New tsunami evacuation maps in Spanish will help coastal communities

New tsunami evacuation maps will help the Hispanic populations of Grays Harbor and Pacific counties learn the best routes to take in order to safely reach a designated assembly area on high ground. The brochures also offer critical safety information in Spanish to help communities understand what a tsunami is as well as preparedness tips. The brochures have been available in English for some time.


Map shows destinations in the Aberdeen and Hoquiam areas. It’s been available in English for some time, but was recently produced in Spanish.

Following a 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan in 2011, the devastating four-story tall Tohoku tsunami killed thousands in Japan on March 11, 2011. At the same time, a tsunami advisory was issued for the coast of Washington, but the largest wave was only expected to reach a foot or two over normal sea level. As a precaution, however, residents in several coastal communities were asked to move to higher ground.

But there were several non-English speaking residents who chose to evacuate to nearby hospitals and other critical facilities instead of high ground or officially designated assembly areas. These spontaneous evacuations to essential facilities caused great concern for hospital staff, emergency managers and first responders. It was subsequently identified that there was a shortfall in localized tsunami preparedness materials accessible to non-English speaking populations.


Map shows destinations in the northern Pacific County. It’s been available in English for some time, but was recently produced in Spanish.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2013, people identifying themselves as Hispanic or Latino within Grays Harbor County account for 9.6 percent of the total population. Within Pacific County, that figure is approximately 8.8 percent. Having recognized the evacuation issues during the 2011 Tohoku tsunami, the Washington State Tsunami Program successfully applied for funding through the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program to create tsunami outreach and preparedness products accessible to non-English speaking coastal populations. The first product of this new series includes tsunami evacuation brochures in Spanish. With funding from the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, and working in close coordination with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and a specialized translation company, the Washington State Tsunami Program successfully produced the first Spanish tsunami evacuation brochures for the Washington’s Pacific Ocean coast.

Maps in both English and Spanish can be downloaded here:

There are maps translated into Spanish for the communities of Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Cosmopolis, Ocean City, Copalis Beach, Pacific Beach, Moclips, Ocean Shores,Westport, Grayland, Bay Center, Long Beach, Ilwaco, Ocean Park, Raymond, South Bend, North Cove, Tokeland and many unincorporated areas.

WDFW seeks comment on Burrowing Shrimp in Grays Harbor

OLYMPIA – The shellfish industry has requested to use the pesticide imidacloprid in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor to help control burrowing shrimp.

Burrowing shrimp harm oyster production. They destabilize tidelands, causing oysters to sink into mud and sand, and suffocate.

The Washington Department of Ecology is developing a permit that would allow the use of the pesticide. Ecology determined that an environmental impact study (EIS) is needed before a new permit can be issued.

An EIS reports on the potential impacts a proposed project would have on the environment. The study is a key component of the state’s water quality permit process.

The public is invited to review and comment now through Dec. 8, 2014, on the draft EIS, draft permit, and draft sediment impact zone. Visit Ecology’s website for information on how to submit comments.

Ecology will accept oral and written comments during a public meeting at 10 a.m., Dec. 2, at the Willapa Harbor Community Center, 916 W. First St., South Bend.

The shellfish industry’s control of burrowing shrimp in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor is in transition. Coastal shellfish growers have used the pesticide carbaryl for decades to control burrowing shrimp on their commercial oyster and clam beds. The Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association agreed to phase out carbaryl by 2013 under a settlement agreement with the Washington Toxics Coalition. Since carbaryl is no longer available, growers are requesting use of imidacloprid instead.

More information

Pacific County seeks consultant to update Hazard Mitigation Plan

The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency is currently seeking proposals from qualified consultants to update the Pacific County Hazard Mitigation Plan that meets all requirements under 44 CFR Part 201.6.


