Dictator Tootie Smith? Are you KIDDING?

Brainless Tootie, Bully Ludlow and Paul "snake in the grass" Savas celebrating on election night. What a tragedy for Clackamas County!

Brainless Tootie, Bully Ludlow and Paul “snake in the grass” Savas celebrating on election night. What a tragedy for Clackamas County!


Related background information on Tootie Smith: https://oregonfirst.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/john-ludlow-for-county-commission-chair-beware-bully-deluxe-tootie-smith-lol/

OPB interview – don’t miss the comments about Tea Party Toots and her equally clueless GOP primary opponent: http://www.opb.org/radio/programs/thinkoutloud/segment/republican-primary-5th-congressional-district-candidates/

I recently read ‘In the Garden of the Beasts’, the horrific account of American Ambassador Dodd and his family in 1933 Berlin, Hitler’s first year in power. The naïve Dodds watched the growing tide of repression as Hitler’s Nazi supporters worked to eliminate critics of the new regime. Blatant oppression of Jews and homosexuals had begun. The cowed citizens of Germany fell in line out of fear. Hitler’s consolidation of power cumulated in the summer of 1934 with the Night of the Long Knives, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of murders to silence political dissent. We all know the genocide and atrocities that followed.

Apparently Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith is bent on her own version of the Night of the Long Knives with her disgusting work to silence political free speech, void an election and stop citizen involvement. Smith’s attack on individuals and on the Hamlet of Molalla Prairie, coupled with slam letters from City Manager Huff, Mayor Rogge and “us first” greedy Molalla business people, smacks of control the message dictatorships. Here’s how Tootie drummed up slam letters:

Fascist Tootie Smith's email soliciting slam letters - not exactly a democratic process!

Fascist Tootie Smith’s email soliciting slam letters – not exactly a democratic process!

Entrusted to manage tens of millions of dollars of public money and to oversee public programs and staff, Czar Smith made this ludicrous statement about blocking a well noticed election and silencing free speech (quoted in the Oregonian): “I have not felt so strongly on one single issue on my time on the commission.”

Tea Party Tootie: Representing the ARM PIT OF GOVERNMENT!

Tea Party Tootie: Representing the ARM PIT OF GOVERNMENT!

Autocratic Smith feels “strongly” but she certainly can’t get the facts straight! Eight hamlet board members conducted a vigorous discussion about the need for an appeal to correct and call attention to Molalla’s failed noticing process; angry rural landowners had petitioned the hamlet for help. Clackamas County Government Affairs liaison Amy Kyle was present and raised no objections. The hamlet board took no position pro or con about the garage/storage unit proposal (not apartments as Smith falsely claims). The developer withdrew his plans, the appeal hearing was cancelled, yet Molalla refuses to refund the appeal deposit. In contrast, the County refunds appeal deposits when a developer withdraws.

Since 2007, I’ve closely followed Molalla’s failure to thrive because of cronyism and influence peddling, failure to follow process, distaste for citizen involvement, lack of transparency, disrespect for the environment and incompetent use of public money. As Molalla’s “leaders” blatantly cater to business “needs”, quality of life is ignored. Involving people, including dissenters, in policy making is certainly not as tidy as top down government, but it is essential to our Democracy.

Political free speech is our strongest and most protected First Amendment right: use it or lose it. Allowing cronyism to prevail and oppressors like Tootie Smith, Dan Huff, Debbie Rogge and Molalla business people to silence criticism is a dangerous path toward becoming a closed society like Russia or North Korea.

I might not like what you have to say it or how you say it but I will always defend your right to say it. Do you support the First Amendment or do you support Tootie Smith’s march toward censorship, exclusion and Fascism?

Here's floozy Tootie in her "finery": She moonlights as the host of "Vegas Style Weddings" at her perpetually for sale B&B in decayed Molalla.

Here’s floozy Tootie in her “finery”: She moonlights as the host of “Vegas Style Weddings” at her perpetually for sale B&B in decayed Molalla.

Don’t miss this great take on Czarina Tootie’s War on Political Free Speech from the Clackamas County Dems! Go Democrats, save us from Tootie’s ignorance: http://www.clackamasdems.org/?p=2294

Posted in Molalla, molalla real estate, Quality of life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cadillac Ranch MX: DENIED by Thurston County!

CADILLAC RANCH NO IMAGECadillac Ranch, an outlaw MX track in Thurston County, Washingtion, was just denied a permit to operate. There is compelling testimony from a doctor and a vet about the detrimental effect even low level noise has on humans and animals. A noise expert testified that noise travels in unexpected ways and has the potential to affect large areas when it is generated by loud MX events.

This rejection should help others around the world in the continued fight for quality of life in rural areas. The issues with MX are always about the RIGHT of residents to enjoy their rural lifestyles without invasive noise, dust, water and air pollution, traffic and the potential for rowdy behavior connected to MX facilities.

See also this blog’s post about MX and neighbors at: https://oregonfirst.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/history-of-mx-tracks-pitting-neighbors-against-neighbors/. That research outlines many more court cases and struggles against MX tracks.

Here’s a link to the local newspaper coverage:

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/08/31/2759646/thurston-county-denies-permit.html

Here’s a taste of the compelling testimonies from experts who opposed the Cadillac Ranch MX facility. Then read the entire file findings below  to see another rejection for MX! Quote:

22. Appellants offered testimony from Lucile Ryan, PhD, who is retired from a private
clinical psychology practice in which she worked with clients on issues relating to
chronic medical illness, chronic pain, stress management, and health and wellness among others. Ms. Ryan lives about one mile from the subject property and can hear the sounds from Cadillac Ranch, which she described as a nagging, constant, whiny, buzzing sound that interferes with peace of mind. Her testimony focused on noise sensitivity and the stress that arises from noise annoyance and the adverse impact of unwanted noise on
quality of life. She asserted that noise is a non specific stressor that arouses the
autonomic nervous system and the immune system, and that long term exposure to high
levels of noise is associated with health, learning, and memory problems. Ms. Ryan
asserted that there is 200-300% increased mortality rate among young men up to age 25, which she felt to be typical of motor cross riders, because of risk taking behaviors
resulting from incomplete prefrontal cortex development and high levels of testosterone.
Her testimony concluded that concentrating populations of such young men at the
proposed ORV track would increase demand for law enforcement and emergency
services, which was not adequately analyzed under SEPA. Lucile Ryan Testimony;
Exhibit 2A-8.

23. Jennifer Preston testified for the Appellants. She is a doctor of veterinary medicine with 39 years of experience working with companion and live stock animals in rural southeast Thurston County. Dr. Preston testified that noise results in undue stress and disease in animals. She asserted that local animals already have to contend with unwanted sounds from nearby forestry practices as well as explosions from the Joint Base Lewis McCordJBLM). Dr. Preston testified that animals’ instinct is to flee or hide from noise, andrepeated incidents increase stress over time; animals do not acclimate. Resulting Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 20 of 60
outcomes include failure to thrive, increased disease and infertility, reduction in milk
production, lower lamb survival rates, and other effects. She stated that horses and sheep are especially sensitive, as is wildlife, including the migrating Elk and other threatened species that inhabit the Ruth and Weir Prairies. She concluded by saying she wouldn’t want an ORV track near her herd if she ran a dairy. Jennifer Preston testimony.

24. The Appellants offered the testimony of Steve Craig, who worked for Department of
Ecology for 25 years and currently lives just outside of Rainier. Among other topics, Mr.
Craig testified regarding his former service on the Thurston County park board and his
personal experience with the management of a public ORV Park. Thurston County used
to operate a public ORV track in conjunction with neighboring Grays Harbor County on
the shared boundary called the Straddleline ORV Park. According to Mr. Craig,
management of the park was “an incredible headache and a constant agenda topic” and
eventually Thurston County withdrew its participation in the operation due to vandalism, noise, fights, drinking, law enforcement demand, and the cost of continual track and facilities maintenance. Mr. Craig testified that Thurston County eventually quit claimed the property to Grays Harbor County in order to withdraw from involvement.14 Mr. Craig further testified that Straddleline is within two hours drive of Rainier and that there are “a lot” of ORV facilities in Washington and that the Straddleline ORV Park website contains a list.15 Mr. Craig voiced concern that the impacts on groundwater and the nearby Deschutes River resulting from grading 20,000 cy of earth and the constant regrading necessitated by track maintenance were not adequately considered. Finally, based on his environmental background, Mr. Craig testified that in his opinion, inadequate analysis of impacts to wildlife and the environment was conducted in the MDNS process. He was specifically concerned about potential impacts to the resident elk herd, to protected oaks and the oak savannah, and the prairie species currently recognized as being at risk of extinction. Steve Craig testimony.

25. Regarding alleged traffic impacts, the Appellants offered the declaration of Jeanne
Catherine Flick, whose statement asserted that all traffic coming to the proposed ORV
park via Interstate 5 would have to travel 20 miles over State Highway 507, which has
only two lanes. Turning off Highway 507, Vail Cut Off Road also has only two lanes,
with no turn lanes, no traffic lights, has several sharp curves, and a narrow shoulder widthin the subject property’s vicinity. Ms. Flick characterized the traffic attending events onsite as a “huge increase of traffic on these two-lane rural roads”. She noted that the Mahan’s existing website for Cadillac Ranch lists events involving the following: mud
bogging, mud drags, jeep barrel racing, sprint racing, tuff trucks, rally cars, quads, and
4×4 quads, in addition to motocross. Ms. Flick asserted that the size of vehicles and
trailers needed to haul off-road trucks, jeeps, rally cars, and quads would be larger than
those needed to haul motocross bikes, including large pickup trucks with wide and long
trailers. She stated that the Cadillac Ranch website says the gates open Friday afternoon
for camping and that overnight parking is available. Ms. Flick asserted that RVs, motor
homes, and campers would also attend the site, some of which may pull trailers with offroad vehicles behind them. Finally, she stated that in her own experience, one school bus delivering children creates long lines of backed up traffic on these rural roads. She
concluded that the proposed ORV track would create many occurrences of traffic
congestion and backups, as well as increase the chances of deadly collisions from
motocross participants or spectators attempting to “hop scotch” through the congestion.
Exhibit 2A.9.

26. The Appellants presented the expert testimony of Patrick Skillings, who has specialized in environmental evaluation and particularly noise assessment for 12 years. Mr. Skillings testified about his experience with ORV facilities, which included being a principle author of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ 2008 guidelines for developing ORV facilities on state lands. In that capacity and in other positions, he has tested ORVs, quads, jeeps, motorcycles, and other vehicles and become very familiar with vehicle exhaust testing. In his experience, trees dense enough to block line of sight can act as sufficient noise barrier to prevent ORV noise from exceeding the State standards at property boundaries if the trees are 200 to 300 feet deep. Mr. Skillings testified that receiving properties with a line of sight to the ORV track would experience noise from the track. He provided testimony regarding line sources of sound versus point sources of sound as they relate to noise attenuation over distance. With a line source of sound, which includes vehicles moving in a line such as highway traffic, sound is created in a 3D cylinder around that source. Attenuation for line sources of sound is three decibels with every doubling of distance. A point source can be stationary, like a parking lot, or individual, as in one individual vehicle. Noise spreads out hemi spherically from a point source like a bubble and reduces at the rate of six decibels with every doubling of distance from the source. According to Mr. Skillings’ testimony, to the human ear ten decibels difference is a doubling in sound energy. Patrick Skillings testimony; Exhibit
2A.1; Exhibit 2A.2.

