Parties planning path for community center managerial position


August 26, 2021

The effort to reconstitute the Community Center in Cathlamet took a step forward Tuesday at a meeting of center supporters and town and county officials.

The center is operated on a cooperative agreement of the county and town. The county has been responsible for the manager's position, and because of funding constraints, has tied that position to programs funded by outside agencies. The most recent manager left the position last spring, and since then, center use has largely been limited to previously existing programs led by volunteers.

Fearing a possible closure of the facility, center patrons have pressed the town, county and Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce to establish a paid manager's position.

An advisory group met recently to develop ideas for the position and followed with a presentation to the Cathlamet town council last week and again on Tuesday with the county board of commissioners.

Center supporters outlined a wide variety of uses and benefits of the center. With a manager in place, the center is very busy and in demand from people who want to have programs ranging from cribbage night to a weekly senior lunch.

The town council has agreed to work with the county and fund the position at a 40 percent level, said Council Member Bill Wainwright. Center patrons sign a log book; volunteer Mike Passmore said 60 percent of patrons are county residents; 40 percent are town residents.

Commissioners said they agreed the center is needed.

"If people are interested, I'll support it," said Commissioner Dan Cothren. "It all comes down to the funding."

The group discussed possible structures for employing the manager, but both Wainwright and Chamber Director Stacey Lane said their organizations don't have resources or staff to handle the position.

Commission Chair Gene Strong asked the advisory committee to meet again and develop a detailed proposal for future consideration.

"We have to look at costs and weigh the options," Cothren said.


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