Tag Archive for Grays Harbor

Nationwide rail traffic prompts layoffs at auto export facility in Aberdeen

100-thousandth Jeep for Pasha in 2012

A nationwide shortage of trains has prompted huge cuts in staffing at the Pasha Automotive Group in Aberdeen. General Manager Matt Rausch [rash] tells KBKW that layoffs in the auto export business are not unusual – and not the first for Grays Harbor, but this time it’s mostly due to a shortage of rail cars and locomotives used to transport Chryslers from their Ohio plant.

Rausch said over the past 2 weeks they’ve laid off 55 employees, while others have been relocated, and about 20 remain at their detailing and body shop in Aberdeen. If they get cars for their automobiles, they hope to have everyone back mid-June.

Rausch said “Chrysler is looking at getting a dedicated line for us, but the shortage has affected shipments,” adding that Pasha is shipping from their East coast sites, including a new facility in Portsmouth. “The Virginia and Baltimore shipments take a lot longer to get to the Asian markets, but we’re still expecting record exports from Grays Harbor for 2014.” Rausch noted that the Aberdeen site exported a record 104-thousand Jeeps and Chryslers in 2013, and they are on track to export a projected 112-thousand this year.

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Candidate filing week begins with 21 openings in Grays Harbor

Vote

Candidate filing week begins today, and closes at 4:30 p.m., Friday, May 16, 2014. Elections Supervisor Katy Moore tells us candidates wishing to file in person can do so at the Grays Harbor County Auditor’s Office, 100 W Broadway, Suite 2, Montesano, WA. Mail in candidate declarations can also be sent to the above address. On-line, candidates can go to www.vote.wa.gov/graysharbor for a list of open offices and how to file.

There are 21 Offices up for election in Grays Harbor including Herb Welch’s County Commissioner seat, and Rus Sholrood’s PUD Commissioner seat, as well as County Assessor, Auditor, Clerk, Coroner, Presecutor, Sheriff, Treasurer, 2 District Court Judges, and 4 Supreme Court Justice positions.
Also open for election is U.S. Rep Dereck Kilmer’s seat, along with State Reps Dean TakkKo Brian Blake, Kevin Van De Wege and Steve Tharinger.

Filing week closes at 4:30 p.m., Friday, the Primary is August 5, 2014. The General Election is November 4, 2014.

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Smoke alarms saved Two bed ridden residents pulled from Oakville house fire

Oakville Fire

Crews evacuated two bed ridden patients from a house fire in Oakville early Wednesday morning. Fire District 1 Chief Kevin Witt tells us flames were visible when they arrived at the home in the 2300 block of South Bank road around 2:17 A.M.. Both were evacuated, one person was transported from the scene with non life threatening injuries. Witt said they knew the health conditions of the residents, and called for mutual aid from Grays Harbor, Thurston and Lewis county units right away.
Witt said the fire was knocked down by about 2:46, crews were on scene until almost 6 Wednesday morning.

Oakville Firefighters were called to a report of a house fire just after 2:15am early Wednesday morning in the 2300 block South Bank Rd in the Oakville area.  The 2 story, 1800sq. foot house was owner occupied and had working smoke detectors.  Owners were home and were alerted by smoke detectors and called 911. Fire was also reported by multiple neighbors who could see a fire in the upper story and called for help as well.  Upon Grays Harbor Fire Dist. 1 arrival, there was heavy pressurized fire from the second story windows and multiple bystander’s alongside Chehalis Tribal Police who began heroic evacuation efforts.  Patients were unable to ambulate, and the critical assistance from Tribal law Enforcement and neighbors to the firefighters made for a successful rescue.   The family was treated on the scene by EMT’s from West Thurston Fire, until AMR Ambulance arrived for patient transport to an area hospital. Additional crews were called in from West Thurston Fire, Riverside Fire and Grays Harbor Fire Dist. 5 to assist with patient care, fire control and water shuttles. 

Oakville Fire“In the light of the day I’m standing here in “awe” over the extraordinary feat that the Tribal Police, neighbors and firefighters did to save lives.  To see what effort they did to rescue people who were unable to rescue themselves. This is what communities do.” Lt. Lanette Dyer, from West Thurston Fire said.