Here is the entire findings that denied Cadillac Ranch:

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Cathy Wolfe
District One
Sandra Romero
District Two
Karen Valenzuela
District Three
HEARING EXAMINER
Creating Solutions for Our Future
2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, Washington 98502 (360) 786-5490/FAX (360) 754-2939
BEFORE THE HEARING EXAMINER
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF THURSTON
In the Matter of the Appeal of )
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group )
) SEPA 12-101068XA
of the March 28, 2013 MDNS ) SUP 2011101927
Issued in review of the Mahan ORV Track )
Special Use Permit )
) Cadillac Ranch ORV Track
and )
)
In the Matter of the Application of ) FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND
Jeff, Bob, and Damien Mahan ) DECISIONS
)
for a Special Use Permit to operate the )
ORV Track known as Cadillac Ranch )
SUMMARY OF DECISIONS
Because the Applicants did not demonstrate compliance with the special use permit criteria, the
proposed land use cannot allowed in the underlying zoning district. The permit must be denied
and environmental review pursuant to the State Environmental Policy Act is moot. The
application for SUP is DENIED, the MDNS is ordered to be WITHDRAWN, and the SEPA
appeal is DISMISSED.
SUMMARY OF RECORD1
Request
Jeff, Bob, and Damian Mahan (Mahan brothers, Applicants) requested approval of a special use
permit to authorize the operation of an off road vehicle track known as Cadillac Ranch on 26
acres of the 370-acre Mahan farm located at 12307 Vail Cut Off Road SE, Rainier, Washington.
Issues on Appeal
Thurston County reviewed the proposed use for compliance with the requirements of the State
Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and issued a mitigated determination of non-significance
(MDNS) on March 28, 2013.
1 Findings begin on page 11.
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 2 of 60
On April 18, 2013, a group of neighbors and Rainier residents calling themselves the Rainier-
Vail Neighborhood Group (RVNG, Appellants), through counsel, filed a timely appeal of the
MDNS, alleging the following (paraphrased) errors in the MDNS which were further developed
in legal briefing and testimony on the record:
1. The MDNS is procedurally flawed because:
a. The full scope of the proposal was not defined prior to the SUP permit hearing,
the SEPA analyses did not consider the entire project, and therefore the MDNS
was based on insufficient information.
b. ORV tracks are not an allowed special use in the RRR 1/5 zone and the special
use chapter does not authorize the County to approve any special use that is not
expressly listed, and therefore the MDNS on an unlawful use was issued in error.
c. Because the Applicants did not apply for a permit to operate an athletic facility
and did not amend their application to reflect an intention that it be an athletic
facility until July 2, 2103, the MDNS was issued without considering this
proposed use; further the proposed use is not an athletic facility, or alternatively if
it is, it should be considered a major sporting facility because it is not “sized to
serve the local community” as required at TC 2054.070(3.5)(a), as it is three times
the size and scale as is contemplated in the special use provisions and because it
clearly targets regional patrons.
d. A prohibited use is incompatible per se with the surrounding neighborhood, the
impacts of which cannot be mitigated, and should be denied under TCC
17.09.150.C.
2. The MDNS was issued in error because the use would conflict with the rural
neighborhood character:
a. The county Code was amended in 2004 expressly to protect the rural areas from
incompatible special uses.
b. The County’s Comprehensive Plan and the RRR 1/5 zone require commercial uses
to be small in scale.
c. Commercial ORV track use is incompatible with the existing rural character of
the neighborhood.
3. The MDNS was based on insufficient information regarding noise and the use would
result in noise amounting to substantial undue harm.
4. Impacts to the Deschutes River, to the underlying critical aquifer recharge area, and
the flora, fauna, and habitat of Ruth’s Prairie from ORV use were insufficiently
evaluated and would not be adequately mitigated.
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 3 of 60
5. The track’s traffic, air emissions, emergency service demand, and stormwater impacts
were not sufficiently analyzed and would not be adequately mitigated.
Hearing Date
The Thurston County Hearing Examiner conducted a consolidated open record public hearing on
the SUP request and SEPA appeal on July 29th and 30th, and August 1, 2013. On the record at
the conclusion of the proceedings, the record was held open through August 15, 2013 for the
submission of post-hearing submittals, memorialized in a August 2, 2013 Post-Hearing Order.
On August 9, 2013, the Examiner conducted a site visit and was escorted onto the property and
to the location of the proposed ORV track by Applicants Jeff and Bob Mahan.2 All materials
requested in the Order were timely submitted and admitted and the record closed on August 15,
2013.
Testimony
At the open record public hearing, the following individuals presented testimony under oath:3,4
For the Appellants
Brian Anderson
Lucille Ryan
Diana Peeples
Patrick Skillings, Skillings Connolley
Dr. Jennifer Preston
Steve Craig
For the Applicant
Chris Real
Kim Peterson Coker
2 During the escorted on-site portion of the site visit, conversation was limited to identification of locations of
specific proposed improvements, including the new track, the parking area, the existing ORV track, and general
indication of landmarks associated with site boundaries; the merits of the application were not discussed. During the
unescorted portion of the site visit, the Examiner drove the roads in the area, including 160th Lane and Vail Cut Off,
and drove through the town of Rainier.
3 Due to the necessity of scheduling testimony by telephone and other schedule conflicts, many witnesses testified
out of order. Additionally, Counsel for Appellants and Applicants requested that testimony be accepted for both the
SEPA appeal and the SUP hearing, without the need to recall witnesses or hear duplicative comments.
4 On July 29, 2013, nearly 100 members of the public appeared desiring to testify in the public comment period of
the permit hearing, which was not likely to occur on that first day. Public comment on the permit application was
taken out of order, in order to allow those who would not return the following day to make their comment, and a
second public comment period on the permit was announced to occur as usual after the County’s and Applicants’
presentation on the permit. Because so many people indicated they wanted to testify on the 29th, a three-minute
time limit was established. Audience members were also informed that they could submit written comments up to
the close of the record. The second public comment period occurred on August 2, 2013 in the afternoon. Again,
such a large number of people indicated the desire to testify that a three-minute time limit was established.
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 4 of 60
Randy Schleis, Mayor of Rainier
Bill Largent
Ross Merker
Tim Nelson
Eric Ainsworth
Jeff Mahan, Applicant
Bob Mahan, Applicant
Damian Mahan, Applicant
For the County
Robert Smith
Al Quiocho
Arthur Saint
Sara Brallier
July 29, 2013 Public Comment
Kathi Jo Moore Richard Banach
Bob Corl Dr. E.J. Zita
Patty Miller Trish Pecerra
Rick Roberts Gary Johnson
Daniel Johansen Victoria Harper-Parsonson
Robert Gehrke Melinda Turner
Roger Porter Diane Frank
Judy Luczak Ian Gerke
Danner Barton Grandon Marek
Susan Mayer Cameron Jayne
Kendra Trunnert Dr. John Ruhland
Erica Stancil John O’Brien
John Everett Lisa Geier
Connie Largen Karen Kenney
Bruce Davidson Linda Tarrant
Peter Van Lierop Nick O’Brian
Fryst Valentine Ginger Mueller
Logan Mueller Melody Rae
Daniel Lihach Diane Dondero
Barbara Ericksen Bernie Michaels
August 1, 2013 Public Comment
Alexandria Hillman Shane Ennis
Myron Bouchakian Rocky Lyon
Dale Riston Jamie Heflin
Mickey Beadle Cameron Day
Peggy Ledyard Darren Taylor
Susy Kyle Antonia Wood
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 5 of 60
Mary Coulton Sarah Wooten
Charles Pracna Shaun Simmons
Walter Korte Rob Neibauer
Karen Silliman Debra Jacqua
Shane Barton Rachael Barton
Helena Goslin Diane D’Acuti
Tiffany Scott Jennifer Mustoe
Attorney Representation
Ben Cushman, Attorney, represented the Appellants.
Jay Goldstein, Attorney, represented the Applicants.
Jeff Fancher, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, represented Thurston County.
Exhibits
The following exhibits were admitted in the record of this matter:
Exhibit 1 Thurston County Resource Stewardship Land Use and Environmental Review
Section Exhibits:
1A Thurston County Appeal Staff Report, including County witness list and the
following attachments:
1. Appeal of an Administrative Decision, dated April 18, 2013
2. Photos of Public Hearing Notice Posting
3. E-mail from Chief Mark King, E.E. Thurston Fire Authority, dated July 30, 2013
1B Thurston County Special Use Permit Application Staff Report, with the following
attachments:
Attachment a Notice of Public Hearing
Attachment b Zoning/Site Map
Attachment c Master Application, received June 9, 2011
Attachment d Special Use Permit Application, received June 9, 2011
Attachment e Project Narrative, undated
Attachment f Additional Project Narrative, received February 9, 2012
Attachment g Revised Hours of Operation Schedule, received April 9, 2013
Attachment h Letter from Jay Goldstein clarifying Special Use category,
dated July 2, 2013
Attachment i Site Plan, received January 24, 2013
Attachment j Multi-Use Structure Floor Plan/Elevation Drawing, received
February 7, 2012
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 6 of 60
Attachment k Sound Study, DPS Technical, Inc. (Chris F. Real, CLS), dated
August 15, 2012
Attachment l Noise Control Plan, received November 19, 2012
Attachment m Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (folder 12
101068 XA), issued March 28, 2013
Attachment n Comment Memorandum from Sara Brallier, Thurston County
Public Health and Social Services Department, dated February
12, 2013
Attachment o Comment Memorandum from Sara Brallier, Thurston County
Public Health and Social Services Department, May 6, 2013
Attachment p Comment Memorandum from Arthur Saint of the Thurston
County Public Works Department, dated May 2, 2013
Attachment q Comment Letter from Julie Keough, Weyerhaeuser Company,
dated December 22, 2011
Exhibit 2 Appellant Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group’s List of Witnesses and Exhibits
2A Appellant Exhibits:
1 Resume of Patrick Skillings
2 Patrick Skillings written response to Mahan’s technical information
3 C.V. of Lucille Ryan
4 Resume of Steve Craig
5 Petitions signed by residents living in the vicinity of Cadillac Ranch who oppose
the Mahans’ ORV Track
6 Declaration of Susan Ralston McLean
7 Internal County email exchange on 8/17/11 between Pat Allen and Jim
Bachmeier, along with Mr. Backmeier’s 5/26/11 Memorandum of Water
Resources Division’s review of the Straddleline ORV Park
8. Written comments of Lucille Ryan entitled “Impact of Noise on Health, Wellbeing
and Quality of Life”, dated July 29, 2013
9. Declaration of Jeanne Catherine Flick, 8/1/13, including attachments:
a. Excerpts from the web page of Thurston County Natural Resources
Planning Conservation Futures Program
10. July 2013 Thurston County Regional Planning Council Memo re: Thurston
County Prairie Habitat Conservation Plan, 2/20/12 Thurston County Planning
Commission meeting minutes, 1/24/13 Ag Advisory Commission meeting
minutes
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 7 of 60
2B Examples of citizen complaints to Thurston County regarding existing ORV
1. Email exchanges between Kathi Jo Moore and Guy Jacques, 4/22/11 – 4/26/11
2. Email exchanges between Brian Anderson & Diana Peeples and Guy Jacques,
4/25/11 – 4/26/11
3. Email from Catherine Flick to Guy Jacques, dated April 30, 2011
4. Email exchange between Kim Springer and Guy Jacques, 4/26/11 – 5/2/11
5. Emails with Daniel Johansen from Robert Smith, 5/27/12 – 5/29/12
6. Email from Daniel Johansen to Guy Jacques, dated 6/16/12
7. Email from Daniel Johansen to Guy Jacques, dated 7/15/12
8. Email from Antonia Wood to Guy Jacques, dated 7/15/12
9. Email from Daniel Johnson to Guy Jacques, dated 5/28/13
2C Appellant-collected comments opposing the proposal (144 comments)5
2D 1. Appellant Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group’s Supplemental Exhibit, July
28, 2013
2. Appellant Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group’s Second Supplemental to
Exhibits, August 1, 2013
Exhibit 3 Applicant Mahans’ Disclosure of Witnesses and Exhibits, dated July 15, 2013,
with the following attachments:
1. Stormwater Site Plan, dated April 26, 2012
2. Site Access Analysis, dated April 19, 2012
3. Septic Design, dated April 19, 2012
4. Traffic Impact Analysis, dated April 19, 2012
5. Pollution Prevention Plan, dated April 24, 2012
6. Hydrogeologic Assessment and Nitrate Loading Study, dated January 21, 2013
7. DPS Technical, Inc., Sound Study, dated August 15, 2012
8. Olympian, Rainier Track Record, dated July 13, 2012
9. CV, Ainsworth, PE, dated July 15, 2013
10. CV, Real, dated July 15, 2013
11. CV, Halbert, dated July 15 2013
12. California OHV Noise Study, dated September 1, 2005
5 Exhibits 2C, 15A, 15B, and 15C contain long lists of names and dates of public comments. The four lists have
been included at the end of the decision in Appendix A.
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 8 of 60
13. Wyle , CA OHV Noise Study, Real, et al., dated Dec 1, 2004
14. American Motorcyclist, article, How To Conduct a Sound Test, January 1, 2010
15. DPS Technical Projects, dated July 15, 2013
16. Development of Motorcycle Sound Test Procedure, SAE, Real et al., dated
August 1, 2011
17. Understanding and Controlling Vehicle Sound in Env, Motorcycle Noise Control,
dated, January 14, 2012
18. Real, Site Measurement Locations, Appendix 4, dated July 14, 2012
19. Real, Site Map, dated July 14, 2012
20. Dirt Rider, Dropping in on Chris Real, dated June 2008
21. Overview, Sound Study, dated July 7, 2013
22. Hearing Range, Real, dated July 15, 2013
23. Sound Resources, Real, dated July 15, 2013
24. Acoustic Terms, Real, January 1, 2012
25. Bio, Real, dated January 1, 2013
26. Sound Advice, dated July 1998
27. Sound Measurements of Helicopters During Logging Operations, dated April 16
2007
28. Appendix 5 Sound Propagation in the Open Air, dated July 5, 2013
29. Acknowledgements, July 5, 2013
30. Appendix 1 Noise Reduction Policy, dated July 2012
31. Support Letters from Close Neighbors, dated July 2010
32. Support from Rainier Community, dated July 15, 2013
33. Letter from Senator Dan Swecker, dated July 15, 2013
34. Map; Neighborhood dated, July 15, 2013
35. Neighborhood Business Support, dated June 2013
