The Grays Harbor County Commissioners have approved a new contract for salal picking on county property. The name may sound familiar, Mt. St Helens Evergreen – well not to County Commissioners Wes Cormier and Vickie Raines, but Commissioner Frank Gordon remembered the company that held the contract the last time.
A cash crop for some, the county has taken heat over the bidding process and whether contractors were employing legal immigrants in the past. Previous Commissioner Herb Welch led efforts to tighten restrictions on the companies they contract with, but programs like e-verify did not fit. Previous Commissioners Terry Willis and Mike Wilson were in office when they and Welch threw up their hands on the matter. The county stopped awarding bids after Mt. St Helens Evergreen cancelled their contract in 2011.
The new contract is worth 44-thousand to the county, although not all of it goes into the general fund. The previous contracts were awarded for closer to 30-thousand, even when Mt. St Helens Evergreen wasn’t the only bidder for the shrub commonly used in the floral industry.