daily menu » rate the banner | guess the city | one on oneforums map | privacy policy | DMCA | news magazine

Go Back   SkyscraperCity > Continental Forums > North American Skyscrapers Forum > United States Urban Issues > West Coast and Interior West

West Coast and Interior West Includes CA, OR, WA, HI, AK, AZ, NM, NV, UT, CO, WY, MT, ID and BC.



Reply

 
Thread Tools
Old May 21st, 2009, 01:01 AM   #1
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

Washington State Development Thread

Welcome to the "Washington State Development Thread"

This thread is to cater to all the development news in Washington State, from east to west, north to south! The Seattle sub-forum seems to not care about the rest of the state, but I surely do, and I know many others do, so stick around and check often at the news going on around the state.


Be sure to also check out:

Alaska Development Thread

Oregon Development Thread

The Yakima / Tri-City Development News Thread


_______________________________________________________________________________

IF YOU POST AN ARTICLE, PLEASE FOLLOW THE BASIC SET UP SHOWN BELOW.

Bolden the title, do not enlarge the size
After the title, everything should be italic, such as the date, and writer. Sometimes date before title, italics that as well.

7-17-09
Writer,editor...etc.
AJM STUDIOS.NET Northwest Development News Center <---Official link to article, but not just a whole url, please hyperlink it with clean text such as shown.

(If you have photo, place here. Caption is needed.)

Then post article text here, and don't edit text. We want to show the authors true writing and skill. this is to be enjoyed by development lovers. Italics. Thanks for following the rules.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!

Last edited by USAPatriot; February 12th, 2014 at 12:06 AM.
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote

Sponsored Links
 
Old May 21st, 2009, 01:02 AM   #2
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

Tuesday, May. 19, 2009

Consolidating Everson and Nooksack could save $125,000 annually
ZOE FRALEY - THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

The cities of Nooksack and Everson could combine to become the City of Nooksack Valley if residents approve of consolidating the two.
A committee comprising both cities' mayors and some city council members just released its report on the possible consolidation.
The report to both city councils highlights the savings and better services that would be possible if the cities combined resources, allowing overlapping employees to do work in other areas such as grant writing. Everson already provides Nooksack with police and court services, and operates the water treatment plant used by both cities.
Read the report on Everson-Nooksack consolidation

The proposed new city name is a suggestion in the report.
The consolidation would cost $100,000 in one-time costs, such as legal expenses, elections and staff relocations, according to the report. It would save an estimated $125,000 per year in planning, equipment, legal and other expenses.
&quot;I don't think we should consider it just to save money, though,&quot; said Andy Rowlson, committee member and Everson city councilman. &quot;We want it to strengthen the community, not have people feel like they've gotten lost in the change.&quot;
The next step in the process is for residents of each city to provide their input on the idea.
The consolidation would require a resolution by both city councils, followed by a public meeting and a citizen vote with 50 percent approval in both cities. Another election would then be held to elect the mayor and council members for the newly formed city.
&quot;It really depends on what the people who live in our towns think,&quot; Rowlson said. &quot;The main thing we need to know is, is it a good idea or isn't it? We need citizens' direction.&quot;

HAVE YOUR SAY
Residents who would like to share their opinions with an elected official can call the city of Nooksack at 966-2531 or e-mail citycouncil@cityofnooksack.com. The city of Everson can be reached at 966-3411.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 21st, 2009, 01:02 AM   #3
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

Timber towns suffer as demand falls
Housing bust: Morton, population 1,000, struggles to redefine itself

PETER HALEY/The Tacoma News Tribune
Empty storefronts line the streets of downtown Morton, where Morton Beverage & Tobacco owner David Meglemre is liquidating his stock to close at the end of the month. The small town’s economy has been hit hard by lumber mill closures.

FACT BOX
BY THE NUMBERS

Timber trade
28.9 billion board feet
Estimated U.S. lumber demand in 2009
64.3 billion board feet
U.S. lumber demand in 2005
432,000 homes
Number of new U.S. homes projected in 2009
553,000 homes
Projected number of new U.S. homes in 2010
5.3 billion board feet
Lumber projected to be used in U.S. homes this year
27.6 billion board feet
Lumber used in homebuilding in 2005 no jobs
NO JOBS
14 percent
Lewis County unemployment rate
9.2 percent
Washington unemployment rate
8.5 percent
National unemployment rate

JOHN GILLIE; THE NEWS TRIBUNE
Published: 05/17/09 9:39 am | Updated: 05/17/09 12:32 pm
image hosted on flickr

MORTON – When Sharon Fisher closes the door of her Heavenly Hand-Me-Downs shop May 29 in Morton’s one-street business district, it will be for the last time.

Just one day more than a year after she opened her second-hand clothing store, it will become yet another casualty of the economic malaise.

“We’re just not doin g any business,” she said recently. “Nobody has any money. Nobody is buying.”

Her shop’s failure is a reflection not only of the financial pandemic that has swept the world, but of the more virulent virus that has consumed the housing industry, the industries that supply it and the towns like Morton, about 70 miles southeast of Olympia, that depend on the timber business to keep their hearts beating.

The auto industry’s woes have attracted more publicity as the Big Three halt production in huge plants in big cities across the Midwest, but the pain is perhaps even more acute in small towns in the Pacific Northwest and the South because the timber business more often is the central reason these small towns exist.

In Morton, home of a summertime Loggers’ Jubilee, two of the three mills have suspended their businesses. And in mill towns across the country and in Canada, the story is the same.

The lists of mill closures and production curtailments locales are pages long: Aberdeen, Green Mountain, Kettle Falls, Darrington, Packwood, Republic, Beaver, Carson and Morton in Washington; Coburg, Dallas, Baker City, Springfield, Warm Springs, Madras, Vaughn, White City in Oregon; Dodson and Evergreen in Alabama; Wright City in Oklahoma, Simsboro and Dodson in Louisiana, and Hudson Bay, Carrot River, Miramichi, Delta and Drayton Valley in Canada to name just a few.

A combination of factors has contributed to the decline of these mills over the last decades: environmental concerns, the steep reduction of public forest timber harvests, the retirement of outmoded mills, floods and insect infestations.

But the departure of the small-town timber industry has seen a light-speed acceleration since the housing boom turned to bust.

The volume of lumber produced in the West is the lowest since the 1930s, says Portland’s Western Wood Products Association spokesman Robert Bernhardt Jr.

Demand for lumber and wood products nationwide is down from 64.3 billion board feet in the overheated days of the 2005 housing boom to a projected 28.9 billion board feet this year, according to an association forecast. That’s a 55 percent drop.

And the prices that timber companies get for their products has dropped sharply.

To cope with those abrupt changes, wood products companies have been forced to cut production to match diminished demand. That means shuttering wood and paper mills throughout the country. Many of those mills may never reopen.

The cuts have gone beyond simply culling the inefficient producers, said Weyerhaeuser Co. President Dan Fulton. His company has been forced to lay off workers and close mills that were stellar producers, he said.

“This is all very painful,” said Fulton in an interview after the timber company’s annual meeting last month.


‘A WHOLE OTHER THING’


Morton Mayor Jim Gerwig said that he’s never seen an economic decline in his town so deep and so worrying. Gerwig is a former timber worker who gave up his job peeling veneer from logs at the Morton Champion mill years ago to take a lesser-paying job with the state.

“We’ve seen your typical seasonal closures and curtailments through the years, but nothing quite the same as this,” he said.

“This was already a depressed area, but I think this is going to be a whole other thing,” said the mayor.

The town’s retail sales and sales tax collections have fallen, and Morton is looking at curtailing services. It’s unlikely, said the mayor, that the town government will be able to hire seasonal workers this summer to help with park and street maintenance.

The unemployment rate in Lewis County now tops 14 percent, compared with 9.2 percent statewide and 8.5 percent nationwide, according to the state Department of Employment Security. But locals in Morton think the unemployment is far higher in the east end of the county in the timber towns like Morton near the Cascades.

Two of three Morton mills have halted or curtailed production. Champion left Morton years ago, and the town’s largest employer, Hampton Affiliates’ Cowlitz mill, shut down in early winter after heavy holiday snows collapsed a roof that sheltered the mill’s planer.

Today, the Hampton mill on Highway 7 on the north side of town stands silent, its log yards swept clean of raw material. Only a handful of administrative employees and maintenance people work there now.

Fortunately for Morton, the town’s other major mill, the TMI Forest Products mill across the road from the mothballed Hampton mill, is still producing cedar fence boards.

Hampton has moved some of the Morton workers to its Randle mill, and it still has workers report one day a month so that they can qualify for health insurance coverage, said Hampton chief executive Steve Zika.

