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

Council member outlines actions


December 13, 2018

Reader Commentary by Sue Cameron

Councilor, Town of Cathlamet

I am writing this as an attempt to set the record straight about misconceptions--which seem to have a life of their own--regarding the Town of Cathlamet, especially as noted by Bill Wainwright in the Nov. 29 issue of The Eagle.

Regarding John Morgan: John Morgan is a highly respected consultant to Oregon Cities and came recommended by Bill Fashing of the Cowlitz/Wahkiakum Council of Governments (COG). I never worked with him in Tillamook, but I have co-facilitated leadership programs through the Luke Center, affiliated with the University of Oregon Public Planning Program for government, non-profit, and local leaders. When John came to Cathlamet, he met the mayor, Council Member Jean Burnham, Clerk/Treasurer Kerrie McNally and myself. Because we didn't have time to advertise for a public meeting, the other councilors were not invited. This meeting was to set the scope for a proposal from him to work with the town to provide an opportunity for the public to engage with the council, to set up strategic planning to determine long and short term goals, and to engage the public in that process. The proposal was brought to the council and approved on a 5-0 vote.

Regarding Morgan Group's initial findings: After interviewing a few people, John Morgan gave us an assessment of our problems, a timeline, and a proposal for costs. This has been set back because of Kerrie McNally's illness.

Regarding a proposed code of conduct: I introduced this to the council, and it was based on educational materials from the Association of Washington Cities. I believe that the meetings have become toxic, with public members offering unconstructive, inflammatory remarks and personal attacks on council members. Mr. Wainwright then assumed that it was because we didn't like the negative feedback. I have no problems with authentic, negative constructive feedback.

Regarding the property at 20 Butler Street: The council did due diligence in accordance with the exposure of the town. In a memo dated Feb. 23, 2006, the Washington Department of Ecology stated, "Ecology has determined that the independent remedial actions conducted at 20 Butler Street are sufficient to meet the substantive requirements contained in the MTCA, 17-340 WAC, for characterizing and addressing the contamination at the site. Therefore, pursuant to WAC 173-340-515 (5) Ecology is issuing this opinion that no further remedial action is necessary at the site under MTCA."

Regarding the value of the 20 Butler Street lot: The appraiser that did the appraisal is not licensed to do business in our town. Nor is she a commercial appraiser. She was recruited by Council Member Waller who asked for an appraisal. This appraisal did not consider the value to the public of public's use of the lot. I do not believe that the appraisal is a reflection as to what should be paid for the lot.

Regarding the purchase of the lot: The Bank of the Pacific [previous owner of the lot before the Goodroe family] listed the lot at $90,000. It was purchased by former Council Members Bernadette and David Goodroe for $75,000. It was offered to the mayor at $68,000. This was discussed in executive session at the direction of the town attorney. Our concern was that someone could offer more, and we would lose the opportunity to implement the revitalization plan and ideas in it to improve the town.

Thanks for reading through this. I hope this helps people to understand the facts, not conjecture, nor assumptions. If anyone has more questions or clarifications, they can email me at Cameron@town of


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