"We have just been frustrated, but now we are a little happier," said Tokeland resident Terry Larson, one of the major supporters of getting Pacific County to take over the power requirements for Tokeland and the surrounding area.
With all the discussion about the possibility of brining Pacific County PUD power to the north edge of Willapa Harbor, even with the approval of the 2014 budget, which has in part a $13 million item earmarked for the installation of an 115kV transmission line running along SR105 into Tokeland and the build-out of a substation, some people are still frustrated with how the project has progressed.
"This project has been going on for several years," said Larson, now a retired farmer looking to grow crops in the near future. "The PUD (Pacific County) has been in talks with the tribe for several years trying to get a parcel of land for the required substation. They finally came to us and we sold them a couple of acres about 12 years ago."
The Larson’s, lifelong Tokeland residents, both now retired and looking to help support the community that was pioneered by spouse Vicki’s (Nelson) family, have been living with Grays Harbor PUD power for as long as they can remember.
"We just want reliable power. Just in the last two weeks, we lost power three times," said Terry.
"We have had technicians from Comcast tell us that all we need out here is good power and we would not have as much trouble as we experience," said Vicki. The Larson’s have lost several computers in the past years, just due to brown outs and other power related issues.
"We leave for a short period, turn off all the lights, and when we get home, no power. I remember my mother use to complain about the same thing," said Vicki.
At the last scheduled meeting of the Pacific County PUD Commissioners, the Larson’s came with a petition signed by 100 residents and approximately 15 Tokeland businesses in support of the Tokeland Power Project to go through, in hopes that they will see real progress in the New Year.
Now on the schedule to start the new work outlined in the 2014 PUD budget, a specific timeline is yet to be determined, but the process of laying out the power along SR 105 will be quickly underway.
With the issue of new power now looking to be established, the Larson’s further look in helping the community in the area of possible new business opportunities that are knocking on Washington State’s door.
In a report filed in The Chinook Observer in their Dec. 11 issue, Seattle attorney Charles Craig Holley, speaking on behalf of the Larson’s, attending the Pacific County Commissioners meeting on Dec. 10, urged the commissioners to reject a proposed moratorium on the recently passed Initiative 502 concerning the licensing of marijuana producers, processors and retailers.
The commissioner’s intent for the moratorium is not to impede the process of those businesses wishing to apply to become part of the latest crop production in the county, but to ensure that they have opportunity to look at any local impacts.
In part, Pacific County District 2 Commissioner Frank Wolfe, reading from a prepared statement, spoke of the commission’s responsibility; "This moratorium will give us time to evaluate the state rules and create local policy through our normal planning process, which includes emphasis on public participation. Our plan is to move through the process as quickly as possible."
With a limited application window, which closed on Dec. 19, Holley pointed out that with a moratorium, investors would likely take their business to other counties without such moratoriums.
Board Chairperson Lisa Ayers (Dist.3) noted that in discussion with Washington State Liquor Control Board, the agency would complete application processing even if there is a moratorium in place.
The moratorium passed and runs from Dec. 10 through June 10, 2014. The moratorium can be repealed at any time and can also be extended.
Public comment is scheduled at the Jan. 2 Pacific County Planning Commission meeting at the County Administration Building at 7013 Sandridge Road in Long Beach at 6 p.m.
The group will make recommendations to the Pacific County Commissioners who will hold public comment on Jan. 28.