Washblog

habitat restoration that takes no prisoners

Raven Webb is my neighbor who lives along Grays River just a few miles east of the mouth of the Columbia River in Wahkiakum County, Washington.

A few years ago Lietta and I attended a community meeting in which the victims of the Columbia Land Trust attempted to confront the CLT and others who have been buying up property with the intent of habitat restoration that takes no prisoners, ruining homesteads that go back to the 19th century in the name of I don't know what.

DUCKS UNLIMITED? or legislators ducking The Issues?

As often as I come down in support of environmentalist priorities that counter climate change and do not harm the citizens who actually put politicians in office in this state and country, this ain't one of them.

Raven Webb:
Thanks for all your efforts it will take many Davids to slew this Goliath.

I was able to get into my home late last Sunday night stayed only a few hours as the road began to flood. I have spent every moment except working at my business cleaning.

Thanks to my daughter, who spent four hours wet vacuuming up remnants of mud and water and put up with me my 3 rambunctious 100 pound spoiled pups and Zeus the Maine Coon Kitten, My helpful son in law and my wonderful Grandson who hauled a truck of damage to the dump and tarped the roof due to movement of the house my 5 tear old roof  is leaking, a friend who gave me seven hours of pressure washing I now have a covered mud free patio, other friends for the use of the salamander and for the use of another dehumidifier, and even more friends for the use of the pressure washers.

I am now relatively dry and now just have laundry to take to clean and cleaning to do,

I find this article good except the one and only tide gate removed was 36 inches and replaced by two 13 foot culverts and the word choice of FLOOD them with letters oh my if I was not so sick and sore from shoveling 6 to 8 inches of mud out of mud out of my house

I could find it humorous in fact I must admit in my sense of stubbornness it so fits. I am however very grateful the water was only 2 feet in the house this time instead of four and that is a blessing.

Now if the universe will be so kind as not inundate us with another flood this year I will be ever so happy.

Raven.

--- On Mon, 1/19/09, Ron Ewart <r.ewart@comcast.net> wrote:
From: Ron Ewart <r.ewart@comcast.net>
Subject: Once Again City Politicians try to dictate to rural landowners - Y2Y - SB 5064
To: "Ron Ewart" <r.ewart@comcast.net>
Date: Monday, January 19, 2009, 10:38 AM

To: The Washington State Legislature, interested parties and the news media

From: Ron Ewart, President, National Association of Rural Landowners

NOTE: Intended for Washington State Property Owners only, however, this kind of legislation is being promoted in almost every state in America, especially in Western States.

Once again, Washington State rural landowners are under the vicious attack of big-city politicians, with legislation that only rural landowners are being asked to bear.  

As in just about all environmental protection regulations, or conservation measures, the city folk get off virtually scot-free.

Once again, Socialist and radical environmentalist Washington State Senators Adam Kline and Kent Jacobsen (both from the Ho Chi Min City of Seattle districts) are the lead sponsors of a Bill (SB 5064) to lock up the Northeast portion of Washington State in the radical environmentalists wet dream of the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) wilderness area.  (see www.y2y.net)

This is language from Senate Bill 5064:

"The department shall participate with wildlife management agencies and conservation organizations in other states and provinces, comprising the Canadian Rocky mountains ecoregional area, in the cooperative programs of the Yukon to Yellowstone conservation initiative.

Where the Yukon to Yellowstone conservation initiative has identified priority species, habitats, or landscapes lying within Washington state, the department shall actively seek to involve local governments, landowners, and local conservation organizations in the initiative. The department may integrate these activities with its cooperative work with other states and provinces sharing ecoregional areas with Washington state."

Oh it sounds innocuous enough.  The soft-sounding language would lead you to believe that this will be a cooperative effort between the conservation organizations, environmentalists (NGO's) and property owners, but don't you believe it.  

Ask the property owners along the Columbia Gorge how they feel about the Columbia Gorge Commission and its heavy-handed attitude, battle-axe mentality, towards private gorge landowners.  

