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

By Cameron Sheppard
WNPA News Service 

Council addresses water main project, dog ordinance, etc.


The Cathlamet Town Council members covered lots of ground when they met Monday evening, approving a call for bids for engineering of a water main installation project, going over proposed changes to the town’s pit bull ordinance and discussing waterfront lagoons and a draft update to the town’s comprehensive plan, among other items of business.

The council approved a motion to call for bids for project engineering services for a new water main along Columbia Street and SR 4 in Rosedale.

Wahkiakum County plans to widen the road and make other improvements roughly between the Jacobson Road and SR 4 intersections.

Five years ago, said John Hinton, a design engineer from the firm Gray and Osborne, Inc., the council voted to abandon an old main that ran through woods and over a small creek toward the Fern Hill Road area because the line leaked and was hard to maintain. The new line will run along Columbia Street and connect with another main at Boege Road; there will further be extensions along SR 4.

Gray and Osborne was chosen to do the design, Hinton said, and now with the project at hand, the town needs to call for proposals for project management and engineering.

Estimated cost of the project is $826,650, with $684,000 going to the contractor, $107,000 for project management and expenses, $30,000 for archaeological monitoring by a subconsultant, and $5,000 to cover inspections by the Washington State Department of Transportation. Hinton commented that the archaeological monitoring has been required because the project is close to known archaeological sites.

Council members discussed changes to the town’s ordinance banning pit bull dogs in the city limits but took no action.

Town Attorney Fred Johnson previously reported the ordinance needs to be updated because of new state law which allows exceptions for breed specific bans if the dogs have passed certified obedience training.

Council Member Bill Wainwright has asked for the addition of rottweiller dogs because they and pit bulls perform most of the attacks on humans recorded in the US.

Johnson said the law requires a clear definition of what constitutes a rottweiler breed.

“I’ve done a lot of research and know more about rottweilers than I want to know,” he said, “but I can’t yet come up with a definite definition of them.”

He said he would continue working and try to have a definition at a subsequent meeting.

Wainwright commented that adding rottweilers to the ordinance is just the tip of the iceberg. The town will need to move into licensing and enforcement, he said.

“We have a leash law, a dangerous dog ordinance, and a nuisance dog ordinance,” said Council Member Laurel Waller. “I think we shouldn’t n eed this one. If the dogs are on a leash, we don’t need this.”

“You have a valid point,” commented Council Member Robert Stowe. “However, we need to protect the town.”

Work on the ordinance will resume at a later meeting.

The council also addressed:

--Proposed changes to ordinances governing rental of rooms--Waller and Council Member Paige Lake request the changes, for the ordinances were developed before the rise of Air B-n-B rentals in which a person, rents rooms in houses to visitors. Currently, ordinances on sewer service make it too expensive to operate an Air B-n-B in town.

The council agreed to hold a workshop on the issue at 5 p.m. before their April 6 meeting.

--Draft changes to the town’s comprehensive plan--Bill Fashing of the Council of Governments presented an update of the plan but cautioned he wanted to go over it himself and simplify it.

Council members agreed to meet with him in small groups to provide comments.

Wainwright added that he wants the plan to mesh with Wahkiakum County’s comprehensive plan for coordination in parks and recreation and economic development.

--Filling former sewer lagoons--Wainwright commented that filling of the town’s old sewer lagoons is proceeding very slowly and the town should aggressively seek fill for them.

Mayor Dale Jacobson said he has been seeking fill; the dirt excavated for construction of the new Dollar General store went in the lagoons. However, the town has worked with Port District 1 and agreed to take fill as the port dredges the Elochoman Slough Marina and Elochoman Slough.

“We want to leave room for that sand,” he said. “We’re expecting more there.”

Waller commented that the council needs to have a meeting to discuss the lagoons and water front park development that is based on them being filled.

“We do need to leave a place for the port to place dredge spoils,” she said.

“My fear is that in three years, we’ll be sitting here asking ourselves what we’re going to do,” Wainwright said.

Discussions will continue.

--Electric charging stations--The council agreed to aubmit an application for installation of two charging stations for electric vehicles at the town’s Butler Street property.

Council Member David Olson said the effort joins plans by other governmental entities to install charging stations at Skamokawa Vista Park, Johnson Park in Rosburg and the Elochoman Slough Marina.


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