Sparks fly at town council meeting

 

April 18, 2024



A full house greeted the Mecha Mules team as their leader, Ron Wright, presented the teens to the town council. Students presented their robots and explained the functions. They have won the Regional Competition and are heading to the Nationals in Washington D.C. Fundraising efforts will begin May 4th. The council adjourned briefly for a group photo.

The next agenda item brought tensions to the meeting. Sheriff Howie reviewed the RCW catagory for the “No Parking” zone on Main Street at the Columbia Street Intersection. The discussion around definitions of loading zones vs. no parking zones brought more questions. Council person Hendrickson expressed that her original intent for the spot in front of Patty Cakes Cafe was to be for loading and unloading, not to eliminate parking. Mayor Olson reminded Hendrickson that the council voted for a “No Parking” classification. The sheriff reviewed the requirements for the RCW to be enforced, asking the council for specific fine amounts if a car would be ticketed. The Town is also required to adopt an ordinance to receive funds from the tickets. Councilperson Robert Stowe inquired as to how many tickets the sheriff’s department had handed out in the past year. Howie did not have those numbers in hand, but Stowe inferred that there hadn’t been any citations handed out. In a previous meeting, Stowe had cited WAC’s but Sheriff Howie reminded him that his department only enforces RCW’s. Stowe began to read from his page of notes and not waiting for a response from Sheriff Howie. The Sheriff responded by trying to remind the council that he was just upholding his contract with the Town. He soon left the meeting before the discussion was concluded. Undersherrif Gary Howell expressed his concern with the semi trucks parked in the middle of Main Street for extended periods of time. Councilperson Waller brought up that she had walked Main Street with Duncan Cruikshank and a member of CWCOG some years ago to discuss the safety of the crosswalks. Mayor Olson asked if she had her notes available as the town records show no such meeting occurred. She responded that the meeting was held and no notes were taken. The mayor was against changing the crosswalks. Commissioner Lee Tischer, via Zoom, suggested moving the crosswalk at the corner down where the visibility would be clearer.

At this point, the integrity of the meeting deteriorated. Robert Stowe left, with Laurel Waller and Jeanne Hendrickson also walking out. As there was no longer a quorum, no votes could be taken. The remaining councilmen, Joe Baker and Kermit Chamberlain, expressed their concerns about the conflicts. They said that they were voted in to serve the citizens of Cathlamet. A citizen asked if there was a code of conduct that could be enforced. The meeting adjourned earlier than usual.

The complete meeting can be viewed on https//www.youtube.com/@TownofCathlamet.

 

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