As described in the Federal Register (Volume 67, Numbers 38 and 109, dated February 26, 2002 and October 2002 respectively,) Section 322 of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires that all local governments adopt an approved Hazard Mitigation Plan (Plan) to be eligible to receive future hazard mitigation grant funding. The purpose of the Plan is to demonstrate the “jurisdiction’s commitment to reduce risks from natural hazards, serving as a guide for decision-makers as they commit resources to reducing the effects of natural hazards. Local plans will also serve as the basis for the State to provide technical assistance and to prioritize project funding.”


To fulfill this requirement, the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency seeks consultant services in order to update the existing Hazard Mitigation Plan thereby meeting the necessary requirements of and is approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency (PCEMA).


To request a complete proposal packet, contact Scott McDougall, 360-875-9338, or visit the Pacific County website at

Proposals should be mailed to:


Stephanie Fritts, Director
Pacific County Emergency Management Agency
PO Box 27
South Bend, WA 98586



Pacific County Deputies assist commercial gillnet vessel with engine failure

South Bend, WA. – On August 25th at approximately 6:10 PM, the Sheriff’s Office received a request for assistance from the operator of a commercial gillnetting vessel that had experienced engine failure. The vessel was forced to anchor in Willapa Bay near Bay Center. Deputies responded from the South Bend area in the Sheriff’s Office patrol and search and rescue vessel to assist.


Deputies successfully provided safe passage and tow for the vessel and the operator back to the South Bend boat launch. Sheriff Scott Johnson stated, “I am very pleased with the quick response that our office was able to provide in this situation. We have been working very hard to increase our services to the public. Our marine services division is one example of a service that didn’t exist in years past. We recognize that our public’s safety is equally important on or within our waterways.”


Sheriff Johnson also added, “We are grateful for the positive support that we have received from the Board of County Commissioners, helping to aid us with jumpstarting the marine program”.

Registered Sex Offender Working For Carnival at Pacific County Fair Arrested

South Bend, WA. – This morning a registered sex offender identified as Jason A. Miner, age 38, and of Yakima was arrested by Pacific County Sheriff deputies at the Pacific County Jail. Miner was reporting to the Sheriff’s Office to register within our county as required by state law. Miner was in Pacific County working for the company contracting carnival rides and activities at the Pacific County Fair.

Miner was arrested on an outstanding felony warrant out of Yakima County for failing to register as a sex offender. Miner was booked into Pacific County Jail for the warrant. Bail is set at 10,000.00.

Emphasis patrols in Grays Harbor County net 26 arrests for DUI

DUI continues to be the number one factor in traffic fatalities and serious injury statewide as well as here in Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties. In an effort to save lives, local law enforcement agencies participated in a statewide effort over the Fourth of July weekend to crackdown on impaired drivers. During that time period 26 impaired drivers were arrested in Grays Harbor County.

Overtime patrols funded by the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission were conducted border to border throughout Washington State. Locally, the patrols were coordinated by Grays Harbor County Target Zero Task Force and were conducted throughout Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties. Agencies included: Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department, Pacific County Sheriff’s Department, Montesano, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Ocean Shores, Cosmopolis, Elma, McCleary, Raymond, South Bend Police Department (s), as well as the Washington State Patrol.

Target Zero, which is a statewide effort to prevent all traffic deaths in Washington by the year 2030.

Scrolling sign prompts evacuation and search of Pacific Transit bus

Police pulled over, evacuated, and searched a transit bus headed to Raymond yesterday, after a distress signal was reported to 911.
Chief Criminal Deputy Pat Matlock with the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office reports Raymond, South Bend, Pacific County and Washington State Patrol deputies detained the bus at milepost 61 alongside State Route 101. It was reported just before 6 Monday evening, an alert driver said they had passed a transit bus, it’s scrolling reader board read “emergency call police” while driving on State Route 101.

Pacific Transit tells us Route 14 runs from Raymond to Aberdeen 3 times a day. The last run was stopped on the way back.

