Grays Harbor County is temporarily back in charge of Straddleline ORV — an off-road destination for dirt bikes that also occupies part of Thurston County — after the operators decided to pass on a lease extension.
Grays Harbor County took over again Saturday. The park is open in the summer and weather dependent in fall, winter and spring.
Promoto LLC member Holly Wolfer, a representative for the operator, could not be reached Monday to explain their decision, but they did send an email to the Grays Harbor County Commissioners on Sept. 25.
“After careful consideration, we, Promoto LLC, have decided that we will not be able to continue by signing the extension of our original contract through Dec. 31, 2017. We believe by not signing it (we) will allow the county an ample amount of time to reopen the park for the 2017 season.”
“Thank you everyone who has supported Straddleline and Promoto,” the Straddleline website reads. “You are all greatly appreciated.”
Wolfer, along with her husband, Randy, and business partner, Elaine Derrick, had operated the park for six years. The lease expired at the end of September. The extension was as much for them as it was the county, said Grays Harbor Commissioner Wes Cormier on Monday.
Cormier said the county wanted another year to evaluate market-rate rent for the property as well as whether stormwater rates paid to Thurston County could be lowered.
“We thought they were doing a great job,” he said about Promoto LLC. “They put a lot into the park as far as time and effort, and the relationship was good between the county and the promotion company.”
But the county did want to recover more of its costs at the off-road park. Under the original contract, Promoto paid $2,100 a month for the 155-acre park.
Cormier expects the county will issue a request for proposals to attract a new operator as it did to attract Promoto LLC.
Thurston County operated the park until 2002, when it was closed after a couple of deaths and 33 serious accidents, according to The Olympian archives. The park remained closed for three years and fell into disrepair before Grays Harbor County reopened it in 2005. The park struggled financially before it was finally put out to bid.