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

Cathlamet council votes to buy lot; decision riles some


June 21, 2018

The Cathlamet Town Council on Monday voted to buy a parking lot and unleashed a storm of reaction from town citizens.

The property in question is on the corner of Main and Butler streets adjacent to the Bank of Pacific parking lot. Owner is Bernadette Goodroe, a former council member.

The council reconvened in open session after an executive session to discuss the possible real estate purchase, and Mayor Dale Jacobson called for a motion to purchase the lot.

"They were asking $75,000, and I was able to get it down to $68,000," Jacobson said. "I think it's in the best interest of the community for the town to have property downtown."

Council Member Ryan Smith moved to make the purchase at $68,000; Sue Cameron seconded.

Jacobson asked if there were any discussion, and Council Member Tanya Waller pointed out that the council had received an appraisal of the property's value at $40,000.

At that point, Cameron said she had a problem with bringing that information to the public for it might interfere with any other negotiation the owner might have for the property.

She asked Town Attorney Heidi Heywood for a comment, and Heywood responded that the information used to make a decision would be part of the public record.

Tanya Waller commented she felt the $68,000 figure was too high, adding that the county assessor appraises the value at $34,000.

At that point, Jacobson called for a vote.

Smith, Cameron and Jean Burnham voted in favor of the motion, and Tanya and Laurel Waller voted against for a 3-2 vote.

"Motion passes," Jacobson said.

At that point, the audience began commenting and asking questions.

"Seriously?" asked Robert Stowe, a member of the town planning commission.

"Are you going to build on it," another person asked.

"We don't intend to build on it," Jacobson responded.

One council member added that the lot would be green space.

"What about the parking?" someone asked.

From there, voices were talking on top of voices, and Jacobson adjourned the meeting.

After the room had somewhat cleared and quieted, Bill Wainright, a member of the town planning commission, pointed out that the public in the audience had no opportunity to comment on the issue.

In the appraisal prepared for the council Kelso appraiser Lindy Squires noted that there were few comparable sales. She used three, properties on Greenwood Road, Marina Drive and Main Street, with values ranging from $38,600 to $47,500.

"With no commercial zone bare land lots selling in the area in the past three years, these three sales are believed to be the best indicators of value at this time under the hypothetical condition that no environmental issues are present on the subject site," Squires wrote.

Citizens voiced their frustrations Tuesday at the meeting of the board of commissioners.

"It is an obvious case of gifting of public funds," said Main Street resident and business owner Paige Lake. She spoke of starting a recall effort or calling for a state audit report.

"I think there's been a quashing of input from citizens," said Prudence Diem, a member of the town planning commission.

Robert Stowe, another member of the town planning commission, shared copies of a letter to Jacobson notifying the mayor that he is resigning from the planning commission.

"I can no longer support an administration that I believe is not serving the public's best interest," Stowe wrote.


Reader Comments

MartieV writes:

Never have I wanted to live in the City limits more than now.My hands are tied, and I’m not happy about it.Ms.Goodroe can sell to whomever she wants. But NOT to the City Council,with money that doesn’t belong to them.And,with a $20k bow on Top.Thank goodness for the 2 new-bloods on the Council.How dare the Council buy ANYTHING of that magnitude without a majority of City inhabitant approval?The Good Old Boys club is still alive and kicking.


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