The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, August 08, 2019, Image 20

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146TH YEAR, NO. 17
State’s urban-rural divide more
subtle than protests suggest
need for
pot rule
Move to ban possession of
marijuana in Astoria parks
The Astorian
Hailey Hoff man/The Astorian
A #TimberUnity sign stands off U.S. Highway 30.
Differences emerge
over climate,
Oregon Capital Bureau
ALEM — On a rainy Thursday in
late June, Matt Gourley drove the
25 miles from Scio to Salem to
stand in front of the Capitol to protest a
sweeping environmental policy.
Gourley said it’s a “bill that’s being
forced down our throats that we don’t
really even understand.”
Gourley’s assertion ended up in a
promotional video for #TimberUnity,
a political group formed to push back
against lawmakers’ attempts to limit the
state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The group and its followers peg cap
and trade as the next blow to a tim-
ber industry that’s been in decline for
They see urban lawmakers as forc-
ing progressive policies on them, rather
than listening to the needs of their
Urban lawmakers say that argument
is a red herring: Industry is using such
policies as a scapegoat as they automate
their workplaces and ship jobs overseas,
where labor is cheaper.
The debate over the policy seemed
to deepen perceptions that there are two
Oregons — major metropolitan areas
with dominating populations and rural
Gov. Brown could veto several rural
Page A2
areas, ranging from fi sheries-based
coastal towns to harvest-dependent
communities in the east.
But the reality is more subtle, the dif-
ferences less stark, based on interviews
with state leaders, researchers and a
review of state data.
The bulk of the state’s revenue is
generated in metro areas, where 81%
of Oregonians live, according to federal
data. Exactly how much money that is,
and where it gets spent, isn’t something
the state tracks.
Still, those urban hubs largely fund
statewide initiatives, such as the state
highway and public education systems.
The Oregon Department of Trans-
portation has budgeted $78.3 million
from the state’s transit payroll tax to
road projects throughout the state.
Seventy-four percent of that money
is spent in the state’s most urban areas,
despite those hubs housing more than
80 percent of the state’s population.
Still, more than half of the overall
dollars are spent in the Portland metro
Between 1980 and 2018, amid stag-
gering population growth in the state,
the share of Oregonians living in rural
areas declined from 26% to 19% .
The state already uses a mix of local
and state funds to have uniform per-pu-
pil funding in schools , but some schools
might have only 20 students, mak-
ing it impossible to pay for a building,
staff and materials, said Mike Wiltfong,
the state Department of Education’s
director of school fi nance and school
Wiltfong said $95 million per year in
additional funds are dedicated to those
rural schools.
Shaping debates
The rural-urban divide shapes poli-
cies and debates in Salem.
Urban lawmakers are astutely aware
of the optics of praising rural commu-
nities and supporting bills that stimulate
rural economies.
Rural lawmakers, conversely, have
found railing about urban and progres-
sive lawmakers and policies is often
cheered back home.
“When legislation is designed for the
Portland area it crushes communities
from Bend to Ontario, to McMinnville
and Grants Pass,” the House Republican
caucus said in a January press release.
Some of the ire over state policy
has been aimed at Gov. Kate Brown,
a Democrat who has been involved in
state politics since the early 1990s.
She was singled out during the
June protest, her likeness seen bob-
bing through the crowd in effi gy on
cardboard cutouts. Big speakers blared
a catchy, if predictable, spin on Jim
Croce’s “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” —
replaced by “bad, bad Katie Brown.”
“Is there an urban- rural divide?
See Divide, Page A3
excerpt from a House Republican caucus press release in January
Cannery Pier Hotel faces $1 million oil cleanup bill
Settlement reached
over costly spill
The Astorian
The Cannery Pier and the
estate of late founder Robert
“Jake” Jacob face a nearly $1
million bill for the cleanup of an
oil spill last year.
A settlement agreement fi led
Tuesday by the U.S. Department
of Justice requires the hotel and
estate to pay $994,146 to the
Coast Guard’s National Pollu-
tion Funds Center within 30 days
or face $1,000 a day in late fees.
The settlement was signed
by federal prosecutors and Terry
Rosenau, managing partner in
the Cannery Pier and represen-
tative of Jacob’s estate. Repre-
sentatives for the Cannery Pier
were not immediately available
for comment.
“Neither Mr. Jacob nor the
hotel management was aware
that there was an abandoned fi sh
cannery oil tank concealed in the
foundations beneath the old con-
crete dock,’’ Rosenau said in a
statement to The Oregonian.
“Mr. Jacob cooperated fully
with the U.S. Coast Guard in
successful containment and
cleanup of the spilled oil, and
through this consent decree, is
See Hotel, Page A6
Edward Stratton/The Astorian
The U.S. Department of Justice is charging the Cannery Pier Hotel and
estate of late founder Robert Jacob nearly $1 million for the cleanup
of an oil spill last year.
An ordinance that would have banned
the possession of marijuana in Asto-
ria parks was sent back to staff after c ity
c ouncilors said they were not sure what
problem the rule was trying to solve.
While marijuana is legal in Oregon, it
remains illegal to smoke or consume in
public. Astoria already restricts alcohol
— with some exceptions — as well as
smoking and tobacco in city parks.
At a City Council meeting Monday,
Police Chief Geoff Spalding said modify-
ing the rule to prohibit possession of mar-
ijuana in parks was a logical step given
the rise in cannabis products and use.
Astoria has seven businesses with active
marijuana retail licenses .
“I think the thought behind it is it’s
one more tool the offi cers have,” Spald-
ing said.
People with medical marijuana cards
would have been exempt .
Mayor Bruce Jones supported the pro-
posal, comparing it to the city’s ban on
alcohol in city parks, but other city coun-
cilors were not convinced and questioned
the need for the modifi cation given the
ban on smoking.
City Councilor Joan Herman said
her biggest issue with the proposal was
that state law allows people to possess
marijuana .
See Pot rule, Page A6
police chief
calls out city
Smith asked Bowman
about dog bite case
The Astorian
GEARHART — Police Chief Jeff
Bowman said City Councilor Kerry
Smith was “grossly wrong” when Smith
came to his offi ce in July to ask about a
dog bite investigation.
In a letter to Mayor Matt Brown, Bow-
man said Smith, who is friends with the
people involved in the case, demanded to
see the police report .
Bowman said Smith
told him he was not ask-
ing as a city councilor.
“He wanted to know
what was going on in my
investigation,” the police
chief said in an interview.
“I just believe the man- Jeff Bowman
nerism in which he came
in here, he was acting as
a councilmember, not as
a citizen of the general
Smith was not imme-
diately available to com-
ment. Brown declined to
Kerry Smith
The dog bite took
place in July on the beach near 10th
Street .
According to police, a woman was
walking on the beach with her child in a
stroller and her dog off leash when they
encountered another woman with her two
young sons. The dog was introduced to
them as being friendly before biting one
of the boys , puncturing his face.
Bowman said the case was closed this
week and the dog’s owners released the
dog to be impounded. The police chief
See Gearhart, Page A6