Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for Feb. 11

Lacey is a concrete and asphalt nightmare

A few years ago, my wife and I moved here from Colorado, and although we feel fortunate to have moved to this place of unparalleled natural beauty, we share a sense that its days are numbered.

Long-time residents of Lacey tell me that it was once known as the "City of Trees." I can't figure out why.

Saint Martin's University campus is about the only bit of tree-clad sanity in a concrete and asphalt nightmare. I fear that what I see in Lacey will be the fate of West Olympia as out-of-state developers purchase huge tracts of land, clear-cutting away the very heart of this place.

I am grateful for an environmentally aware and responsible governor, and Legislature who are working to preserve this beauty while pursuing sound economic growth, but there needs to be more of an environmental vision at the local level. We all need to take that cliche "you can't see the forest for the trees" a step further and realize that a day will come when we won't be able to see the forest at all because there aren't any trees.

Trees - you gotta love 'em. It may be that sometimes we can't live with them, as when the winds are howling and the branches are coming down around us, but as Al Gore has so poignantly pointed out in his crusade to reverse the effects of global warming, we sure as heck can't live without them.

Bill vonKaenel, Olympia

Threat of a tsunami to be taken seriously

Scientific warnings that the Pacific Northwest is menaced by the threat of a major quake and tsunami arising from the Cascadia Subduction Zone is nothing new. Nor is the lack of concern by the public.

People who live and work in the region between Cape Mendocino and Vancouver Island should be alert to the threat. They should know what to do if a quake or tidal wave (tsunami) occurs. They should be familiar with the sirens and other warnings that will be given and the evacuation routes they should follow. Above all, they should know not to go to the beach to see the wave come in.

Tsunamis come ashore in a series of waves. Coastal residents have died thinking that after the first wave it was safe to leave high ground and go down to the waterfront.

Hospitals, emergency centers, police and fire stations should not be permitted by local jurisdictions to be built on tsunami-susceptible beaches. The state governments of Oregon and Washington have been aware of this but not so the publics they serve.

Prospective earthquakes and tsunamis along the Pacific Northwest coast deserve all the attention they can get!

J. Gordon Vaeth, Olympia

Steamboat Island project not welcome

I strongly oppose the proposed Steamboat Island Community Center.

The facility is not wanted. Two local public meetings were held on this project. Community opposition to the project was overwhelming.

The proposed facility is not a legal land use. A big-money California developer requested a special use permit for a community club. However, a community club must be designed to serve local residents or members. The facility is an urban, high-intensity convention center designed to provide convention space for groups throughout western Washington. It is more than twice the size of Saint Martin University's Worthington Center.

Inaccurate submissions describe the facility as seating "up to 500 people." However, based on allowable state building code capacities, the complex easily accommodates 1,885. The main assembly room accommodates 586 for sit-down dining, or 1,257 for general use. An adjacent covered patio accommodates an additional 628.

The proposal destroys the rural character of the Griffin community. It will have many adverse impacts. Only 150 paved parking slots are proposed with overflow parking on grass fields. Hundreds of vehicles will park on narrow road shoulders. Massive congestion will occur on already inadequate rural roads. Movement by emergency vehicles out of the adjacent Griffin fire station will be impaired. The proposal will use excessive amounts of well water in an area with existing severe well water problems. Stormwater runoff will pollute well water. Adverse noise and night-light impacts will occur.

Stop this facility.

Steve Lundin, Olympia