Hampton plans to begin the $3 million repair of the planer building this summer and has scheduled the mill’s reopening for September, said Zika, but the mill is expected to produce about 50 percent of the output it did before the roof collapse. That inevitably will mean fewer jobs, said Zika.

“We regret the stress this puts on our employees and the communities where we have our plants,” said Zika. “Customer demand and lumber prices are at historically low levels, and most forecasts predict it may be several years before normal housing markets return,” he said.


PART OF THE CULTURE


Family-owned Hampton has been in the lumber business for nearly 75 years starting with a lumber yard in Tacoma in 1935, but the Portland-based company has never seen a demand drop as steep as it has in the last year, said Zika.

The supply of logs was already pinched by the near-shutdown of federal timber sales, he said. Those federal sales used to amount to some 4 billion board feet of timber a year. Now they’ve declined to less than 300 million board feet annually, he said.

Hampton was forced to close its Packwood mill a decade ago because it depended heavily on timber from federal forests, he said. The Morton mill has a more diverse supply available from private lands.

That near shutdown of timber harvesting on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management tracts has been even more painful on the east side of the Cascades where mills have little private forest lands to draw from, Zika said.

He said legal feuds with environmental forces over endangered species have throttled that federal timber supply.

Even with the prospect for the Hampton mill reopening, some longtime Morton residents think the town’s future as a timber town is clouded.

Willametta Layman, a Morton beauty shop owner, said her customers are coming in for cuts and curls less frequently now.

“They’re spreading out their money now, but they’ve still got money from unemployment. I’m worried what happens when that runs out,” she said.

Layman, for 18 years a Morton City Council member, isn’t convinced that unemployed people will flee the town.

The timber business is part of Morton’s DNA, she said, and whole families in Morton have worked for generations in the woods and at the mills.

“It’s just part of the culture. When Morton people walk into the woods, it’s home,” she said.

“Where will they go?” she asks. “They won’t find housing less expensive anywhere else, and the cost of living is low.”

A 2,000-square-foot home in Morton can be bought for about $150,000 in the present market.

She expects that the wood products industry will always be part of Morton’s basic fabric.

Unlike the cinnabar mines that provided employment for Morton residents through the 1940s, the resource won’t be depleted, she said. (Cinnabar is the mineral from which mercury is extracted.)

“Because it’s a renewable resource, and because we’ve got a lot of trees around here and because there will always be a market for lumber, I think timber will always have a place in Morton,” she said.

But until the housing business is resurrected, Morton is seeking to diversify its economy.

Mayor Gerwig said the town is talking with manufacturers of wind turbine blades to lure them to locate a factory in Morton.

“We’ve got hard-working people, and our costs are low,” he said. “We’ve even got a pretty steady wind here, so maybe they could also erect some wind turbines here to generate power.”

The town is also exploring expansion of its vestigial airport, now too small to accommodate all but the smallest and most agile aircraft. The town is considering hiring a consultant to study whether lengthening the airport runway would bring more business to Morton.

David Meglemre, a beverage-and-tobacco company owner in downtown Morton, thinks the town missed a good chance to diversify a couple of years ago when Cardinal Glass was looking for a site for a new plant, and the company approached Morton as a possible site.

The town, he said, gave Cardinal the cold shoulder, and the company built its plant in Winlock instead.


WHAT’S NEXT?


Tax law changes and reduced demand in Morton are causing Meglemre to change his business from retail to wholesale. He plans to seek customers throughout Western Washington.

“We’ve got three bars in town, and only one is open full time,” he said. “When your population can’t even support the bars, you know you’ve got trouble.”

A fully equipped storefront on the town’s main street with living accommodations has been for lease for more than a year now, but no one has signed up, he said. The price, under $1,000 a month, is attractive, he said, but no one wants to give it a go if there’s no business, even at a low rent.

Unless the town diversifies its economy, he predicts, the population will dwindle from the 1,000 or so residents that claim it as home now.

Already, said the mayor, the town’s population is down several hundred residents from its peak in the early 1970s.

Some think the town could become a retirement community for residents lured by low costs and the area’s natural beauty.

Morton is flanked on two sides by forested mountains. It sits at the intersection of Highways 7 and 12 leading to White Pass over the Cascades and to Mount Rainier. On the road west from Morton toward Interstate 5 are two Tacoma Power lakes, Riffe and Mayfield, with considerable recreational potential.

And Morton residents, in addition to promoting the town’s yearly Loggers’ Jubilee, have revived the historic Roxy Theater on Main Street and are refurbishing the town’s historic train depot with the hope that its presence may attract tourist trains from Tacoma and Elbe near Mount Rainier.

More immediately, some of the town’s residents are dealing with the consequences of the changing demographics that are closer to their hearts.

Based on projections for the next school year, Morton’s high school won’t have enough students to field a competitive football team.

The school district is studying whether to form a consolidated team with nearby White Pass.

The problem is that the two schools are historic rivals.

What will the merged team be called? Whose colors will it adopt? The White Pass Panthers’ orange and black or the Morton Huskies’ green and white?

“I think that if it happens, it will be hard for me,” said Layman, a 54-year Morton resident.

“I bleed green.”

John Gillie: 253-597-8663

john.gillie@thenewstribune.com
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 21st, 2009, 01:03 AM   #4
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

POSTED: Tuesday, May. 19, 2009

Proposal would name inland Washington waters 'Salish Sea'
DEAN KAHN - THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
More Northwest News at AJM STUDIOS.NET

Two decades ago, Bert Webber of Bellingham proposed that Washington's and British Columbia's inland waters be jointly called the Salish Sea, a name that would supplement, but not replace, the names of Puget Sound and the Georgia and Juan de Fuca straits.
But the Washington State Board of Geographic Names turned him down then, saying there was little support for the idea.
That might be changing. On Friday, May 15, the board decided that Webber's newly submitted proposal was at least worth further public discussion. The board will now accept comments on Webber's idea, and will solicit comments from interested people, groups and agencies.



&quot;I came away feeling quite positive,&quot; said Webber, a retired professor of marine ecology at Western Washington University.
Webber said the inland sea made up of the sound and the two straits is distinct ecologically from the Pacific Ocean. Giving them a common name would highlight their connected nature, and remind people in Washington and British Columbia that cross-border approaches are needed when dealing with salmon, pollution, water quality and other marine issues, he said.
Adopting the name also would acknowledge the Salish tribes who were the original inhabitants of the inland waters, Webber said. He plans to present the issue to tribes in the coming months.
To bolster his argument that Salish Sea has more popular support, Webber sent the names board references from maps, videos, artwork, school materials, advertisements, and environmental conferences co-hosted by Washington and British Columbia.

Reach DEAN KAHN at dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2291.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 21st, 2009, 01:04 AM   #5
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

Planners look at mixed-use district

The Walla Walla Union Bulletin
College Place Place photos, NWPJ.


COLLEGE PLACE -- A proposal for a new type of mixed-use district on the city's main street will be up for discussion Tuesday.

The city Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the College Avenue Commercial District Demonstration Program at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 625 S. College Ave.

Although zoning along College Avenue now is a combination of residential, commercial and public reserve, city codes allow only a very limited mix of uses within each zoning district, said Jon Rickard, associate planner.

The city's Comprehensive Plan includes a set of goals for a mix of ground-level commercial and retail uses along College Avenue with residences in upper stories. The goals would encourage the development of existing, new and remodeled facilities to complement the area and increase pedestrian activity and access.

Because of the complexity of rezoning all of College Avenue to mixed use, the planning staff is exploring a pilot project along the corridor that meets the description in the city Comprehensive Plan, Rickard said in a memo.

Tuesday's hearing is intended to discuss the overall aim of the pilot project, who would be eligible, submittal requirements and gather comments and concerns from residents and others.

Information is available at 525-0510.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 21st, 2009, 01:04 AM   #6
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

The Great Pyramid of ... Grayland?

May 20, 2009


Aberdeen Daily World
A California development company wants to tear down the existing two-story Walsh Motel in Grayland in order to replace it with a nearly 67-foot-tall pyramid-shaped condominium building along the beach. It would have 24 units, each expected to cost more than $1 million.

Monday night, after an often contentious, five-hour long public hearing that drew 85 people and lasted until nearly midnight, the county’s Board of Adjustment gave the initial approval for the project. The board is made up of seven residents who were appointed by the county commissioners.

Neighbors promised to appeal the decision in Superior Court within the next couple of weeks.

