Commissioners hear restroom concerns
June 9, 2022
Wahkiakum County commissioners responded to constituents' concerns when the board met Tuesday.
Commissioners also authorized purchase of commercial quality refrigeration equipment for the county fair and further moves to address flood damage to kitchen equipment.
Puget Island resident Olaf Thomason asked commissioners what could be done to improve restroom access at County Line Park. Access to the restroom building is limited to RV campers, he said, and two portable toilets are set up for travelers.
Thomason said he had recently stopped at the park and witnessed the arrival of a vehicle. Several well dressed young women exited the vehicle and went to the portable toilets. After looking inside, the returned to the vehicle and left.
Curious, Thomason inspected the toilets.
"Both were a mess," he said.
The situation reflects poorly on the county, he said, and asked why everyone can't have access to the restrooms.
Commissioners have the same concerns, said board Chair Gene Strong.
"I stopped there about the same time you (Thomason) are talking about," Strong said. They were a mess."
The park property actually belongs to the Washington Department of Natural Resources; the county leases the site from the DNR and contracts with Port District No. 1 for management of the park.
Restroom access has been limited because of a poor water supply, and the county and port commissions have been asking themselves how committed they are to continuing park operation when faced with expensive upgrades needed for the water system.
"We're not giving them money until they open the restrooms," Strong said.
The Port District 1 board of commissioners is scheduled to meet tonight (Thursday); agenda items may include park restroom discussion and appointment of a new manager.
A woman living along Beaver Creek Road asked commissioners what can be done about derelict vehicles and unsanitary RV camping in the area.
The county has an ordinance to regulate these situations, Commissioner Dan Cothren responded. Cothren is part of a group reviewing the ordinance to increase its enforcement authority, which has been limited by property rights, to act in these situations.
In cases involving unsanitary disposal of sewage from an RV, some definite proof is needed before authorities can act, Strong commented.
In other business, commissioners approved an expenditure of $26,207.06 to replace refrigeration equipment damaged last winter by flooding at the fairgrounds. The equipment will be commercial grade, said Fair Manager Patty Dursteler.
Dursteler plans to purchase more lighter grade equipment, and she will meet with Building and Planning Director David Hicks to pick a site for an elevated storage unit for off season storage of kitchen equipment.
Commissioners also approved an amended contract with the Washington State Department of Transportation to increase the state subsidy of county ferry operations. The state will pay the lesser of $57,000 or 80 percent of the previous month's deficit incurred in ferry operation.