The Astoria City Council will hear an appeal by 13 residents hoping to overturn the Planning Commission’s approval of an 80-bed dormitory being planned by Pacific Seafood in a former drug treatment center at Astoria Pointe.

Residents in Uniontown originally wanted the council to take a fresh look at the project, including new testimony and evidence. But city staff and councilors, citing the preponderance of testimony and evidence already received by the Planning Commission and the need to limit crowds at City Hall over coronavirus concerns, agreed to review the material already on the record.

Astoria Pointe

Pacific Seafood wants to turn Astoria Pointe, the former drug treatment center in Uniontown, into temporary worker housing.

The City Council must decide whether to approve or deny the Planning Commission’s approval of the dorms by April 26. City Manager Brett Estes recommended the appeal hearing be held April 20.

The City Council on Monday also approved applying for up to $841,000 in state grants to pay for lighting and signage improvements along the Astoria Riverwalk, along with a new restroom modeled after the Portland Loo. The grants would require a 40% match that would come from the Astor West and East urban renewal districts, along with the Promote Astoria fund.

The City Council also approved a master plan for the Ocean View Cemetery that calls for, among other things, accommodating more cremations and green burials to reflect interment trends. The plan also calls for improving some landscaping and potentially developing a boardwalk along parts of cemetery lake in Warrenton. Catriona Hearn, a consultant with LEES+Associates, said the cemetery has projected room for two centuries’ worth of future burials.

The City Council also approved receiving $45,037 in grants from Pacific Power to install charging stations at the Astoria Aquatic Center.

Edward Stratton is a reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 971-704-1719 or estratton@dailyastorian.com.

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(2) comments

Barry Plotkin

Mr. Fenton should disclose whether he is a resident of the neighborhood where the proposed dorm is located and whether he has previously declared opposition to the Planning Commission's approval of Pacific Seafoods' plan. Meanwhile, the City Council, or the Planning Commission, has the option to add a proviso/condition that would limit implementation until after the emergency orders have been revoked. There is more than an up/down, yes/no option here.

Scott Fenton

Is this really happening in our little town of Astoria? Seriously? We are in the early stages of one of the largest pandemics in history, the deadly Covid-19 virus which is spreading like wildfire across the world. The City Council is being asked to approve a request by Pacific Seafoods in Warrenton for 80 temporary international visa workers, packed 4-6 into a single room with bunkbeds, to move in for seven months. This would be the most irresponsible action the city could possibly approve.

We are living in extreme times here. The CDC recommends groups of no more than 10 people. Cities are considering going into “lockdown”. I recommend Astoria ask the CDC if they think this is a good idea. You know the answer.

The Astoria City Council itself has declared an emergency this week. Government offices are closing or with severely restricted access. Restaurants and bars are all closed for dining for the foreseeable future and businesses are shutting down. Residents are in panic over their safety and health. With the rapid spread of this disease, they should be. These are terrible and frightening times.

So right in the middle of all this, let’s move and pack 80 temporary international workers into a tiny former nursing home (designed for 40), in a sleepy residential area of Astoria where families, children, and elderly people live. This would simply defy all logic and the City Council should reject this application for the concern of its citizens who have elected them into office. You are there to represent and protect us. We are asking you to do the right thing and deny this application.

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