County Commishes Squelch “Signed Something” Rumors

Let’s get two things straight right out of the chute, shall we?

1) It’s beautiful outside today. We’re talkin’ I’ve died and gone to San Diego beautiful here; 2) Rumors that the county commissioners have signed anything related to the Weyerhaeuser lawsuit/fee for access thing are not true. That’s from Commissioners Vickie Raines and Wes Cormier at this afternoon’s media session. (Commissioner Frank Gordon ducked out a bit early to attend another meeting.)

Got that?

Good. Also at this afternoon’s media session, Commissioner Raines said she doesn’t expect to sign a confidentiality agreement on the matter. She said she expects “to be able to discuss this when we’re done.” If you want details, folks, plan to attend the public hearing on the matter set for Tuesday, February 16 at 2:00 p.m. in the commissioner’s conference room. Aloha.

Other matters county-ish today included commish approval of a 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in Grays Harbor, a bunch of budget-ish stuff, boat and RV storage in Lake Quinault area, and forward movement on a gateway/enterprise center in Aberdeen.

Off-agenda (the fun stuff): Best Super Bowl snacks. Fly fishing. Chipotle. Pickle dip. A River Runs Through It.

Okay, back to business:

If you own an RV or boat and are looking for storage in the Lake Quinault area, take heart. The commissioners approved an ordinance-zoning code text amendment that allows the Lake Quinault District to add mini-storage buildings including RV and boat covered storage. The proposed change to the zoning ordinance passed unanimously at this afternoon’s regular business meeting.

The commissioners also approved a 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in Grays Harbor (as presented) by the Department of Public Health and Social Services. Joan Brewster, Director of Public Health & Social Services for Grays Harbor, thanked the commishes for their help in overseeing the endeavor. She noted that the plan “represents not an end, but a beginning to help address the issue in Grays Harbor.” Cassie Lentz, Housing Resource Coordinator, presented a brief overview of the plan. She said it was the result of a “year-long, community fueled process.”

Lentz added, “We heard some staggering stories and pieces of data” said Lentz. “For every 100 people seeking safe, affordable housing (in Grays Harbor,) there are only 17 units that meet their needs.” She also noted a “huge disconnect between supply and demand.”

The plan looks at contributing factors to homelessness and housing instability. Those who had input into the plan included the Union Gospel Mission, Neighbor Works – GH, GH Housing Authority, the Coastal Community Action Program, and Catholic Services. Several were on hand at this afternoon’s regular business meeting.

Commish Raines said, “I know this has been very much a team effort over the last year.” She said it’ll continue to be a team effort “as Grays Harbor seeks to eradicate the problem of homelessness.”

During the media session Raines elaborated, “The homeless issue is oftentimes a symptom of something else.” She noted that this afternoon’s Plan presentation was “very abbreviated.” The Board of Health walked out the whole tamale last week. Get some back story here (scroll down to the houses).

  • And Now For Some Public Service Announcements –

Blue Slough road was set to re-open at 3:00 p.m. today

The commishes approved the South Bank Road closure, beginning on February 16. This is for repairs and replacement of a culvert.

Related to the homeless issue, Commish Gordon noted the need for Sani-cans in downtown Aberdeen “as a temporary fix.” (You can connect those dots yourself.)

  • We Will Now Return You – To Our- Regularly Scheduled Programming –

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, like I said, the commissioner’s conference room was full of peeps who showed up in connection with the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in Grays Harbor. Well, at least moreso than usual. Most everybody vamoosed by about 2:20 p.m. A total of three non-staff types were still hanging in by 2:21 (hi, Mom).

Approved at this afternoon’s meeting: a three-year caretaker/living unit agreement for Vance Creek Park for Levi and Rebecca Linne; a Memorandum of Agreement with GHC and Confederated Tribes of Chehalis reservation for Chehalis Basic Partnership Watershed Coordinator (trying saying that 10x fast); and three resolutions:

  • Adjusting budgeted beginning cash balances, general and miscellaneous (dedicated) funds
  • Budget transfer- distressed area capital, $100K
  • Budget transfer – Special projects, $37K

During the morning meeting and the afternoon media session, Commish Raines reported that she met with members of the local legislative delegation in Olympia last week regarding plans to pursue a gateway/enterprise center in Aberdeen. They have a $1.6M request in to the state to fund a master plan study that includes design and engineering. The study must be completed prior to construction. Raines said the county will kick in “about 10%” of the cost for the study – $165K – “to show Grays Harbor has some skin in the game.”

“Our goal is to get that money in this session” the commish explained, with an eye toward beginning construction next year, hopefully. She said the $ request was “pretty well received by the folks we spoke with.”

The plan, at this point, includes a 20,000 sq. ft. facility with parking for RVs, restrooms, a coffee shop, an information/visitor center and other cool stuff. The site for the project is in Aberdeen, in the area where the Pourhouse and Selmers are located.

A few other things:

  • The 2016 budget as outlined was passed by the commissioners this morning.
  • Pictometery that covers topography, roads, steams, gravel pits and unstable land forms “is invaluable” said Larry Smith, Director of Tax Title Management. The commish consensus is that it’s “very cool.”
  • Paying the Council of Government’s dues out of the county road fund was discussed this morning.  Commissioner Gordon suggested postponing any action on that until he has a chance to talk to staff and study it further. Look for a revisit on the February 22 agenda.

One other thing: A certain local media dude is a darn good doodler. I’ll let you figure out who.

Now. Go outside and play. Last one to the river is a rotten éclair!



Photo – Creative Commons License