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

Council votes to proceed with EV charging


On Monday, the Cathlamet Town Council announced that the town was awarded a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce to fund the installation of an electric vehicle (EV) charging station at the Butler St. parking lot.

Other items discussed include the town’s authorization of a grant submission to aid with the cost of replacing the town dock; an update to the waterfront park project which could be underfunded and delayed; the possibility of a speed reduction or increased traffic enforcement on Main St .; the appointment of Council Member David Olson to the Public Wifi Operating Board; a decision to hold hybrid in-person town council meetings starting in June; and the extension of the COVID-19 utility customer support program.

EV Charging Station

Olson commended the council for their efforts which resulted in an award of $109,410.92 for an Electrification of Transportation System (ETS) grant from the state’s Department of Commerce. Approximately 80% of the charging station installation cost will be covered by the grant. The total project amount is $140,000 according to Clerk Treasure Sarah Clark.

“Getting the EV charging station into place is an absolute linchpin for the ancillary efforts to move forward with the architectural planning for the Butler St. lot, which is in progress,” Olson said.

A Level 3 Public Charger will be the town’s charger of choice and will include an adaptor compatible with Tesla vehicles. Pure Power Engineering, a nationwide firm that specializes in commercial energy storage, explains in a web article that a Level 3 charging station has a higher capacity compared to Levels 1 and 2. Moreover, it is capable of charging an EV with a 100kWh battery in an hour.

Council Member Bill Wainwright expressed concern over the implementation of an EV charging station due to possible technological antiquations.

“Like an iPhone 3 to an iPhone 4, within a year and a half one was a dinosaur and the other one's the new one that everybody was using,” Wainwright explained. He continued to detail how advancements in EVs will enable drivers from Portland heading to Longbeach to bypass Cathlamet for a charge. Wainwright also pointed out the scarcity of EVs in the area.

The charging unit would match the charging capacity of current vehicles and vehicles coming to the market into the foreseeable future,” Olson explained. “Our own electrical engineering consultants that we paid for and the State Department of Commerce staff all agree this is the right unit for us.”

The council passed a motion 4-1 to approve the ETS contract with the Department of Commerce to move forward with funding and development.

COVID-19 Utility Customer Support

Council members passed a resolution which would extend the support program “pursuant to the governor’s continued requirements restricting utilities from charging late fees or shutting off services due to non-payment.”

Hybrid In-person Town Council Meetings

In response to loosening COVID-19 restrictions and following the lead of local groups, the council has agreed to host future meetings in person with a virtual call-in option. According to Clark, " the council voted to have the first meeting in June in-person with a hybrid-Zoom option, pending Town Attorney review of the applicable COVID-19 requirements and guidelines."

The physical location of the meeting is yet to be determined.


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