County staff members had recommended approval, so long as the project meets 27 conditions before the building permit is granted. County Building Director Brian Shea will have the final say as to whether the conditions have been met. The county commissioners are not involved in the decision.

Among those conditions are requirements that the development find an adequate water supply, ensure drainage in the area does not worsen and make sure the five-story structure can receive fire protection.

It may prove difficult to get water to the development, since the Grayland Water District has a state-mandated moratorium on development due to the limited size of its water system.

The water district recently received a $6.7 million loan from the state to make improvements, but it will take years before the improvements are done and it’s questionable if the improvements will even help with the proposed development, according to letters from water district commissioners to the county.



“We assume that it is clear that we cannot take them into our system anytime soon,” one of the letters states.

Fire protection may also be a problem.

There’s not enough water pressure to fight fires. The fire district has had to bring their water with them to tackle fires.

Plus, the volunteer fire district only has a ladder than can reach just under three stories, not the proposed five stories. Several letters protesting the development from the fire district commissioners were sent to the county over the past year or so.

The development has offered to purchase a used ladder truck at a cost of $125,0000 to $150,000, but the fire district turned down the offer, according to Mike Daniels, a private sector planner working with the California company, Salt Aire Holdings.

But Charles Wallace, a retired Philadelphia firefighter who now lives in Grayland and volunteers for the fire district, said such ladder trucks are not a one-time expense and require regular �” and expensive �” training to safely fight fires on tall structures.

“I fought 140 fires in buildings this size and 200 in buildings taller than this,” he said. “I’ve crawled down hallways. It’s hot and smoky and if you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t know how to find people, you’re not going to find them.

“In my fire district I’m the third youngest guy. I’m 52 years old. �- At five stories, we can’t do it. I don’t care if everyone from Westport all the way down to Tokeland responds, we’re not getting you out of there. �-� I just want to put it in the record so everyone is accountable for what they do.”

Board of Adjustment chairwoman Caroline Perry noted that if the developers can’t come to an agreement with the fire district “then it stops there.”

“There are 27 conditions that have to be met so that it can be approved,” added board member Art Rathjen.

“If they can’t get it right, then they can’t get the certification to move forward,” added fellow board member Bob Andrews.

“Fire (protection) is a large issue for this project,” Daniels admitted. “There’s no question about it.”

Daniels said the developers are considering water storage on site, perhaps a water holding facility as well as requiring sprinklers in the condos.

In approving the conditional use permit, the board had to ensure the property does not create a “nuisance or hazard to life or property” and is “compatible” with the area.

On a 5-1 vote with one board member absent, the project was approved.

Neighbor Ginger Gamblin turned in a petition with 45 signatures on it, all opposed to the development.

“What are the reasonable assurances that this will not be a nuisance to life or property?” added Kyle Raschkow. “I am not 100 percent convinced after hearing the testimony this evening that my property will not be adversely effected.”

“Based upon our analysis of the proposal, it is clear that the project, if built, would have a detrimental effect on the environment,” wrote a letter from the Friends of Grays Harbor environmental group, noting there is a threat of rising ocean levels and erosion issues on the property, as well as risk of a tsunami. But FOGH says the development has ignored those threats.

“This is the first public hearing and this is the last public hearing,” added neighbor Eric Goldman, who with his wife Catherine have written numerous letters opposing the project.� By approving the project the board is “passing something now on hope, and we don’t know what’s going to happen later,” he said.

“We just had a school bond voted down and we all love our children very much,” Goldman added. “We don’t want to incur the cost to upgrade the fire department just for this one structure.”

The Goldmans and FOGH also questioned the county’s claim that the development will have very little environmental impact. They are calling for costly studies to determine the specific impacts.

But other neighbors welcomed the project.

“Whoever is bucking it better get a grip,” said Terry Larson of Tokeland. “We need places like this.”

One Grayland woman said the South Beach “desperately needs something to bring us to life. We need something. We are dying out there.”

“Grayland needs a facelift and these condos would be a huge asset,” wrote Tim Anderson of Premier Realty in Westport. “Property values would rise, income for the county would rise. �- Trying to bring new buyers in as it is, among the run-down trailer parks, junk yards and other dilapidated structures can be pretty tough. I believe this will be a gigantic step forward for Grayland.”
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 21st, 2009, 01:05 AM   #7
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

POSTED: Monday, May. 18, 2009

Bellingham City Council to consider future of urban growth area
JARED PABEN - THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

BELLINGHAM - Planners for Bellingham and Whatcom County governments are sparring over whether the county should cut the amount of land near Bellingham available for urban growth and inclusion inside city limits.
City planners and the Bellingham Planning Commission say Whatcom County shouldn't eliminate urban growth areas, despite a study that shows the city and its urban growth area have more than enough developable land available to handle the next two decades of growth. For many reasons, the study was flawed, and there's actually less developable land than it shows, they said.
Meanwhile, county planners defended the study, which is called a &quot;land capacity analysis,&quot; saying the city helped create it and should accept its conclusions and work to accommodate more new residents inside city limits.

Whatcom County is under a state order to revise urban growth areas countywide by Dec. 1. As part of that, the county has asked each of the seven cities for their recommendations. The Bellingham City Council is scheduled to provide its recommendation after a hearing Monday, May 18.
Here are some numbers in the debate:
24,000: The number of new residents the Bellingham City Council said it wants to plan to accommodate over the next two decades.
4,000: The number of those new residents who won't fit inside city limits, according to the analysis, meaning there would have to be room for them in the unincorporated urban growth area.
11,300: The unincorporated urban growth area could fit this many people, which is considerably more than the 4,000 it needs to accommodate. The County Council could decide to trim the urban growth area.
5,900: Acres of urban growth area.
In a May 7 memo to the City Council, city planner Greg Aucutt states that staff and the Planning Commission support leaving the urban growth area as is. For many reasons, the land-capacity analysis overestimates the amount of people who could fit inside the city and growth area, he wrote. Just one reason: The analysis assumes housing development will be much denser than has occurred, he wrote.
The city and county should consider growth area changes in 2011, when the city updates its comprehensive plan, Aucutt wrote.
But in two letters dated May 5 and May 12, David Stalheim, the county's planning director, defended the land-capacity analysis, saying city staff helped create it.
The analysis also doesn't include the potential to build more than 2,000 housing units downtown, and other potentials for infill development, like mother-in-law suites, he wrote.
&quot;I hope that the city continues to stand behind the earlier resolution to have binding policies for urban infill,&quot; Stalheim wrote. &quot;The place to start is to ensure that the densities and methodology used in the (land-capacity analysis) reflect that commitment to infill.&quot;
ATTEND THE HEARING
What: The Bellingham City Council will hold a public hearing before considering a formal recommendation to the county on the future of its urban growth area.
When: 7 p.m. Monday, May 18.
Where: City Council Chambers, 210 Lottie St.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 21st, 2009, 01:06 AM   #8
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

Timber towns suffer as demand falls
Housing bust: Morton, population 1,000, struggles to redefine itself

PETER HALEY/The Tacoma News Tribune
Empty storefronts line the streets of downtown Morton, where Morton Beverage & Tobacco owner David Meglemre is liquidating his stock to close at the end of the month. The small town’s economy has been hit hard by lumber mill closures.

FACT BOX
BY THE NUMBERS

Timber trade
28.9 billion board feet
Estimated U.S. lumber demand in 2009
64.3 billion board feet
U.S. lumber demand in 2005
432,000 homes
Number of new U.S. homes projected in 2009
553,000 homes
Projected number of new U.S. homes in 2010
5.3 billion board feet
Lumber projected to be used in U.S. homes this year
27.6 billion board feet
Lumber used in homebuilding in 2005 no jobs
NO JOBS
14 percent
Lewis County unemployment rate
9.2 percent
Washington unemployment rate
8.5 percent
National unemployment rate

JOHN GILLIE; THE NEWS TRIBUNE
Published: 05/17/09 9:39 am | Updated: 05/17/09 12:32 pm
image hosted on flickr

MORTON – When Sharon Fisher closes the door of her Heavenly Hand-Me-Downs shop May 29 in Morton’s one-street business district, it will be for the last time.

Just one day more than a year after she opened her second-hand clothing store, it will become yet another casualty of the economic malaise.

“We’re just not doin g any business,” she said recently. “Nobody has any money. Nobody is buying.”

Her shop’s failure is a reflection not only of the financial pandemic that has swept the world, but of the more virulent virus that has consumed the housing industry, the industries that supply it and the towns like Morton, about 70 miles southeast of Olympia, that depend on the timber business to keep their hearts beating.

