astoria, located at the
mouth of the mighty Columbia River, is
the hub of coastal activity with its fishing,
canning, lumber, tourism and other business
The population swells as one takes in the
nearby coastal community.
This is the area which has seduced me, a
country boy from the Southwest — a coun-
try boy whose father had a grade school edu-
cation, spoke three languages, knew farming/
ranching, and was a good trader.
I felt he saw things concretely, was a
tough man in many ways, but would give his
life for me.
I was never good at farming. I regret never
having acquired the necessary knowledge and
skills, but I knew hard work. Thanks to my
mother, a teacher,
I went to college — and became citi-
fied. Long before moving here, my wife and
I accidentally stumbled into Astoria when
we decided to tour the Oregon Coast. I was
first impressed with this small city as I drove
through it, down Marine Drive.
I felt this was a town and area of strong
character. We returned several times, want-
ing to live in a place we thought was amaz-
ing. Astoria is a spot by the sea with its peo-
ple, history, ships, climate and bars.
This is not meant to be morbid, but we
have come here to live and die. To us what is
important is to live life, every day, to enjoy
the culture, and hopefully to contribute a lit-
tle to make a better life for all.