The Times 

Light agenda at commissioner work session


DAYTON—The Columbia County Commissioners met on Monday, May 9, for a short work session. The only item on the agenda was ‘general discussion.’

Commissioner Marty Hall shared that he was heading to Pomeroy to meet with a representative concerning the Turkey Trail Restoration Project funding redirection. Initially, the project was supposed to take place in 2021 but was canceled by the Turkey Trail/Green Ridge Fire that burned last summer. Hall did not specify where project funds would be redirected, but he did note that they would still benefit an area in Columbia County.

The commissioners plan to meet with Forest Service officials, including the Fire Management Officers from the Pomeroy and Walla Walla Districts and respective district rangers, next Monday, May 16, at 2:30 p.m.

Hall shared that he met with the Friends of the Pool Committee to discuss how a levy district would work should the organization establish a taxing district. Hall said that the district would have to be created prior to the item being placed on a ballot, and it would be its own separate taxing entity. He noted that once the levee went to vote, it would be the opportunity for the community to voice their support or not.

Commissioner Chuck Amerein asked about the status of the law enforcement building the county has talked about for the past few years. Commissioner Rundell said that they are at the point where they need to ‘go out and press it.’ The commissioners have not gotten plans or architectural drawings. However, Rundell said he is meeting with Sheriff Joe Helm, EMS Director Ashley Strickland, and Prosecutor Dale Slack to decide how to move forward.

Amerein brought up an incident where COVID-19 home tests were given to a group of elementary-aged students; one student tested positive and later negative. He maintained vagueness while discussing the topic. He said the Public Health Office was unaware that the commissioners served as the Board of Health and was going to continue enforcing the state’s recommended protocols for the tests.

“I thought it was interesting that they were getting the county involved, when we weren’t involved before,” Amerein said. “We couldn’t tell them one way or another, what to do, because it was the Department of Education’s say, not ours. For us to go in there and tell them to do something.”

The commissioners adjourned the public portion of the work session and entered into an executive session to discuss potential litigation.


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