Jack Durney – Hoquiam Mayor

Balloon fight between Hoquiam and Aberdeen residents on May 16th.

Hoquiam’s Urban Renewal Project, and the upcoming movie at the 7th Street Theater.


This Saturday, April 18, at 7pm, John Larson, Director of the Polson Museum will present historic films and photos of…

Posted by 7th Street Theatre on Monday, April 13, 2015

Aberdeen and Hoquiam discussing merger of Fire Departments

Aberdeen and Hoquiam have begun exploring the process of consolidation their fire and paramedic services, Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson told his city council last night “Over the last couple of weeks we have been meeting with [Hoquiam City Administrator] Brian Shay, [Hoquiam Finance Director] Mike Folkers, [Aberdeen Fire Chief] Tom Hubbard and [Aberdeen Finance Director] Kathrine Skolrood talking about what we could do to merge the two fire departments together. Last Thursday we met with the Unions, and they are all ready to help.”
A joint press release from the two cities said the idea is to find ways to cut costs while continuing to deliver the same level of service to the community.

In the spirit of cooperative governance, the Cities of Aberdeen and Hoquiam are expecting to explore options for the creation of a new regional approach for delivering fire protection and paramedic services. Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson and Hoquiam Mayor Jack Durney have authorized their respective staffs to permit formal discussions exploring the feasibility of consolidation of the two fire agencies.
“A lot has changed recently and we are constantly looking at ways to deliver services more efficiently and effectively,” said Hoquiam Mayor Jack Durney. “Our Fire Departments already respond jointly and work well together. It’s a natural fit.” said Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson.
The primary purpose of these discussions is to find ways to jointly improve the efficiency, economy and effectiveness in delivering sustainable fire protection and paramedic services for the two communities. In a phased approach, the intent would be to create a single department reducing costs and developing a streamlined approach to fire suppression, paramedic, and disaster preparedness to both communities.
“Our local looks forward to being involved in these discussions with the hopes of providing a safer, more efficient service to the communities we strive to protect. We as an organization continually look for ways to adapt and improve what we do and look at this potential consolidation as a proactive step to help our individual organizations remain viable in the future,” said Aberdeen IAFF President Dave Swinhart. “We are excited to work on this together with Aberdeen as a way to potentially improve service to the citizens and create a more sustainable model for our agencies to continue to provide these services for generations to come,” said Hoquiam IAFF President Doug Stankavich.
The Aberdeen Fire Department has a budget of $5.1 million with 37 employees and the Hoquiam Fire Department has a budget of $2.8 million with 22 employees.
More information will be provided as this analysis unfolds.

Hoquiam Mayor disappointed in Port communication on safety

HOQUIAM, Wash. – Hoquiam Mayor Jack Durney last night said he was getting a little bitter over recent comments about safety in his city “this crude-to-rail has certainly created an awful lot of media attention, and other attention, and I think some of it has become kind of disturbing. Mostly because of the unfortunate thing that happened in Quebec, and some headlines – comments made by people, about lack of safety, and that the same kind of thing could happen in Hoquiam.
Durney said he didn’t want the city’s proactive involvement in the permitting process to be seen as a promotion of crude-by-rail projects, all three of which are private firms leasing Port of Grays Harbor property. “And it’s disappointing to me, that they remain mute during all these conversations, and all the headlines, all the articles, and all the public meetings about safety.
In an update on crude-by-rail last night City Administrator Brian Shay told us they have combined the appeals filed against both the Westway and Imperium permits “Both cases will be heard, roughly beginning at the end of September, first week of October.” Shay said the Shoreline hearings board made the decision last week, the merge bumps up the deadline for the Imperium appeal, which was filed later.
The third company interested in exporting crude oil from Grays Harbor, US Development has not filed any permits or applications recently.

Grays Harbor Transit stalls on budget decisions that could affect service, rates, and sales tax

HOQUIAM, Wash. – The Grays Harbor County Transit last night tabled a decision on cuts to service, as the board works to correct an $800-thousand budget deficit.
A sales tax increase could still make the ballot, but board president, and Hoquiam Mayor Jack Durney said last night “the issue you come back to is what happens if the ballot doesn’t pass? What do we do between now and then?
A sales tax increase of .2% would fill the budget gap twice, but would take 8 months to a year before they’d see funding.
General Manager Mark Carlin said he would craft a contingency plan if the vote was placed on the ballot and failed in November.  The Transit Authority needs to cut 8 employees, and decide on cutting weekend bus runs, or portions of the 7-day schedule -along with raising rates.
After a heated discussion last night between several board members, the vote was tabled and a special meeting planned for 5pm July 17th at the transit’s main office.

Letter of Intent Signed For Grays Harbor Paper Mill

Cesar Scolari, the CEO of Elliot Rust Holdings, LLC commented that the Tacoma-based company is “ proud and excited to be a part of bringing the paper company and the family-wage jobs back to the Harbor. The parties must complete their due diligence, a formal Purchase and Sale Agreement has to be completed and submitted to the court for approval. This process will take approximately 60 days.

The new Company will be led by former CEO and industry veteran, John Begley. “We are looking forward to completing the sales process and again doing what the mill does best-making paper,” states Begley.

“We could not be more excited for the Harbor,” said Leonard Barnes, Deputy Director of the Port of Grays Harbor, and Randy Ross, Account Executive for The Durney Agency, in a joint statement. The two co-chairs of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. “We know that this is a crucial employer in the Harbor, in an industry that is our local heritage, and it is a point of pride to us how hard Tim Gibbs (GGHI CEO) has worked to help make this deal come to fruition.”

Many people worked very hard for a long time to make this a successful outcome,” said Jack Durney, Hoquiam Mayor. “Personally, I can hardly wait to see steam once again coming out of the stack and the parking lot full again with cars of people who have been put back to work!”

Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. has worked tirelessly with our partners to reach this point; we will continue to stand with this new company to ensure its success, and to ensure the employment opportunities for the residents of Grays Harbor County.