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

How much 'green' goes on a white elephant?


April 11, 2019

To The Eagle:

According to a quote cited in the February 28 issue of The Eagle, Town Council Member Sue Cameron stated, “I think if we can get this pinned down, we'd be in a lot better shape. Then we can have some fun planning a park." At the April 8 special council meeting, Ms. Cameron presented a slide show of parks created elsewhere but was unable to pin down an amount available/budgeted for this potential white elephant park at 20 Butler Street in Cathlamet.

Upon leaving the Friday “Brown Bag Lunch” at the Cathlamet Community Center, Ryan Smith, another of the city council members who voted for spending more than the appraised value for the lot, joyfully anticipated the beauty of green covering the asphalt at the site. I deplore the excessive amount of “green” the city council spent on the highly controversial purchase of the lot and the additional “green” it may spend on consultants – not to mention the money the city, by vote of the council members, has already spent and will continue to spend to defend the council in the recall petition now under appeal.

I advise Mr. Smith to enjoy the green in the parks we already have (Vista Park, Erickson Park, Strong Park, and the eventual Waterfront Park at the site of the former sewer plant). Ms. Cameron may do well to find “fun” by choosing activities other than spending taxpayer money unwisely. I also encourage her and the other council members to prepare a town council budget for the year 2019. Before I buy real estate (with my money), I plan what to do with it and how much money I can spend to realize my plans. It appears to be different when taxpayer money is involved.

Many Wahkiakum residents are elderly and/or handicapped. Before the lot at 20 Butler Street in Cathlamet was blocked for reasons unknown, they, people with children, and employees of local venues could park in the lot near the barber shop, stores, pharmacy, bank, lawyer’s office, and restaurants. The revenue of these businesses may well be adversely affected if customers must park elsewhere and walk greater distances to/from their cars. The potential compromise of allotting some parking space to cars along the Main Street border of the “park” would force drivers to back their parked cars onto Main Street. This portends disaster. While questions from the public were disallowed at the special meeting on April 8, public meetings are planned for April 19 and April 26, 2 - 5 p.m., at the River Street Meeting Room. If you want to stop the town council from forcing this costly white elephant down your throat, please sign the circulating petition to retain the space for the convenience of drivers. Alternatively, see you at the stores in Longview!

Ursula Petralia



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