Ask the people along the salmon rivers that flow into the Columbia River, how they feel about the draconian, dictatorial bashing of property owners who have the misfortune of being in the NGO's, fish and wildlife and state and federal agencies way, as the government and the NGO's devastate the land with their salmon recovery antics.

Ask Raven Webb of Rosburg, WA how she felt when a couple of the NGO's (Columbia River Land Trust and Ducks Unlimited) came along in the middle of the night and removed two huge tide gates that protected her land from flooding and replaced them with 13-foot culverts so that the tide or a river flood can back up onto her property and flood her home.

For the 12th time she has been flooded out of her home and is flooded out as we speak.  Raven is just one of thousands upon thousands of private landowners that are being literally wiped out by unconstitutional environmental regulations and conservation measures, like Y2Y.

These property owners have no rights or recourse and we can guarantee that Senator's Adam Kline and Kent Jacobsen of Seattle, or any of the environmental or conservations groups, don't care one whit.

This Bill was pushed last year but died in committee thanks to the tireless efforts of Representatives Joel Kretz, Ed Orcutt and others.   We sent out an e-mail to Kretz and Orcutt at that time about the Bill and that previous message follows our signature block below.

So if you are a state legislator, we urge you to never let SB 5064 out of committee, in either House.  If you are a landowner, we urge you to flood your legislators with NO ON SB 5064 e-mails, faxes and telephone calls.  Do it today!

Ron Ewart, President
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RURAL LANDOWNERS
P. O. Box 1031, Issaquah, WA  98027
425 222-4742 or 1 800 682-7848
(Fax No. 425 222-4743)
Website: www.narlo.org  

< If it's morality ... then honesty, not secrecy is moral. | Three-Strikes Guest Post: "Dumped in the Streets of an Alien Town" >
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Land use is this state is a joke.  I'm deep into the other side of the issue, a 'Transit Oriented Development' bill has been introduced on behalf of a group called Futurewise (whose ex-director is the brains behind FUSE BTW) that basically will allow eminent domain to be declared to build highrises for rich people for a one mile radius around all rail stations.  HB 1490 has a 'nod' to some building rentals for people making 80% of Area Median Income, which is well above Seattle median income and will always be above the income of 40% of the people - since median is middle dunh.

Problem is, we need to preserve FARMS and homes that are currently on rural lands and not allow up zoning of those.  Your friend's home should be protected.  

Something rational MUST happen.  Rather than buying up land to turn it back to nature, they should just stop all up zoning in those areas.  If the folks in the area want a nature preserve, then it should be done in the context of community planning efforts.

The Maryland suburbs, once farms, is all sprawl with a bunch of 6 lane roads.  The Metro station areas which had these types of TOD laws are frustratingly not livable communities.  The current approaches do not work.

There needs to be serious study of the Growth Management Act, and teeth put in to support proper development that supports economic life and housing for all people in appropriate areas, preserves lands that are farmed or owned in the country, and puts teeth into community planning efforts.

If we don't fairly concentrate density and stop the subdivision and development outside of transit based areas, your county will be covered with big roads and resorts and retirement communities.  Heck you could have McMansions for people commuting to Olympia - seriously people commute from the Pennsylvania border to DC.  On the other hand, we might see the development of towns around new Amtrak stations in areas of the state.  Heaven help those new or revitalized towns if the countryside is not left alone, and if those towns are not being built to support all ranges of incomes and a variety of small businesses.

by ktkeller on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 09:40:22 PM PST

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Someone told me that there is a legal basis for trespass if water is flowing on your land from someone else's land.  It would mean a class action lawsuit, though.  And, it might be more appropriate in an urban setting...

by ktkeller on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 11:21:40 PM PST

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I deeply sympathize with Raven and others who are flooded out.  When I was a teen, development interests and local agencies got together and carried out what was basically an assault on us -- much to their own profit.  Our home began to flood 2-3 times a year with 2-6 ft of water in the basement.   It almost killed my mother whose health and mental well being became very fragile during that time.