The auto industry’s woes have attracted more publicity as the Big Three halt production in huge plants in big cities across the Midwest, but the pain is perhaps even more acute in small towns in the Pacific Northwest and the South because the timber business more often is the central reason these small towns exist.

In Morton, home of a summertime Loggers’ Jubilee, two of the three mills have suspended their businesses. And in mill towns across the country and in Canada, the story is the same.

The lists of mill closures and production curtailments locales are pages long: Aberdeen, Green Mountain, Kettle Falls, Darrington, Packwood, Republic, Beaver, Carson and Morton in Washington; Coburg, Dallas, Baker City, Springfield, Warm Springs, Madras, Vaughn, White City in Oregon; Dodson and Evergreen in Alabama; Wright City in Oklahoma, Simsboro and Dodson in Louisiana, and Hudson Bay, Carrot River, Miramichi, Delta and Drayton Valley in Canada to name just a few.

A combination of factors has contributed to the decline of these mills over the last decades: environmental concerns, the steep reduction of public forest timber harvests, the retirement of outmoded mills, floods and insect infestations.

But the departure of the small-town timber industry has seen a light-speed acceleration since the housing boom turned to bust.

The volume of lumber produced in the West is the lowest since the 1930s, says Portland’s Western Wood Products Association spokesman Robert Bernhardt Jr.

Demand for lumber and wood products nationwide is down from 64.3 billion board feet in the overheated days of the 2005 housing boom to a projected 28.9 billion board feet this year, according to an association forecast. That’s a 55 percent drop.

And the prices that timber companies get for their products has dropped sharply.

To cope with those abrupt changes, wood products companies have been forced to cut production to match diminished demand. That means shuttering wood and paper mills throughout the country. Many of those mills may never reopen.

The cuts have gone beyond simply culling the inefficient producers, said Weyerhaeuser Co. President Dan Fulton. His company has been forced to lay off workers and close mills that were stellar producers, he said.

“This is all very painful,” said Fulton in an interview after the timber company’s annual meeting last month.


‘A WHOLE OTHER THING’


Morton Mayor Jim Gerwig said that he’s never seen an economic decline in his town so deep and so worrying. Gerwig is a former timber worker who gave up his job peeling veneer from logs at the Morton Champion mill years ago to take a lesser-paying job with the state.

“We’ve seen your typical seasonal closures and curtailments through the years, but nothing quite the same as this,” he said.

“This was already a depressed area, but I think this is going to be a whole other thing,” said the mayor.

The town’s retail sales and sales tax collections have fallen, and Morton is looking at curtailing services. It’s unlikely, said the mayor, that the town government will be able to hire seasonal workers this summer to help with park and street maintenance.

The unemployment rate in Lewis County now tops 14 percent, compared with 9.2 percent statewide and 8.5 percent nationwide, according to the state Department of Employment Security. But locals in Morton think the unemployment is far higher in the east end of the county in the timber towns like Morton near the Cascades.

Two of three Morton mills have halted or curtailed production. Champion left Morton years ago, and the town’s largest employer, Hampton Affiliates’ Cowlitz mill, shut down in early winter after heavy holiday snows collapsed a roof that sheltered the mill’s planer.

Today, the Hampton mill on Highway 7 on the north side of town stands silent, its log yards swept clean of raw material. Only a handful of administrative employees and maintenance people work there now.

Fortunately for Morton, the town’s other major mill, the TMI Forest Products mill across the road from the mothballed Hampton mill, is still producing cedar fence boards.

Hampton has moved some of the Morton workers to its Randle mill, and it still has workers report one day a month so that they can qualify for health insurance coverage, said Hampton chief executive Steve Zika.

Hampton plans to begin the $3 million repair of the planer building this summer and has scheduled the mill’s reopening for September, said Zika, but the mill is expected to produce about 50 percent of the output it did before the roof collapse. That inevitably will mean fewer jobs, said Zika.

“We regret the stress this puts on our employees and the communities where we have our plants,” said Zika. “Customer demand and lumber prices are at historically low levels, and most forecasts predict it may be several years before normal housing markets return,” he said.


PART OF THE CULTURE


Family-owned Hampton has been in the lumber business for nearly 75 years starting with a lumber yard in Tacoma in 1935, but the Portland-based company has never seen a demand drop as steep as it has in the last year, said Zika.

The supply of logs was already pinched by the near-shutdown of federal timber sales, he said. Those federal sales used to amount to some 4 billion board feet of timber a year. Now they’ve declined to less than 300 million board feet annually, he said.

Hampton was forced to close its Packwood mill a decade ago because it depended heavily on timber from federal forests, he said. The Morton mill has a more diverse supply available from private lands.

That near shutdown of timber harvesting on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management tracts has been even more painful on the east side of the Cascades where mills have little private forest lands to draw from, Zika said.

He said legal feuds with environmental forces over endangered species have throttled that federal timber supply.

Even with the prospect for the Hampton mill reopening, some longtime Morton residents think the town’s future as a timber town is clouded.

Willametta Layman, a Morton beauty shop owner, said her customers are coming in for cuts and curls less frequently now.

“They’re spreading out their money now, but they’ve still got money from unemployment. I’m worried what happens when that runs out,” she said.

Layman, for 18 years a Morton City Council member, isn’t convinced that unemployed people will flee the town.

The timber business is part of Morton’s DNA, she said, and whole families in Morton have worked for generations in the woods and at the mills.

“It’s just part of the culture. When Morton people walk into the woods, it’s home,” she said.

“Where will they go?” she asks. “They won’t find housing less expensive anywhere else, and the cost of living is low.”

A 2,000-square-foot home in Morton can be bought for about $150,000 in the present market.

She expects that the wood products industry will always be part of Morton’s basic fabric.

Unlike the cinnabar mines that provided employment for Morton residents through the 1940s, the resource won’t be depleted, she said. (Cinnabar is the mineral from which mercury is extracted.)

“Because it’s a renewable resource, and because we’ve got a lot of trees around here and because there will always be a market for lumber, I think timber will always have a place in Morton,” she said.

But until the housing business is resurrected, Morton is seeking to diversify its economy.

Mayor Gerwig said the town is talking with manufacturers of wind turbine blades to lure them to locate a factory in Morton.

“We’ve got hard-working people, and our costs are low,” he said. “We’ve even got a pretty steady wind here, so maybe they could also erect some wind turbines here to generate power.”

The town is also exploring expansion of its vestigial airport, now too small to accommodate all but the smallest and most agile aircraft. The town is considering hiring a consultant to study whether lengthening the airport runway would bring more business to Morton.

David Meglemre, a beverage-and-tobacco company owner in downtown Morton, thinks the town missed a good chance to diversify a couple of years ago when Cardinal Glass was looking for a site for a new plant, and the company approached Morton as a possible site.

The town, he said, gave Cardinal the cold shoulder, and the company built its plant in Winlock instead.


WHAT’S NEXT?


Tax law changes and reduced demand in Morton are causing Meglemre to change his business from retail to wholesale. He plans to seek customers throughout Western Washington.

“We’ve got three bars in town, and only one is open full time,” he said. “When your population can’t even support the bars, you know you’ve got trouble.”

A fully equipped storefront on the town’s main street with living accommodations has been for lease for more than a year now, but no one has signed up, he said. The price, under $1,000 a month, is attractive, he said, but no one wants to give it a go if there’s no business, even at a low rent.

Unless the town diversifies its economy, he predicts, the population will dwindle from the 1,000 or so residents that claim it as home now.

Already, said the mayor, the town’s population is down several hundred residents from its peak in the early 1970s.

Some think the town could become a retirement community for residents lured by low costs and the area’s natural beauty.

Morton is flanked on two sides by forested mountains. It sits at the intersection of Highways 7 and 12 leading to White Pass over the Cascades and to Mount Rainier. On the road west from Morton toward Interstate 5 are two Tacoma Power lakes, Riffe and Mayfield, with considerable recreational potential.

And Morton residents, in addition to promoting the town’s yearly Loggers’ Jubilee, have revived the historic Roxy Theater on Main Street and are refurbishing the town’s historic train depot with the hope that its presence may attract tourist trains from Tacoma and Elbe near Mount Rainier.

More immediately, some of the town’s residents are dealing with the consequences of the changing demographics that are closer to their hearts.

Based on projections for the next school year, Morton’s high school won’t have enough students to field a competitive football team.

The school district is studying whether to form a consolidated team with nearby White Pass.

The problem is that the two schools are historic rivals.

What will the merged team be called? Whose colors will it adopt? The White Pass Panthers’ orange and black or the Morton Huskies’ green and white?

“I think that if it happens, it will be hard for me,” said Layman, a 54-year Morton resident.

