Jefferson County, WA: No 'closed range' for West End

Port Townsend Leader


Jefferson County, WA - The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners has decided against adopting a "closed range" ordinance in the West End.

But that was the easy part of the April 7 decision. The concern voiced by all three commissioners was how to make sure that a conflict between two adjoining property owners is fully resolved.

Jim Conomos, owner of the Rain Forest Hostel near the Hoh River, had asked the county to adopt a closed-range law because cattle belonging to neighbors Lonnie and Carolyn Vessey occasionally get out and come to his property.

In a March 31 e-mail to the board, Conomos wrote, "You should leave open the option of changing the designation to closed range if my neighbors and I can't resolve this internally."

In Washington state, people who don't want cattle on their land are required to fence them out unless a closed range law is adopted. At a March 23 hearing held at the Kalaloch Lodge, everyone who spoke opposed closing the range except for Conomos.

"Maybe one person is in favor of closing the open range," said Glen Huntingford, "but how are we going to address the problem?" Wendi Wrinkle noted that there were numerous offers from neighbors to fence both properties and to take in the Vesseys' three cows.

The three commissioners agreed that they would send a letter to West End residents informing them of the decision and asking them to follow through with the suggestions that had been proposed at the public hearing.


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