Hotel demands solution to water pressure problem


October 5, 2023

By Diana Zimmerman

Cathlamet town council members began talking about the 2024 budget at their meeting on Monday and heard concerns from the public.

Some of the items on their wish lists for the next year’s budget include signage, a handrail along the Angle Street stairway, street and speed limit signs, library capital items, a part time employee to care for parks during the summer months, drainage for Queen Sally’s spring, a truck and snowplow attachment, town hall improvements, landscaping and a kiosk for the Butler Street parking lot, an additional position in the town office, reserve for the waterfront park, and $1,000 to plan for a possible Julia Butler Hansen statue.

Mayor David Olson said that a request to have the Julia Butler Hansen home join the national registry was being considered by the state before talking about the possible addition of a statue of the local and important historical figure.

“It keeps mounting up in money,” Councilmember Robert Stowe said, regarding the statue.

“We keep pissing away money. There is no desire, no interest whatsoever. I don’t understand.”

“We would need to raise this money from foundations and donors, I would not come back to the council to do this,” Olson said adding that the $1,000 was just to get the process started and that Tsuga Gallery and the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce were interested.

“Then let the chamber and Tsuga Gallery pony up the $1,000 and take the bull by the horns,” Stowe said. “Let them do it.”

Councilmember Joe Baker thought it would be nice to have a statue of the former congresswoman, but had concerns about how it would come about.

Stowe suggested hiring a recreation aide to support town and county activities at local parks. The aide might maintain inventory, issue recreational equipment, pick up litter, and more.

The council and mayor continued to work through items during the three hour meeting, and will continue to talk about the budget at the next meeting.

While considering a utility connection fees analysis, Stowe remarked that it had been 10 years since the rates had been raised. Councilmember Kermit Chamberlin suggested that any time someone hooked up to water, they should be required to hook up to sewer as well, to help pay for the expensive sewer system.

“We’re always scrambling, trying to figure out how we’re going to make our payments and our interest for our sewer plant,” Chamberlin said. “What we need are sewer hookups.”

Public Works Superintendent David McNally explained that the water system extends out the Elochoman, to Rosedale, and the eastern side of the town, but the sewer system was limited to town, “just creeping” into Rosedale Heights.

“So we lack the infrastructure,” Chamberlin said.

A resident of Cathlamet asked the council to consider increasing the number of chickens that each household could have on their property in city limits, and to allow geese and ducks.

“I have a third of an acre for four chickens,” she said. “We don’t have enough to produce the amount of eggs that we go through. We would desperately like to have a guard goose, an increase in chickens and maybe ducks because they are so stinking cute.”

Councilmember Laurel Waller spoke as a citizen of the town during public comment. Waller, who owns the Hotel Cathlamet, has been having a continuing problem with water pressure, which is causing damage to fixtures. After speaking to a plumber she learned that she would not be able to address the matter until the town addressed an issue on their side of the system.

“I need the water pressure down where it is reasonable and isn’t blowing up parts of my plumbing,” Waller said. “I need to be able to shut off water for the hotel. I would appreciate if this could be done in a timely fashion. Every night I go to bed hoping I don’t wake up to water. Please help.”

Olson asked Public Works Superintendent David McNally to provide a report on the matter at the next meeting.

“I am not going to be satisfied if I have to wait two weeks to hear a status and there is not a shut off valve on the meter,” Waller said. “I will take some kind of action if the shut off valve is not changed. The plumber is more than delighted to put in the pressure reducer, but he can’t shut it off.”

She proposed that the town do whatever it takes to make it possible for her to be able to put in a pressure reducer.

“It’s going to take us killing three valves, basically killing all of Main Street for a few hours,” McNally said.

The mayor told him to do what he needed to do to fix the problem.

“I think the Hotel Cathlamet is extremely important to the town and their proper functioning is important for everybody and I would like to see it expeditiously handled, if you would be so kind,” Olson said.


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