The Clatsop County Commission approved a resolution Wednesday to express support for the upcoming Ballot Measure 92, which requires labeling of genetically engineered foods.
The measure, if passed on the statewide ballot Nov. 4, would require all raw packaged food containing genetically modified organisms to carry labeling for the purpose of informing consumers.
The commission voted unanimously in support of the resolution.
Commissioner Peter Huhtala emphasized the potential impact labeling genetically modified foods would have on the local salmon industry.
In the resolution, the commission cited proposed action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the sale of genetically modified salmon as a threat to commercial fishing interest.
“Without labeling, the consumer may not know that the salmon they are buying is not one of the world’s most fantastic creatures from the Columbia River or a genetically modified creature,” Huhtala said.
The resolution states labeling genetically modified foods would avoid confusion and allow consumers to avoid eating genetically modified salmon, while continuing to buy wild-caught salmon from Clatsop County fishermen and local processors, if they so choose.
In addition, the resolution explains that if genetically engineered salmon is not labeled, it could decrease consumer demand for all salmon based on concerns about genetically engineered salmon.
Overall, the commission agreed that labeling genetically modified foods would not necessarily increase food prices and that labeling crops is already required in 64 other countries.
“As a producer of food, I would like to respect the consumer and what they are buying,” Commissioner Dirk Rohne, who owns and operates a dairy farm, said.
• The County Commission agreed to an intergovernmental agreement with Bonneville Power Administration to allow for another year of funding for the Select Area Fisheries Enhancement program.
Since 1993, BPA has provided funding through annual contracts to the Clatsop County Fisheries project, the Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife for a collaborative research project to identify and develop select area fishing opportunities to harvest abundant salmon stocks, while minimizing the incidental harvest of weak, or endangered stocks, according to the commission.
BPA will pay for all activities associated with the rearing and release of up to 1.6 million chinook and 540,00 coho salmon from Youngs Bay, Tongue Point Marine and Environmental Research and Training Station and Blind Slough Select Area net-pen sites. The contract is for $479,561 and is for Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2015.
• Budget and Finance Director Monica Steele was appointed as alternate county manager pro tem to act in the event that County Manager Scott Somers and Manager Pro Tem Dean Perez are absent.
The appointment is different than that of an interim county manager, the County Commission said, which occurs when the office is vacant or the county manager is unable to perform his duties.
The commission appoints an alternate county manager pro tem to ensure a chain of command in the event of a disaster, and to provide additional coverage when management is traveling.
Former alternate pro tem, Ed Wegner, recently retired after being appointed March 27, 2013.
• County road event permits were approved Thursday for the 2014 Bridges to Breakers Recreational Bicycle Ride through the county.
The Harrington Family Foundation, which hosts the bicycle ride, received approval for the third annual ride set for Sept. 27.
The event is a noncompetitive bicycle tour held to benefit the Harrington Foundation’s work on bicycle safety. About 200 riders are expected.
The Clatsop County portion of the route follows Oregon Highway 202 from Birkenfeld to Jewell and up to Olney, with a rest stop at Sigfridson County Park. The route then follows the Olney cutoff to Youngs River Road, taking Tucker Creek Lane, Logan Road and Lewis and Clark Road, reaching U.S. Highway 101 at Seaside and continuing north through Gearhart, ending at McMenamins Sand Trap.