Cothren disappointed with final timber bill
March 17, 2022
Wahkiakum County Commissioner Dan Cothren feels seven years of work has gone down the drain.
Cothren has been a leader in an effort involving Wahkiakum, Pacific and Skamania counties, the state Department of Natural Resources, and a couple non-governmental resource agencies developing a proposal that would enlarge the timber trust holdings of the three counties and compensate them for their trust land encumbered from harvest because of endangered species habitat restrictions.
The goal, Cothren has said, has been to give Wahkiakum and the other counties the ability to generate income to cover expenses and provide a cushion in tight economic times.
The DNR introduced a bill for the 2022 legislative session which would have provided the counties $28 million and put the encumbered lands in conservation status. With the state looking at strong revenues, sponsors were optimistic about the bill's chances.
However, the bill ran into amendments as other counties wanted to participate. In its final version, Cothren said, lawmakers appropriated $10 million with Clallam and Jefferson counties splitting $5 million and Wahkiakum, Pacific and Skamania splitting $5 million. Further, transfers will be made in concurrence with the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC), which wasn't involved in the creation of the program.
The appropriation, Cothren said, won't do much good for the county.
"This is what politics does for you," he said.