36. Native Plant Map, Site Map, and Dept. of Ecology, dated January 23, 2013
37. Letter from Randy Schleis, Mayor of Rainier, dated July 26, 2013
38. Sound Study Appendix 4, Addendum – Measurement Locations, July 26, 2013
39. Article from the Olympian titled “Farm Family, Neighbors at Odds Over Rainer
Motocross Track,” dated July 28, 2013
40. Letter from Chris Real, DPS Technical, dated July 31, 2013
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 9 of 60
41. State of Washington, Off Road Vehicle Noise Study and Recommendations, dated
November 2006
42. A. Applicant’s 1st Supplemental Witness/Exhibit list, dated July 15, 2013
B. Applicant’s 2nd Supplemental Exhibit list, received July 23, 2013
C. Applicant’s 3rd Supplemental Witness and Exhibit list, dated July 26,
2013
D. Applicant’s 4th Supplemental Witness and Exhibit List, dated July 26,
2013
E. Applicant’s 5th Supplemental Witness and Exhibit List, dated July 28,
2013
F. Applicant’s 6th Supplemental Witness and Exhibit List, dated July 28,
2013
Exhibit 4 SEPA Appeal Briefs:
A. Appellant Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group’s Brief for Hearing, July 29,
2013
B. Applicant Brief in Support of Mitigated Determination of Non-
Significance and Special Use Permit, July 29, 2013
Exhibit 5 Environmental checklist, received February 7, 2012
Exhibit 6 Native Plant Survey, USDA NRCS, dated January 23, 2012
Exhibit 7 Site Access Analysis, The Land Developer, LLC, dated April 19, 2012
Exhibit 8 Level 1 Traffic Impact Analysis, The Land Developer’s Engineered Solution,
dated April 19, 2013
Exhibit 9 Pollution Prevention Plan, The Land Developer, LLC, dated October 3, 2012
Exhibit 10 Stormwater Site Plan, The Land Developer, LLC, dated April 26, 2012
Exhibit 11 Hydrogeologic Assessment and Nitrate Loading Study, Insight Geologic, Inc.,
dated January 21, 2013
Exhibit 12 Thurston County Public Works Department Comment Memorandum from Arthur
Saint, dated December 12, 2012
Exhibit 13 Washington State Department of Ecology comment letter, February 27, 2012
Exhibit 14 Full Size Site Plan, received January 24, 2013
Exhibit 15 Public Comment Letters, various dates (See Appendix A):
A. Public comments submitted to the County between notice of hearing and
close of the record on August 1, 2013 (205)
B. Public comments submitted in response to published noticed of MDNS:
Comments (35)
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
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C. Public comments in the County file related to the property predating
MDNS and hearing notice (178)
Exhibit 16 Comment Letter from Andrew Deffobis, Associate Planner, dated August 1, 2013
Exhibit 17 Vicinity Map Titled “Nearby Property Owners Exhibit,” submitted by Applicant,
dated August 7, 2013
Exhibit 18 Post Hearing Briefs:
A. Appellant Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group’s Memorandum in Response
to Public Comment at Exhibit 15, dated August 15, 2013
B. Appellant Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group’s Post Hearing Brief, dated
August 15, 2013
C. Applicant’s Post-Hearing Brief in Support of Special Use Permit and
Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance, dated August 15, 2013
The record also includes:
A. Pre-Hearing Order Setting Submission Schedule, dated May 7, 2013
B. Appellant Motion for Order Dismissing SUP and Withdrawing MDNS, dated June 27,
2013
C. Mahan’s Response to Appellant Motion to Dismiss and Withdrawing MDNS, July 8,
2013, with the following attachments:
1. Declaration of Jeff Mahan, dated July 6, 2013
2. Declaration of Jay Goldstein, dated July 8, 2013
D. Thurston County Response to Appellant Motion to Dismiss and Withdrawing MDNS,
dated July 8, 2013
E. Appellant Reply in Support of Motion for Order Dismissing SUP and Withdrawing
MDNS, dated July 9, 2013, with attachments:
1. Applicant Project Narrative, dated received February 9, 2012
2. Pollution Prevention Plan, dated October 3, 2012
3. Thurston County Ordinance 13235, adopted November 22, 2004
4. Letter from Jay Goldstein, dated July 2, 2013 (changing proposed use to “resort”)
5. Email exchanges between County Staff and neighbors of the subject property, dates
ranging from October 15, 2010 to November 7, 2011
6. Stipulation and Agreed Order No 10-2-01501-6, Thurston County v. Mahan/Cadillac
Ranch (unsigned/dated copy), filed with Thurston County Clerk October 15, 2010
7. Letter dated June 4, 2010 to Mahans from Resource Stewardship Department
regarding posting of a June 3, 2010 Stop Work Order posted on-site relating to
complaints about commercial motor cross activities on-site
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
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8. Citation issued June 22, 2010 regarding resulting from motor cross activities on-site
9. Final Code Interpretation LO4CI004, issued February 11, 2005 by the King County
Department of Development and Environmental Services
F. Second Pre-Hearing Order Denying Appellants’ Motion to Dismiss, dated July 10, 2013
G. Post Hearing Order Setting Submission Schedule, dated August 2, 2013
Based upon the record developed at the open record hearing, the Hearing Examiner enters the
following findings and conclusions. The following findings are applicable to the SEPA appeals
and the requested permits.
FINDINGS
Introduction
1. The Applicants requested approval of a special use permit to authorize the operation of a
commercial off road vehicle (ORV) track known as Cadillac Ranch on 26 acres of the
370-acre Mahan farm located at 12307 Vail Cut Off Road SE, Rainier, Washington.6
Thurston County reviewed the proposed use for compliance with the requirements of the
State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and issued a mitigated determination of nonsignificance
(MDNS) on March 28, 2013. The MDNS was timely appealed by a group of
neighbors and Rainier residents organized as the Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group
(RVNG, Appellants). After issuance of the environmental threshold determination, the
Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department (Department) determined that the
proposal is inconsistent with special use approval criteria, the purpose of the underlying
zone, and the Comprehensive Plan land use designation and recommended denial.
Eighty-six people testified at the three day hearing conducted July 29, July 30, and
August 2, 2013.
Site Description
2. Historically, the Mahan farm has been operated as a dairy farm. The topography of the
Mahan farm is gently undulating. Portions of the overall farm are designated as forestry
lands of long term significance. The proposed ORV track would be located in the
southern central portion of the property around and on a small hill. The area of the
proposed track is pastureland with a few fir trees that would be retained. Exhibit 1B,
pages 2-3; Mahan brothers testimony.
3. The area of the subject property proposed to be developed as an ORV track is located in a
Category 1 aquifer sensitive area as defined by Thurston County Code (TCC) 17.15.500
et seq.7 The Deschutes River, a shoreline of statewide significance, is located 938 feet
6 The legal description of the subject property is a portion of the Southeast Quarter of Section 21, Township 16
North, Range 1 East, W.M.. The Mahan farm occupies eight tax parcels; the project site is on the southeastern-most,
approximately 130-acre parcel identified as Tax Parcel No. 21621400000. Exhibit 1B; Exhibit 17.
7 The County’s purpose and policy in regulating aquifer recharge areas to accomplish the following: A. To maintain
groundwater recharge; B. To prevent the degradation of groundwater resources; C. To recognize the delicate balance
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southeast of the site at its closest point; the project is not subject to the jurisdiction of the
Shoreline Master Program for the Thurston Region. Ruth Prairie and Weir Prairie are
located in nearby. The proposed 26-acre ORV track contains no designated priority
habitat or priority species, according to County mapping. A native plant survey
conducted by Jeffrey Swotek of the USDA National Resource Conservation Service
(NRCS) shows three areas of native plants on the underlying dairy farm; none of the
native plant areas are located in the proposed ORV track. Exhibit 6; Exhibit 17; Exhibit
1B, page 3; Exhibit 1A, page 7.
4. Land uses surrounding the Mahan farm consist of commercial timber lands to the west;
rural residences and agriculture to the north and east; and County park land to the south.
The County park property is undeveloped and appears to contain an abandoned railroad
right-of-way. As measured from the proposed 26-acre ORV track area, the property
boundaries abutting nearest neighboring parcels are as follows: approximately 663 feet to
the west, abutting forestland owned by Weyerhaeuser Co; 470 feet to the south, abutting
Thurston County park land; 1,160 feet to the east abutting the property owned by Charles
Merker where he lives and operates a wholesale nursery; 1,565 feet to the east to
residences along 160the Lane SE; 1,908 feet to the northeast abutting property owned by
Lois Chatwood; 2,265 feet farther to the northeast to Vail Cut Off Road, across from
privately owned parcels; and over 4,000 feet to the northern property boundary abutting
privately owned parcels across Vail Cut Off Road. Exhibit 1B, page 3; Exhibit 1B,
Attachment b; Exhibit 17.
5. The subject property has a Rural Residential Resource one dwelling in five acres (RRR
1/5) zoning designation. Pursuant to Thurston County Code (TCC) 20.09A.010, the
purpose of this zone is to encourage residential development that maintains the county’s
rural character; provides opportunities for compatible agricultural, forestry and other
rural land uses; is sensitive to the site’s physical characteristics; provides greater
opportunities for protecting sensitive environmental areas and creating open space
corridors; enables efficient road and utility systems; and does not create demands for
urban level services. Permitted uses in the zone include: agriculture, single-family and
two-family residences, home occupations, and farm housing. TCC 20.09A.020.
6. The Mahan farm is located just outside the City of Rainier, Washington. The Rainier
Sportsmen’s Club flat track racing facility is less than two miles away, in Rainier. Site
visit.
between surface and groundwater resources; D. To balance competing needs for water while preserving essential
natural functions and processes; and E. To comply with Chapter 173-200 WAC, as amended, the Water Quality
Standards for Groundwater of the State of Washington. TCC 17.15.500. A Category I aquifer recharge area is
characterized as having extreme aquifer sensitivity and including those areas which provide very rapid recharge with
little protection, contain coarse soil textures and soil materials, and are derived from glacial outwash materials. TCC
17.15.505.A.
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Procedural Background
7. There is an existing ORV track on the Mahan farm west of the proposed project site.
Starting at an unknown time in or before 2010, the County began to receive complaints
from neighbors about events held at the existing ORV track and initiated code
enforcement action. The County issued a stop work order informing the Applicants that
they could not operate a “commercial motorsports and RV park” from their property
without obtaining County permits. The County eventually filed a lawsuit in Thurston
County Superior Court to cease the activity. However, the parties entered into a
stipulated agreement that allowed the Applicants to hold up to four personal social events
per year on-site with up to 200 people in attendance and required the Applicants to apply
for permits to operate the existing commercial endeavor. To the present, the Applicants
continue to hold up to four ORV events per year on the property under the temporary use
section of the special use permit chapter of the zoning ordinance, TCC
20.54.070(41.5)(a). Exhibit 1B, page 3; Exhibit E, Appellant Reply Motion and
attachments.
8. On June 9, 2011, the Applicants submitted a master use and supplemental special use
application requesting expansion of a nonconforming use and approval of an ORV track.
The project description as provided in the application and narrative was continually
updated up to the date of the hearing, as follows: the multi-use structure floor
plan/elevation drawings were submitted February 7, 2012; project narrative clarifying
details was submitted February 9, 2012; a sound study was submitted August 15, 2012; a
noise control plan was submitted November 9, 2012; a site plan was received on January
24, 2013; the environmental checklist was submitted on February 7, 2013; revised
(expanded) proposed hours of operations were submitted April 9, 2013; the Applicants’
attorney submitted a letter identifying the proposed use as an “athletic facility” on July 2,
2013; and at hearing, the Applicants noted that the proposed track would allow a
maximum of 40 bikes at any one time. Full details of the final proposal are provided in
finding 12, below. Exhibit 1B, Attachments c, d, e, f, g, h, i, and j; Exhibit 5; Mahan
brothers testimony.8
9. Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department reviewed the application and
supplemental materials and issued a mitigated determination of non-significance on
March 28, 2013.9 On April 18, 2013, neighboring property owners calling themselves
the Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group submitted a timely appeal of the MDNS, alleging
(among other things) that the noise, dust, and fumes already experienced from the
unpermitted ORV track use on-site would increase with the issuance of the permit and
8 The testimony of Bob, Jeff, and Damian Mahan ended up being delivered simultaneously, as a group. All of their
comments will be cited as testimony of the Mahan brothers.
9 Environmental review is covered in greater detail in findings 16, 17, and 18 below.
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that impacts had not been fully considered or mitigated.10 Exhibit 1B, Attachment m;
Exhibit 1A.1.
10. Apprised of the appeal for scheduling purposes, the Thurston County Hearing Examiner
convened a pre-hearing conference, conducted by telephone on May 7, 2013. The
Appellants, Applicants, and County were represented by counsel during the conference.
A schedule for pre-hearing exchange of witness and exhibit lists and documents was
agreed to and memorialized in a May 7, 2013 pre-hearing order. The order required prehearing
motions to be submitted by July 1, 2013. Exhibit A, Pre-Hearing Order, dated
May 7, 2013.
11. On June 27, 2013, Appellants filed a pre-hearing motion to dismiss (MTD) the special
use application and withdraw the MDNS on the following (paraphrased) grounds: 1) the
use is not allowed in the underlying zone because a) in order to be allowed in the RRR
1/5 zone, a use must be expressly listed in the permitted uses table; and b) ORV track is
