STATEMENT FROM THE PORT OF COLUMBIA
Touchet Valley Trail Digital Meeting
April 1, 2021
DAYTON—The Port of Columbia has been planning a Public Information Meeting for the Touchet Valley Trail (TVT) 30% design review for several months. Because all three Port commissioners will be in attendance at the meeting, it is considered an official public meeting and must follow the laws of the state of Washington, particularly the Open Public Meetings Act.
At each point in the decision-making process, current guidance from the state regarding holding public meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic has been reviewed. Organizing the meeting, gathering materials, and getting a date on the presenters’ calendars are critical pieces in providing the best information possible.
At the time the meeting format was chosen (February 10), and the date chosen (March 10), Columbia County was in Healthy Washington Phase 2, which when applied to the Open Public Meetings Act and Proclamation 20-28.15 allowed in-person meetings with limited attendance (25% venue capacity) and required a remote component that allowed everyone, both in-person and digitally, to hear and be heard. If, at any time during the meeting the venue capacity was exceeded, or the remote component failed, the public meeting would have to be stopped.
Since these decisions were made, Columbia County has moved to Phase 3. All the above requirements still apply, with the only change being the venue capacity has been increased to 50%.
In order to comply with state laws, pandemic proclamations, and guidance from health professionals while at the same time providing the best information for citizens to see and hear, the April 26th Touchet Valley Trail meeting will be held via Zoom Webinar. Instructions on joining the meeting will be released in April.
In order to make the information as accessible as possible, the Port will:
Post the 30% design drawings and a comment portal on the Port website two weeks prior to the meeting, during the meeting, and two weeks after the meeting.
The Zoom webinar will be recorded and posted to a link on the port’s website so the presentation can be viewed anytime. Citizens will be welcome to make an appointment after April 26 to view the recording in the Port conference room if internet or computer access is an issue.
Comments made before, during and after the meeting will be logged and read by the commission and the design team at the end of the comment period.
Questions asked before, during and after the meeting will receive a written response by the end of the comment period. The commission and design team will be provided a copy of all questions and answers.
The purpose of this meeting is to share information with the public. It is not a public hearing, and no decisions will be made at the meeting.
Please call the Port office at (509) 382-2577 ahead of the meeting date if you need assistance in joining the meeting.