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Turnout in Thurston Conservation District election way up amid board complaints

Conservation districts are public, non-regulatory agencies that work with landowners to manage land and protect natural resources.
Conservation districts are public, non-regulatory agencies that work with landowners to manage land and protect natural resources. Olympian file photo

Turnout for the March 3 election to fill one seat on the Thurston Conservation District Board of Supervisors was nearly 10 times the previous district election’s turnout, according to unofficial results released Friday.

Paul Pickett received 2,101 votes while Joe Hanna received 275 votes. Two candidates who withdrew from the race before the election got 17 votes, according to the district.

In the last election in 2016, just 271 people voted.

Conservation districts are public, non-regulatory agencies that work with landowners to manage land and protect natural resources. Over the past year, board members at the Thurston Conservation District have been at odds with district staff and each other.

The Washington State Conservation Commission, the coordinating state agency for the 45 local districts, is investigating complaints of “passive aggressive” and “disrespectful and inappropriate” behavior by members of the Thurston County board.

Abby Spegman: 360-704-6869, @AbbySpegman

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