Dog ordinance dropped; 2-hour parking considered
October 8, 2020
On Monday, the Cathlamet Town Council discussed parking challenges downtown perpetuated by new business and the eventual closing of the Butler Street lot during its redesign.
Among the other items of business addressed were the dangerous dog ordinance enforcement policy in a presentation given by Sheriff Mark Howie; it was suggested that the clerk-treasurer waive the bonding requirements for town hall renovation bids so smaller local contractors could get involved; the council discussed a parking request from the new proprietor of the Alder Street nursing home; and the town has requested a forestry report before deciding to move forward on harvesting 70 acres of timberland.
Several ordinances were voted on including the increase of elected official compensation which failed to pass; the council repealed a dangerous dog ordinance deemed “no longer necessary”; a liquor ordinance from 1967 and civil emergencies ordinance from 1942 were also repealed.
A motion was passed to amend Town Hall office hours which, if passed again at the next meeting, will be Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1-4:30 p.m .; with Friday being closed to the public “to remain in compliance with HIPAA privacy requirements.”
Councilmember Laurel Waller expressed concern about the increase in parking spurred by the recent opening of The Spar.
“The Spar has changed the dynamic of parking on Main Street; whether it’s day, midnight or early morning, there are cars on Main Street where it didn’t used to be,” said Waller.
Waller also predicted that when the Butler Street lot is closed for redesign, that it might amplify the lack of parking spaces. She suggested to minimize the amount of time the lot would be unavailable to the public for parking by streamlining the work.
Councilmember Bill Wainwright concurred with Waller, and in light of the issue suggested the council consider a reconfiguration of the lot. Also proposed was a two hour parking restriction.
Town Attorney Fred Johnson mentioned that parking has been an issue dating back to 1976 when he previously was town attorney. He also reminded the council that the county would enforce parking not less than two times a month per its contract with the town, but enforcement would be critical to the success of the parking solution.
“If you want to have an impact, you're going to have to be out there issuing tickets or warnings so that the word gets out; not just having a sign up there that says ‘two hour parking,’ but something happens if you violate it,” explained Johnson.
If two-hour parking is enforced downtown, residents and business owners would potentially find the adjustment difficult. Many residents living downtown park on Main St. because there aren’t designated parking spots or because their residential parking spots are taken, noted Waller. Johnson added that business owners have historically wanted parking spots directly in front of their shops so getting ticketed wouldn’t be an issue.
In the past, according to Mayor Dale Jacobson, the town faced a legal battle when a parking ticket was issued because no municipal court existed at the time. Johnson took the chance to announce that by November 1 the town would in fact have a functioning municipal court.
“We are catching up in the world,” remarked Jacobson.
Timber harvest considered
Councilmember Bill Wainwright shared insight from his discussion with local forester Bill Olsen about the prospect of logging 70 acres of the town’s timber.
Olsen advised the town to log the 70 acres which is made up of alder, hemlock and fir which could yield between $360-370,000 in net profit. The council agreed that it would be advantageous to move quickly on harvesting because of high timber prices.
The council, however, decided not to vote on logging and wait until Wainwright collected a formal report from Olsen detailing his recommendations.