My father personally experienced the collapse of two local industries in Grays Harbor county. He had worked within the timber industry (based in Aberdeen) and as a commercial fisherman (based in Westport). The spotted owl crisis shut down entire timber companies and put thousands of people out of jobs. And when salmon were placed on the endangered species list, the fishing industry in Westport slowed to a sea snail’s pace. Hypocritically, the seals and sea lions, who receive legal protection (since they’re mammals), reduce the salmon population by the tens of thousands every day. Despite the hardship that our family had faced during those years, I’m still a fan of smart growth. I believe we can have both economic prosperity and a beautiful, fully-functioning environment within Grays Harbor county.
Currently, there is considerable controversy over the Port of Grays Harbor’s proposition to rail crude oil to the Port for further shipping by vessels and barges. The opposition warn of potential environmental disasters, while the proponents focus on the economic benefits that this would bring to the Harbor. We believe that both sides of the argument have valid points. Since crude oil is among the heaviest cargo ever to arrive at the Port and many portions of the railway extend into and through environmentally sensitive areas (as most of our county is considered environmentally sensitive), the safety of this endeavor must be guaranteed. Since the oil industry, including its transport, is one of the most regulated of all industries, we can rest assured that the appropriate safeguards will be in place before a single drop of oil comes down the track (if you exclude the oil in the automobiles being shipped currently). Crude by rail is an excellent economic opportunity for the County which should be implemented, with prudence. What does all this have to do with Real Estate? Well, what’s good for the local economy is good for local Real Estate, especially needed in Grays Harbor County which has had long-standing economic challenges. This proposal brings with it 80-85 permanent family-wage jobs and an increase of the tax base of the county of over $180,000,000. Since success begets success, other economic benefits are sure to follow.
Let’s support smart growth.