Politics & Government


Gregoire signed a bill Monday that allows a one-person, one-vote rule in the three-county flood-control district that Thurston, Lewis and Grays Harbor counties are developing along the Chehalis River.

Republican Sen. Dan Swecker of Rochester, whose district was hit hard by the December 2007 floods along the Chehalis, sponsored Senate Bill 5705. He was less successful with a second measure, SB 5704, which would have given the district five county commissioners, two more than law currently allows.

SB 5705 affects only a three-county district. Under the law for other districts, property owners in flood-control property owners are given extra votes – up to two votes per 10 acres, and for up to 40 acres, Lewis County Commissioner Ron Averill said. But that presented a logistical “nightmare” for county auditors in the large area that three counties and Chehalis tribe envision for the flood district.

That is because the district would span a 90-mile stretch of river in three counties with as many as 150,000 residents, Averill said.

Swecker and Averill said they hope to pass the other measure in 2010, and it’s possible a flood-control district proposal could go to affected voters in November 2010.

The special district builds on efforts of a longtime flood-control authority that represents 11 jurisdictions, including cities and the tribe, inside the floodplain. The district would be able to authorize, plan and build dikes and other flood-control efforts, and it could ask local voters for taxing authority.