The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current, February 01, 2012, Image 1

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U.S. Postage Paid
Vernonia, OR 97064
Permit No. 37
Vol. 27, No. 3
The Voice
Voice of
of the Upper Nehalem River
River Valley
Valley for
for Over
Over 25
27 years
February 1, 2012
Town Hall on preparedness
The new Vernonia school building continues to take shape. This picture, taken January 31,
of the front entrance shows many of the windows in place and FSC cedar siding. The FSC
designation assures that the wood was responsibly harvested from well-managed verified
sources. For more information on the new school and funding, see article on page 12 by Su-
perintendent Dr. Ken Cox.
Early results give Bonamici the lead
Based on results available
early last night, Suzanne
Bonamici is leading for the 1st
District Congressional seat
with 54.24% of the statewide
vote, which included 49.89%
percent of the Columbia Coun-
ty votes and 52.95% of Wash-
ington County votes. The win-
ner will take the seat vacated
by David Wu’s resignation in
Voter turnout for the January
31 special election was 45.40%
in Columbia County, 38.86% in
40.01% statewide as of 9:00
p.m. election night.
Suzanne Bonamici
U.S. Senator
Wyden Town Hall
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden
will hold a Town Hall meeting
in Scappoose on February 5,
at 12:30 p.m., at Scappoose
City Hall, 33568 E. Columbia
Senator Wyden has been
holding town hall meetings in
every county, every year
since 1996.
The City of Vernonia held a
hurriedly scheduled Storm
Watch 2012 Preparedness
community town hall on Satur-
day, January 28, at the Vernon-
ia Middle School. The town hall
was set up as a result of the re-
cent snow storm, with electrici-
ty loss, and was based on ex-
pectations of very wet weather
for the rest of this winter.
Though only 15-20 commu-
nity members attended the
town hall, West Oregon Electric
Cooperation (WOEC) General
Manager Marc Farmer started
the presentations (see Power
of the People on page 13 for
that information).
Vernonia Mayor Josette
Mitchell explained the reasons
the city had declared an emer-
gency during the storm. That
declaration is done in order to
start mobilization of county re-
sources in case the needs of
the event outstrip the city’s
available funds. It sets the
stage for county, and possibly
state or federal (depending on
the level of needs and costs)
agencies to be able to help. In
the case of this last storm, out-
side resources (other than
WOEC’s need for outside
crews) were not needed. The
declaration does not mean that
shelters will necessarily be set
up, just that the city is trying to
be ready for whatever needs
may arise.
Recognizing that citizens
need for a way for citizens to
find out what’s going on, and
what resources are available
depending on the situation, the
city is setting up a Facebook
page for information, in addi-
tion to the city website.
The two buildings designat-
ed as shelters are St. Mary’s
Feb. 10 will be a
school day
Western Pond Turtle is one of two turtle species native to
Oregon that will be covered in a free presentation. See page
20 for more information.
Friday, February 10, will
be a school day with a regu-
lar Friday schedule for Ver-
nonia students. The day will
make up for one of the days
lost recently to snow.
Catholic Church and the old
Lincoln Grade School building.
Community members can go to
one of those two locations for
information if they don’t have
phone service. If they do have
phone service, call the Vernon-
ia Police Department non-
emergency numbers, where in-
formation will be recorded.
Those numbers are 503-397-
1521 or 1-800-696-7795.
The city’s Emergency Com-
mittee, in conjunction with the
Vernonia Rural Fire Protection
District has put together a sur-
vey to find out which communi-
ty members may be vulnerable
in different scenarios (such as
flood, earthquake, power out-
age, etc.). It is available at city
hall and will be mailed out with
the next water bill.
The need for all community
members to be able to “shelter
in place” for the first 48-72
hours of any emergency was
stressed. Each home needs to
have food, a heat source, and
water for up to three days. In-
formation on what should be in
the 72-hour kit can be found at
l and other online sites.
Another suggestion was for
each household to have signs
to put in a front window, one
saying “HELP” and the other
“OKAY” so that neighbors and
friends can see right away who
needs help and who’s doing
The city will continue work-
ing on refining emergency pro-
cedures and getting more citi-
zens involved in emergency re-
sponse and more information
to the community.
More emergency prepared-
ness information is on page 8.
Band Concert
The January 24 Vernonia
band concert was cancelled,
at the last minute, due to the
loss of school days from
weather during the previous
week. It has not yet been