“I bleed green.”

John Gillie: 253-597-8663

john.gillie@thenewstribune.com
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 21st, 2009, 05:51 PM   #9
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

POSTED: Wednesday, May. 20, 2009

Lynden leaders support lifting limit on big-box stores
JARED PABEN - THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
Northwest Development News Center, AJM STUDIOS.NET

LYNDEN - City Council members supported an update to the commercial code that would lift size limits on big-box stores in west Lynden.
The council asked staff to bring back the code update for approval. It would do various things, including lift the 65,000-square-foot limit on stores.
Council members disagreed about whether to retain a section that would require stores going out of business to post a bond that the city could use to demolish the vacant building if it becomes a public nuisance. That would apply to stores larger than 50,000 square feet.

Staff will bring back two ordinances: one with the bond requirement and one without, Planning Director Amy Harksell said. They hope to do that for the next meeting, scheduled for June 1, but it may be delayed.
Reach JARED PABEN at jared.paben@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2289.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 21st, 2009, 10:16 PM   #10
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

Residents, officials get taste of downtown Mount Vernon plan

May 21, 2009 - 11:00 AM
Last Updated: May 21, 2009 - 11:54 AM
GoSkagit.com
AJM STUDIOS Development News Center

MOUNT VERNON — Residents and city officials have long said downtown’s back is to the river.

That’s due to the threat of flooding, which makes investment in the properties lining the eastern bank of the Skagit River impractical, Mount Vernon Community and Economic Development Director Jana Hanson told city leaders Wednesday.

However, that would change under a plan to protect the downtown core — between Lions Park and Kincaid Street — from a 100-year flood, an event which has a 1 percent chance of occurring in a given year, Hanson said during a joint Mount Vernon City Council and Planning Commission meeting Wednesday.

The $23 million flood protection and downtown revitalization plan discussed by the council and commission would take the cars off the revetment — tucking them instead in a new parking garage near Skagit Station — to install new public amenities and private development along the river, Hanson said.

She and Patrik Dylan, a landscape architect hired by the city, made that point while flipping through illustrations of Mount Vernon’s riverfront lined with new private retail and living spaces, a brick-covered floodwall topped with nautical-themed lamp posts and, bordering the river, a 24-foot wide walkway to be called the “Skagit Riverwalk.”

There would also be “pocket parks” along the riverwalk and a large plaza to house the Mount Vernon Farmer’s Market, they said.

Even with added private development, Hanson said the project would increase the usable public space along the river by 100 percent.

Still stopping the project is a $10 million funding shortfall, Mayor Bud Norris said.

The city is also awaiting word from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the flood protection elements. Earlier this year the city requested confirmation from FEMA that if the plan is enacted, Mount Vernon’s downtown will indeed be deemed free of the 100-year flood threat.

Hanson said she expects word from FEMA by the end of the month.

Councilman Robert Fiedler asked staff Wednesday where a typical — not a more major 100-year flood — might hit the proposed floodwall, which would be about 6 feet tall in places.

Public Works Director Esco Bell responded that the November 2006 flood would have reached just to the Skagit Riverwalk.

Even with a 100-year flood, Norris added, there would be some height to spare with the wall, which will have openings to allow greater access to the river when water levels are low. Those openings can be quickly closed with metal beams before a flood arrives.

Elliott Wilson can be reached at 360-416-2147 or at ewilson@skagitpublishing.com.[/i]
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 22nd, 2009, 05:13 PM   #11
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

May 22, 2009
Northern Quest gets set to staff up
Tribe to add 400 workers, mostly at casino, yet this year
By Kim Crompton
Of the The Spokane Journal of Business

AJM STUDIOS.NET Northwest Development News Center


The Northern Quest hotel, centerpiece of a $200 million-plus expansion project, is expected to open by New Year's Eve.
—Staff photo by Kim Crompton
The Kalispel Tribe of Indians, which operates the expanding Northern Quest Resort & Casino, in Airway Heights, says it expects to add about 400 employees by the end of this year there, mostly to staff an upscale hotel and luxury spa complex it's developing.

Kent Caputo, chief operating officer for the Kalispel Tribal Economic Authority, which oversees the casino and other tribal business ventures, says the hiring is expected to boost the tribe's overall work force.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 22nd, 2009, 05:14 PM   #12
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

Taller buildings may be in Bellevue's future
Today the city council will consider updating the land use code and design guidelines for downtown development.
By LYNN PORTER
May 18, 2009

Seattle Daily Journal Commerce Journal Real Estate Editor

More Northwest News at AJM STUDIOS.BET


The Bellevue planning department wants to study allowing taller buildings downtown in exchange for more interesting design, more public amenities and affordable housing.
In the last half-dozen years, about 4,000 condos and apartments have sprouted up or are under construction in downtown Bellevue. At the same time, numerous high-rise commercial buildings have been erected, transforming the skyline.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 23rd, 2009, 07:09 AM   #13
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

Judge rules in favor of growth plan
Friday, May 22 | 9:15 a.m.
BY MICHAEL ANDERSEN
THE COLUMBIAN STAFF WRITER
AJM STUDIOS.NET Northwest Development News Center

A Clark County judge knocked back an environmental challenge to the county's 2007 urban growth plan Thursday, increasing the chance that hundreds of acres of current and former farmland will be developed.

Even on the county's remaining patches of high-quality soil, commercial farming is close to dead, Superior Court Judge Robert Harris wrote in an eight-page decision.

Harris' ruling, which is subject to appeal, would permit annexation on the outskirts of Camas, La Center and Washougal, including La Center's interchange on Interstate 5.

It would also allow eventual urban development in an area north of Washington State University Vancouver.

However, Harris seemed to prohibit urbanizing 780 acres of agricultural land south of Brush Prairie, which county commissioners had hoped to convert to a huge industrial park, and 343 acres at the northernmost tip of Camas, northwest of Lacamas Lake.

When county commissioners unanimously approved the plan in 2007, they fended off protests from environmentalists and the state commerce department, who said so many new roads and sewers would burden taxpayers.

The 19-square-mile urban expansion was the biggest on state record. Futurewise, a Seattle-based anti-sprawl group, appealed it.

On Thursday, environmentalists called Harris' ruling a "split decision" but said it might prove favorable enough for them not to risk appealing to the state Court of Appeals.

"The baby's been cut in half," said John Karpinski, a Vancouver environmental lawyer working with Futurewise.

La Center to expand
A county commissioner applauded the ruling Thursday. So did advocates for affected landowners and the city of La Center.

James Howsley, a development attorney who represents several affected landowners, said he thinks Harris might issue a clarification that would allow development south of Brush Prairie and northwest of Lacamas Lake.

"We are extremely happy for our clients," Howsley, of Vancouver law firm Miller Nash, wrote in an e-mail. "This is a wonderful thing especially for the small cities. This decision affirms the right of a community to decide for itself, based on historic and predicted conditions, where it is most appropriate to grow."

Thursday's decision is a big win for the city of La Center, which has spent years trying to expand west to Interstate 5.

Harris' ruling gives the city a chance to annex 665 acres along the highway.

La Center depends heavily on its four nontribal cardrooms, the city's biggest employers and taxpayers. Mayor Jim Irish and others want to broaden the city's economy.

"We just got a lot more industrial land," Dale Miller, La Center's planner, said Thursday. "It bodes well for future economic diversity in the town."

Thursday's decision will have no bearing on the federal review of a proposed tribal casino outside La Center.

Commissioner Steve Stuart said that if Harris' ruling stands, it means "greater economic development in the county, more opportunity for business to site here."

"I have no expectation that this will have an immediate impact, but it will have a long-term impact on the future economy of our county," Stuart said.

Harris: farming dying
In his ruling, Harris echoed the judgment of a 2005 economic study by the county, which concluded that professional farming in Clark County is in permanent decline.

The rising demand for locally grown food is "not sufficient to reverse the long-standing trends of declining farm activity" in the county, the study found.

In 2002, the study noted, only 170 local farms brought in more than $25,000 a year.

"It is fairly obvious that an annual income of $25,000 is not sufficient to support a family," Harris wrote.

Farming on 5-acre rural parcels, Harris wrote, "would be more likened to a hobby farm rather than representing long-term productive growth of agricultural product."

But Karpinski, the environmental lawyer, said the public has an interest in protecting small farms, too.

"What's wrong with a hobby farm?" he asked. "It's a second job for them. There's a lot of people working two jobs nowadays. … If people want to be growing locally grown food, we should be doing everything we can to encourage that activity."

Harris' ruling drew on the 2002 U.S. Census of Agriculture.

