Letter from the Port Columbia to Dayton Chronicle
February 18, 2021
February 10, 2021
Over the past 18 months, there have been several inaccurate headlines and stories printed in the Dayton Chronicle related to our work at the Port of Columbia. This misinformation has caused unnecessary concern among citizens and has inaccurately portrayed the intent of our work.
One example is the recent headline stating “Port Proposes Annexation.” The Port did not propose annexation, and this fact could have been verified with a quick phone call or email to the Port office for confirmation. This headline caused over 35 residents to become concerned enough to write a petition to the City against an annexation that doesn’t exist. Here are the facts:
• A broad discussion of the possibility of annexing the Blue Mountain Station property into the City of Dayton was held at a Port workshop. This was not a meeting in which decisions would be made. It was called as a workshop so we could have an open discussion about our comprehensive and strategic plan, and the potential for annexation was part of that discussion.
• The City did not propose annexation. The Port asked the City planner to attend the meeting and explain the process to us as we know little about this subject. This also could have been verified by reaching out to City Hall.
•Annexation was discussed because doing so would lower utility costs for the nine private businesses that operate at Blue Mountain Station and would allow signs to be located closer to the highway - which we hear regularly from the public would be a good thing. They currently pay county utility rates, and we currently cannot place any signs near the highway because of the scenic by-way designation based on its county location.
• Annexing residential or farm properties was not considered. Commercial properties were the focus of the discussion.
Similar inaccuracies have also been printed about the Touchet Valley Trail and Broadband projects, information that portrayed internal strife between Port staff and commissioners that doesn’t exist, quotes out of context that made it look like our staff is trying to avoid holding a public trail meeting, and reference to the Port undertaking a fiber network plan for one individual private business. None of these three things are true, yet your readers now think they are.
The truth matters! As a Port Commission, we need to be able to have open, honest newspaper. Community and economic development work is difficult on a good day, and has been made even harder by the rampant spread of misinformation through social media.
For the good of the community, and to save our citizens from unnecessary stress, we respectfully request the verification of information by your newspaper prior to printing. It takes a little more work, but it is worth it.