- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

COOS BAY, Ore. (AP) - Three Coos Bay region community leaders who helped set up a foundation to funnel money from a proposed $4 billion liquefied natural gas development to schools in the region have resigned en masse.

After adopting bylaws, the three said in a statement they had done what was necessary to allow the South Coast Community Foundation to move forward, The World newspaper of Coos Bay (https://bit.ly/1wfEzLt) reports.

The development of the foundation has been divisive.

Local leaders are working on a plan to substitute “community service fees” for property taxes from the industrial complex planned by Canadian developer Veresen Inc. to export American natural gas to Asia.

The fees would go into a Community Enhancement Plan, and half of that would go for educational purposes through the South Coast Community Foundation.

Critics say the foundation as a private entity wouldn’t be transparent, as would a government.

“I’m not surprised,” said port CEO David Koch of the resignations. “As a result of their volunteerism to help this community put this plan together, they’ve been berated by people that have mistrusted their intentions. I am disappointed that the situation has caused them to feel underappreciated for the work they have done.”

As a result of the public outcry, a committee was set up to analyze the foundation bylaws and to put open meetings and records rules in place.

After approving the new rules, Bill Lansing, John Whitty and Joanne Verger handed over the organization to a new board, issuing a news release that said they “felt that they had done all things necessary to allow the Foundation to move forward.”


Information from: The World, https://www.theworldlink.com

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