Rains flood SR 4, county roads
County commission approves emergency culvert repair
January 14, 2021
Wahkiakum County commissioners dealt with the impacts January's heavy rain when they met Tuesday.
The board voted to declare a state of emergency to allow fast track repair of a failing culvert on Salmon Creek Road.
Public Works Director Chuck Beyer reported that a culvert, 24-30" in size, was partially gone, taking away one lane of the road.
The department is working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on emergency permitting to allow the replacement; the new culvert will have to be 6-8' in diameter, Beyer said.
The emergency declaration will also allow the county to waive the competitive bidding process.
The heavy rainfall, over 6" Monday night and Tuesday in Middle Valley according to a Facebook post, troubled other roads.
On Tuesday evening, the Washington State Department of Transportation closed SR 4 at Seal River west of Rosburg because of water over the roadway. A deparment press release said highway personnel would evaluate the situation on Wednesday to determine whether or not to open the highway.
Sheriff Mark Howie reported that, as of Tuesday morning, roads in the Deep River, Grays River and Skamokawa valleys were flooded and closed. They included Hull Creek, Loop, Covered Bridge, Eden Valley, Deep River and Middle Valley roads.
Commissioners handled other business and discussed issues.
The board reappointed Cathlamet Mayor Dale Jacobson to a two-year term to the county Marine Resources Council, and they approved calls for bids on asphalt and rock products.
Commissioners agreed they wanted to channel some of the state/federal covid-19 relief funds to Wahkiakum PUD to help cover late payments from people impacted by the pandemic. They planned to have an interlocal agreement ready to sign at their next meeting, Jan. 19.
In discussions, Commission Dan Cothren reported the county Real Property Rights Committee has questions and concerns about state requirements on property assessments that should be raised with the state legislature.
Cothren said the state requirements make assessments too high, and they aren't imposed equally among counties.
"Pacific County is not assessed that way," he said.
"These taxes are too high. They're pricing people out of their homes."
Board Chair Gene Strong said the covid-19 pandemic will impact county tax collections because of economic impacts.
"A lot of people will be struggling," he said. "We haven't seen the end of this."