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

Commissioners reject Columbia St. paving bids


September 24, 2020

Wahkiakum County's board of commissioners breezed through a light agenda Tuesday.

At the recommendation of the Public Works Department, commissioners declined to accept bids for paving and other work on Columbia Street between Jacobson Road and SR 4.

County Engineer Paul Lacy had estimated the project cost at $237,790, and the lowest of the three bids the county received was $302,260.

"We recommend we don't award a contract now," Lacy said. "We'll redesign the project, take some items off for the county forces to do, like installing a catch basin, and next spring, call for bids for paving, guardrails and striping."

Commissioners accepted the recommendation and took no further action.

Commissioners did accept the recommendation of Health and Human Services Department Director Chris Bischoff to appoint Alexandra Augustine to the advisory board for Great Rivers Behavioral Health Agency, which has a role in allocating state and federal funds for mental health and related programs.

Augustine replaces Sandi Benbrook Rieder, who recommended Augustine for the position.

In his commissioner report, Mike Backman suggested the board press the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to make sure roads on county trust timberlands are in good order.

Backman said he had heard reports that crews battling wildfires in the West had been hampered because timberland managers had decommissioned roads and weren't maintaining them.

After logging is completed in an area, timberland managers will remove culverts or dig trenches across the roads to improve drainage and prevent landslides, and they won't spend money maintaining roads they won't use again for 35 years or more.

Commission Chair Dan Cothren said the board can raise the issue with DNR staff in future meetings.

Cothren also said he will also press DNR foresters to add road right-of-way logging to the 2021 work plan. The agency has one sale set for 2021; it is estimated to generate $800,000; commissioners would like to receive over $1 million from trust timber revenue to support the Current Expense Fund.

Cothren said the value of the sale should increase because of the hot timber market, and with right-of-way logging, the revenue could come close to the $1 million mark.


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