Town seeks long-term home
Town of Cathlamet’s new digs in the Scarborough Bldg will be temporary
December 28, 2023
The future of the Cathlamet Town Hall is up in the air after an inspection uncovered leaks and mold. On Monday, Dec. 18, the town council agreed to a temporary fix; approving a five year lease for space in the Scarborough Building.
Town employees expect to move into the new offices by the end of January, but efforts to solve the problem in the long term are just beginning.
Four days earlier at the Wahkiakum County Port 1 meeting, Mayor David Olson spoke to port commissioners about what he believed to be a potential opportunity for the two entities to share space.
“It may or may not be an object lesson in doing things as cheaply as possible instead of doing things properly,” Olson said of the situation. “That has now come home to roost in terms of mold and toxins in the building. We literally have to get staff out of there.”
The mayor suggested that it could cost “half a million or upwards of a million dollars” to construct a new building, likely in the lot the town owned next to their current town hall, but he thought it would be illogical not to talk to their neighbors at the port about their own long term facility needs as the town considers their own.
“If we build something are you interested in leasing space there for your own staff or needs?” Olson asked. “Or are you interested in talking about what that building might be? For example, a co-ventured town hall/port space, particularly if it’s down here next to the marina?”
He suggested it would give the port a chance to address ADA issues, staff space, and commissioner meeting space.
“I would rely on staff to bring that conversation to us, if they think they need something better,” Commissioner Scott Anderson said. “If they are adequate where they are, I would stand pat.”
Port 1 Manager Todd Souvenir acknowledged that the port office could use an update, and said the port would discuss the matter as they review their comprehensive plan in early 2024, but pointed out that the location worked for customers, and for the security and safety of the marina, including keeping an eye on incoming and outgoing vessels which sometimes run into trouble during storms.
“I’m a stand pat guy,” Commissioner Brett Deaton said, echoing Anderson. “I think the staff needs to be at that marina, watching the boats as Todd says. My dreams or vision is to see a new port office one day, but the elevated office works well for us.”
“Every boat’s goal down there is to sink,” he added. “They need to be watched.”