not substantially similar to any listed use; and 2) if the ORV track is an unlawful use, the
County cannot issue an MDNS because the impacts of an unlawful use cannot per se be
mitigated. Exhibit B, Appellants Motion to Dismiss. Consistent with the May 7, 2013
pre-hearing order, the County and the Applicants timely responded to the MTD.11 The
MTD was denied on July 10, 2013. Exhibits B, C, D, and F. The hearing convened as
scheduled on July 29, 2013.
The Proposal
12. At the time of hearing, the Applicants proposed as follows:
To construct and operate a 26-acre ORV park, consisting of an ORV track, an
accessory day lodge, a parking lot, and associated infrastructure, as an “athletic
facility” land use. The proposed motocross style serpentine track would be
constructed of native dirt and compost. Approximately 20,000 cubic yards of
material would be graded for the initial track construction; regrading portions or
all of the track and reconfiguring the path of the track would be a regular part of
ongoing maintenance activities. Proposed hours of operation include three to four
days per week of practice runs occurring between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Races
and events would begin at 8:00 am and be finished no later than 7:30 pm. A
“Mini-Bike series” would be scheduled one Saturday per month and would end no
later than 9:00 pm. According to the Applicants, most events would be done by
5:00 pm. The Applicants indicate that the maximum number of vehicles on the
track at any time would be 40. The Applicant proposes to have a qualified
emergency medical technician in attendance during all events.
10 Issues on appeal are paraphrased in the summary of the case on page 2 and addressed in detail in findings 19
through 44, below.
11 Appellants submitted a Reply to the responses from the County and Applicants; however, no reply was provided
for in the May 7, 2013 order section on pre-hearing motions. The reply and attached information were not
considered in deciding the motion to dismiss but were admitted in the record.
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Access to the site is by an approximately 2500-foot long existing, unimproved
farm road extending southwesterly into the property from Vail Cutoff Road SE.
A 97-stall parking lot is proposed, and next to it, a ten-foot-square covered
refueling structure. The refueling station would have a concrete floor with a
central sump and collection tank provided with an oil separator.
The proposed day lodge would be a two-story structure up to 30 feet in height,
with an 8,000 square foot footprint and a 4,000 square foot second story.
Amenities in the lodge would include a kitchen, a restaurant/lounge, and a
separate area for live entertainment. The application materials identify the
kitchen/restaurant as a concession stand serving hamburgers and similar fare.
Seating and tables would be provided on both floors. The proposal includes a
second building of undetermined size to contain restrooms and showers for use by
riders and spectators. No maximum number of riders and/or spectators was
proposed.
A new Group A water system and new on-site septic would serve the project.
Stormwater runoff from the parking area and access drive would be conveyed to a
wet pond for treatment and then to an infiltration pond for discharge to
groundwater. Roof run-off water from the structures would be directed to the
infiltration pond. Four separate additional infiltration ponds would be located
around the track to address runoff from its surface.
The track would be watered and groomed approximately every 2.5 hours while in
use to keep dust down for the benefit of riders and spectators, which would also
serve to minimize dust drifting off-site. While not in use, the ORV track area
would be grazed by cattle.
Exhibit 1 B, page 2; Exhibit 1B, Attachments d through l; Mahan brothers testimony;
Erik Ainsworth testimony.
13. Because noise is a primary concern with the proposed use, the Applicants commissioned
a professionally prepared study that measured the sound levels of on-site ORV use at nine
locations throughout the valley in which the site is located. The applicable State noise
standards during proposed hours of operation limit land uses to noise that measures 55
decibels or less at the property boundaries. On July 14, 2012, the noise consultants
measured sound levels at two locations during seven events on the existing track.
Location 1 was on the Mahan farm near the residences on 160th Lane SE. Location 2
was on the northern portion of the subject property near Vail Cut Off Road SE. The
events were: a beginner and junior ride (25 motorcycles), a mini ride (10 motorcycles); a
pro and intermediate ride (12 motorcycles), a “veterans”/women’s/trail ride (38
motorcycles), a second beginners/junior ride (31 riders), a second mini ride (11 riders),
and a second pro & intermediate ride (13 riders). At location 1, noise levels ranged from
42.8 to 54.7 decibels. At location 2, noise levels ranged from 48.1 to 53.2 decibels. The
loudest event at both locations was the pro/intermediate ride with 12 bikes. All
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measurements were compared to ambient sound measurements at location 1 of 47
decibels, while ambient sound levels at location 2 ranged from 45 to 52 decibels. On July
15, 2013, the consultants measured sound volumes at eight locations. The measurements
at locations 2 and 3 were taken during three events on the existing track and compared to
ambient sound levels ranging from 46 to 50 decibels. The events included: an open
practice with 33 bikes, a beginner/junior ride with 18 bikes, and a mini ride with 23
bikes. Measurements taken at locations 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 were taken during unspecified
activity on-site and not compared to ambient sound levels.12 Exhibit 3.7; Exhibit 3.38.
The Applicants asserted and County Staff agreed that these sound measurements
indicated compliance with State noise standards. Exhibit 1B.
14. In addition to the noise study, the Applicants’ sound consultant developed a noise control
plan for use at the facility intended to demonstrate that the proposal can comply with
State noise standards (WAC 173-60). According to the plan, trained technicians would
test each vehicle proposing to run on the tract for compliance with a maximum allowable
level of 96 decibels at the exhaust pipe. Vehicles that fail to meet the maximum sound
volume limit would have to use mufflers and those that exceed maximum sound levels on
the track would be ejected. Additional sound monitoring would occur during the practice
rides and events to ensure all vehicles maintain compliance. The Applicants asserted
that, when implemented, the plan would ensure that sound levels at the property
boundaries comply with State noise standards. Exhibit 3.7.
15. The Applicants proposed to keep the existing track on the long-term forestry designated
portion of the Mahan farm for personal use. Mahan brothers testimony. There was a lot
of comment at the hearing about future development of a second new track; a second new
track is not included in the application. The Cadillac Ranch Motor Sports website, not
referenced in the application materials but discussed in testimony, advertises overnight
RV camping/parking and many different types of ORV events including mud bogging,
tuff truck, jeep races, and other events not disclosed in the application.
http://www.cadillacranchmotorsports.com/index.html.
Environmental Review of the SUP Application
16. Pursuant to the State Environmental Policy Act, the Department was designated lead
agency for review of the proposal’s environmental impacts. As stated in the MDNS, the
Department’s threshold determination was based on information included in (but not
necessarily limited to) the following documents: environmental checklist (2/7/12);
application (6/9/11); project narrative (2/9/12) and additional narrative (undated); site
plan (1/24/13); a sound study (8/15/12); noise control plan (11/19/12); native plant survey
(1/23/12); site access analysis (4/19/12); pollution prevention plan (10/3/12); stormwater
plan (4/26/12); hydrogeologic assessment and nitrate loading study (1/21/13); Public
Works comments (12/12/12); County Health Department comments (2/12/13);
12 When measurements were taken at locations 4 trough 6, the sound consultants were not in radio communication
and did not track whether bikes were going or not. Chris Real testimony.
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Department of Ecology comments (2/27/12); and 167 public comment letters. Upon
completion of environmental review, the Responsible Official determined that
conditioned with mitigation measures and conditioned to comply with applicable County
development standards and regulations, the proposal would not result in probable,
significant adverse environmental impacts, issuing a mitigated determination of nonsignificance
(MDNS) on March 28, 2013 with a 14-day comment period and seven-day
appeal deadline following the comment period. Exhibit 1B, Attachment m.
17. Mitigation measures imposed through the MDNS included the following:
1. If contamination is currently known or suspected during construction, testing of
potentially contaminated media must be conducted. If contamination of soil or
groundwater is readily visible, or is revealed by testing, the Washington State
Department of Ecology must be notified. …
2. Erosion control measures must be in place prior to any clearing, grading, or
construction. These control measures must be effective to prevent stormwater runoff
from carrying soil and other pollutants into surface waters or stormdrains that lead to
waters of the state. Sand, silt, clay particles, and soil will damage aquatic habitat and
are considered to be pollutants.
3. During construction, all releases of oils, hydraulic fluids, fuels, other petroleum
products, paints, solvents, and other deleterious materials must be contained and
removed in a manner that will prevent their discharge into waters and soils of the state.
The cleanup of spills should take precedence over other work on the site.
Exhibit 1B, Attachment m.
18. The Department determined that all other requirements for environmental analysis,
protection, and mitigation are adequately addressed in the development regulations and
comprehensive plan adopted by the County and did not impose other mitigation
measures. However, the “notes” section of the MDNS called out the following (among
other items):
The application materials state that the proposed ORV track will operate in compliance
with State noise standards. However, applicable review criteria for approval of the
Special Use Permit state that the proposed use cannot result in substantial or undue
adverse effects on adjacent property and neighborhood character. Noise levels and
[their] impact on adjacent property and neighborhood character will be considered
during review of the Special Use Permit application. The hearing Examiner will decide
whether the proposal complies with application criteria when considering the
…application after conducting a public hearing.
Construction and operation of the ORV track is subject to air quality regulations of The
Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA).
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This project may require a construction stormwater permit (also known as the National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and State Waste Disposal Discharge
General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction). [These
permits are] required for projects which meet both of the following conditions: one or
more acres of soil surface area will be disturbed by construction activities; and this site
already has offsite discharge to waters of the state or stormdrains or will have offsite
discharge during construction.
Any ground water withdrawals in excess of 5,000 gallons per day or for the irrigation
of more than one-half acre of lawn or noncommercial garden requires a water right
permit from [Department of] Ecology.
This project shall fully comply with the Thurston County Drainage Design and Erosion
Control Manual.
No work shall occur on-site during the SEPA review process and the resolution of any
appeals.
Exhibit 1B, Attachment m.
Arguments and Evidence on Appeal
19. To set context for the following appeal findings, it is necessary to summarize the appeal
arguments here:13 Appellants argued that the proposed ORV track is not a permitted use
in the RRR 1/5 zone, either because it is not expressly listed as a permitted use and only
listed uses can be permitted, or because the proposal fails to satisfy the restrictions
applicable to athletic facilities allowed by special use permit in the RRR 1/5 zone, and the
MDNS must be withdrawn because the proposal’s impacts cannot be mitigated. In the
alternative, if the type of use can be permitted as a special use, Appellants argued the
MDNS was issued in error because the scope of the use was not fully considered so the
MDNS was based on insufficient information, and their evidence shows there would be
unmitigated probable significant adverse environmental impacts as well as undue impacts
on the rural character of the neighborhood. Exhibit 1A.1; Exhibit 4A; Exhibit 18A;
Cushman Argument.
20. The Appellants presented the testimony of Brian Anderson, who lives on 160th Lane SE,
directly east of the proposed new track location. Mr. Anderson testified as to the impacts
he’s experienced from past events held at Cadillac Ranch prior to issuance of the
temporary use permit and since its issuance. He testified that he chose to retire to the
rural area for quiet and intended to spend his retirement gardening, but he has found that
the impacts of events on-site have significantly impacted his quiet enjoyment of his
property, primarily from noise, traffic, exhaust, numbers of people, and dust. Mr.
Anderson testified that the noise from the 2010 events (pre-code enforcement action) was
“like a gas powered weed whacker… a continuous loud buzz.” Citing the zoning code’s
13 They are listed in more detail in the “Issues On Appeal” section in the summary of the record on pages 2 and 3
above.
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statement of purpose for the RRR 1/5 district and related Comprehensive Plan language,
he argued that a commercial ORV park is incompatible with other approved and existing
uses and asserted that approval would change the nature of the area. Given the history of
the code enforcement matter, he asserted that he has little faith in the Applicants’ selfmonitoring
as is required in the MDNS. He noted that the dirt track would create dust,
require regrading, and would use a lot of water to control dust. He testified that even
with the Applicants’ proposed sound control plan in place, the new track would be closer
to his house and the sound impacts to him will be greater. Brian Anderson testimony.