Luckily, this was a house built in the late 1700s and my mother was able to hire historians, etc. and get the house listed on the national historic register.  That protected it.  It took thousands of dollars, thousands of tears, and over a year while we were flooded again and again.  Those interests were happy to let us be ruined.  There was at least one time when local government officials lied in violation of the law.  I get the feeling of anger.  I even get it how people could feel hatred.  You feel so powerless as the little you own is ruined so that others can profit.  The whole system is set up to be deaf and blind toward you while your home is ruined.

Ron Ewart may have similar feelings.  But he's in a position where he is responsible to consider the impact of his actions and words -- and how they may affect the well being of the people he ostensibly is advocating for.

He may or may not be right that SB 5064 would hurt property owners.  His rhetoric doesn't give any information that could help a person judge for herself.  But his rhetoric equating of people in cities with socialists and communists (Ho Chi Minh was a Communist and he invokes him and Socialists at the same time -- opposite ends of the political spectrum) -- and his fact-free assertion that what happened to Raven Webb and what would happen with SB 5064 --are the same -- is not credible.  

Rhetoric like this  gets in the way of the equitable sharing of power -- and it is the disequitable sharing of power that results in people like Raven Webb and my family getting crushed by the system.

Conservatives and special moneyed interests have for too long used exactly this kind of rhetoric to trick the public out of enacting or upholding the most common-sense environmental protections -- like slowing the emissions that cause climate change.

So I read Ron Ewart's ignorant email blast and think he's probably using people like Raven Webb to pursue some  kind of financial or power or ideological interest of his own.  I don't know that to be true -- it's simply what the rhetoric says to me -- fear mongering about communism and such like.   What bull crap.

That said, maybe SB 5064 is a bad bill -- or one that needs to be modified.  I'd be interested to learn more -- but not from Ron Ewart.

by noemie maxwell on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 06:05:52 PM PST

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I too am finding it a great source of discomfort that good people are feeling like they find their voice with arguments made by those who have an agenda to support the wealthy.  For example, those who scream about private property rights when what they really want is the right to buy up land and build subdivisions and shopping malls.  Or those who make elaborate studies of mass transit costs because they will do anything to sell oil.

But, the FACT that we are not turning this on it's head, the fact that the State of Washington is NOT supporting locally managed, equitable development and conservation standards, and the fact that PRIVATE property rights for the BIG guys are being enhanced by these laws as they are now written leads me to break ranks with the liberals.

We need sensible land use laws that DO say to some, 'You are not near any transit?  Sorry no new roads, no up zoning.  Not telling you not to farm or threaten your home.  Just saying what the land is being used for now is its highest and best use.', and 'The public paid for transit here?  Then building must be for all incomes and provide the mix of goods and services so people can actually live and work in sustainable communities.'

That statement would totally turn our notion of 'private' property rights on its head.  That perspective is what provides back to the whole population the benefit of what we are paying for.

by ktkeller on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 06:41:44 PM PST

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I thought we were talking about 3 separate things:

  • Raven Webb's situation related to Ducks Unlimited and CLT programs
  • SB 5064, which would save/conserve wilderness areas in the face of development (and, it is alleged, at the expense of farms and homes, etc.)
  • Futurewise's Transit Oriented Development (TOD) proposal

Am I misunderstanding?  I hear you about the TOD proposal.  I had thought I'd understood that the environmental groups were working with housing and land rights interests on that.  I'd hoped so!  (In fact, at the recent King County Democrats Legislative Action Committee Meeting a representative of Washington Environmental Coalition, which has adopted the TOD proposal, spoke about it and was asked if they were working with groups that had concerns.  I thought it was understood that they were working with some of the groups -- but that people in the room thought it was important to include more of them.)

What I'm objecting to is not the complaints that environmental and governmental entities can be insensitive (and in my family's case, I believed the governmental entities colluded with private interests at our expense) -- but that I've seen groups that are  representing their own economic or ideological interests hide behind the legitimate feelings of anger and betrayal on the part of landowners in order to advance their own selfish agendas. And, as always, the ones who lose out are the small homeowners.

That's what was going on with Initiative 933 a couple of years ago.  I'm still feeling relieved that Washington's voters saw through that one.

by noemie maxwell on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 08:23:36 PM PST

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