The 2007 Census of Agriculture, released this winter, showed continued decline in the number of Clark County farms grossing more than $100,000 a year. The value of big farms' output fell 10 percent over five years.

But the 2007 Census also showed an explosion in the number of local farms making less than $25,000 and also those making between $25,000 and $100,000.

The value of crops produced on small farms in the county jumped 33 percent from 2002 to 2007. For midsize farms, the growth was 11 percent.

Michael Andersen: 360-735-4508 or michael.andersen@columbian.com.

Staff writer Jeffrey Mize contributed reporting.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 25th, 2009, 07:31 AM   #14
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

Pierce County may give final OK to warehouse restrictions

DAVID WICKERT; ]THE TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE
Published: 05/24/09 8:24 pm
image hosted on flickr

AJM STUDIOS.NET Northwest Development News Center; Covering the entire northwest!

Pierce County officials have reached a compromise in their effort to limit warehouse development and preserve industrial land for manufacturing.

A measure up for final approval by the County Council on Tuesday would permit warehouses up to 250,000 square feet outright in industrial areas and require additional review of larger warehouses. Here’s what you need to know.

The issue: Pierce County has seen a recent boom in mammoth warehouses. Among them: an 834,000-square-foot Ikea warehouse and distribution center and an 850,000-square-foot Whirlpool facility, both in Frederickson.

But a recent county study showed warehouses produce relatively few jobs for the amount of land they require. The study found that, on average, warehouse facilities employ 5.3 people per acre in Pierce County, while manufacturers employ 18.7 employees per acre.

Initial proposal: To preserve scarce industrial land, the county economic development department recommended capping warehouses at 5 acres. That would permit warehouses of about 130,000 feet. But it would prohibit the kind of mammoth warehouses sprouting in Frederickson.

Opponents of this plan say warehouse and distribution facilities make the Port of Tacoma more competitive and create jobs there. They want the county to focus on expanding industrial land rather than divvying up the limited land currently available.

The compromise: Earlier this month the County Council approved a plan that foregoes a cap on the size of warehouses. Instead, it would require additional review for the largest facilities.

The proposal would allow warehouses up to 250,000 square feet in most areas zoned for warehousing. Warehouses of 250,000 to 425,000 square feet would require an administrative review. Warehouses larger than 425,000 square feet would require a conditional use permit, subject to a public hearing and approval by a hearing examiner.

The proposal also calls for the economic development department to monitor warehouse development and report on the effects of the new regulations by September 2012.

What’s next: On Tuesday the council will take final action on the warehouse rules as part of a larger package of changes to county development regulations. The meeting will be at 3 p.m. in Room 1045, County-City Building, 930 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 25th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #15
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

Kelso history hits 125-year mark
Sunday, May 24, 2009 12:59 AM PDT
By Amy M.E. Fischer
AJM STUDIOS.NET Northwest Development News Center; Covering the entire northwest!

TDN.com


KELSO - If you like Kelso just the way it is, you’ll draw comfort from longtime Kelso residents and city leaders’ predictions that the city won’t change much in the next 25 years.

Now in its 125th year, the once-rowdy timber town with a colorful nightlife has mellowed into a bedroom community for Longview and, to a lesser degree, Portland and Vancouver. And that’s what it’s likely to remain, residents said last week with a mixture of wistfulness and pride.

“I think overall, Kelso’s going to maintain the character it’s got now,” said Mayor David Futcher.

The city’s position on the Interstate 5 corridor make growth inevitable as Portland and Vancouver spread northward. Changes in the city will happen in bursts, but they probably won’t alter the big picture, people say. That’s partly because of geography. The city is hemmed in by hills that are difficult to build on, and most of the flat land is already occupied. But it’s also due to the mentality of Kelso’s people, said Roy Parsons, a Kelso School Board member since 1980.

“In some ways, we’re afraid to move forward. I think we’re afraid to venture out,” Parsons said Wednesday. “We’re like old people, more contented. ... I don’t think we’ve reached our potential in Kelso, what we could be if we would just make up our minds, ‘Hey, we can do this.’ ”

The biggest problem for Kelso, residents say, has been a lack of economic diversity since the timber industry, on which the city historically had based its fortunes, went into decline. For the first half of the 20th century, the city had its own shingle and lumber mills, but those gradually closed down as old growth timber vanished. Later, workers would find jobs in Longview’s paper and aluminum factories, but plant shutdowns and mass layoffs have made those jobs scarce.

But as a result of several projects on the horizon, the city soon will have the ability to expand its commercial and industrial tax base, Futcher said.

For years, Kelso hasn’t been able to fully develop hundreds of acres industrial land in South Kelso because the state Department of Transportation restricted traffic on the access roads, which WSDOT didn’t feel could handle heavy traffic. But next year’s $45 million state project to reconfigure the complex Longview Wye interchange at Exit 36 will open up Kelso’s adjacent Coweeman Park industrial area for the first time, which is expected to improve the city’s tax base.

The Longview Wye project also will open up road access that will allow a Seattle developer to build a major outdoor retail center with two big-box stores on 100 acres south of the I-5/State Route 432 interchange. That project also is slated to begin in 2010.

The Southwest Washington Regional Airport (renamed this spring from the Kelso-Longview Regional Airport) is planning to extend its runway to allow bigger jets to land. That will be attractive to corporations considering setting up businesses in the area, city officials predict.

West Kelso could become more of a commercial district after the state realigns West Main Street and Catlin Street to improve traffic flow, Futcher said. The realignment of the roads will require tearing down a few older buildings “and provide a lot of incentive for folks to put some new, nice stuff up,” he said.

Future improvements at the Cowlitz County Regional Conference Center at the fairgrounds, which border West Kelso, could have a ripple effect that benefits the surrounding area, Futcher said. The county has hired a consultant to study the 47-acre fairgrounds to identify the site’s development potential, which could include a hotel and restaurants.

When Kelso was celebrating its 100th anniversary in 1984, the city had a different set of goals: build a new City Hall and a new Allen Street Bridge, said Dick Woods, who served on the City Council from 1974 until 1991. A new indoor shopping mall coming in 1987 was widely anticipated as the remedy for Kelso’s economic troubles. City leaders predicted downtown would fill up with banks and offices within 10 years. They thought Kelso’s population would climb instead of remaining stagnant at about 11,500 people.

Darrell Frost, who was on the Kelso City Council at the time of the city’s centennial celebration, said the council expected the changes, particularly those related to downtown revitalization, would occur over the next 10 to 15 years.

“I guess we would’ve hoped for things happening faster, but we were all kind of victims of an up-and-down economy, being so wood-product-oriented at the time,” said Frost, 70.

Although Three Rivers Mall has some vacant stores now, it was very successful for many years, he said.

“I think the mall, especially in its early years, accomplished what we wanted,” he said.

However, Kelso resident Rose Janke, 82, blames the mall for the deterioration of downtown Kelso.

When she was growing up in the 1930s and 1940s, “you had solid buildings all the way from Cowlitz Way all the way down to Ash Street. There were businesses both upstairs and downstairs in the buildings,” Janke said. “It was a busy place, and it was a fun place to grow up.”

Other changes eventually happened. The new Allen Street Bridge was finished in 2000. The sleek, modern span rose over the railroad tracks that often held up traffic on the old bridge — but it diverted traffic away from downtown Kelso. Shops that previously had been on the main drag saw a sharp drop in businesses, and several closed.

The opening of the new City Hall on South Pacific Avenue in 2004 brought more people downtown, as did the conversion of the old Safeway store into a state job center in 2008. A Red Canoe Credit Union branch opened at the corner of Allen Street and Third Avenue this year, replacing a run-down eyesores at a key intersection.

“I think downtown is progressing nicely,” Futcher said, adding that no one should expect change overnight.

Veryl Anderson, who worked at the city from 1967 until 2007, said she thought the city’s industrial park would grow faster than it has. She also expected a shift from a manual-labor based workforce to one with a technological base.

“I think we’re going to have to think of something to entice people to our area,” Anderson said.

Enhancing Kelso’s tourism and recreational activities may be the key, said Anderson, who’d like to see the city build a small amphitheater, dredge the Cowlitz River so boat races could be revived and open the Aldercrest landslide area for hiking trails.

Woods, the former mayor, said he likes Kelso the way it is.

“We provide all the basic services — good fire and police, a good system of government. I’m happy with that,” said Woods, 76. “I had no big expectations.”
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 26th, 2009, 07:09 PM   #16
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

City considers terminating Federal Way Municipal Court
By JACINDA HOWARD
Federal Way Mirror Reporter
AJM STUDIOS.NET Northwest Development News Center

image hosted on flickr

May 26, 2009, 9:35 AM
Federal Way is evaluating its options for providing court services, and has shown interest in terminating its municipal court.

