Elwha Dams removal threatens family properties

Saturday, September, 17, 2011

by Lois Krafsky-Perry
Citizen Review Online

Photos by Lois Krafsky-Perry
Clallam County, WA - As a large Elwha Dam removal celebration with a reported 400 invited guests was being held on a lower part, of the river, Pearl Rains Hewett and her family held an informal, by invitation only, memorial gathering at their Elwha River property located off Highway 101, west of Port Angeles, up the old Olympic Hot Springs Road. Approximately 50 guests gathered on Saturday, September 17th, at the Rains property for the all-day event. King 5 TV also attended and did an interview with Ms. Rains-Hewett.

It was necessary to stop at the ranger station and give information and name to Lyn B, the ranger. He said it was not required to pay or show a pass. However, the approach lane had been blocked off, making it necessary to make the stop there.

Congressional (6th District) candidates Jesse Young and Bob Sauerwein attended the Saturday event, as well as Port Commissioner Jim McEntire, who is running for Clallam County Commissioner District 1.

The event was in remembrance and celebration of the Rains family's father George Rains Sr. and his influence, with history of their Clallam County properties, located on the Elwha River.

Rains-Hewett, concerned for the future of her children and grandchildren, is making a plea to save their river property. The family is concerned about future destruction or their property, which is intended to go to the family members who will be inheriting their properties.

The mother of three also has ten grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She was joined at the river with her brother George Rains Jr. and sister Violet Rains Kono, Windy Baulden, as well as Pearl’s daughter Joni Howard, who helped with the event. Several other family members also attended.

When the upper dam was opened in 1976, it flooded the Rains property. Now the threat by dam removal has risen again, and Pearl wants the federal government to consider their plight. She has documented events and is willing to talk to anyone who will listen, on behalf of her family, as well as other land and river owners. She has done much research and is networking with others, who are having similar problems.

There are many faceted problems facing her and her family. She has documented information from her father, who recorded lists of original in-holders. Many of them are also suffering the threat of land and river tragedies in the future, if the release of water and silt is not stopped somehow.

When asked, " What do you want?" she replied that she wants her family and other property owners in Clallam County to have the right to own and keep their own properties.

According to Rains-Hewett, their family also owns ten acres at the mouth of the Elwha River, as well as the river property near the old Olympic Hot Springs Road.

Approximately $325 million federal tax dollars has been spent by taxpayers on the Elwha Dams removal.

There are also major threats to private property owners being felt across the United States, with fear of additional dam destruction and the loss of private property ownership that would cause.