There is a current move afoot to reorganize the Port of Astoria Commission, whereupon candidates would be put forth by various mayors and then ultimately selected by the governor.

This scheme was devised by former commissioners whose tenure coincided with the financial low ebb of the 100-year Port history. Their slogan was, “Broke and proud of it.” This is also the group who rubber-stamped the back-door lease of the valuable Port of Astoria/Skipanon property, for which the Port derives not one dime, yet saddles the Port with enormous liability. This is just the tip of the iceberg on their past mismanagement, and speaks volumes on their capacity to advise on Port matters.

At this juncture, every voter in Clatsop County has a vote on all Port Commission seats — wonderfully democratic. But in the view of the malcontents, the voter is too apathetic, too ill-informed or just plain not smart enough to make good choices — how wonderfully arrogant and elitist.

What is never mentioned in this debate is the underlying financial interest several individuals have in seeing a change of direction of Port management.

Finally, if you, the voter, think the governor knows what is best for Clatsop County (the gillnet ban comes to mind for me), then by all means get on the bandwagon. If, however, you feel as I do, that we now have a solid commission, a great new executive director, and that the Port is like a phoenix rising from the ashes of horrible past mismanagement, then see this movement for what it is: a back-door attempt to co-opt the process by a vocal minority.

Keep the Port Commission an elected position, open to any candidate — not a political appointment — with you, the voter, having the final decision.

Chris Connaway


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