On May 19, during a city council special session, deputy mayor Eric Faison proposed looking into the city's options for providing court services. Personnel issues have plagued the municipal court since its beginning. The city is obligated to offer court services, but has the ultimate authority in deciding how those services are presented. Staff is now researching the legality and costs associated with discontinuing the court in its current form.

Contracting with King County District Court is one option. But there are still many unknowns at the moment, Faison said.

"How we provide those services is our responsibility," he said.

Federal Way Municipal Court was established in 2000. It is a court of limited jurisdiction, seeing cases concerning civil and traffic infractions, criminal and gross misdemeanors, and civil vehicle impound hearings. The court staff continues to be innovative when it comes to providing justice. Staff recently requested a grant to begin a DUI court, and last year installed new safety equipment, among other things. But since its beginning, the court has faced personnel issues.

"I'm concerned with the ability of Federal Way to have its own court," Faison said.

Weighing the options

The city will look at several options for offering court services. Contracting with King County is one possible avenue. Who provides the services, and where those are provided from, are just some questions that need answers, Faison said.

Municipalities are required, by law, to prosecute misdemeanor offenses that take place within the city's limits, said Michael Morgan, Federal Way Municipal Court presiding judge. When the legislation was enacted, Federal Way weighed providing its own services against contracting with the county and found establishing a municipal court more cost-effective, Morgan said.

"Almost every city, if not every city, in King County that has examined this issue has each reached the same conclusion: That it is substantially less expensive to have your own municipal court than contract out for municipal court services with King County District Court," Morgan said.

The benefits of a district court contract vs. operating a municipal court vary for each city, said Diane Carlson, Bellevue government relations director.

Bellevue, with a population of 118,100, has evaluated the benefits of operating a municipal court, but found a contract with the county more appealing, she said. Service levels as well as cost should be considered when deciding how to offer court services, Carlson said. A facility to house the services impacts how expensive it is for a city to provide is own court services, Carlson said.

"If you have your own facility, it makes it possibly more cost-effective to go to a municipal court (structure)," she said.

Bellevue is part of an inter-local agreement with King County jurisdictions that do not operate their own municipal court. Service charges are based on the number and types of cases tried, Carlson said. Annually, the county looks at how much revenue each city's caseload produced vs. how much it costs to handle the cases when determining how much each municipality will pay for the county service, Carlson said. Bellevue generally breaks even, she said.

"Through our evaluations, the service level has continued to be good," Carlson said.

Criminal cases are typically more expensive to try than misdemeanor cases, Carlson said. In 2008, the King County District Court tried 27,052 cases for Bellevue, according to information found on the Washington State Courts Web page. Most of these cases were traffic related, according to the information. The same year, Federal Way Municipal Court tried 18,602 cases. Most the cases were traffic related. Ten were civil cases, according to the court information.

Troubled past

Faison's concerns originate from a nine-year history of managerial blemishes. The first mark on the Federal Way Municipal Court's record came in 2003. Judge David Tracy was put on paid administrative leave by then-city manager David Moseley. Moseley later changed the judge's leave status to "vacation." Emotional stress was cited.

The state's Commission on Judicial Conduct (CJC) evaluates complaints against judges and determines if a judge's actions violate the Code of Judicial Conduct. The commission also reprimands judges for their inappropriate actions. It does not reveal complaints unless it concludes the judge in question defied the code of conduct. The commission has no record of investigating Tracy.

In December 2007, the court again took a blow. Its newest authority, Judge Colleen Hartl, suddenly resigned. Hartl began her work in Federal Way in May 2007. In January 2008, it surfaced that Hartl engaged in sexual conduct with a public defender that tried cases before her. The revelation incited turmoil that has yet to cease. In August, the CJC censured Hartl, prohibiting her from serving as a judge without first gaining the CJC's approval.

While awaiting her punishment, Hartl claimed the court's presiding judge, Michael Morgan, managed the court with a harassing and intimidating nature. The city hired an outside investigator to research the claim. Morgan agreed the action was necessary.

Before the investigation known as the "Stephson report" was completed, Morgan demanded the investigation to halt. When the city continued the investigation, Morgan entered into a lawsuit with the city to keep the results of the report out of the public eye. He claims the city violated attorney-client privileges, and that the court does not fall under the city's jurisdiction and was out of line in continuing the investigation.

The CJC reprimanded Morgan this past December for making threatening remarks to court employees, discussing matters of a sexual nature with court staff and swearing at the police chief. In February, a court supervisor who had worked with Morgan during the time proceeding the CJC's ruling filed a $500,000 lawsuit against the city for unlawful termination. The city is legally obligated to represent its judges, though it does not have the power to remove them from office. The mess has left the city's management frustrated.

Public discussion

Faison said he did make his request because of the lawsuits the city faces. The court's history of struggles and the city's need to re-evaluate its budget prompted his actions, Faison said.

"I look forward to a review of court operations to further demonstrate the excellent value the Federal Way Municipal Court provides to the taxpayers," Morgan said.

The city council will hold a public study session on the topic June 16. It will not take public comment. If the court is to be disembodied, it is likely to take place prior to 2010, Faison said. Both Judge Morgan, who was elected to his position beginning 2006, and Judge David Larson, who was appointed to fill Hartl's position through this year, are up for election this year. Neither judge has publicly announced whether he will run for office.

Federal Way Mirror Reporter Jacinda Howard can be reached at jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 26th, 2009, 07:09 PM   #17
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

Anacortes tries the lure of art

GoSkagit.com
image hosted on flickr

AJM STUDIOS.NET Northwest Development News Center


May 25, 2009 - 08:56 PM
Last Updated: May 25, 2009 - 09:58 PM

ANACORTES — The City Council Monday will get its first peek at 12 sculptures that will be loaned to the community for display on Commercial Avenue.

Of the 12 artists selected, six are from Skagit County, including Leo Osborne or Guemes Island, whose work has been collected by the Anacortes City Library. The sculptures will be installed in June and will be displayed for 18 months.

The Council will meet at 7:30 p.m. today, Tuesday, May 26 in City Hall at 904 Sixth St., Anacortes.

The new program, similar to one in La Conner, Wenatchee and Puyallup, is aimed at encouraging more foot traffic in the city. Maps showing the locations of the loaned sculptures will be displayed at each installation site.

The commission considered 37 sculptures that were submitted by 21 artists. The 12 artists whose work was selected will receive $100 to defray installation costs. If any pieces are sold, the commission will receive 30 percent of the price, which will be used to for public art programs.

Prior to the presentation on the sculpture program, the council also will select a bidder to relocate the city’s water pipeline along Highway 20 near Padilla Bay.

The city’s engineer estimated a $2.4 million project cost. All 12 bidders, ranging from $1.3 million to $1.7 million, came in under the estimate. The low bidder is Scarsella Brothers.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 26th, 2009, 07:12 PM   #18
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

May 26, 2009
Granite Falls gets a $30M bypass after 10 years of planning
By MARGIE SLOVAN. AJM STUDIOS Contributed to the Report.
Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce Journal Staff Reporter
AJM STUDIOS.NET Northwest Development News Center

(Photos of Granite Falls, click either above update from the NWPJ.)

After the freight route is built around Granite Falls, trucks like these — many of which are hauling aggregate from nearby quarries — won’t clog downtown streets.
Most days in the summer a 75-foot-long truck and trailer rolls through downtown Granite Falls about every 30 seconds. The town will finally get a bypass to remove the trucks from the tiny downtown, and get them moving around the town.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 26th, 2009, 07:14 PM   #19
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

New names proposed for north county highways
Changes would clear up confusion; addresses wouldn't change
Monday, May 25 | 8:21 p.m.
BY HOWARD BUCK
THE COLUMBIAN STAFF WRITER

AJM STUDIOS.NET Northwest Development News Center

image hosted on flickr


It's a routine part of the job at the Amboy Market.

That is, helping to straighten out motorists stumped by the many twists — and name changes — of rural state Highway 503.

Just ask Darcy Williams, manager of the busy store that officially sits on Northeast 216th Avenue, which follows Fargher Lake Highway, Lewisville Highway, 10th Avenue and 117th Avenue, for unsure tourists and delivery drivers who track official road signs from Vancouver.

"It is a little confusing. Because people continue thinking they're on the same path, thinking they're on 503, but then the name changes and they think they're lost," Williams said.

That doesn't even cover motorists who should be on the part of 503 out of Woodland, he adds.

