Your Hometown News Source

Port favorable for City's use of railroad easement for sewer line

DAYTON-The Port Commissioners favored the City’s use of the railroad right of way to run the main sewer line to the new wastewater treatment plant; Port Executive Director Jennie Dickinson reported on staff changes and the progress of finding an economic development coordinator; apprised the board on leases, assets, and projects; reviewed the Port sponsored Foodstock event to be held July 15; and the Visit Walla Walla Project which includes Columbia County.

Dayton Mayor Zac Weatherford told the Commission the property for the wastewater treatment plant is approximately three miles downstream from city limits and requested use of the railroad right-of-way to run the mainline to the facility. The line would be buried a few feet underground.

Jake Hollopeter from Anderson Perry presented a map of the proposed path that would mostly gravity fed and run along the north side of the rail line until it reaches the facility site where it would then cross the highway. He has been coordinating with the broadband fiber design contractors to work through any conflicts of placement in the right-of-way. The Commissioners were favorable about the idea and Dickinson said they would draft approval of the easements. Construction would be coordinated between the projects and the rail operator.

Dickinson said the search continues for an Economic Development Coordinator, after interviewing three applicants and offering the position to one, but was turned down. This position was vacated in 2019 by Kathryn Witherington. Dickinson assumed the duties partly due to things slowing down with COVID. Other staff changes are that the bookkeeper is stepping back and will be turning those duties over to Office Manager Tracy Clark, as well as the retirement of Kelly Hinds who was presented with a gift of appreciation during the meeting. The position will be advertised again.

The owner of Columbia River Detailing left their space at Rock Hill Industrial Park without notice to the Port. The business was sold to a new tenant who took over the space. The term of the lease is coming to an end and the new owner wishes to continue to lease the space. They have a business license and plan to change the name but will continue to operate a detailing business and honor gift certificates purchased under the original owner.

Bard and Bee left their space at Blue Mountain Station which leaves that space available. The Foodstock event was scheduled for July 15 with food trucks and family activities including waterslides and music. A site plan is being done as part of a feasibility study for the possible business cluster spearheaded by the owner of Mainstem Malt.

A state grant is funding the development of a regional tourism plan for the Visit Walla Walla Project. Dickinson has been asked to sit on the steering committee. This will be to attract tourism to the area beyond wine including Columbia County.

The city broadband project is on schedule and the Port took a tour with representatives from the signed internet providers of the colocation centers where they keep the servers. The fiber lighting celebration is planned for September 20 at 5 p.m. at Blue Mountain Station. The Touchet Valley Broadband Project went out to bid and the next step for Rural Broadband Planning, Dickinson suggested using the funds from WSU to contract with Petrichor to help acquire funding and draft plans to reach county residents.