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Mayor's Message: Demonstration was one for the scrapbooks

Mayor Henry Balensifer
By Henry Balensifer III, Thursday, June 13, 2019

This week was full of action!

Navy ships patrolling the shore with hovercraft landing on the beach with equipment, and quick offload/reload and take-off exercises at the airport with Air National Guard C-130s.

It was one to put in the scrapbooks, although it’s my hope we can turn that demonstration into a real exercise someday.

If anyone had a chance to watch the KOIN-6 video short that had interviews of U.S. Navy officers, including an admiral, you heard the same statement loud and clear as I did. Don’t expect the Navy to be the first responders. Essentially, they are the last resort after the situation has been evaluated and is too large for local, county, and state assets to handle.

During the briefing, local officials learned about the literal maze of processes by which assets are brought to a disaster area. I learned that there’s quite a lot of formalities and processes that must occur before active-duty Department of Defense assets can be injected into a disaster.

While it’s good to know what the Navy can bring, we still must be prepared for roughing it for at least two weeks.

I’ll cover more on that topic next week.


In late May, the Clatsop Plains Elk Collaborative had its first official meeting. The city already has received its first public records request relating to the effort and I think it’s important to set expectations about this:

Gov. Brown has appointed Seaside Mayor Jay Barber and myself as co-conveners of this solutions development group. As a result, I and Mayor Barber must remain neutral facilitators. Since the steering committee operates on consensus, I’m seeking the group’s permission to add Commissioner Mark Baldwin as Warrenton’s advocate. If Baldwin is unable to serve for some reason, County Commissioner Mark Kujala would likely serve both a county and city role, as his district includes Warrenton.

No city “owns” this group. As a result, public records requests should be submitted to Portland State University, attn: Oregon Solutions.

No plan has been made to date. The meetings you’ve read about in the paper were attempts to find a path toward development of a plan and convene stakeholders.

The goal of the collaborative effort is to develop a toolkit for statewide and local use. The toolkit should outline what kind of data is needed to describe the problem accurately and then a host of options that can be tailored to address the unique situations of an area.

We know there is no silver bullet; one size doesn’t fit all. A toolkit enables options that can be picked a la carte, instead of all-or-nothing.

Stay tuned to The Columbia Press for more on this as the effort develops.

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