Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


February 2, 2023

Meserve Store at Flood in Grays River in early 1900's. Store was on edge of Grays River on Loop Road near Meserve Park From the Keith Cox collection at Appelo Archive Center.

Youth Camp News: A letter to DNR dated November 2022 was shared with me last week written by our State Senator and both State Representatives. It stated: "We believe the (our) recommendation should include one that will create a task force to look at maximizing public service functions which require capital facilities. We are confident a task force could find a positive solution which improves state services and utilizes the exceptional qualities of the now closed Naselle site. We are hopeful that we can find a better possible use for a permanent and full-time operation that can mitigate the economic loss in the community caused by the recent closing of the camp. Such a task force should include a Pacific County Commissioner, Naselle civic leaders, the school district, and a member of the 19th legislative delegation to offer local perspective on community values. It should include representatives of state agencies with capital facility needs." Further information was made available in a report, "Legislative Report on Naselle Youth Camp," prepared by DNR and the Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz. On page nine of the 21 page document, options for potential uses for the camp are listed such as: Outdoor School, Rental facility for WA State Parks as a retreat center, Affordable housing to help fill the need for housing in the area, Seasonal housing, Skills Center to provide Career and Technical Education half-day programs for high school students, and Relocation of McNeil Island Correctional facility with the following statement at the end: "The Governor's Office has expressed some interest in relocating the McNeil Island Correctional facility to NYC."

Later, on page 15, long-term total capital costs for the 2025-2027 biennium are projected at $28,880,030. This assumes that all 34 buildings are to be utilized. This amount would cover the hiring of a consultant to lead the task force, as well as construction costs for changes depending on final recommendations from the task force. Investment in a capital project to convert NYC facilities will generate short-term jobs in Pacific County. Hiring for the work on site will include local contractors and skilled laborers and will increase revenue for local businesses.

Another possible use of the NYC property has been introduced in a bill sponsored by Representatives Jim Walsh, Chapman, Jacobsen, Santos, Graham and Doglio. It is House Bill 1496 which states: An ACT Relating to transfer of ownership of the Naselle Youth Camp property to the Chinook Indian Nation. "The legislature intends to transfer ownership of the Naselle Youth Camp property to the Chinook Indian Nation in order to realize the highest and best use of an underutilized asset for the local community and the people. By October 1, 2023, the department of enterprise services must execute an agreement to transfer title of the property from the state to the Chinook Indian Nation without further consideration if the Chinook Indian Nation agrees to maintain ownership of the property for a minimum of ten years and to use the property for tribal government purposes. Below are places where you can read both bills pertaining to the proposed Chinook Nation gift.

Bills on Chinook Nation gift

Walsh HB 1496

Wilson SB 5556

If you would like to share your thoughts, you can contact your legislators at the following emails: Jeff.Wilson@ (360) 786-7636; Jim Walsh@ (360) 786-7806 or Joel.McEntire@ Joel McEntire @ (360) 786-7870. Or if you would like a copy of the full report, contact me at the email address at the top of this column and I will send you the file. It appears we all need to send them our views on the Chinook Nation gift. If the property is gifted to the Chinook Nation, it is my thought that they will be able to apply for federal funds for any work needed on the property and structures. The prior information indicates an agreement for transfer title is to be ready by October 1, 2023 if the legislators vote yes for that option.

More State news: Homeschoolers Legislative Day will be held March 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for K-12 Homeschoolers and their families at the WA State Capitol, 416 Sid Snyder Ave SW in Olympia. Just seeing the building itself is a treat and it sounds like there will be a full tour for students to see how laws are made and watch proposals being discussed and adopted on the Senate or House floor. This is limited to the first 40 individuals so register quickly at this site: Sounds like great fun!

Naselle GRV School District staff gathered for the Red Apple ceremony. Mr. Olsen presented the red orb to Miss See for her incredible support of student activities such as coaching, chaperoning dances, and flexibility in her teaching approaches, to name a few and for her general concern for the well-being of her students. The Red Apple Award is for teachers. Courtesy photo.

New Garden Group Forming: A new gardening group is forming at Johnson Park for anyone interested. The group meets on the first Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. Nicole Lanyer is the group's leader. With the costs of groceries, this may be a great option.

Coming Events:

Mondays: Naselle Lutheran Church sponsors knitters/crocheters at 1 p.m.

Wednesdays: AA meeting at the Grays River Grange at noon.

February 2: Caregiver Support Group at Naselle Library with Ocean Beach Hospital staff 1-2.

February 15: Senior Lunch Group at noon at Rosburg Hall.

February 17: School Board meeting at 6:30 in school library.

CAP Senior Lunches: CAP/Thursday Senior Lunches are now located inside Rosburg Hall at noon.

Photo of the Week: Ms. See, teacher at Naselle GRV High School, received the Apple Award presented by Mr. Olsen. Congratulations Ms. See!


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