Local News

On North Coast, lack of access to abortion services

Reporter Nicole Bales with The Astorian also wrote and contributed to this report. This story is made possible by a collaboration between KMUN and The Astorian. CLATSOP COUNTY — Before her son turned a year old, Chelsea Johnsen had cervical surgery to remove cells that had the potential to become cancerous. Then she found out…


Astoria city manager to step down

ASTORIA — After 15 years with the city, Astoria City Manager Brett Estes is stepping down. He said Wednesday that he will be taking on the role of North Coast regional representative with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, a job previously held by Lisa Phipps. Estes’ last day is July 4. The…


Astoria considers changes to abandoned vehicle ordinance

ASTORIA — City leaders have amended Astoria’s abandoned vehicle ordinance in a move they hope will help address growing concerns about RVs and other vehicles abandoned on city streets. The update to the ordinance is part of several so-called “livability” ordinances the city has considered in recent months with a direct link to homelessness-related issues…


Voters reject school bond proposal

PACIFIC COUNTY — Voters rejected a $96.2 million bond proposed by the Ocean Beach School District this week. Several hundred ballots remain to be tallied since Tuesday night’s election, but the bond needed a supermajority of 60% to pass. With the recent count as of Thursday sitting at only 22.7% in favor of the bond…


Two vie for District 5 seat

CLATSOP COUNTY — Housing is one of the main talking points for candidates vying for the District 5 seat on the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners in the May primary election. District 5 is massive. It stretches from the southern part of Seaside to the Tillamook County line and east to include communities like Jewell and…


District 3 candidates talk housing, childcare

CLATSOP COUNTY — The issues of housing and childcare top the list for two candidates vying for the District 3 seat on the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners. Ballots for the May primary election go out in the mail this week. Voters in District 3, which now encompasses most of Astoria after the lines were…


Remains of missing woman found

The remains of a Svenson woman who disappeared in 2019 have been found on an island on the Columbia River. The Oregon State Police Medical Examiner’s office has positively identified remains found on Lois Island, an island located between Tongue Point and the John Day river outlet, as those of 29-year-old Maya Sanders who was…


City chooses new daycare provider for Sprouts facility

ASTORIA — Bumble Art Studio, a part-time preschool in Astoria, will take over day care operations at a city-run facility that was set to close in June. In an unanimous vote Monday night, the Astoria City Council chose Bumble’s proposal to lease the Sprouts Learning Center over a second proposal submitted by Head Start, an…


New affordable housing project in the works

ASTORIA — A proposal by the Northwest Oregon Housing Authority could increase the amount of affordable housing in Astoria available to seniors and people with disabilities. The NOHA hopes to add to the existing Owens Adair affordable housing complex on 15th and Duane Street, essentially creating a mirror image of the building to add around…


Cruise ships return to Astoria

ASTORIA — For the last two years, the cruise ship industry, a major source of revenue for the Port of Astoria, has faced major disruptions. But last week, on Friday, the first ship of the season docked at the end of Pier 1, the Koningsdam. Originally, the Koningsdam was supposed to be the second cruise…


Genetic ‘traces’ paint a picture for fisheries

As fish swim around in the ocean, they leave pieces of themselves behind. “At sort of the least technical level: It’s slime. It’s skin. It’s poop,” said Andrew “Ole” Shelton, a researcher with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. “It’s, you know, all the things you don’t really want to think about being in…


City drops Heritage Square housing project

The Astoria City Council signaled today that it will be stepping back from a proposed downtown workforce and affordable housing project. During an executive session earlier this week, city councilors learned exactly how much Portland developer Edlen & Co. was asking the city to contribute to get the proposed housing project at Heritage Square off…


County eyes properties for housing development

Clatsop County is looking to develop housing at foreclosed properties the county owns in several North Coast cities. Monica Steele, assistant county manager, told members of Astoria’s Homelessness Solutions Task Force at a meeting Thursday that the county is talking with nonprofits and private developers to see what interest there might be to create various…


Owner to sell historic ‘Terrible Tilly’ lighthouse

Terrible Tilly, the 141-year-old Tillamook Rock Lighthouse near Cannon Beach, is for sale.  Owner Mimi Morissette has listed the property for $6.5 million. She once hoped to turn the lighthouse into a large columbarium, a place to store people’s cremated remains. There was room, she said, for up to 300,000 urns.  But Morissette’s plan never…


