Port Angeles News - 7/16/03


(Port Angeles) -- City of Port Angeles officials say there’s still a gap in funding the proposed downtown Gateway project. But some of the element could be put off for a few years until there is money to pay for them. City manager Mike Quinn told the city council last night says a waterfront promenade could be put off till 2005, and a proposed 2nd parking deck on the Tidelands West property, just East of Zaks' Tavern, could be deferred until 2006. That would cut the immediate cost of the overall project by $750-thousand dollars. As far as finding more revenue to reduce the present funding gap, Quinn floated the ideas of a commercial parking tax, an additional lodging tax, and perhaps a ferry charge surtax, in that the local ferry operators benefit from those ferry users who park in Port Angeles: On another issue related to the Gateway Project, councilmember Karen Rogers proposed that the Gateway Review Committee be dissolved, and the Parking Ad Hoc Committee take over the duties of design review and finding more money. Rogers says she thinks the committee is better-suited to continue the project: The Port Angeles Downtwon Association is one of three bodies overseeing the Gateway project. Executive Director Arla Holzschuh says her group will give it consideration: A report coming next week to the Clallam Transit board is expected to be a go or no-go decision on the Gateway center. ----- In other action, the Council heard from Jerry Moore, the State Department of Transportation's chief engineer in Port Angeles for the graving yard project. The big question was the possible use down the line of the graving yard for other projects. Morse says he couldn’t answer that one. He says the DOT's only other projected use would be several years away, when replacement parts for the 520 floating bridge would be needed. As far as actively seeking new projects, Moore said the State cannot compete with private enterprise. Morse says where the dirt goes from the graving yard construction up to the contractor. But it most likely will go to the Rayonier Mill property, or the old Shotwell pit. He also said the contract between the State and Kiewit Construction has not been finalized yet, but should be, no later than July 30th.
(Olympia) -- Clallam County's jobless rate dropped another half of a percentage point last month. The unemployment rate in June was 6-point-9 percent, down from 7-point-4 percent in May. The jobless rate is three-tenths of a percent higher than a year ago in June when 6-point-6 percent of the Clallam workforce was without a job. In Jefferson County, the jobless rate increased three-tenths of a percentage point in June to 5-point-8 percent. Washington's unemployment rate increased to seven-point-seven percent last month -- the highest level since April of last year. The Employment Security Department says that's a jump of three-tenths of a percentage point when adjusted for seasonal factors. The national rate rose by a similar percentage to six-point-four percent. Employment Security Commissioner Sylvia Mundy says the increase contrasts with other signs that the employment is improving. She says businesses aren't convinced yet that things are good enough to start hiring. Although the state lost 700 aerospace jobs last month, most of the job losses were normal seasonal layoffs in public and private education. Education as a whole lost more than seven thousand jobs. Meanwhile, jobs in construction, retail trade, and leisure and hospitality all posted normal seasonal increases.

(Olympia) -- The Department of Ecology is hoping the third time is the charm for new shoreline management guidelines. The department is seeking public comment on draft rules that will be used by cities and counties to update and implement local programs that regulate shoreline development. Two previous efforts resulted in lawsuits and mediation. Local master programs regulate the development and use of shorelines along rivers and larger streams, lakes over 20 acres and marine waterfronts within their jurisdictions. Ecology has been working since 1995 to satisfy a legislative requirement to update the shoreline management guidelines. This effort included a 1999 draft that was withdrawn after comments showed that substantial changes were needed. Ecology subsequently proposed and adopted a revised rule in 2000, but parts of it were overturned on appeal. The newest version has the endorsement of the Association of Washington Business, the Washington Environmental Council and other business and environmental organizations. The Department of Ecology is accepting public comment on the proposed shoreline guidelines through September 15th.


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