Matlock said 10-12 people were delayed by about an hour while State Patrol and Sheriff’s deputies searched the bus for any suspicious activity. The inspection revealed the bus driver had accidentally tripped a warning message built into their reader boards.

Possible medical emergency to blame for single vehicle accident North of Raymond

The Washington State Patrol says a possible medical emergency is to blame for a single vehicle accident that sent a 32 year old South Bend woman, and her 7 year old daughter to Willipa Harbor hospital. Their driver, a 56 year old man from South Bend, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center.
The 1997 Dodge Ram van went off the road 9 miles North of Raymond on State Route 101 Saturday morning and struck a tree. Their vehicle was totaled, Trooper Blake’s report state no charges will be filed.


UPDATE: The Washington State Patrol has notified next of kin to 56 year old Vilath Nhotsoubanh of South Bend. He was driving a 97 Dodge Ram van when a medical emergency caused the van to go off the road and into a tree. He was airlifted from the scene to Harborview Medical Center, and later passed away. 

Pacific County Sheriff’s Deputy placed on leave following criminal charges

South Bend, WA. – A Pacific County Sheriff’s deputy remains on administrative leave after eleven criminal charges were filed today against the deputy, including one count of first degree extortion, four counts of bribery, five counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of reckless driving. Johnson is also a former Cosmopolis police officer.

The deputy, identified as Vance O. Johnson age 44, is a 5 year veteran of the office. Deputy Johnson had been on administrative leave while an internal investigation that led to the criminal investigation related to these charges was conducted. The investigation was conducted by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office at the request of Sheriff Scott Johnson to ensure that it was conducted in a fair and impartial manner.

The investigation was started after information and witness statements were received on April 21st of this year relating to an incident that Deputy Johnson was involved in that occurred originally while he was off duty, and later events that occurred while he was on duty.

Sheriff Scott Johnson said, “Today is a very sad day for the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office, it’s news none of us ever wish to hear, however nothing is more important than maintaining public trust and confidence in our employees, all of whom I hold to the highest moral and ethical standards”.

Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Meyer is prosecuting this case in Pacific County Superior Court due to a conflict regarding one of the witnesses in this case working for the Pacific County Prosecutor’s Office.  Sheriff Johnson & Deputy Johnson are not related.

Law enforcement administrators meet in Pacific County to discuss trending issues

The Pacific County Sheriff recently hosted a meeting of local law enforcement administrators to discuss several regional issues. The combined agency meeting was to further efforts by each of the agencies to share information and resources, and work together towards improving service to the public. A variety of issues were discussed including but not limited to the new ATV laws, private forest land closures, field intelligence information sharing, beach driving and inter-agency training. A special presentation was made by the Intellicheck/Mobilisa Company that introduced an app that would aid law enforcement in checking for crimes that people may be wanted for with a smart phone. 

Other agencies were also introduced to the Sheriff’s Office K-9 and handler, Deputy Justin Kangas. The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office hosts similar meeting like this on a semi-annual basis. Sheriff Johnson appreciates the participation in the meetings and noted that inter-agency cooperation allows for better and more effective law enforcement. The original meetings involved the Sheriff’s Office and local police departments and now have been expanded to include Washington State Parks, Department of Corrections, Washington State Patrol and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. 
From left to right in the photo: Washington State Parks Supervisor Evan Roberts, Raymond Police Chief Chuck Spoor, Washington State Department of Wildlife Sgt. Dan Chadwick, South Bend Police Chief Dave Eastham, Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson, Pacific County Undersheriff Todd Fosse, Washington State Department of Corrections Supervisor David Thompson, Washington State Patrol Captain Chris Old, Washington State Patrol Sgt. Brad Moon and Washington State Patrol Sgt. Larry Conley.

Present at the meeting but not pictured in the photo were Pacific County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Pat Matlock, Shoalwater Bay Tribal Police Chief Robin Souvenir and Raymond Police Sgt. James Samplawski.