To eliminate guesswork, here's an idea pitched by Battle Ground city leaders, delivered to Washington highway officials by state Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, and other state House members:

nLabel the portion of Highway 503 from the Padden Parkway in Orchards to Amboy, "Lewisville Highway."

nLabel all of state Highway 502, from Interstate 5 to the 503 junction in Battle Ground, "Battle Ground Highway."

Now, understand: Not a single, formal home or business street address would change.

Postal delivery would stick with those addresses, so no private costs would ensue.

Backers say the road rebranding would merely supplement current road signs, and help boost regional identify and curb confusion.

"It's a common name that we're trying to achieve, here," said Dennis Osborn, Battle Ground city manager.

"Like the Sunset Highway, the Glenn Jackson Bridge," Osborn said — alternate monikers for U.S. Highway 26 to the Oregon Coast, and the Interstate 205 span over the Columbia River.

Ultimately, a state transportation panel must approve the request (Zarelli's Senate Bill 5085, and matching House legislation, initiates that process).

To use "Lewisville Highway" is logical for 503, Osborn said. That was the longtime name for the north-south route that slides past the popular Lewisville Park, still in use along that stretch.

In Amboy, Williams agrees.

"I think it makes sense. It's a good landmark," Williams said. "Everybody knows of the park, and has their general bearings. … You just continue from there."

Highway 502, destined to grow to four lanes from Duluth to Dollar's Corner and likely become a job incubator, also would benefit, new-name advocates say.

"That direct link from the freeway to Battle Ground, it just makes sense," said Scott Sawyer, Battle Ground public works director.

"I think for most residents, it would continue to be 219th," Sawyer added.

There would be a public cost to install signs: an estimated $17,000 on Highway 502, $40,310 on Highway 503, Sawyer said.

Road crews would change out the signs "over time," he said, to limit front-end expense while state and local money is short.

That might mollify Leanne Walling, a skeptical Fargher Lake Store cashier who quipped, "I didn't realize there was that much money in the budget, to be playing with road (signs)."

Of course, moments before, she had set straight yet another lost customer.

"I think (road authorities) like to keep people confused," Walling said. "Mapquest will get you lost up here."

Howard Buck: 360-735-4515 or howard.buck@columbian.com.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 26th, 2009, 07:14 PM   #20
USAPatriot
Northwest Photo King
 
USAPatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,340
Likes (Received): 41

Designing a downtown
Camas Hotel renovation project fits in with active changes in Camas

BY MEGAN PATRICK-VAUGHN of the VBJ (Vancouver Business Journal)
image hosted on flickr

AJM STUDIOS.NET Northwest Development News Center

March 20th, 2009

While real estate struggles in many downtown corridors around the county, downtown Camas is experiencing a flux of activity.

There are only a handful of vacant retail spaces on Downtown’s main street, Fourth Avenue, and two major property sales closed there recently.

Journey Community Church recently bought the 10,330-square-foot Columbia River Bar and Grill building at 304 N.E. Fourth Ave. It will be renovated into a worship space for the congregation that has gathered at Skyridge Middle School in Camas for several years.


A block away, Karen and Tom Hall bought the three-story, 10,330-square-foot Camas Hotel, 405 N.E. Fourth Ave., for $700,000, according to county records, and are in the midst of renovating the 1910 building to recapture its original charm with modern amenities.

The hotel is the oldest commercial building in Camas, said Karen Hall, and was built with teeny rooms and common bathrooms. The second floor is under construction now, and when finished, it will have 10 rooms, each with private bathrooms, and a rooftop patio.

The Halls also are renovating a small cafe space in the building where Andes Treasures was located, and where they hope to attract a Euro-style bistro.

They aim to keep the building’s architecture consistent with that of downtown, and are striving to achieve historical significance.

Tom Hall is a general contractor by trade, and Karen Hall has a background in marketing and travel. Their son, Portland real estate agent Milan Cole, discovered the working hotel while they were still living in Ojai, Calif.

“We’re empty nesters, and were looking for an adventure,” said Karen Hall. “When we saw the building, we were unsure, but we fell in love with Camas and it has potential.”

The couple will have spent several hundred thousand dollars renovating the first phase of the project, which includes the building exterior, lobby, second floor, rooftop deck, café and café kitchen. Construction is expected to wrap up in May.

The second phase will bring 10 more rooms to the third floor, where some residents are staying while construction is under way on the second.

“It is an old building, so it comes with all of the unknowns,” said Tom Hall. “But it is a very nice little place to put together, and we think it will have a nice impact.”

The Halls have made an effort to connect other downtown businesses to the hotel. Karen Hall quickly became active with the Downtown Vision Coalition, joining its board, and Carma for Design is handling the interior design, specialty lighting will likely come from Chateau Lauren Interiors and other touches like chocolates or soaps may come from other shops.

“Working with other shops makes it a community effort,” said Karen Hall.

She also is looking to partner with spas to offer discount vacation packages.

“The merchants are committed to putting the city on the map,” said Karen Hall. “They are encouraging development in the right way. We’re excited to be part of the change.”

A changing landscape

The DVC, which is currently funded by the city and is made up of merchants and members of the public, has been busy defining where downtown’s development is headed.

The coalition is working on a master plan and a comprehensive marketing plan to establish a long-term vision and help with business recruitment, said Carrie Schulstad, owner of The Uncommon Gift and vice president of the DVC.

Meanwhile, the coalition has become part of the Main Street Program, and has incorportated as a foundation to expand its funding but has not established nonprofit status. It also has been busy promoting buying local in an “I Found it in Camas” campaign.

The posters, found in shop windows, list 10 reasons to shop and do business locally, including strengthening the local economy, preserving the character of the community and providing more local employment opportunities.

“We have to band together,” Schulstad said.

The last year has been hard for some longtime merchants, forcing them to leave the market.

“It’s a sign of the times,” Schulstad said. “Some of the businesses that have come in are not the same caliber, but those spaces are full.”

Many merchants struggled with Journey Community Church buying the large downtown building. Schulstad said a brewpub also looked at buying the space, and many felt a pub would have been a boon for downtown nightlife.

“It was hard for a lot of merchants because it could have been creating commerce,” Schulstad said. “But it’s a done deal, and we’re doing our best to be positive.”

A representative of the church was not available for comment, but Mike Lamb of Windermere Real Estate Stellar Group, who represented the church in the sale, said he suspects the church was looking for an opportunity to be where nobody else was. The large space and ample parking were appealing, he added.

The renovations are consistent with the other efforts downtown. In the last five years, Susanne Schultz of Chateau Lauren Interiors has seen landlords upgrading buildings and storeowners beautifying window displays.

“This is a boutique town,” she said. “You have to know how to merchandise. ... Things are picking up here.”

Affordable lease rates are especially attractive, Schultz added.

JoAnn Taylor and her brothers bought the building where their shop, Camas Antiques, is located six years ago. They renovated the shop space at 305 N.E. Fourth Ave. and eight upstairs apartments (which hadn’t been rented since 1970).

“I’m banking my own money on this area,” Taylor said, adding that the supportive group of downtown merchants makes it a particularly appealing to own a specialty store.

“Camas has something you can’t build – a town either has it or it doesn’t,” Schultz said.

MAPPING DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT

Last September, the City of Camas adopted a set of design standards for the downtown commercial area – generally from Adams Street on the west, Sixth Avenue to the north, Hayes Street to the east and Second Avenue to the south.

The plan was developed by the city and downtown business owners to provide general requirements geared toward businesses considering renovation, expansion or new site development.

The plan aims to enhance livability and environmental quality by encouraging mixed-use development and economic development in the area to create an atmosphere that attracts broad and diversified consumers and businesses to the downtown core.

The development standards, which include streetscaping, lighting and architectural standards, apply to public and private spaces for new uses, changes of use and expansions. Interior remodeling is exempt.

The city has explored the expansion of several downtown blocks, but Fourth Avenue needs more growth before expansion occurs to other areas, said Carrie Schulstad, owner of The Uncommon Gift and vice president of the Downtown Vision Coalition.

Now there are plans in the works to create a central gathering place, likely between the library and City Hall.

Megan Patrick-Vaughn can be reached at mpatrick@vbjusa.com.
__________________
Washington State Forum
Visit today!
USAPatriot no está en línea   Reply With Quote


Reply

Tags
development news

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT +2. The time now is 08:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like v3.2.5 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

SkyscraperCity ☆ In Urbanity We trust ☆ about us | privacy policy | DMCA policy

Hosted by Blacksun, dedicated to this site too!
Forum server management by DaiTengu