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

Commissioners OK open space applications, bid Backman goodbye


December 24, 2020

Wahkiakum County commissioners breezed through business Tuesday in what was the last meeting of the year for the board and the last meeting as a member of the board for Mike Backman.

Backman has served eight years on the board but lost his bid for a third term to Lee Tischer.

Before adjourning the meeting, Commissioners Dan Cothren and Gene Strong presented Backman a plaque thanking him for his service.

"It has been a pleasure working with you," Cothren said. "You do go the extra mile."

"I echo Dan's comments," Strong said. "It has been a pleasure to get to know you. I really appreciate your dedication to your job."

In their first major items of business, commissioners approved three Columbia Land Trust applications for open space tax classifications for two parcels along Alder Drive, Rosburg, and one off Nelson Creek Road, Cathlamet.

Land Trust Stewardship Director Ian Sinks said the parcels have been recently purchased, and the classifications would be the correct classifications for them. They will be set for habitat and recreation use, appropriate under open space classification.

The county planning commission had supported the applications by a 5-3 vote, and Commissioner Cothren asked if an issue raised there--tax payments--had been settled.

"That was ironed out at the planning commission meeting," responded county Planner David Hicks.

Commissioner Strong asked if one of the Alder Drive parcels were allowed to flood, would that impact residences.

"There was no discussion of that," Hicks said. "Alder Drive splits, and the main section with houses is not affected."

Cothren said one other concern he had heard concerned that easements might be affected, which he doubted would happen.

"Right," Hicks said. "Getting an easement removed is kind of difficult."

Commissioners said their questions were answered and voted 3-0 to approve the classifications.

In other business, the board approved a contact to remain in the Cowlitz/Wahkiakum Narcotics Taskforce with dues at $30,000 for the year.

Undersheriff Gary Howell said that while there isn't much taskforce activity in Wahkiakum County, most users head to Cowlitz County to obtain the illegal drugs.

Strong, who formerly served as county sheriff and was involved with the taskforce, agreed, and the board voted to approve the contract.


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