April 4, 2018 | Cle Elum | Kittitas County Sentinel
Ballot measure approved for Upper County Port District by Kittitas County Commissioners. ~~~
A few general thoughts …
As individual members of the Sentinel Group we have differences of opinion between us as to whether all elements of a Port District are good or bad as an economic development tool for Kittitas County.
As a group however, we offer our general support for the establishment of a Port District in Kittitas County.
If you believe in the basic premise that the democratic process gives you the government you deserve, then a port district will only be as good as the citizens it serves. Constant oversight is a duty of all of us and constant vigilance will keep our port district from becoming a yoke for local and regional special interest influences and political behemoths like the Seattle Port District.
As for the Upper County, the issue is really this – to provide a balanced mix of quality of life and economic vibrancy we cannot allow our planning to continue using a seasonal, boom-or-bust, service-based mindset. We must actively encourage and provide the long term planning and development of a more robust and diverse economy made possible by a port district.
While tourism and recreation is the natural base for the Upper County, we must be able to attract small businesses to relocate here. In order to do that we must present the kind of place where not only a business but their employees, will look at us and say, “That would be a great place to live and work!”
To present that face we will need to accept that the potential incoming young workers and business owners will need several things.
- Attainable housing
- The kind of business potential that offers a wage structure that will support a growing family and an attractive return on business investment (ROI).
- Civic amenities – Parks, hospitals, recreation centers, libraries … the kind of amenities that would attract and keep families in in our communities.
While some of the things mentioned above are (and should be) beyond the scope of what a Port District can offer, a Port District can be instrumental in kicking off the kinds of change that we want to see as our community grows. It is time for Kittitas County to take the next steps towards that future.
The Sentinel Group
Kittitas County Sentinel