21. Diana Peeples also testified for the Appellants as to the differing kinds of noise she has
heard from the events on-site. In addition to the noise Mr. Anderson described, she spoke
of a continuous deep low grinding sound that can sometimes last all day without break,
which she assumed was from a different kind of vehicle than the motocross bike noise
Ms. Anderson described. She testified that the volume of the noise was so loud, they
couldn’t talk in their own house, much less enjoy their garden. She testified that if the
events were held four or more days a week, she would consider the situation unliveable
and would want to move but fears that the presence of the track would impede her ability
to sell her home. Diana Peeples testimony.
22. Appellants offered testimony from Lucile Ryan, PhD, who is retired from a private
clinical psychology practice in which she worked with clients on issues relating to
chronic medical illness, chronic pain, stress management, and health and wellness among
others. Ms. Ryan lives about one mile from the subject property and can hear the sounds
from Cadillac Ranch, which she described as a nagging, constant, whiny, buzzing sound
that interferes with peace of mind. Her testimony focused on noise sensitivity and the
stress that arises from noise annoyance and the adverse impact of unwanted noise on
quality of life. She asserted that noise is a non specific stressor that arouses the
autonomic nervous system and the immune system, and that long term exposure to high
levels of noise is associated with health, learning, and memory problems. Ms. Ryan
asserted that there is 200-300% increased mortality rate among young men up to age 25,
which she felt to be typical of motor cross riders, because of risk taking behaviors
resulting from incomplete prefrontal cortex development and high levels of testosterone.
Her testimony concluded that concentrating populations of such young men at the
proposed ORV track would increase demand for law enforcement and emergency
services, which was not adequately analyzed under SEPA. Lucile Ryan Testimony;
Exhibit 2A-8.
23. Jennifer Preston testified for the Appellants. She is a doctor of veterinary medicine with
39 years of experience working with companion and live stock animals in rural southeast
Thurston County. Dr. Preston testified that noise results in undue stress and disease in
animals. She asserted that local animals already have to contend with unwanted sounds
from nearby forestry practices as well as explosions from the Joint Base Lewis McCord
JBLM). Dr. Preston testified that animals’ instinct is to flee or hide from noise, and
repeated incidents increase stress over time; animals do not acclimate. Resulting
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outcomes include failure to thrive, increased disease and infertility, reduction in milk
production, lower lamb survival rates, and other effects. She stated that horses and sheep
are especially sensitive, as is wildlife, including the migrating Elk and other threatened
species that inhabit the Ruth and Weir Prairies. She concluded by saying she wouldn’t
want an ORV track near her herd if she ran a dairy. Jennifer Preston testimony.
24. The Appellants offered the testimony of Steve Craig, who worked for Department of
Ecology for 25 years and currently lives just outside of Rainier. Among other topics, Mr.
Craig testified regarding his former service on the Thurston County park board and his
personal experience with the management of a public ORV Park. Thurston County used
to operate a public ORV track in conjunction with neighboring Grays Harbor County on
the shared boundary called the Straddleline ORV Park. According to Mr. Craig,
management of the park was “an incredible headache and a constant agenda topic” and
eventually Thurston County withdrew its participation in the operation due to vandalism,
noise, fights, drinking, law enforcement demand, and the cost of continual track and
facilities maintenance. Mr. Craig testified that Thurston County eventually quit claimed
the property to Grays Harbor County in order to withdraw from involvement.14 Mr.
Craig further testified that Straddleline is within two hours drive of Rainier and that there
are “a lot” of ORV facilities in Washington and that the Straddleline ORV Park website
contains a list.15 Mr. Craig voiced concern that the impacts on groundwater and the
nearby Deschutes River resulting from grading 20,000 cy of earth and the constant
regrading necessitated by track maintenance were not adequately considered. Finally,
based on his environmental background, Mr. Craig testified that in his opinion,
inadequate analysis of impacts to wildlife and the environment was conducted in the
MDNS process. He was specifically concerned about potential impacts to the resident
elk herd, to protected oaks and the oak savannah, and the prairie species currently
recognized as being at risk of extinction. Steve Craig testimony.
14 The Straddleline ORV Park website states that the Thurston County portion of the park is zoned
Rural Residential/Resource (RRR 1/5) and that the park is a non-conforming use, because
the land use is no longer allowed in the zoning district but the legally established Straddleline park is allowed to
continue. http://www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us/info/ORV/parkplan/ORVParkPlan2012.pdf.
15 The list of other ORV facilities, as of the 2012 Straddleline ORV Park Plan’s publication, include: Spokane
County (Airway Heights) ORV Park near Spokane, featuring 4-wheel drive, off-road, motorcycle, go-kart and ATV
events between mid-March and mid-October; Horn Rapids ORV Park, near Richland, offering year-round an
open riding area, a motocross track, 4×4 relay track, 4×4 obstacle course, sand drags, restrooms with showers, a
campground, and go-kart track. Capital Forest, adjacent to Straddleline ORV Park, providing trail and forest road
riding ORV opportunities, ATVs, 4x4s, and motorcycles. Elbe Hills, in Elbe, offering a seasonal trail built for short
wheelbase four-wheel drives. Elochoman, near Cathlamet, designed for trail bikes only. Tahuya State Forest south
of Bremerton, offering 39 miles of trails for trail bikes and for short-and long-wheelbase four-wheel drives. Evans
Creek northwest of Mt. Rainier National Park, offering 20 miles of trails for short-wheelbase 4WD vehicles and trail
bikes. Lower Dungeness – ten miles south of Sequim, offers a 14 mile loop using about eight miles of road.
http://www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us/info/ORV/parkplan/ORVParkPlan2012.pdf.
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25. Regarding alleged traffic impacts, the Appellants offered the declaration of Jeanne
Catherine Flick, whose statement asserted that all traffic coming to the proposed ORV
park via Interstate 5 would have to travel 20 miles over State Highway 507, which has
only two lanes. Turning off Highway 507, Vail Cut Off Road also has only two lanes,
with no turn lanes, no traffic lights, has several sharp curves, and a narrow shoulder width
in the subject property’s vicinity. Ms. Flick characterized the traffic attending events onsite
as a “huge increase of traffic on these two-lane rural roads”. She noted that the
Mahan’s existing website for Cadillac Ranch lists events involving the following: mud
bogging, mud drags, jeep barrel racing, sprint racing, tuff trucks, rally cars, quads, and
4×4 quads, in addition to motocross. Ms. Flick asserted that the size of vehicles and
trailers needed to haul off-road trucks, jeeps, rally cars, and quads would be larger than
those needed to haul motocross bikes, including large pickup trucks with wide and long
trailers. She stated that the Cadillac Ranch website says the gates open Friday afternoon
for camping and that overnight parking is available. Ms. Flick asserted that RVs, motor
homes, and campers would also attend the site, some of which may pull trailers with offroad
vehicles behind them. Finally, she stated that in her own experience, one school bus
delivering children creates long lines of backed up traffic on these rural roads. She
concluded that the proposed ORV track would create many occurrences of traffic
congestion and backups, as well as increase the chances of deadly collisions from
motocross participants or spectators attempting to “hop scotch” through the congestion.
Exhibit 2A.9.
26. The Appellants presented the expert testimony of Patrick Skillings, who has specialized
in environmental evaluation and particularly noise assessment for 12 years. Mr. Skillings
testified about his experience with ORV facilities, which included being a principle
author of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ 2008 guidelines for
developing ORV facilities on state lands. In that capacity and in other positions, he has
tested ORVs, quads, jeeps, motorcycles, and other vehicles and become very familiar
with vehicle exhaust testing. In his experience, trees dense enough to block line of sight
can act as sufficient noise barrier to prevent ORV noise from exceeding the State
standards at property boundaries if the trees are 200 to 300 feet deep. Mr. Skillings
testified that receiving properties with a line of sight to the ORV track would experience
noise from the track. He provided testimony regarding line sources of sound versus point
sources of sound as they relate to noise attenuation over distance. With a line source of
sound, which includes vehicles moving in a line such as highway traffic, sound is created
in a 3D cylinder around that source. Attenuation for line sources of sound is three
decibels with every doubling of distance. A point source can be stationary, like a parking
lot, or individual, as in one individual vehicle. Noise spreads out hemi spherically from a
point source like a bubble and reduces at the rate of six decibels with every doubling of
distance from the source. According to Mr. Skillings’ testimony, to the human ear ten
decibels difference is a doubling in sound energy. Patrick Skillings testimony; Exhibit
2A.1; Exhibit 2A.2.
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27. Mr. Skillings reviewed the Applicants’ noise study and was present during the testimony
of their sound expert Chris Real. Mr. Skillings took exception to several aspects of the
noise study. He disputed Mr. Real’s method of measuring ambient sound, stating that it
appeared it was measured using instantaneous rather than Leq (sound levels averaged
over a given period of time) measurements, resulting in measurements reflecting higher
ambient noise levels than really exist, making it impossible to know what impacts the use
would have on the environment. He noted there was no discussion regarding maximum
potential use of facility. The Applicants proposed to allow 40 vehicles at once on the
track, but the test heats in the noise study were in the range of 10 to 38 vehicles. He
noted that State noise standards were almost exceeded with only 12 bikes in use. Overall,
his assessment was that the Applicants’ sound study doesn’t allow us to know if they’ve
measured the worst case scenario. The study should have measured the sound levels
from 40 vehicles all operating at 96 decibels in order to know what the maximum
possible off-site impacts could be. Also, the study measures noise levels from the
existing track, but the proposal is for a new track (and potentially for multiple tracks in
operation at once). Noise volumes at test locations are affected by distance from source,
so Mr. Skillings does not believe the study is an accurate measurement of volumes at
property boundaries. Based on these limitations and on the fact that the study doesn’t
address noise from the parking lot, the numbers of people warming up and queuing for
races while one is in progress, and similar considerations, in his opinion, the Applicants’
noise study is insufficient as a planning document and does not prove that the use can or
will comply with State noise standards. On cross examination, he acknowledged that the
events tested met State noise standards, but he did not feel the tested events represented
full or accurate use of the project. Patrick Skillings testimony; Exhibit 3.7; Exhibit 2A.2.
28. Testifying on matters other than noise, Mr. Skillings noted that the Applicants would not
be allowed to use irrigation water for dust suppression purposes. Regarding the potential
for erosion and water runoff, he testified he was not able to analyze whether erosion or
sedimentation would be problematic for the project because the information provided on
track and stormwater system design were insufficient to show how water would run off
the track and be conveyed to the four settling basins. Regarding parking at DNR ORV
sites, Mr. Skillings observed an average of three bikes per vehicle or per parking space,
which he noted could extrapolate to up to 291 bikes on-site. Skillings testimony.
29. Defending its environmental threshold determination, the County offered testimony from
Robert Smith, senior planner. Mr. Smith reviewed the application materials and was
responsible for drafting the MDNS. In his decision that the project would result in no
probable, significant adverse environmental impacts, he considered the noise study as
demonstrating compliance with state noise standards and the noise control plan as
adequate mitigation of potential noise impacts. The proposed watering method of dust
control was found to be adequate. The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency, which has
standards for dust and emissions, was provided notice of the application and did not
comment. The County Public Works Department accepted the Applicants’ Level 1 traffic
study and site access assessment and determined that area roads were sufficient to handle
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the anticipated type and volume of traffic. The Applicants’ conceptual drainage plan also
passed Public Works review. Mr. Smith reviewed priority habitat and species data from
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW); no priority species or habitat are
known to inhabit the project area. The native plant survey done by the National Resource
Conservation Service showed no native plants in the proposed project area. While there
are oaks on the property, they are not in the proposed track area. Mr. Smith also
conducted a site visit to observe conditions first hand and found no evidence of protected
species. The project area is dominated by pasture grass. He saw no evidence of Mazama
pocket gopher. Regarding the resident elk herd, WDFW was notified and did not submit
concerns. Consistent with WAC 197-11-158, the Department issued an MDNS because
compliance with County regulations, including critical areas protection, stormwater
management, noise control, and other, was expected to reduce all potential impacts to a
point of insignificance. Robert Smith testimony; Exhibit 1A.
30. Regarding demand for public services, the proposal was routed to Thurston County Fire
District #4, the agency that provides emergency services (fire and emergency medical) to
