A $9 million city of Astoria project is ranked No. 1 on a list of 38 projects Clatsop Economic Development Resources (CEDR) is recommending for federal stimulus funding after hearing presentations at a workshop Thursday.

CEDR will forward its list to the Clatsop County Commission, which is identifying countywide "shovel ready" projects to submit to the state for consideration. Having a single list is expected to improve the projects' prospects for success in statewide competition for stimulus funds.

The County Commission meets 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Judge Guy Boyington Building at 857 Commercial St., Astoria. The list is on the consent agenda, meaning it may be approved without significant comment.

Astoria's top project is the Denver Street Combined Sewer Overflow Storage, part of an ongoing federally mandated program to keep raw sewage from overflowing into the Columbia River and Youngs Bay during heavy rainstorms by keeping stormwater runoff out of sewer pipes. The CSO program is a massive 20-year infrastructure project that has already cost the city $10 million and is expected to cost another $30 million.

Astoria City Manager Paul Benoit is happy to see the CSO project at the top of the list. "I'm thrilled. It's a very significant project in terms of its size and scope," he said. "If federal stimulus dollars make their way to Clatsop County, it would employ a lot of people for a long time."

A second Astoria project in the top 10 is the $800,000 Bear Creek Dam Waterline replacement, which would replace a 70-year-old single waterline that is the only conduit for carrying water from the city's watershed in Svensen, 12 miles east of Astoria. The Astoria water system serves five districts in addition to the city. Replacing the line came in ninth on the list, tied with a $120,000 project to upgrade a seawall at West Second Street in Cannon Beach.

Astoria's neighbors also won top spots on the list for their water projects. In the No. 2 slot are water system upgrades totaling $2,785,000 for rural water districts including Burnside, John Day, Falcon Cove, Knappa and Wickiup. And a $10 million water tank the city of Warrenton is ready to build on Clatsop Plains tied for seventh place with a $650,000 water main upgrade for Gearhart.

Rounding out the top 10 are a new $3.5 million fire station for the city of Gearhart at No. 3; the city of Seaside's $416,000 East Side Sewer upgrades at No. 4; Clatsop County's $200,000 South Fork Fish Hatchery Power project at No. 5; and replacing Western Oregon Electric's transmission lines in Hamlet, a $3.4 million project presented by County Commissioner Ann Samuelson that was ranked No. 6.

The projects were ranked by CEDR based on how participants at the CEDR workshop rated them on a scale of one to four on forms they filled out after the presentations were over. Recommendations are based on whether projects fit three criteria: infrastructure improvement, job creation and immediacy (projects that can be implemented with immediate job creation impact).

In addition to its projects in the top 10, Astoria has five other projects ranked farther down the list. They include two projects in a four-way tie for 17th place: a $3 million reconstruction of the city's 17th Street pier, and a $750,000 project to replace the Bond Street waterline that has been above ground since the 2007 landslide and repair the road. Also tied for 17th place are the city of Warrenton's $1.1 million wastewater core conveyance project and $165,000 18-inch waterline at Marlin Avenue and U.S. Highway 101.

Three other Astoria projects rank at No. 23, 29 and 31: $1.8 million to reconstruct Eighth Street, $750,000 for dock repairs at the end of several streets that end at the riverfront and $1 million for repairs to sidewalks over streets that are built on chairwalls.


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