The family’s home sustained heavy fire damage to the second story and significant smoke and water damage to the first story. Fire department cleared the scene at 5:30 am and turned over the home to the Tribal Authority for in fire investigation. No firefighter injuries to report.

Oakville Fire

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YMCA of Grays Harbor celebrates Healthy Kids Day® with free event April 27

YMCA of Grays Harbor

To kick-start physical activity and learning throughout the summer, a critical out-of-school time for kids, the YMCA of Grays Harbor is celebrating Healthy Kids Day® with a free community event on April 27th for kids and families. Summer is the ideal time for kids to get up, get out and grow, but for some kids, exposure to activities that stimulate the body and mind ends with the school year. In fact, research shows that kids are more prone to gain weight and fall behind academically over the summer months.

“At Healthy Kids Day, we’re helping parents take on summer by taking steps to ensure that their kids stay physically and intellectually active,” said Dan Brown, Associate Executive Director at the YMCA of Grays Harbor. “With summer just around the corner, there is no better time than now to begin developing a healthy routine that helps kids be healthier and sharper for when the next school year begins.”

A leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y holds Healthy Kids Day to improve the health and well-being of kids. As part of this initiative, the Y – along with hundreds of thousands of parents and kids nationwide – is taking on summer by addressing critical gaps in health and education that cause kids to be at increased risk for childhood obesity and suffer summer learning loss.

The YMCA of Grays Harbor’s FREE event will take place at the Y from 12-2pm and will feature activities such as family aerobics, healthy hands on education, and drawings for prizes and free memberships.

For more information contact the YMCA of Grays Harbor at 360-537-9622 or www.ghymca.net

 

Healthy Kids Day® A YMCA Initiative

 

(Nationwide) Saturday, April 26, 2014

Summer is the time for kids to get up, get out and grow. But for some kids, exposure to activities that stimulate the body and mind ends with the school year. In fact, research shows that kids are prone to gain more weight and fall behind in studies. On April 26, the Y will celebrate Healthy Kids Day®, our national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids.

Message from NBA Legend Rip Hamilton

Listen in as NBA legend and father, Richard “Rip” Hamilton, encourages kids and families to be active and participate in the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day. This event is supported by NBA Cares.

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Quinault Indian Nation urges opposition to oil transport and shipment through Grays Harbor

Fawn Sharp Quinault Indian Nation President

The Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) is adamantly opposed to increased oil train traffic in Grays Harbor County, the construction of new oil terminals, increased oil shipping from the port of Grays Harbor and dredging of the Chehalis River estuary. “We oppose all of these for both economic and environmental reasons,” said Fawn Sharp, QIN President. “We ask the citizens, businesses and agencies from within the county and beyond to stand with us in opposing the intrusion of Big Oil into our region,” she said. “The small number of jobs this dirty industry brings with it are vastly outnumbered by the number of jobs connected with a healthy natural resources and a clean environment,” she said.

Fawn Sharp Quinault Indian Nation President“It is time for people from all walks of life to stand up for their quality of life, their children and their grandchildren. It makes no sense whatsoever to allow Big Oil to invade our region, especially with the volume they are proposing. We all have too much at stake to place ourselves square in the path of this onrushing deluge of pollution, to allow mile-long trains to divide our communities and jeopardize our air, land and waters,” she said.

“Consider the number of jobs that are dependent on health fish and wildlife. The birdlife in Grays Harbor alone attracts thousands of tourists every year. Fishing and clamming attract thousands more. And anyone who listens to Big Oil or their pawns when they tell us how safe the oil trains are, or the ships or even the oil terminals that are being proposed needs to pay closer attention. We have already had large quantities of fish and shellfish stolen from us through development of and damage to Grays Harbor and its tributaries and we are not accepting any more losses. We want restoration, not further damage,” she said.

“Derailments, crashes, spills and explosions are extremely dangerous and they happen with frightening regularity. The fact is that there will be accidents and there will be spills, and they will do extensive damage,” said Sharp.

Sharp said there is another fact of which people must be aware: “If we stand together, speak up and demand to be heard, we can make a difference. Our collective voice empowers us.”

