Downtown Pomeroy Washington, 1908

News from the

East Washingtonian newspaper logotype

March 20, 1958

Page 3

Next Three Dams On Lower Snake Will Have Big Impact On County

Many residents of Garfield county have a great interest in the three dams that will someday be constructed on the lower Snake river.

A comprehensive report on the present state of affairs in regard to the dams was written recently by Vance Orchard, roving reporter for the Walla Walla Bulletin. Since the story is a good one and since many in the county hadn't read it, it is printed below. The map, while not drawn to scale, illustrates the area of the next three dams after Ice Harbor. Distances from dam to dam and road point to road point are indicated.

A swing up U. S. highway 410 reveals an increasing interest in the formation of port districts on the slackwaters being created by the next three dams on the Snake . . . Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite.

1958 map showing proposed lower Snake river dams and ports

Counties primarily concerned are Columbia, Garfield and Whitman.

With Spokane people showing much interest in port facilities which would put them "on the river" at or near Central Ferry some 75 miles from their city, it is easy to see the reason for interest from communities "right there."

With separate port districts possible for each county, there is even talk of hopes for a regional or joint port district which could embrace efforts of two or more counties at a single port.

Bids were opened the past week on initial work at Lower Monumental dam at Magallon Station. Low bid was $14,125 by Haden Drilling Co. of Pasco for exploratory work to be completed in 40 days. The Corps of Engineers has $500,000 allotted for planning work at this site.

Steps have already been taken by communities in the three counties to get the ball rolling for port districts. One of the first was by the Garfield county commissioners who on Oct. 7 named a nine-man county planning commission and voted it $500 in the 1958 budget with the job of investigating the possibilities of forming a port district.

The latest such development came this week when the Dayton city council voted an ordinance forming a city planning commission. While this was set up to act upon immediate city problems emerging the move is also admittedly the initial step from which can later come a county or regional group to study or plan a port district.

In Garfield county's setup, the three commissioners acted according to state law in naming Alex McCabe, William Roller, John Elsensohn, Pearl Gwinn, John Robinson and Sidney Jeffreys besides themselves to form the nine-man planning body. Commissioners are H. M. Light, Wayne Beale and Floyd Ruark. All are farmers.

At Dayton, Mayor Henry Wellsandt was empowered to name eight persons besides himself with no more than three city councilmen to be included. Wellsandt indicated after the session that he would choose from a requested list of volunteers . . . "people who want to work," he amplified.

The Dayton ordinance was to go into effect five days after its official publication on Nov. 8. First efforts of the new body for Dayton will go into a general look-see at the city with a zoning ordinance likely to emerge as the first job. The city is at present embarked upon an extensive program of street repair by property owners and preliminary changes in water system.

Earlier this year, the Dayton Chamber of Commerce named Dorsey Martin to head a committee to investigate the possibility of a port district. Some preliminary efforts have been undertaken by the group, primarily in learning more of the formation of such districts. Martin and Mayor Wellsandt represented the community at the recent convention of the Inland Empire Waterways Assn. in Longview and gained much from the sessions, they both have indicated.

IEWA speakers were on hand to outline possibilities of Port districts to a joint Kiwanis-Chamber of Commerce meeting in Pomeroy Nov. 18. Speakers from this group and from the Port of Walla Walla have already filled speaking engagements here.

Talks with various interested people of Garfield and Columbia counties show there is interest in the formation of a regional port district, if such was legally possible.

Such a plan in the shape of a jointly operated port has even been in the talking stage for several years as a combined effort between the Columbia County Grain Growers and the Pomeroy Grain Growers. Such a port site would be located near the mouth of the Tucannon river and probably slightly downstream. This is the site talked of when mention is made of a joint port district for Garfield and Columbia counties.

Merit of the proposal lies in the comparatively easy water grade route over good roads from Pomeroy, which this year put under storage some 2,782,732 bushels of wheat, a record 43.66 bushels per acre average yield for Garfield county.

All the route from Pomeroy to the Snake is paved except the last four miles from Starbuck but this likely would be done with any relocation of roads from that point with the construction of Lower Monumental dam.

A possible port site for Garfield county was indicated a few miles up from Central Ferry but whether it would be flooded by Little Goose dam was unknown. Few good sites are reported in the county and those acceptable have grades of no small proportions in many cases.

Most recent action taken in Pomeroy was the move of the Chamber of Commerce there to delegate its waterways committee to continue its efforts in harness with the recently appointed county planning commission. Much educational work remains before a vote can be accomplished in the community, however, leaders point out.

As a matter of fact, one leader was quick to declare he felt the measure would fail to cairy if a port district vote were to be submitted to the people today.

Several factors influence this reasoning. Voters of the county recently turned down a $16,000 bond issue for school repairs. This came on the heels of a new grade school and a new swimming pool, both opened in the last year.

A solution may arrive with the completion of a program of revaluation of city and county properties. The city is ready to launch its portion, but the county is not yet set. This work is scheduled to get underway soon. When completed, it is expected that a clearer picture will present itself as to where community planners can go from there. With the solving of financial problems, the next step would be one of education of voters to the desirability of a port district, one spokesman said.

How soon a vote upon separate or regional port districts can be gotten to the people will depend upon both these factors in all counties. Port district supporters have hopes of including it on the November, 1958 general election ballot.

The first use of the abbreviation U.S.A. was to stamp approval on barrels of gunpowder made at a mill near Frankfort, Pennsylvania, for Washington's army.

An ideal gift is a Collegiate dictionary. $6.00 at E. W. office.

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