Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Commissioners seek lower cost for moving courthouse offices

Wahkiakum County courthouse department heads presented on Tuesday a plan to relocate and remodel offices, but the board of commissioners sent them back to the drawing board.

The estimated price tag is $160,000, and that figure bothered commissioners.

"That number is higher than I expected," said board Chair Gene Strong. "I'd like you to review it and see what you can trim. That would be my request."

"Shell shock," commented Commissioner Dan Cothren. However, he added that after looking over the proposal carefully, he was satisfied with its overall concept.

The plan is for the health department to leave its space in the basement of the courthouse annex and move to the Hope Center near the Cathlamet schools.

That will allow the sheriff's department to relocate to the lower floor of the annex and address its space needs.

The public works office would also move into the annex; the assessor's would move into the public works office; the auditor would move payroll clerks into the assesor's office and the elections into the payroll office, and the weed board would move into the River Street building.

Department heads said they would go over the details of the plan and find cost savings.

"The funding is there, but we will scale back as much as we can," said Sheriff Mark Howie. "The committee did a good job (creating the plan). For this price to move this many offices, it was incredible."

Cothren commented that he had joined the board of commissioners just after the major courthouse remodel in the 1990's, and many problems were discovered after the work was done.

"Do it right this time," he advised. "It will have to last many years."


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