Suspect in Astoria arson fires arrested

The suspect in a string of arson fires in Astoria’s Uppertown neighborhood is in custody. Preston Powers, 18, was arrested by sheriff’s office deputies in Gainesville, Florida where he is accused of making multiple bomb threats toward Buchholz High School in August 2021. According to Paul Charas, a deputy district attorney for Clatsop County, the…


Astoria city, business leaders to lead community forum on homelessness

UPDATE — KMUN was at the city’s forum on livability and homelessness in Astoria and recorded the event. You can listen by clicking play on the sound file above. Lorraine Veach recently overheard two women talking about a divisive proposal to build workforce and affordable housing in Astoria’s Heritage Square downtown. The women were bemoaning…



Highway 101 reopens to one lane

A landslide that state geologists describe as large and complex closed a portion of U.S. Highway 101 near Wheeler for nearly two days. The highway reopened to one-lane traffic near milepost 47 late Wednesday afternoon, but flaggers could be guiding traffic through for several weeks to come. State road crews will need to clear vegetation…


Gray whales pass Oregon Coast

Giants are passing by the Oregon Coast right now: Gray whales migrating north, heading to the Bering Sea from calving grounds in Baja California, Mexico. After several years of seeing “skinny” gray whales — whales apparently not finding enough food en route — and varied improvement since amid shifting ocean conditions, researchers have been concerned…


City lands funds to protect against landslides

Anyone who has spent time in Astoria or considered buying property in the city, often learns one thing very quickly: It is a landscape prone to sliding. The evidence of past slides can be as subtle as oddly slanted trees on a hillside, but the scar of one slide visible just beyond two major tourist…


Landslide closes Highway 101 near Wheeler

Photo courtesy of ODOT U.S. Highway 101 is closed south of Wheeler tonight and through tomorrow morning because of an active landslide. The landslide began early this morning near milepost 47 in Tillamook County. State road crews tried several times to reopen a lane on the highway today only to have more rocks and material…


Wev to face challenger in May election

A challenger has emerged in the race for a seat on the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners. Nathan Pinkstaff has announced he will run for the District 3 seat currently held by County Commissioner Pamela Wev. Pinkstaff works as deck mechanic for Tidewater Barge Lines and has worked in the timber and commercial fishing industries…


State begins to move birds off Astoria Bridge

Flaggers stop traffic in both directions and the Astoria Bridge falls silent. Until the fireworks begin. The pyrotechnics go off in lone bursts with long gaps in between, each one leaving a thin trail of smoke that hovers over the Columbia River. Angela Beers-Seydel, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, leans against the…


State moves to haze birds off Astoria Bridge

Expect loud noises and intermittent traffic delays on the Astoria Bridge today as crews test out techniques to clear double crested cormorants from the bridge. The bridge is scheduled to be under construction for protection work and painting this summer and the increased presence of cormorants on the bridge has become a problem. Traffic today…


High wind warning in effect for the coast

A high wind warning is in effect for Oregon’s North Coast beginning tonight through late Monday afternoon. The warning also applies to the south Washington coast. The National Weather Service says people should expect south winds of up to 35 miles per hour with gusts of 45 to 60 miles per hour. Winds will be…


End of mask mandate complex for local schools

The announcement that Oregon officials will lift the state’s indoor mask mandate ahead of schedule on March 19 was welcome news for people who had pushed for an easing of masking requirements in schools — or at least, for local control so districts could make such decisions on their own. To mask or not to…


Astoria moves ahead with workforce housing downtown

The Astoria City Council pushed ahead last night to bring workforce housing and housing for people struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues to Heritage Square. Calling the amount of community input staggering and passionate on both sides, the council voted 3-2 to negotiate with a Portland developer Edlen & Co. to redevelop most of…


LOCAL NEWS: Astoria will close childcare facility

Astoria city leaders are planning to get out of the childcare business. At a work session Wednesday afternoon, city councilors said they couldn’t support continuing with the city’s Sprouts Learning Center daycare. The daycare center, one of the larger facilities in Clatsop County, is run through the Astoria Parks and Recreation Department, serves 21 families…


Clatsop County health providers bracing for Omicron surge

Clatsop County held an online press conference about COVID trends and testing. The County is bracing for an Omicron surge. By Joanne Rideout [Scroll down to listen, script below] Judy Geiger is vice president of patient care services at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria. Judy Geiger: “We’ve seen an uptick in COVID but it’s staying…


Retail Ground Beef Recall In Oregon, Washington

Interstate Meat Distributers Recalls Ground Beef Products Due to Possible E. Coli 0157:H7 Contamination WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2022 – Interstate Meat Dist. Inc., a Clackamas, Ore., establishment, is recalling approximately 28,356 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today….