County officials closed the record last week and set Dec. 13 for a vote on NorthernStar Natural Gas' proposed Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal along the Columbia River in Oregon.

The Clatsop County commission held a second hearing on the LNG zoning request Nov. 19 to hear from more residents and allow NorthernStar to provide rebuttal. It then added a week for more written comments before closing the record.

Commissioners indicated that they expect to take a vote at the Dec. 13 meeting, a spokesperson for NorthernStar said Thursday. Despite a staff report recommending denial of the company's rezoning request, the appointed county planning commission on a 4-3 vote in August recommended that the elected commissioners approve the zoning for the proposed LNG site.

While the commission's hearings have gone well for NorthernStar, according to local officials, prior to the first hearing in October the county planning staff recirculated its earlier negative assessment of the project. It recommended against the proposed terminal site, which is about 30 miles east of Astoria, OR, where the Columbia meets the Pacific Ocean.

Planning staff members continue to stress their report indicated that several of NorthernStar's specific requests should be turned down, including one to dredge 700,000 cubic yards of material from 46 acres of the river bottom, deepening the riverbed by nine feet. Adjacent landowners also do not want the proposed connecting transmission pipeline crossing their property.

Ultimately, opponents are expecting the issue to wind up with the state land-use board of appeals, regardless of what the county commissioners decide to do when they vote Dec. 13.

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