the subject property. They did not respond with comments or concerns. Planning Staff
then contacted the Patrol Division Supervisor and relayed that the Supervisor stated that
during previous events at the site the Sheriff’s Office received noise complaints and
noticed a slight increase in littering along County roads, but no noticeable increase in
other crimes. The Fire Chief indicated that they have not seen a measurable increase in
emergency response calls during previous events on-site, stating there had been “one call
in the past five years” and that upon the Fire Department’s arrival, they found the patient
had already been treated by the EMT on-site. For the proposed project, the Supervisor
indicated that they would expect an increase in noise complaints but that would not cause
a particular hardship to the Sheriff. The Supervisor stated that the Sheriff’s Office does
not object to the proposed Special Use Permit. The Fire Chief followed up with written
comments to the same effect before the close of the record. Robert Smith testimony;
Exhibit 1A.3; Exhibit 1A.
31. On cross examination, Mr. Smith explained that SEPA review is conducted concurrently
with review of underlying application. When asked whether the SEPA application was
incomplete at time of review, Mr. Smith said it was not. When the Applicants initially
submitted noise information they prepared themselves, he required that they provide
noise study information prepared by professionals. They did and it was accepted. Mr.
Smith stated that the Department reviews the project as proposed; any future expansions
of a reviewed project are subject to additional review. Robert Smith testimony.
32. The Applicants’ sound study and noise control plan were reviewed by Al Quiocho,
Environmental Health Specialist from the Public Health and Social Services Department,
who has expertise in noise measurement. His review concluded that the sound study and
noise control plan demonstrated that the use could comply with State noise standards
(WAC 173-60); therefore there would be no noise that rose to the level of probable,
significant, adverse impact. Since the noise control plan is part of the Applicants’
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proposal, there was no need to add noise conditions to the MDNS. Mr. Quiocho testified
that the only noise evaluated for the MDNS was the proposed motor cross bikes, which
he understands to be the loudest possible vehicles to be used on-site. He did not consider
the use of more than one track at a time, because it was not proposed. He stated he has
no reason to suspect the data in the Applicants’ noise study; however, he testified that the
Mahans told him that some of the bikes used in the study were louder than 96 decibels
and the results therefore could be considered worst case scenario. He indicated that the
reason wind speed is a standard measurement in noise studies is that the WAC requires
wind speeds of less than 12 miles per hour at time of measurement. Wind breaks up
sound waves, as other weather and topography also affect attenuation rates. Mr. Quiocho
testified that he did some mathematical modeling looking for worst case scenario sound
levels. With 15 pro riders on the track, all with bikes at 96 decibels, the resulting noise
level on-site would be 138 decibels. With line source distance attenuation, that would be
approximately 43.6 decibels at the property line, within State standards. Al Quiocho
testimony; Exhibit 1A; Exhibit 1B, Attachment o.
33. Arthur Saint, Civil Engineer, testified for the County regarding the areas of the proposal
under Public Works Department review, including traffic and storm drainage. Mr. Saint
reviewed the Applicants’ drainage plan, looking at treatment for pollution and flow
control. He noted that the County’s 2009 Drainage Design and Erosion Control Manual
(DDECM) considers the track as an impervious surface due to expected compaction by
vehicle use. Runoff would flow to the sides and be conveyed to infiltration ponds. He
considered the Applicants’ modeling and engineering, calculation based on square
footage of surface, and anticipated flow direction to see if adequate facilities are
proposed. He noted that all runoff from parking and driving surfaces would be treated in
the wetpond, which would remove both sediments and floating contaminants. According
to Mr. Saint, details such as how wide the track will be do not need to be known at the
time of SEPA, so long as compliance is feasible based on the conceptual information.
Review for strict compliance with drainage standards would occur during civil
engineering review when construction plans are submitted, which is the typical timing for
all development proposals. Arthur Saint testimony; Exhibit 1B, Attachment p; Exhibit
1A.
34. The Applicants submitted a Level 1 traffic impact analysis (TIA) and a site access
analysis, looking at traffic impacts to area roads and specifically at the proposed access
point to Vail Cut Off Road SE with an analysis for safe stopping distance. The reports
concluded that there is adequate sight distance along Vail Cut Off Road for safe ingress
and egress. Regarding traffic impacts, Mr. Saint found the Level 1 TIA met County
requirements. Because the project’s peak traffic would be generated during off-peak
hours, no further traffic analysis was required. The proposal was sent to the Washington
State Department of Transportation for review, which agency submitted no concerns
regarding Highway 507. As to the fact that the proposal is likely to generate a lot of
truck and trailer traffic, Mr. Saint explained that County and State review considers any
street-legal vehicle, and still there were no concerns. Adequacy of emergency vehicle
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access is addressed during construction plan review, which again typically occurs after
SEPA. Exhibit 1A; Exhibit 1B, Attachment p; Arthur Saint testimony.
35. Regarding Appellants’ assertion that there was inadequate analysis of potential impacts to
ground and surface water, the County offered the testimony of Sara Brallier,
Environmental Health Specialist, of the County’s Public Health Department. As part of
SEPA review, she reviewed the Applicants’ preliminary septic system design, the
hydrogeologic assessment and nitrate assimilative capacity report, the pollution
prevention plan which included the proposed fueling station with spill containment, and a
preliminary stormwater control and treatment plan. She determined that the proposed
septic system would provide adequate wastewater treatment and disposal to protect
surface and groundwater quality. Ms. Brallier noted that the proposed well site satisfied
County sanitary code criteria, and that water supply was under the jurisdiction of the
DOE rather than the County. She found that the proposed fueling station and spill
containment plan would protect ground and surface water from possible chemical
contamination from vehicle fluids. Regarding the Appellants’ concerns about fuel and
other chemicals leaking onto the parking area or the track itself, she noted that the
hazardous materials review was conducted by County Staff member Gerald Tousely, who
concluded that dripping from ORVs is considered minor; the more significant spills
would be from refueling activities and engine blow outs. In either case, the spill response
plan would be implemented, adequately addressing risks of contamination from the
proposed use. Ms. Brallier noted that the County hydrogeologist’s review was supportive
of the proposal and contained no unaddressed concerns. Brallier Testimony; Exhibit 1A;
Exhibit 1B, Attachment n.
36. The Applicants’ civil engineering and land development consultant, Erik Ainsworth,
testified on the Applicants’ behalf in the SEPA appeal. Mr. Ainsworth characterized the
proposal as a low intensity use compared to other possible uses, such as subdivision,
because it has low impact development design features, doesn’t generate enough traffic to
trigger Level 2 traffic analysis, is installing no pavement, and provides water quality
treatment via the wet pond and a filter strip along the site access road. No grandstands
are proposed; spectators would watch while standing at side of track or from the
restaurant. Despite the clarifying information submitted over the course of time, there
has been no change in the nature of the use proposed in the initial application since its
submittal. Mr. Ainsworth noted that the documents submitted are conceptual/preliminary
documents only, which is appropriate at the land use permitting stage. The day use lodge
would have an 8,000 square foot footprint with a 4,000 square foot upper floor. He
testified that the actual dimensions of the proposed track are not final, but that the nature
of the project is a track with berms and corners which could relocate when the track is regraded.
He asserted that the conceptual stormwater plan is consistent with the
requirements of the 2009 DDECM, as acknowledged by County Staff. Regarding nitrate
loading from the proposed septic, he provided testimony about the EPA standards used in
his modeling and in the conceptual design of the lodge, and reiterated that the septic
design has received preliminary approval by the County. Finally, for protection of
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ground and surface waters, he testified that the spill protection plan was designed in
coordination with Gerald Tousley and that compliance with proposed spill plan would
protect ground water. Mr. Ainsworth asserted that all probable, significant adverse
impacts have been identified and mitigated or would be mitigated through compliance
with County development standards. Erik Ainsworth testimony.
37. In opposing the SEPA appeal, the Applicants offered the telephonic testimony of Chris
Real, the sound consultant who prepared their sound study and noise control plan. Mr.
Real has raced personally since 1972 and has worked in sound measurement and
mitigation related to motorcycles for the last ten years. He plans to participate in training
the Applicants in sound measurements and management. In preparing the sound study in
the record, Mr. Real worked with one associate measuring sound volumes at the
identified locations. They used radio communications with someone on-site and a log
kept by someone at the track to determine how many bikes in were operation during
testing. The on-site information was given by Jeff Mahan and one other individual
working the start line. Mr. Real did not have any information verifying that each heat
was conducted at race speeds; however, he noted that the test heats were time constrained
and that he felt safe in assuming that people were riding at the maximum speed for their
ability levels. All data in the study was based on motorcycles. Regarding the fact that
other vehicle types were not tested, Mr. Real noted that mud jeeps are acoustically
different from bikes, not necessarily louder than motorcycles; some sound like cars or
regular jeeps and some are substantially louder. Many of the obstacle/mud style races are
run with the vehicles at low engine speeds. Any vehicle used at the track would be sound
controlled/restricted by a sound test procedure, so although he prepared no data for other
vehicle types, he is confident they could be mitigated to remain below the State standard
of 55 decibels. Regarding noise from non-competing riders warming up their bikes, Mr.
Real noted that the study’s sound measurements include all bikes that were warming up at
the time. He also noted that the warm up period is short, because the vehicles have no
cooling fan and overheat very quickly. On cross examination, Mr. Real acknowledged
that he had no independent verification that the information provided from on-site during
his sound measurements was accurate and that he had no data for full heat of adult sized
bikes. However, in his professional opinion, the data is adequate to demonstrate that the
proposed track would operate within the required standards. Chris Real testimony;
Exhibit 3.7; Exhibit 40.
38. One reason for his certainty is the mitigation plan Mr. Real developed for the proposal,
restricting each vehicle to a maximum sound level and the Applicants’ proposal to restrict
the maximum number of vehicles on track at any one time. The Applicants would screen
each vehicle prior to track use and eject any bike that fails the sound test and refuses to
use noise reducing equipment or removes the muffling equipment after entering the track.
He noted that the recommended sound measuring equipment is portable and hand held.
He testified that it is quite easy to detect a loud bike in use at the track and that one can
visually see the muffling device and tell if it’s missing. Part of the noise control plan is
abuse intolerance and it would be enforced through self policing, which is common in the
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industry. Mr. Real asserted that if each bike is restricted to 96 decibels at the exhaust
pipe, then sound levels at the property line should equal 55 decibels or less. Chris Real
testimony; Exhibit 3.7.
39. During his 2012 site visit, Mr. Real visited the Rainier flat track. Regarding ambient
noise sources in the area, he noted that flat track hosts larger bikes that are usually four to
five decibels louder than the 96 decibel limit proposed at the instant track, meaning he
expects the existing flat track to be significantly louder than proposed use. Another
source of ambient noise in the area is the Olympic pipeline pumping station about one
mile from the subject prop, which measured at approximately 66 decibels. Chris Real
testimony.
40. Kim Peterson-Coker testified on behalf of the Applicants. Ms. Peterson-Coker’s family
manages the Rainier flat track and is at the track every weekend. She has ridden
motorcycles since she was five years old, always off road, and has ridden in the hills
around Rainier all her life. When she was a kid, her family participated together in the
poker runs, which were primarily held as fundraisers for nonprofit causes. Ms. Peterson-
Coker views ORVs as a way to motivate kids and a great way to divert kids to something
positive. There is a financial commitment, due to the costs of bikes, gear, and gas. It’s
physically demanding sport, not one that attracts people who are partiers; she doesn’t see
most riders drink. In her experience, she has always known Rainier as “an ORV area”.
She stated that people move to Rainier so they can participate in this sport. Flat track
events garner up to 1,500 spectators and most are fans from the local area. The riders are
from everywhere. Ms. Peterson-Coker has attended events at Cadillac Ranch. In her
opinion, she found their track not to be loud, but rather quiet for 150 riders. She
contrasted its scale to the flat track, which she considers a regional facility. Kim
Peterson-Coker testimony.
41. Mayor Randy Schleis of Rainier, former Rainier Chief of Police, testified on behalf of the
