One way street against the will of the people? Previous City Administration cost taxpayers $13,000,000.00!

Author:Cliff Howard

I thought I would re-post the first article ever posted to jokeharbor.org/islandpolitics.org. It was posted on 10-1-2010 and here is what it said:
(See the original post with images below, don’t miss the images!)

“Oak Harbor has recently decided that Pioneer Way, the historic downtown of our city, is to be turned into a one way street. This is being done against the will of the residents and businesses in the downtown area. There have been many accusations of conflicts of interest and of illegal votes by City Council members.”

The re-posting of this is rather fitting because the the issue that this article was about was just the start of a long drawn out saga that is not over yet some 3 years later. 

It went from being a street “improvement” project that was not wanted by a majority of the people and the businesses in the area to a story of a hasty project where major warnings were clearly ignored by the existing city administration that was at that time led by Mayor Jim Slowik. It lead to the discovery of Native American graves in an area where Native American graves were known to exist. The rest of the story has cost the city taxpayers dearly.

It was estimated previously that the total costs to the taxpayers for the “inadvertent” discovery” of the Native American graves would be 4 million dollars, If this new claim from the Swinomish tribe is successful the costs to the taxpayers could be 13 million dollars.

The people in this city begged the city to reconsider this one way street project to no avail. There were 3 city council members that had the foresight to stand with the people and object to this fiasco and that was now Mayor Scott Dudley, Jim Campbell and Danny Paggao.

This is why the citizens of Oak Harbor need to take a strong close look at who they have chosen to represent them. Many of the same members of the city council who voted for this one way street fiasco are still serving on the council and they are the same ones that are being obstructive at the council meetings. They want to return our city to what it was with a Mayor and Council that made horrible decisions for our city. Please take a look at the candidates that have announced they are running against the members of this council, we deserve much better than what we have received…

Sandi Peterson- http://www.islandpolitics.org/?p=9849

Lucas Yonkman- http://www.islandpolitics.org/?p=9915

Link to original post- http://www.islandpolitics.org/?p=170

Link to today’s article in the Whidbey News Times- http://www.whidbeynewstimes.com/news/202776131.html

Original article Published 10-1-2010

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Oak Harbor has recently decided that Pioneer Way, the historic downtown of our city, is to be turned into a one way street. This is being done against the will of the residents and businesses in the downtown area. There have been many accusations of conflicts of interest and of illegal votes by City Council members.


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19 comments

  1. avatar

    Cliff, Does Jim Campbell’s term end this year? If so and IF he decides to serve another term, we need to add him to our list of Council members we want who will act with fiscal sanity and serve the citizens unlike the “Good old boys” who did things their way or no way for too many years
    Remember it was this group skirting all laws with their behind the curtains trying to save Slovick from being defeated for Mayor by Scott Dudley
    http://www.islandpolitics.org/?p=8876

    1. avatar

      Bill, I am up for reelection this year

      1. avatar

        I forgot one thing. I voted against the one way street because I could not make their logic work.

        1. avatar

          Darn Jim, My apologies. We all too often include you when speaking of the “Council”. Sorry to lump you in with the rest. I will correct the article, can you refresh our memories? Were there any other no votes from the council on this issue? Scott was one of the more vocal members of the council against this and that is why he is memoriable.

          1. avatar

            The original vote on the one way street was held on December 1st 2009, the minutes are not available on the cities website for review.

            The second vote was held on January 19th 2010 after a motion made by Scott Dudley and seconded by Jim Campbell to rescind the previous vote on the one way street design. The motion failed.

            The following council members voted against keeping the one way street design:
            Jim Campbell
            Scott Dudley
            Danny Paggao

            The following voted for keeping the one way street design:
            Rick Almberg
            Beth Munns
            Jim Palmer
            Bob Severns

            You can read the transcript of the meeting at the link below. It was clear that the wide majority of the business owners and citizens testifying at the council meeting were against the one way street design.
            http://www.oakharbor.org/uploads/documents/388401_19_10_council_minutes_with_attachments.pdf

  2. avatar

    “…up for reelection…forgot one thing…voted against the one way street…”

    Thanks Jim, That’s what I thought, but at my age I often don’t remember a lot of things correctly
    I am much older than you kids
    Your day is coming!!!
    Bill

  3. avatar

    While the historical “one-way” versus “two-way” aspect of this project is interesting, the core issue at hand appears to be whether or not Oak Harbor City officials – and which ones – acted with disregard of prior knowledge of archaeological remains of Native Americans.

    In August, 2011 it was reported:

    “…very few Oak Harbor decision-makers can legitimately claim they had no prior knowledge of a known archaeological site near SE Pioneer Way…If they didn’t work on the project directly, they were provided with documents that revealed both the site’s existence and the warnings of state regulators to take the appropriate steps before construction began. Those who received the information include every single member of the city council.”

    That’s from “Most Oak Harbor officials knew about archaeological site before project started”
    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/sound/article/Most-Oak-Harbor-officials-knew-about-2144017.php

    The article does not specify by name which particular people had this knowledge, and which did not, but the statement above certainly implies that all members of the City Council prior to the last election cycle are part of this fiasco.

    My personal feeling is that anyone on this project who knew about this issue of archaeological remains prior to their “(re)discovery” along Pioneer Way and did not SCREAM PUBLICLY about it (and that’s everyone who knew, from how it appears) certainly is unworthy of being re-elected to public office, and should actually resign if presently holding public office.

    The tribes seem to have a VERY solid argument, and these Oak Harbor officials who all knew about these archaeological risks and kept this information from the at-large public (again, that’s everyone who knew, from how it appears) appear to have seriously financially screwed the citizens of Oak Harbor.

