5th Annual Spirit of the River

Noel Thomas Watercolor

Saturday, September 24, 2011
6:30 pm Silent Art Auction
Masonic Lodge
1577 Franklin Ave., Astoria

8:00 pm Program
Clatsop Community College
Performing Arts Center
16th & Franklin, Astoria

CELEBRATE AND HELP protect the Columbia River during the 5th Annual “SPIRIT of the RIVER,” a lively event combining music, art and the spoken word on Saturday, September 24th at the Clatsop Community College Performing Arts Center, 16th & Franklin, in Astoria. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Masonic Lodge across the street from the PAC with a silent auction showcasing a wide variety of work by many local and regional artists. The entertainment follows at 8 p.m. highlighting favorite performers from past events as well as exciting new talent.

Robert Michael Pyle, award-winning author, ecologist and a Guggenheim Fellow, is the special guest for this year’s event. A number of Pyle’s books, including Wintergreen and Skytime in Gray’s River, deal attentively and intimately with the natural history and human community of his home territory in Southwestern Washington. Pyle has taught environmental writing from Ilwaco to Idaho, Tajikistan to Tasmania. Next spring he will serve for the second time as Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Montana. He shares an old Swedish farmstead with weaver and botanist Thea Linnaea Pyle on a Lower Columbia tributary in Gray’s River, WA.

The program showcases talent from both sides of the river and includes Alexa Wiley, Portland singer-songwriter; Willapa Hills, popular folk musicians from Cathlamet; Jennifer Goodenberger, Astoria’s own pianist and composer; Patrick Dixon, fisher poet from Olympia, WA; and the energetic Knappa Marimba Band under the direction of John Fenton. Information about the event and the performers can be found at:

This year’s Spirit of the River featured artist is Astoria’s Noel Thomas, a nationally known painter and signature member of the American Watercolor Society. The Columbia River is woven throughout Thomas’ life, originating with his father and the 30 foot boat he built. Photographs of his Columbia River paintings will be projected as backdrop stage settings for each performer, as well as gracing this year’s poster. Born in Longview, WA, Thomas pursued a career in advertising art in New York and Los Angeles before returning to the Lower Columbia area, where he paints from his Astoria studio.

The silent art auction held in the Masonic Lodge presents offerings from the best of the art talent from the estuary. The doors to the art auction open at 6:30 p.m., half an hour earlier than previous years. Hors d’oeuvres and wine are available as bidders circulate freely through the spacious and beautiful building. The bidding closes at 7:50 with no intermission this year. Items for bidding include paintings, photography, jewelry, sculpture, pottery, quiltwork, books and more. Winning bids will be picked up following the conclusion of the program.

Spirit of the River 2011 combines a celebration of the magnificent Columbia River and the work of the river communities in defending the river. Columbia Riverkeeper is a key partner in the legal, legislative and political battles to prevent the destruction of the estuary. Columbia Riverkeeper was founded in 1989 and is based in Hood River, Oregon. Its mission is: “to restore and protect the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean.” Brett VandenHeuvel, Riverkeeper’s Executive Director, will welcome the audience.

“It’s so exciting to bring together Washington and Oregon artists and performers as we honor this incredible river and celebrate our commitment and success in protecting our beloved river,” said Cheryl Johnson of Brownsmead, the coordinator for the event. She and her husband, Ted Messing, are the volunteer Estuary Coordinators for Columbia Riverkeeper.

Tickets for Spirit of the River are $20 and available at Lucy’s Books, 348 12th Street in Astoria, online at and at the door the night of the performance. Prepaid ticket holders will enjoy express check-in at the Masonic Lodge for the silent art auction.

Noel Thomas
Artist Noel Thomas’ nationally recognized water colors will set the stage as performance backdrops at this year’s SPIRIT of the River.

Agnes Field
Alex Myers
Andy Ciers
Bette Lu Krause
Brian Johnstone
Charles Schweigert
Cheryl Silverblatt
Chris Bryant
Christi Payne
David Campiche
David Lee Myers
Dee Vadnais
Don Frank
Don Nisbett
Donna Anessi
Gin Laughery
Greg Darms
Heather Richardson
Isabelle Johnston Haist
Jamie Boyd
Jane Audrey
Janet Darcher
Jenna Austin Nisbett
Josh Prichard
Bob PyleMariposa RoadJudith Altruda
Judy VanderMaten
Karen Snapp
Kendall McEuen
Kristin Shauck
LaRee Johnson
Laurie Caplan
Leena Riker
Lisa Ackerman
Lynnette Hubert
Margaret Thierry
Mary Tanguay Webb
Nancy Campiche
Noel Thomas
Pam Jacobson
Pat Dixon
Paul Tweten
Penny Treat
Rhonda Grudenic
Roger Dorband
Roger Hayes
Rose Grafton
Roz Edelson
Sally Bailey
Susan Darms
Tim Liddiard
Trudy Woods
Vicki Baker
Vicki McAfee
Wally Mann

LNG UpDate/Coal Export Info from Columbia River Keeper

1. Clatsop County judge rejects Oregon LNG legal action.
In a highly anticipated and important decision, a Clatsop County judge sided with Clatsop County and Columbia Riverkeeper in determining that the County has the right to reject the Oregon LNG project.  Oregon LNG is appealing this ruling, and Columbia Riverkeeper is intervening in the case.  CRK and our coalition of allies continue to battle Oregon LNG’s increasingly desperate legal maneuvers.  The company cannot proceed until it receives local land use approval – a prospect that is highly unlikely anytime soon.