Applicants. He met with the Mahan brothers to discuss their proposal. The mayor
testified he has not received any negative comments from the public about the proposal
and in his opinion, the project represents the kind of economic development needed in
south Thurston County. In his opinion, races at the flat track are much louder than those
at Cadillac Ranch because the flat track is in a hole. Speaking as the former Chief of
Police, he expressed the opinion that, if approved, there would not be an increased
demand on local public services, law enforcement, or fire department, or more aid calls,
in part, because the project would have its own EMT on-site. Mayor Schleis testified that
ORV recreation is consistent with the community values in Rainier and that a lot of
potential users of the proposed project would participate as families. Currently ORVs
have no place to ride, and they end up riding illegally on public roads and trails. He
disputed testimony that the project would significantly alter the area by increasing noise
because there is already a high amount of noise from military activities at JBLM. He is
not aware of other industrial or resource noises, such as that from logging, but he does
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note that logging trucks using “jake brakes” through town cause a lot of noise. Mayor
Schleis strongly supported the proposal. Mayor Randy Schleis testimony.
42. Rainier area resident Bill Largent testified on behalf of the Applicants. He currently lives
about three-quarters of a mile from the proposed track, and has lived in and around
Rainier for 50 years. Mr. Largent worked for Weyehaeuser for 43 years and is retired.
His sons rode ORVs and learned to maintain bikes, so he joined them. In Mr. Largent’s
experience, people who participate in organized ORV events are good people. These
days, his grandsons need a place to go ride, and he thinks it would be better if they didn’t
have to drive so far to pursue their pastime. Mr. Largent can hear the vehicles from the
Cadillac Ranch from his property, but testified that “it is not as bad as it’s being made out
to be” by project opponents. He also hears logging, helicopters, the quarry, and mortars
from the military base. He stated that his sons run jeeps instead of bikes now and you
can hardly hear them. He has seen elk calves born this year and they don’t seem affected
by the events at the site. Mr. Largent testified that Weyehaeuser has closed its properties
for public use by ORVs due to liability reasons, but that the region has a long history of
ORV use. He testified that he would rather see the Mahans develop an ORV park than a
subdivision. Bill Largent testimony.
43. In support of their proposal, the Applicants offered the testimony of Ross Merker. Mr.
Merker owns the parcels between roughly the southern half of the Mahan farm and Vail
Cut Off Road. Being directly adjacent to the farm, he can see the proposed ORV track
site from his kitchen table. He resides, operates a wholesale nursery, and raises sheep on
his property. He grows wholesale greenhouse annuals and perennials, which he sells up
and down the I-5 corridor. His business uses a fleet of smaller tractors, forklifts, trucks, a
bob cat, sprayers, and other equipment. Mr. Merker testified that he has seen no dust at
all from the ORV events on-site, nor has he ever noticed vehicle exhaust from the track,
but he can hear the ORVs. In 2012, there was not much noise, but during the events from
2010 to 2011, the sound from the track was like chainsaws, like Weyehaeuser or Georgia
Pacific activity across the river, but not such that he could not have a conversation. He
stated that the noise is audible but is not a quality of life issue for him. He’s never heard
the ORV noise as continuous, because there are ten minute breaks often. Mr. Merker
testified that his sheep do not appear to be affected by the ORV use; he has not noticed
any change in fertility, survival rate, feed consumption, or immune function. He has not
seen elk in the Mahan pasture or on his land for at least 10 years. He does have a heavy
deer population (which is a problem for the green houses) and a huge bird and insect
population, along with rabbits, squirrels, and other wildlife and has seen no effect on
them from ORV activities next door. As someone engaged in a growing business, he
understands that non-farm revenues are sometimes needed. He knows it is difficult to
keep a farm going and believes that the added income from the ORV track would help the
Mahans keep their farm operating. Ross Merker testimony.
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44. Tim Nelson, who lives on Vail Cut Off Road one mile from the flat track, testified for the
Applicants. He has lived in Rainier for 50 years and owns 20 acres on which he has a
small, private ORV track for use by family and friends. Mr. Nelson testified that there is
nowhere for ORV riders to go locally now that Weyehaeuser shut its trails down. He
asserted that half the people in Rainier own dirt bikes, quads, or jeeps that they drive off
road. Based on his experience, Mr. Nelson said that ORV use is a family oriented
activity that has been incorrectly characterized by the Appellants as pursued only by
young men in their 20s seeking thrills. He testified that he can barely hear activities at
Cadillac Ranch, stating that the power lines near his property are louder. In his opinion,
the Appellants’ noise complaints are overblown. Tim Nelson Testimony.
Special Use Permit Findings
45. The Environmental Health Section of the Public Health and Social Services Department
reviewed the proposed ORV park for compliance with health codes including
requirements for water supply, wastewater treatment and disposal, noise standards, and
protection of ground and surface waters. In reviewing the project for wastewater
treatment and disposal, Staff reviewed preliminary system designs and a hydrogeologic
assessment and nitrate assimilative capacity report submitted by the Applicants. This
report was required because the property lies within a Category 1 aquifer sensitive area.
The report provides information that the wastewater flows from the facility would be
below applicable standards, meaning ground water and surface waters would not be
harmed. Exhibit 1B, page 4; Exhibit 1B, Attachment n.
46. The Applicants proposed to use either the existing or a new on-site well to provide water
for dust control, domestic and sanitary purposes, and irrigation. Exhibit 5.
Environmental Health Staff noted that, based on the intended population served by the
water system, a Group A public water system would be required. Environmental Health
Staff reviewed the proposed well site for the new water system and found the well site to
meet applicable standards. Group A systems are reviewed by the Washington State
Department of Health. Such a system could require water rights if the total ground water
withdrawal for the system is 5,000 gallons per day or greater. Exhibit 1B, page 4; Exhibit
1B, Attachment n. Planning Staff noted that irrigation water cannot be used for
commercial purposes and that reliance on irrigation water would call the project’s dust
control plan into question. Orior to building permit issuance the Applicants would have
to demonstrate water rights, which are under the jurisdiction of the Department of
Ecology. Robert Smith testimony.
47. The site plan shows a proposed covered fueling structure with a concrete floor and a
sump and collection system for gas and oil that may spill. Environmental Health Staff
reviewed the submitted Pollution Prevention Plan and found the plan to be complete and
adequate for the handling of fueling and repair/maintenance activities for the proposed
use. Exhibit 1B, page 4; Exhibit 1B, Attachments i and n.
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
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48. Public Health and Social Services Department staff reviewed the submitted sound study
and noise control plan. Their review concluded that the sound study was acceptable and
that implementation of the noise control plan would ensure that noise from the facility
complies with applicable noise standards (WAC 173-60). Based upon review of the
application for compliance with Health Code requirements, Environmental Health Staff
recommended approval subject to conditions. Exhibit 1B, pages 4-5; Exhibit 1B,
Attachments k, l, n, and o.
49. The Development Review Services section of the Public Works Department reviewed the
project for traffic impacts and storm water control requirements. Public Works Staff
considered the preliminary stormwater control and treatment plan, Level 1 Traffic Impact
Analysis, and a Site Access Analysis submitted by the Applicants. All studies were
found to be adequate. Public Works Staff concluded that runoff from the proposed
improvements could be managed to comply with County collection and treatment
requirements. Staff also concluded that the proposed site access to Vail Cut Off Road SE
would be safe and that area roads are adequate to accommodate the traffic generated by
the proposal. Public Works Staff recommended approval of the special use permit
subject to conditions. Exhibit 1B, page 5; Exhibit 1B, Attachment p.
50. Despite being able to comply with various development standards and despite MDNS
issuance, Resource Stewardship Staff recommended denial of the special use permit
application. They did so because in Staff’s opinion, the use is not allowed in the RRR 1/5
zone and because the proposal complies with neither the general special use criteria for
approval nor the use-specific criteria applicable to athletic facilities. Robert Smith
testimony; Exhibit 1B, pages 6-7. This position is explained in more detail in the
following findings.
51. ORV parks are not an identified land use in the County Code; they are not included as a
permitted or prohibited use in any zoning district. The Applicants characterized the
proposed special use as an athletic facility. The County’s zoning ordinance defines
athletic facilities as “a building or place that is used for athletic training, fitness activities
or sports-related activities.” TCC 20.03.040(4.5). Staff agreed that motocross or off road
vehicle riding is a sports-related activity and agreed that “athletic facility” is the most
similar and appropriate listed land use for the purpose of reviewing the proposal. Robert
Smith testimony; Exhibit 1B, pages 6-7.
52. Special use criteria applicable to athletic facilities state: “This category shall not be
construed to include major sporting facilities or large indoor facilities. Facilities shall be
sized to serve the local community.” TCC 20.54.070(3.5). The term “major sporting
facilities” is not defined in the County Code. However, the requirement that the facility
be sized to serve the local community would mean that the size of an allowed facility
would be limited. The proposal is for an outdoor athletic facility, which is size restricted
by the number of parking spaces allowed, or 30 spaces. This relatively limited number of
parking spaces would mean that the facility could only be used by a limited number of
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
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people, presumably t ensure it’s only big enough to serve the local community. The
instant proposal for 97 parking spaces is more than three times the established maximum
for athletic facilities and Staff submitted the position that the number of proposed parking
spaces constitutes a “major sporting facility”, or one that would serve the broader region
rather than just the local community. Robert Smith testimony; Exhibit 1B, pages 6-7.
53. While it is true the special use criteria provide for some level of discretion in tailoring the
number of parking spaces to serve a given athletic facility, Department Staff submitted
the position that the materials submitted by the Applicants are not consistent with an
intent to serve only the local community. The application itself states that a track in this
area has long been needed for the people of Thurston, Pierce and King Counties. A
number of letters submitted by the Applicants in support of their project are from people
who live in communities distant from southeast Thurston County. Together, these factors
indicate that the potential service area is much greater than the “local community”.
Robert Smith testimony; Exhibit 1B, pages 6-7; Exhibit 1B, Attachment f, and
Attachments d through j.
54. Special uses are required to demonstrate compliance with the Comprehensive Plan.
Relevant to the proposal, the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan Land Use Chapter
Goal 1, Objective A, Policy 14 states: “Special uses that may be permitted in the rural
area should be constrained in size and scale so as to maintain rural character. The
primary purpose of special uses should be to serve the rural area residents of Thurston
County.” Based on the size of the proposed parking lot, the number of anticipated
attendees, and some letters in support of the use, Department Staff concluded that the
target users of the proposed facility are from the greater western Washington region,
rather than the local community. Staff submitted the position that the proposed special
use would conflict with the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan. Exhibit 1B, pages 7-
9; Robert Smith testimony.
55. Special uses are also required to demonstrate that they will not result in substantial or
undue adverse effects on adjacent property and neighborhood character. The proposed
use has generated a substantial amount of public comment, before and after submission of
the application, both in favor of and against approval. A significant number of the
comments from nearby property owners express concerns about adverse impacts to
neighborhood character and their properties from previous and current use, with the
added concern that approval would increase the impacts. Such neighbors have based
their opposition to the proposal on firsthand knowledge of the effects of such an
operation on their property and enjoyment of their homes. Staff submitted the position
that the comments from area property owners are evidence of an undue adverse impact.
Exhibit 1B, pages 7-9; Robert Smith testimony.
56. The Weyerhaeuser Company, owners of the commercial forest lands adjacent to the site,
submitted public comment indicating that public access to their lands is limited to nonmotorized
access. They contended that in the past, they have observed signs of ORVs
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
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entering their property land from the Applicants’ land. They requested that if the
proposal is approved, the Applicants be required to erect and maintain fencing on the
shared property boundaries to keep ORV park attendees off of the adjacent Weyerhaeuser
lands. Exhibit 1B, page 5; Exhibit 1B, Attachment q.
57. In support of their application, the Mahan brothers testified that events at the park would