U.S. Development Group is currently seeking permits to build an oil terminal on the Washington coast that could handle about 45,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The $80 million proposal at the Port of Grays Harbor is one of several in Washington that together would bring millions of barrels of oil by train from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana. About 17 million barrels of oil were shipped across Washington State last. That number is expected to triple this year. Grays Harbor is facing three separate crude-by-rail proposals. Westway Terminal Company, Imperium Terminal Services, and U.S. Development Group have each proposed projects that would ship tens of millions of barrels of crude oil through Grays Harbor each year. Daily trains more than a mile long would bring crude oil from North Dakota or tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada along the Chehalis River and into the port, where it would be stored in huge shoreline tanks. The crude would then be pumped onto oil tankers and barges, increasing at least four-fold the large vessel traffic in and out of the harbor.

Westway Terminal Company proposes five new storage tanks of 200,000 barrels each. Westway estimates it will receive 1.25 unit trains per day or 458 trains trips (loaded and unloaded) a year. The company estimates it will add 198-238 oil barge transits of Grays Harbor per year. “The chances are even those counts are very conservative,” said Sharp.

Imperium Terminal Services proposes nine new storage tanks of 80,000 barrels each. With a capacity to receive 78,000 barrels per day, Imperium may ship almost 28.5 million barrels of crude oil per year. Imperium estimates that the terminal would add 730 train trips annually, equaling two, 105-car trains (one loaded with oil on the way in, one empty on the way out) per day. The company estimates 400 ship/barge transits through Grays Harbor per year.

U.S. Development Group submitted its application in this crude-by-rail race early this month. It proposes eight storage tanks each capable of holding over 123,000 barrels of crude oil. The company anticipates receiving one loaded 120 tank car train every two days, and adding 90-120 Panamax-sized vessel transits through Grays Harbor per year.

“We are targeted by Big Oil,” said Sharp. “We will not allow them to turn our region into the greasy mess they have created in other regions. We care about our land and our water. We realize how important our natural resources are to our future and we’re not going to sit by and let them destroy what we have,” said Sharp.

Deborah Hersman, outgoing chair of the National Transportation Safety Board said on April 21 that U.S. communities are not prepared to respond to worst-case accidents involving trains carrying crude oil and ethanol. In her farewell address in Washington DC, she said regulators are behind the curve in addressing the transport of hazardous liquids by rail and that Federal regulations have not been revised to address the 440 percent increase in rail transport of crude oil and other flammables we have experienced since 2005. Hersman, who is leaving her post at NTSB April 25 to serve as president of the National Safety Council, said the petroleum industry and first responders don’t have provisions in place to address a worst-case scenario event involving a train carrying crude oil or ethanol.

Hershman added in her comments that the DOT-111 rail tank cars used to carry crude oil are not safe to carry hazardous liquids. She also said that NTSB is overwhelmed by the number of oil train accidents. At present, she said the NTSB is involved in more than 20 rail accident investigations but only has about 10 rail investigators.

“It makes absolutely no sense for us to allow our communities to be exposed to the same dangers that killed 47 people in Quebec this past summer. That tragedy was not an isolated incident. It could happen here, and there is absolutely no doubt that this increased oil traffic will cost us all in terms of both environmental and long term economic damage,” said Sharp.

“For the sake of our public safety, our long term economy, our streams, wetlands, fishing areas, shellfish beds, and migratory bird habitats, we will stand up to them. The Quinault Nation encourages everyone who cares about the future of our region to participate in the public hearings regarding the Westway and Imperium proposals being conducted at 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday, April 24 at Hoquiam High School and Tuesday, April 29 at Centralia High School. We further encourage letters and calls to the Department of Ecology, to local government and to the Governor. Now is the time for to speak out in support of the future of Grays Harbor and the Pacific Northwest!”

“We strongly encourage people to show up and make comments and submit written testimony at these hearings,” said Sharp. “A good turnout is a must,” she said. Following the hearing, written comments can be sent to Maia Bellon, Director of the Department of Ecology, at 300 Desmond Drive, Lacey, WA 98503-1274.

To join QIN in this effort, please email [email protected] “Together, we can protect the land and the water for our children, and rebuild a sustainable economy,” said Sharp.

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Fourth cycle of SR 520 pontoons completed in Aberdeen

Several tugboats skillfully work to guide the newest six pontoons for the new SR 520 floating bridge as they float-out of the casting facility in Aberdeen.
Construction crews working on the SR 520 Pontoon Construction Project took advantage of an extra-high tide April 15, 2014, to float six concrete pontoons into the Chehalis River. These six pontoons represent the fourth of six construction cycles being built in Aberdeen and are destined for Lake Washington to form the backbone of the new SR 520 floating bridge.

