Good news has been hard to come by lately for the business community. So the announcement that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) approved fill permits last week for the new Costco site in Warrenton has some community leaders giddy.

State Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, is one of them. She said Wednesday that she had spoken with members of the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners and had even toured the retail store's new site while the community waited for permits to be issued.

"I'm very enthusiastic for this opportunity for Clatsop County," Johnson said in her gregarious manner. "I've been up and toured the site - marched around in waist-high sticker bushes."

Wes Giesbrecht, of North Coast Retail LLC (formerly Atlin Investments), a Mercer Island, Wash., developer who intends to build the Costco in the business park, is awaiting permits from the Corps. The company began the processes to obtain fill permits in December 2007, after agreeing to buy the property from the county. Without the permits, the transaction could have been cancelled.

The Commission voted 4-0 (with Chairman Jeff Hazen recusing himself because he is a Costco manager) to extend the closing date for the transaction from May 19 to May 22. The action came during a regular meeting of the Board Wednesday morning in the Judge Guy Boyington Building.

The extra time until closing is intended to allow the completion of paperwork. Voting for the change were Vice Chairman John Raichl and Commissioners Patricia Roberts, Ann Samuelson and Dirk Rohne.

Samuelson praised Richard Krikava - in Johnson's office - for "bird-dogging" the process. Krikava and Johnson were in constant contact with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, DSL, the applicant and the county.

Earlier this week Hazen said he expected land clearing to begin before the closing date, so the new Costco can open sometime in November. He said the current Costco store in Warrenton is one of the four smallest stores the company maintains.

The Board also unanimously approved the formation of a Marine Reserves Advisory Committee.

Rohne was assigned the task of coordinating how committee members would be chosen. He said he would get back with a plan for determining who would be on the committee.

The state is in the process of siting marine reserves off the Oregon Coast. The reserves are areas which are protected from all extractive activities, including removal of living (fish, plantlife) or nonliving (oil, ore) resources.

"The goal is to be like a watershed council," Rohne said, and explained that watershed councils have a tendency to involve all stakeholders. "House Bill 3013 mandates seven to nine members. I think there should be five."

The Oregon Policy Advisory Committee recommended to Gov. Ted Kulongoski that six areas off the coast be considered development sites for marine reserves. Two of those - Otter Rock and Redfish - have been designated as pilot marine sites. These two were selected because of the collaborative efforts put forth by stakeholders.

Rohne said they, "have a great public process."

"There's not been a lot of involvement from folks on the North Coast," said Dean Ferguson, an avid sports fisherman who grew up around Knappa. "The two (pilot areas) we have on the table - going forward - are good study areas."

The Board also:

? Proclaimed May as Trails Month;

?Proclaimed May 17 to 24 as Emergency Medical Services Week;

? Proclaimed Clatsop County a 2010 Census Partner and formed a Census 2010 Complete Count Committee;

? Appointed Zach Bolitho, Larry Sprouse, Michael Clark and O Lynne Hacklin to the Recreational Lands Planning Committee.

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