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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (July 30, 2019)
County Fair opens this week • Inside
DailyAstorian.com // TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2019
147TH YEAR, NO. 13
New Grocery Outlet would
by ICE a
Legal trouble after new
By NICOLE BALES
Hailey Hoﬀ man/The Astorian
Access is an issue for a new Grocery Outlet proposed oﬀ Marine Drive.
Project planned on odd-shaped property
By KATIE FRANKOWICZ
evelopers who want to build a
Grocery Outlet in Astoria face
a public airing of the project
on Thursday, but the discount chain is
already experiencing pushback from
some in the community.
Concerns range from the trafﬁ c
impacts to the project’s proximity
to the Astoria Co+op, which is set to
open a new grocery in the Mill Pond
neighborhood by the end of the year.
Neither are concerns the city’s
Design Review Committee can
address at the hearing on Thursday.
R etail is considered an outright use at
the property , and city staff have rec-
ommended approval of the project.
The only sticking points are the
strange shape of the lots where Gro-
cery Outlet wants to build and a
problematic “Y”-shaped intersection
T he state is required to improve
the intersection at Marine Drive and
Commercial Street near 21st Street as
part of a lawsuit brought against the
Oregon Department of Transporta-
tion by disability advocates.
The Grocery Outlet project,
if it passes design muster Thurs-
day, would speed up the timeline
to improve the intersection. But the
owner of City Lumber believes a
reconﬁ guration of the intersection
could mean the end of his business
off Commercial Street .
one-story, 16,000 square foot Gro-
cery Outlet on properties off Marine
Drive between 21st and 23rd s treets
that were formerly the homes of TP
Freight and NAPA Auto Parts.
Grocery Outlet would take up
most of a triangular block formed by
Marine Drive and an orphan section
of Commercial Street. The back of
the store would face 23rd Street and
the new co-op building.
Astoria has been resistant to chain
stores — the Design Review Com-
mittee, following recommendations
by staff, denied a permit from Dol-
lar General in 2017 over questions
about the store’s design — but Gro-
cery Outlet might be harder to shoot
After Ruben Vera Perez was detained
by U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement agents outside the Clatsop
County Courthouse last December, many
in the community pulled
together to hold a vigil
and raise money to help
him and his family.
Perez, who is from
Mexico but has lived in
the United States for more
than a decade, was trying
to resolve a drunken-driv-
ing charge in Circuit Court
before he was detained.
An immigration judge found in Feb-
ruary that Perez could be eligible for asy-
lum. With the help of donations, he was
released on bond from a federal deten-
tion facility in Tacoma, Washington, and
welcomed home with a celebration at the
Astoria Masonic Hall.
Over the past few months, though, hope
and relief turned to disappointment.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Maria Perez, his
Perez was arrested in May for drunken
driving and other charges after he allegedly
hit a parked car with his pickup truck while
leaving the Warrenton Mini Mart on his
way to work at Fred Meyer.
He missed his Circuit Court date in
June, so a warrant was issued for his arrest.
A judge also revoked his diversion on the
previous drunken-driving charge, and a
second warrant was issued, after he failed
to show up for a hearing in July.
Maria Perez sent a letter to the district
attorney explaining her husband had been
detained by ICE again in late June.
She declined to go into further detail
about her husband’s immigration status
when contacted by The Astorian.
“All I have to say is he’s a good hus-
band and a hardworking family man,” she
said in a text message.
See ICE, Page A6
See Grocery Outlet, Page A6
Hammond man starts new family business Bend Bulletin
An eye for tiny homes
A $3.65M bid at auction
By NICOLE BALES
By PHIL WRIGHT
EO Media Group
huck Bergerson, a local
contractor and business
owner, never planned on retir-
ing. He is still pursuing opportu-
nities at the age of 83. H is new
business? B uilding tiny homes.
“I like doing it, why should I
retire? ” he asked. “I do have lots
of ideas. ( They) wake me up in
the middle of the night.”
Bergerson said when you
love what you do, you can work
a lot harder and a lot longer.
He has always been in the
business of building, he said.
H is newest venture, NW Cabin
Co., is a partnership with his
children to build tiny homes.
Bergerson said he and his
kids will construct the tiny
homes. H is wife, Charlotte,
will help with the interior and
exterior design. For all other
services, they will hire local
“It’s kind of a trendy thing
happening now,” Bergerson
Charlotte Bergerson doubts
her husband will ever retire. “He
always has a bee in his bonnet,
it’s not going to stop,” she said.
“He’s an idea guy.”
The auction lasted 15 minutes Mon-
day and ended with EO Media Group
buying the Bend Bulletin.
The $3.65 million winning bid also
covered the price for the Bulletin’s sister
weekly , the Redmond Spokesman.
EO Media Group beat two out-of-state
competitors, Adams Publishing Group
out of Greeneville, Tennessee, and Rhode
Island Suburban Newspapers Inc., which
did not send a representative to the auc-
tion in Portland but made almost $68,000
on the sale.
Heidi Wright, EO Media Group’s
chief operating ofﬁ cer, said the company
appreciates the opportunity to continue
Oregon ownership of The Bulletin and
“It’s reassuring for the future of com-
munity newspapers when a small inde-
pendent company like EO Media Group
can prevail, even when going up against
the big companies that are buying up
newspapers non stop around the country,”
Western Communications, the Bulle-
tin’s parent company, ﬁ led for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection in January and is
selling all of its assets. EO Media Group
bought two of those assets in June at auc-
tion — The Observer in La Grande and
the Baker City Herald. The Bulletin and
Spokesman acquisitions bring the com-
pany’s total number of newspapers and
journals to 14, including The Astorian.
See Tiny homes, Page A6
See EO Media, Page A6
Nicole Bales/The Astorian
Chuck Bergerson in front of a tiny house.
Bergerson is in the ﬁ nishing
stages of his ﬁ rst tiny home. He
and his wife walked around the
home and discussed what could
be done differently to improve
the prototype. They also rat-
tled off all the different ways to
customize the 288-square-foot
structure to ﬁ t anyone’s needs.
T iny homes can be a nice
transition for elderly people
who want to begin downgrad-
ing, he said, and also for newly
married couples who want a
He said that after couples
pay off the tiny home or begin
to start a family, they can eas-
ily add rooms or a porch .
Everything can be built and
customized according to the