In American public life, too much these days reaches no decision. Instead, our lawmakers dither. For instance, Congress comes to no conclusion on the most basic matter of all a budget.
So, a local event of some finality is valuable. The Oregon Supreme Court last week decided not to take the appeal of the case of a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal on the Skipanon River. Specifically, the high court will not review the state Appeals Courts ruling that that Clatsop County Commission was within its authority to reverse LNG?pipeline siting approval by the prior county commission.
Because public life moves at such a rapid pace, it is easy to forget where this came from. With little public discussion, the Port of Astoria on Nov. 5, 2004, signed a lease with the Calpine Corp. to site an LNG terminal on the Skipanon. The Calpine deal marked the beginning of the end of Port Executive Director Peter Gearins promising administration.
The Skipanon LNG story also is a reminder of the corrupt Clatsop County Commission that ignored a planning staff recommendation to deny Calpine a permit. The county commissions chairman stacked the county planning commission to favor Calpines LNG?terminal.
In the face of such blatantly shady business, the public revolted. Two county commissioners were recalled from office. And Commissioner Dirk Rohnes election by a convincing margin in 2008 effectively sealed the fate of the Skipanon LNG?site.
In successive elections and court decisions, the public gained the voice it was denied by the Port of Astoria. The process took a decade, but we have a measure of finality.