2. HB 2700 Passes. Your help needed.
After failing in two consecutive years, the pipeline fast-track bill passed in June.  So – what happened?  Proponents of HB 2700 convinced a majority of the legislature that the bill was necessary for building sidewalks, water pipes and sewer lines while cynically refusing to accept an amendment to exclude LNG.  In short, because of the successes in stopping Bradwood LNG and the Palomar pipeline, many legislators bought the idea that the bill “wasn’t about LNG.”

Thousands of Oregonians weighed in against the bill, and Columbia River Keeper will work in the coming months to limit its negative impact on Oregonians.  In the wake of the passage of HB 2700, LNG pipeline companies may soon be able to apply for and obtain permits on private lands without landowner permission.  The appeal period is very brief, so please contact Dan Serres at Columbia Riverkeeper immediately if you receive notice or hear of pipeline permits being issued in your area.  Contact: Dan Serres, Conservation Director, Columbia Riverkeeper. (503) 890-2441.

3. News from Southern Oregon – Coos Bay Project Faces Hurdles.
The Port of Coos Bay is seeking approval to excavate and dredge 5.7 million cubic yards of material in order to build and operate the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline.  The magnitude of the proposal is staggering, and thus far the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) has not made a decision on the project.  Oregonians submitted thousands of comments urging DSL to deny this project because there is no need for LNG in Oregon and no need for the terminal in the absence of LNG.  We stand united – no LNG projects should be built in Oregon because it’s clear that Oregon does not need an LNG export or import project.

In an front page article by Oregonian LNG reporter Ted Sickenger this past July, he wrote what LNG opponents have known for years, that LNG projects in Oregon are seeking to export – rather than import – LNG. “Two years ago, energy companies trying to build terminal to import liquefied natural gas to Oregon laughed at the notion of using their projects instead to export burgeoning supplies of U.S. and Canadian gas to lucrative markets in Asia.  The idea, backers said, was a conspiracy theory concocted by environmentalists and landowners who didn’t want pipelines laid across public and private lands.  Today, those opponents can safely remove their tinfoil hats.”

The article continues, “If natural gas producers and LNG terminal backers have their way, Oregon could become a significant hub in exporting domestic gas to Asia, joining a nationwide push that could have a meaningful — and according to critics, disastrous — impact on the price of natural gas for U.S. consumers.”

Will Oregon agencies allow this massive bait-and-switch, permitting projects that will use eminent domain to ship U.S. gas to Asian markets?

Coal Export in Longview-Kelso
From small business owners to fisherman, to longtime residents, citizens in Longview are working together to spread the word on why coal export is a move in the wrong direction for a community that values family-wage jobs, fishing, and river recreation. Longview was the first target of coal export speculators: last year, Ambre Energy proposed its mega coal export terminal on the banks of the Columbia at the former Reynolds Aluminum site. Riverkeeper quickly caught wind of the mega coal export terminal, and mobilized to spread the word with river advocates along the Lower Columbia. Within a few short months, Riverkeeper worked with citizens to expose how coal export will affect the daily lives of Cowlitz County residents.

Excerpt from recent Longview Daily news OPed: Based on the assumption that exporting 25 million metric tons of coal annually (keeping in mind the company has mentioned expanding to 80 million tons) would require 10 trains per day — each one over 1.37 miles long — the trains would most likely block three to four road crossings at a time. Those crossings likely to be affected are Third Avenue, California Way, Oregon Way, Industrial Way and the main entrance to the Weyerhaeuser mill site. These bottlenecks could tie up traffic, make people late for work, and limit opportunity to transport new commodities — all while spreading windblown coal dust for miles.

Throughout the summer, Riverkeeper and its Power Past Coal campaign allies continue to work with communities threatened by pollution from coal dust and rail traffic, including Kelso-Longview. Although summer is in full swing, concerned citizens are turning out in large numbers to learn the latest on potential sites for proposed coal terminals.  Earlier this month, Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club held the first coal export public forum in St. Helens, Oregon.  Last month, Riverkeeper uncovered secret plans for a coal export terminal at the Port of St. Helens.  Riverkeeper is urging concerned citizens to contact Governor Kitzhaber and explain why Oregonians need clean air and water, not coal export.

Similar to Riverkeeper’s on-going work with communities threatened by liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and pipelines, Riverkeeper and partners are working to spread information and strategies for communities to take a stand for the river and against coal export.