Proponents of Deschutes River dam removal seem to be omitting mention of two very pertinent questions in the debate: Who bears the cost associated with the dam removal, and will removal address the sources of Capitol Lake pollution?
Removal proponents never tell us that all Washington taxpayers now share dredging costs while the dam exists, but upon removal, harbor-dredging costs resulting from river flow would be paid by only Thurston County taxpayers, to retain a boating and commercial waterfront.
Nor do they mention that reconfiguration costs for the Fourth Avenue bridge and for a new Fifth Avenue bridge would fall to city of Olympia taxpayers.
They fail to mention that the primary cause of lake pollution is from upstream agricultural and septic sources, and from stormwater outfalls, and that removal would simply transfer that pollution to Budd Inlet and Puget Sound.
Couple huge costs shifting from the state to residents of Thurston County and failure to address pollution sources, then mix in the aesthetic disaster and detrimental downtown economic effect of twice-a-day mud flats at river’s mouth, and you have a strong argument for a reasonable dredging plan, rather than dam removal.