    1. avatar

      The information about the possibility of Native American graves was included in an agenda packet for the city council. They did all know about the possibility of the discovery of graves.

      I think that many in the council made a mistake in thinking that the administration would follow the recommendations of the archaologic board warnings but it is clear that the city did not do so.

      By including the costs for having the site monitored as recommended into the costs of the project there was a possiblity that other council members would have been concerned about the added costs and voted this down and that I feel is why this all happened. That is what happens when you have a city government that is in collusion with themselves. The city engineer should have insisted that the archaologic costs were included in the bid but the powers that be in the city obviously decided not to include those costs when the council was presented with the project costs.

      This is why it is important that we have good people employed by our city and to have city employees and department heads that work for the city and the citizens and not just the council and mayor.

      This project was Mayor Slowiks baby. It was his legacy that he was interested in developing and preserving for the future so that when the next election came he would have something to show the people as an accomplishment. It was also a payback for those in the council that supported him and that would directly benefit from this project. All stops were pulled to get this project approved in the council against the objections of the citizens and businesses in the area so it is no surprise that major issues were overlooked by the administration in order for this to proceed.

      Again, that is what happens when we have city management personel in cahoots with the Mayor. The “good old boy’s” in Oak Harbor strike again, this time to the tune of 14 million dollars…

      1. avatar

        “All stops were pulled to get this project approved in the council against the objections of the citizens and businesses in the area so it is no surprise that major issues were overlooked by the administration in order for this to proceed.”

        Bingo.

  4. avatar

    $9M +$4M=$13M +$2M for the proposed new cemetery park, memorial and art work at the old city shops site is now $15M. That is about twice the budget for the original street improvements. I wounder is the Navy’s “Hydraulic fill” dredge tailings on top of the City Beach Vicinity is deep enough to prevent this from reoccurring when they build the treatment plant.

    Double that estimate and we are taking real money for the Oak Harbor rate payers.

    1. avatar

      “That is about twice the budget for the original street improvements. ”

      I am not sure from which figures you have concluded $15 million to be about “twice” the budget.

      I say this, because, on April 8, 2009 it was reported:

      “Unlike the pie-in-the-sky Windjammer Plan, today’s project has a more modest maximum budget of $4.5 million and aims to fix the basics…”

      That’s from: “Pioneer makeover advances”
      http://www.whidbeynewstimes.com/news/42674657.html

      So, maybe “triple the budget”?

      1. avatar

        Bill

        I believe my calculation based on cloudy memory is probably a NTE budgeted number. The project did come in cheaper than the city estimate, but as the bone charges started accumulating. I just remember a chart that showed they were still OK since the project cost at that date, had not exceeded max cost authorized. Even with the new project manager and storefront the overall cost had not exceeded authorized amount. .

        I thought that total authorized was a little under $7M. But what ever the numbers come out to be this is now the most expensive, one way four blocks in the state. At this cost per foot, it can never be changes back to a normal thoroughfare.

        I was too lazy to go through the minutes for numbers. but Its still expensive..

        1. avatar

          “I thought that total authorized was a little under $7M.”

          The public was misled with low-ball estimates early-on in the planning stages, and, then, after a great deal of time and public money had already been spent, the project expanded back to it being practically a complete reproduction of “the pie-in-the-sky Windjammer Plan” that had supposedly “nearly disappeared from the city’s lexicon”, as per that above-linked article.

    2. avatar

      I think I recall the city compensating business owners for some of the lost income and inconvience too. How much did that amount to?

      1. avatar

        As I remember it the city paid nothing to compensate the business owners. In fact the city sued many of the business and property owners to gain title to the sidewalks…

      2. avatar

        There was a lawsuit filed in the last few days by the owners of the OH Tavern for compensation…for $100,000.00.

        http://www.whidbeynewstimes.com/news/205297921.html
        Glad I don’t live in Oak Harbor!

        Oh darn I guess I do live in Oak Harbor don’t I? I am screwed…

        $9,000,000.00 lawsuit from the Natives, 5 million in previous costs on top of the 5.5 million construction costs, what’s another $100,000.00…

  5. avatar

    “this is now the most expensive, one way four blocks in the state”

    Interesting…maybe the city can use that in the advertisement of our downtown? Anacortes has a working waterfront to attract tourists, La Conner has their new boardwalk project, Coupeville has a wharf and Oak Harbor has the most expensive one way street in the state. I can see it on the ferry brochures now…

    1. avatar

      It would Look good on a gateway arch across Pioneer Way, at the west end by the Bank. like the Reno sign. Who does cartoons?

  6. avatar

    What kills me is bottom-line of the WNT’s pretty silly editorial on this issue:

    “The city is living up to its promise, the tribe should do the same and drop its lawsuit.”

    That’s from:
    “Swinomish Tribe should drop suit”
    http://www.whidbeynewstimes.com/opinion/202777291.html

    BUT, in the WNT’s own most recent article about this issue stated (cited above by Cliff):

    “…Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Tribal Community, assured him (Mayor Dudley) that the city didn’t have to worry about a lawsuit as long as ancestral remains were handled appropriately.”

    Brian Cladoospy is apparently also a politician, as, while he may have told Mayor Dudley exactly what was reported, the uncovered remains in question were obviously NOT handled appropriately during the Pioneer Way project, and that point is apparently a true statement from the perspectives of both the Swinomish tribe AND WA State.

    The best anyone can hope for here is that the Swinomish appreciate those efforts which have been made since the remains were uncovered in dealing with Oak Harbor government.

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