July 6, 2016 |Cle Elum | Kittitas County Sentinel
Kittitas County Commissioners today voted unanimously to place a proposition before voters in November providing for a Port District in Upper Kittitas County.
The proposition had been fueled by a grass roots movement in Upper Kittitas County lead by Cle Elum businessman Gary Hammons. A signature petition was circulated by a community task team and collected substantially more signatures than required by Kittitas County Auditor Jerry Pettit who certified the petition June 10. The proposition was then submitted to the County Commissioners for a public hearing and Commissioner vote.
The public hearing at the Upper Kittitas County District Court building in Cle Elum included comments by several UKC residents with a large majority giving a favorable approval and response to the potential of an Upper Kittitas County Port District. Disapproval of the proposition was centered around an unwillingness to add more tax burden on county residents.
Commissioner discussion included comments by all commissioners praising the UKC Grass Roots Task Team and the leadership of Gary Hammons.
Commissioner Laura Osiadacz, a signature sponsor of the proposition, made the motion to approve the proposition and quoted from the UKC Port District web site stating: “Ports are a unique animal –a public entity with a profit motive, for public enterprises. A port district’s primary goal is economic development for its community, with the end result of job creation.” (That website can be found at www.ukcport.org.)
Commissioner Paul Jewell was quick to second the motion and commented that the Port District was “something that the county needed”
Commissioner Obie O’Brien encouraged the community to select the right leadership for the district and to make sure the selected port commissioners “did their job”.
The vote to place the proposition on the November General Election ballot was taken and passed unanimously by the commissioners.
According to Gary Hammons, the next steps for the UKC Port District Grass Roots Task Team will be to educate the community on the benefits, advantages and risks of the project. “We want the community to keep in mind that this port district must meet quality of life priorities, have positive economic impact, and make good business sense for our part of Kittitas County.”
For more information on the UKC Port District: