The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Mayor surprises port commission over dredging plans


October 19, 2017

Much needed dredging at the Elochoman Slough Marina will start in November, but it looked doubtful on Thursday when Mayor Dale Jacobson raised concerns during the Wahkiakum County Port 1 Commission meeting about the placement of dredge spoils.

At one point he threatened to pull Town of Cathlamet support for the project.

“Maybe you need to find another disposal site,” Jacobson said.

The mayor’s comment was met with shock and anger on the part of the port commission and staff. The port has been working on the dredging project to improve water depths in the marina and nearby channel for more than two years and has spent $88,000 for permits alone.

Jacobson said he had become concerned when he learned that the port was considering placing the dredge spoils into lagoon #1 instead of lagoon #3. He accused the port of not honoring their interlocal agreement with the town as well as their permits.

According to port officials, dredge spoils were always planned for the lagoon #3, as stated in their permit. After speaking with Josh Elliott, a project engineer for Maul, Foster & Alongi on Friday, October 6, commissioners came to the conclusion that placing the dredge spoils in lagoon #1 to de-water before they moved them to lagoon #3 would be more efficient and cost effective. They plan to move the de-watered dredge spoils to lagoon #3 at their own expense.

Most of the lagoon property belongs to the town, though a portion belongs to the port. There has been some partnership on a plan for a park, and placing the dredge spoils on the site was beneficial to all. Until the town comes up with the money to pay for the park, the site sits idle, the lagoons empty and unused.

After the mayor left Thursday's port meeting, communication seemed to improve.

“I would like to come up with a way for the two entities to work together and hopefully move spoils into lagoon #3 and all be in compliance with regulations,” TOC Public Works Director Duncan Cruickshank said.

“I personally think that’s the goal,” Port Director Jackie Lea said. “We have a dredge project and we’re going to do it.”

“We’ve got to get that done,” Commissioner Brett Deaton said. “That benefits the city, that benefits everybody. People will come with their big yachts and spend money in town.”

After the matter was clarified, Cruickshank agreed to speak to the town council, in order to “alleviate any concerns they might have.”

“I can convey the message that you just gave me,” he said, “using words substantially similar to the ones that you just used which are conciliatory and mutually beneficial to both organizations.”

When asked about the situation at the start of the town council meeting on Monday, Jacobson said he wanted to speak to the council before commenting.

After an executive session for potential litigation, the council directed the town attorney to prepare a letter giving Port District 1 written permission to destroy and remove the wooden structure between sewer lagoons #1 and #2.

In other business, Julius Dalzell, one of the founders of a local rowing club, informed the port that they had set up a chapter of Traditional Small Craft Association.

“We now have liability coverage and we will be able to put together bigger events here, which we hope will be able to impact the town and marina,” Dalzell said.

Commissioner Bob Kizziar took the opportunity to praise Dalzell and his co-planners for their work on the Wooden Boat Show this year.

Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing the sale of an abandoned vessel in the marina, a 60 foot 1932 Schooner and began discussing next year’s budget and rate changes before adjourning the meeting.


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