County calls for bids on gym, break room

Columbia Street enforcement reported


March 23, 2023

RIck Nelson

This trailer alerts motorists to their speed of travel along Columbia Street.

Some Wahkiakum County employees may be able to work out in county-owned gym facilities later this year.

The sheriff's office and health department have found grant funding for gym facilities which employees are excited to be able to use, department heads told the board of commissioners Tuesday.

However, the grant funds target specific sets of employees, and not all county employees would be able to use the gyms.

Commissioners on Tuesday authorized Health and Human Services to call for bids on two prefabricated buildings, a gym and a break room. A grant from the Washington State Health Care Authority would pay for the facilities which are intended to support the department's workforce. The grant, however, specifically limits users to behavioral health staff.

Similarly, Sheriff Mark Howie commented that his department had received funding for workout equipment, but access will be limited to certain employees.

County officials weren't pleased with the limitations.

"It's a shame that the office staff can't use any of the equipment that is paid for by tax dollars," said Treasurer Tammy Peterson.

Undersheriff Gary Howell pointed out that the grants expire at some point, and perhaps access could be expanded to other employees at that time.

During public comment, Sheriff Howie said that contrary to comments presented at last week's meeting, officers have been patrolling Columbia Street.

Over the past six months, they've stopped 18 people for traffic violations and made three arrests, he said.

The attention is way out of proportion to patrolling in other areas, he said.

The sheriff's department has also placed a speed display trailer along the street to remind drivers of their speed.

Columbia Street residents have been complaining of increased traffic and speeding since the speed limits were lowered nearby on SR 4, and they've been pressing town and county officials for increased enforcement.

(Ed.: See Page 3 for an interview with Joe Baker.)


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