ABERDEEN – Another six State Route 520 bridge pontoons began floating out of the Aberdeen casting basin late Tuesday night, April 15, marking completion of the fourth of six cycles of pontoons being built in Grays Harbor.

“With the fourth cycle complete, we’ve reached another important milestone for a new SR 520 floating bridge,” said Julie Meredith, SR 520 program director for the Washington State Department of Transportation. “We’re now two-thirds of the way done with all pontoon construction. In the coming months, the public will start to see the new floating bridge take shape as we begin to align, join and anchor the pontoons together on Lake Washington.”

The fourth cycle of pontoon construction included four longitudinal pontoons and two supplemental stability pontoons. The 360-foot-long longitudinal pontoons will form the backbone of the new bridge, while the smaller, supplemental pontoons provide additional stability and flotation.

Crews lifted three 50-ton gate sections last night to clear the way for the pontoons to float into Grays Harbor. The first pontoon exited the casting basin around 10:30 p.m., with the final pontoon expected out around 3 a.m. today, April 16.

The new pontoons will be inspected at the Port of Grays Harbor and will then be temporarily moored. They’ll later be towed to Lake Washington for construction of the new SR 520 floating bridge. Full pontoon tracking details are postedonline.

The new floating bridge is scheduled to be open to traffic in April 2016. More information about the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program can be found at www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr520bridge.

Several tugboats skillfully work to guide the newest six pontoons for the new SR 520 floating bridge as they float-out of the casting facility in Aberdeen. Construction crews working on the SR 520 Pontoon Construction Project took advantage of an extra-high tide April 15, 2014, to float six concrete pontoons into the Chehalis River. These six pontoons represent the fourth of six construction cycles being built in Aberdeen and are destined for Lake Washington to form the backbone of the new SR 520 floating bridge.

Several tugboats skillfully work to guide the newest six pontoons for the new SR 520 floating bridge as they float-out of the casting facility in Aberdeen.
Construction crews working on the SR 520 Pontoon Construction Project took advantage of an extra-high tide April 15, 2014, to float six concrete pontoons into the Chehalis River. These six pontoons represent the fourth of six construction cycles being built in Aberdeen and are destined for Lake Washington to form the backbone of the new SR 520 floating bridge.

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Permits filed for third Oil-by-rail terminal at Port of Grays Harbor

SEATTLE – U.S. Development Group is seeking permits to build an oil terminal on the Washington coast that could handle about 45,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

The $80 million proposal at the Port of Grays Harbor is one of several in Washington that together would bring millions of barrels of oil by train from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana.

About 17 million barrels of oil were shipped across Washington state last year, mostly to refineries in Anacortes and Cherry Point near Bellingham. That number is expected to triple this year, according to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who chaired a congressional hearing Wednesday on oil shipments by train.

“We need to have the right policies in place to prevent accidents and respond to emergencies when they do happen,” Murray said at the hearing.

Charla Skaggs, a spokeswoman for U.S. Development, said the company has a proven safety record and is committed to safety on the project at Grays Harbor.

Texas-based U.S. Development has developed more than a dozen bulk liquid facilities in the U.S., and “they have an exemplary safety record,” Skaggs said. “They’ve operated very safe facilities for years, and that’s their commitment at Grays Harbor.”

The Grays Harbor Rail Terminal project would bring about one unit train to the facility every two days. A unit train typically has 120 rail cars, and each car can hold about 28,000 gallons.

The company filed permit applications Monday with the city of Hoquiam, Skaggs said. The state Department of Ecology and the city are expected to begin an environmental review process.

“It’s a terrible idea,” said Kristen Boyles, an attorney with Earthjustice representing the Quinault Indian Nation, which is worried about the impacts of oil shipment and storage.

She said oil would be stored in a fragile shoreline area, and billions of barrels of oil would travel through the Grays Harbor estuary, a thriving area for tribal and commercial fishing.

The Grays Harbor Rail Terminal is the third crude-by-rail facility proposed at the Port of Grays Harbor.

The environmental review process for two other projects, by Westway Terminal Co. and Imperium Renewables, began this month.

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