concentrate primarily in the summer, and that they don’t anticipate a high attendance on
week days at anytime, even in the summer. From late fall to early spring, activity would
be the lightest. The brothers confirmed for the record that 40 vehicles would be the most
allowed on the track at any one time, whether they are motorcycles, jeeps, or other
ORVs. Race events might vary in number of laps. Not all heats would be limited to 15
minutes, because beginner riders take longer while the pros go faster. Races are one day
events, not weekend events. They testified that there would not be overnight camping.
Mahan brothers’ testimony.
58. Regarding the sound study, the Mahan brothers testified as follows. On the test dates,
they opened the track for use and allowed riders to volunteer for a stationary sound test.
About half of the bikes were stationary tested. Approximately 80 to 90% of the tested
bikes were over 100 decibels; the rest were not tested at all. They asserted that because
of this, the data in the sound study reflects a worst case scenario in that no vehicles would
be allowed to exceed 96 decibels with the noise control plan in effect, so readings at
property boundaries would be lower. Because motorbikes are the loudest, they only used
them in the sound testing to help predict the worst case scenario. Regarding other
vehicles, the Applicants stated that only one to four jeeps would be on the track at a time
and so jeep events would result in much less sound. Mahan brothers’ testimony.
59. The Applicants indicated that vehicles would be checked as they enter the property and
they would be given a decal upon passing the sound test. If they measure over 96
decibels, they would have to agree to muffle their exhaust or they would not be allowed
to ride. A pass-by sound meter sitting off the track would detect individual bikes as they
passed; vehicles louder the limit would be flagged off the track and muffled or ejected.
The Applicants asserted the past and current neighbor noise complaints are based on
uncontrolled sound levels, but with the noise control plan in effect, there would be no
uncontrolled vehicles in use on-site and thus off-site noise levels would be lower. The
Applicants offered to commission twice annual sounds tests by third party professionals.
They proposed that they would pay the cost of the testing and reporting if sound
measurements at property boundaries were over limit, but if sound measurements were
within State standards, they proposed that the Appellants would pay the cost of sound
testing and reporting. The Applicants would like to be present during such sound tests.
Mahan brothers’ testimony.
60. Regarding parking, the Applicant indicated that Staff would turn people away if the
parking lot is full as they pull up to the entrance road stand before getting to the parking
lot. The Applicants offered to provide parking stalls for larger rigs within the ORV track
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area, enlarging the proposed parking area to accommodate the extra space required.
Mahan brothers’ testimony.
61. Regarding dust, the Applicants indicated that, to date, they have not experienced large
clouds of dust during events on-site. Dust is a hazard for riders, and spectators would be
miserable. Mahan brothers’ testimony.
62. Regarding allegations of changing rural character of the area, the Applicants contended
that there are many local supporters who were born in the area and don’t consider ORV
noise out of character with the community. They contended that agriculture, the military,
and logging noises are part of daily life in the neighborhood. The Applicants noted that
many people testified they moved to the area for the quiet and asserted that it is these
people who want to change the neighborhood character. They also argued that there are
lots of dirt bike riders in locations other than their property, but that their track gets the
blame for all ORV noise. Mahan brothers’ testimony.
63. The Applicants argued that their proposal should be considered a local athletic facility,
and suggested that the Washougal, Washington MX Park, which can attract 30,000
spectators, should be considered a major sporting facility. They argued that more people
attend local high school football games and come in from out of the area than the 200
who would attend events at their proposed track. Mahan brothers’ testimony.
64. The Applicants contended that rural Thurston County is a large area and that there are a
lot of ORV riding residents. They asserted there is a big demand for the proposed track
and noted that people are riding illegally now. Mahan brothers’ testimony.
65. The Applicants testified that they are selling their development rights and that the
conservation easement will allow them to keep the farm. Mahan brothers’ testimony.
Three hundred two acres of the 370-acre Mahan farm is part of a Conservation Futures
Program request.16 According to the map in the record, the proposed ORV track area is
excluded from the conservation easement. If finalized, the project request would grant
the Mahans $800,000.00 to establish a conservation easement on the farm, half of which
would be funded by Thurston County and the other half by NRSC. To protect the intent
of the conservation easement, Thurston County Planning Staff requested that if the SUP
were approved, two additional conditions of approval be added that would fence off the
ORV track area from the conservation easement and prohibit the use of lands subject to
the easement for “any ORV-related activities including camping, parking, or other land
use activities that are not commensurate with a conservation easement…”, including
riding ORVs. Exhibit 16.
16 The tax parcels subject to the easement request are: 21616340000, 21616430000, 21621200100, 21621120000,
21621100200, 21621410000, 21621400000, and 21621300100. Portions of APN 21621300100, 21621410000,
21621100200, and 21621120000 were excluded from the conservation easement along with the area of the proposed
ORV tract in APN 21621400000. Exhibit 16.
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
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66. Regarding the comment from Weyehaeuser, the Applicants asserted that it is untrue that
vehicles have been entering commercial forestland from their property because their land
is fenced. They indicated that they would be willing to fence in the 26-acre ORV track.
Mahan brothers’ testimony.
67. Written notice of the public hearing was sent to all parties of record on July 16, 2013.
Notice of the public hearing was published in The Olympian on July 19, 2013, at least ten
(10) days prior to the hearing. Notice was posted on site on July 19, 2013. Exhibit 1B,
page 3; Exhibit 1A.3; Exhibit 1B, Attachment a.
68. The record contains 414 written public comments submitted to the County during the
public hearing comment period. The written public comments echoed the concerns both
in favor and in opposition offered during testimony, detailed below. Of the total number,
115 supported the proposal and 299 opposed it. Of those in favor, 29 were from the Vail
area and the City of Rainer and 35 did not include an address; 51 were from outside the
area from places including Seattle, Bellevue, Sammamish, Renton, Camano Island, Gig
Harbor, Ellensburg, and Buckley, as well as Happy Valley and Portland Oregon,
Lewiston Idaho, and Hurricane Hills Tennessee. Of the 299 comments opposing the
proposal, 253 were residents of the Vail area, Rainier, or Yelm. Exhibits 15A, 15B, 15C,
and 18C.
69. The following testimony (paraphrased) was offered in opposition to the proposal:
Noise: People complained that ORV noise disrupts their quiet enjoyment of their
properties. Several asserted that ORV noise is not similar in nature or duration to farm
equipment noise; one stated the noise sounds like someone is milling wood all day.
Neighbors on 160th Lane SE stated it can be difficult to have conversations in their
yards during events. Both neighbors who live nearby as well as neighbors living farther
away asserted that, due to topographical features, the Vail Cut Off Road area has a
“bowl” effect that magnifies the ORV noise. People contended that with four practice
days per week and unlimited race events on weekends, there would be no respite from
the noise. Others noted that the Cadillac Ranch website discusses live entertainment
and neighbors don’t want to hear amplified music in addition to ORVs. They expressed
concerns about the use of loud speakers to address the crowds. One person testified
that he suffers from PTSD as a result of his military service and that the noise from the
use has significantly adversely affected him. Several expressed the opinion that the
Applicants’ noise study appears to be flawed. Several had concerns that livestock,
wildlife, and companion animals living in the noise-affected area would be harmed
without redress. One gentleman who worked at South Sound Speedway for 24 years
said they continually dealt with noise complaints from surrounding property owners
and that he moved to the area to escape the sounds of racing.
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
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Neighborhood character: Many stated that they moved to the area expressly for the
pastoral, farming, quiet neighborhood character and that, based on the experience of the
existing ORV track on-site, they feel the project’s impacts would completely alter the
character of the area. Some voiced concerns that the area already has to deal with noise
from logging, JBLM, and the flat track, and this additional noise is unjustified. While
several project opponents sympathized with the plight of the Mahan farm, they didn’t
feel it was fair that the Applicants be allowed to operate a commercial race track next to
their rural residential properties, sacrificing the rights of all other land owners in the
neighborhood to save their own land. Several testified that in their opinions this use is
more appropriate in a commercial zone. Some asserted the fear that if this commercial,
noisy use is allowed in, it will be a slippery slope towards allowing any commercial,
loud use to come in. Opponents noted that a significant percentage of testimony and
written comment in support of the project came from people who live outside the area,
and that people who travel to the track to ride will leave and go home to neighborhoods
that do not contain ORV tracks. Some expressed the opinion that the land use proposed
is inconsistent with zoning and planning regulations.
Safety and public welfare concerns: There was concern for ORV riders due to the fact
that there is no trauma center locally and anyone seriously injured would have to be
flown by helicopter to Harborview in Seattle. There were concerns about increases in
litter on area roads and increased crime as a result of the additional influx of people
from out of the area, especially given that Rainier no longer has its own police force
and it can take sheriffs up to 45 minutes to respond. There were concerns that people
engaged in motocross events would consume alcohol and that problems would result.
There was concern about increased dust in the air affecting people with allergies and
other medical conditions, as well as affecting the plants, animals, and habitat of Ruth
and Weir Prairies. Several expressed concerns about traffic congestion and safety,
relating to the number and type of vehicles the ORV park would attract, as well as the
potential for increased ORV use of public roads in the area. Some were concerned
about pollution of the site soils and infiltration of motor fluids from crashes, spills,
leakage, and stormwater running off the track into the ground water or the Deschutes
River. Several people expressed concerns about how much water the use would
withdraw from the aquifer for dust suppression and domestic water purposes,
potentially affecting surrounding water supplies. Some questioned the Applicants’ use
of irrigation water for a commercial recreational use. There was concern that nitrate
loading was underrepresented in the Applicant’s study because the septic plan doesn’t
reflect maximum attendance.
Self Policing: There were allegations that the Applicants have exceeded the restrictions
of the current temporary use permit and that this indicates that they would not respect
the restrictions placed on the proposal if approved. Several people expressed concern
regarding the degree to which the Applicants would be left to “self police” to ensure
they meet conditions and noise and other limits. Some opponents noted that if
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enforcement is to be complaint driven and entail calls to the sheriff’s office, in actuality
that means no one will be enforcing permit conditions or noise restrictions.
Uncertainty about nature of project: Opponents questioned the validity of
characterizing ORV riding as an athletic activity. Several people expressed concerns
that the exact nature of the proposed use still seems to be a topic of confusion, leading
to the following questions: What kinds of vehicles would be allowed to race? Would
there be overnight parking/camping? Would they be restricted from allowing overflow
parking on the pastures, because they have room for 1,000 cars on the pastures? Would
they be allowed to bus people in? One person noted that Google maps shows there are
already two tracks on the property, and the proposal would be a third track: he asked,
would each track have 40 vehicles each at once? and if not, who would enforce this?
Who would enforce noise restrictions? Is there no limit on number of attendees, aside
from parking spaces? Considering that the temporary use permit “family and friend
events” have drawn up to 180 guests, how many more will come to the site once it is a
legal, approved land use that is advertising to its target audience?
Economic concerns: Some neighbors expressed doubts that the project would benefit
local merchants, because park attendees would spend their money on-site. Some
neighbors took exception to the Applicants’ characterizing their desire for the ORV
park as the only way they can save their family farm, calling it a disingenuous claim.
Some asserted that the intent of the conservation grants the Applicants will receive
when they sell their development rights would be thwarted by adding an ORV park
next to the farm and prairie land intended to be saved. Some testified that they had
sunk their life savings into purchasing their rural properties in the area to retire or to
raise families and that the project would diminish their quality of life and make their
land less marketable, so they would not be able to move away from the track. Two real
estate professionals gave their opinions that the project would adversely affect property
values, which they asserted is particularly onerous in the Rainier area where property
values are not keeping pace with the rest of Thurston County.
Many project opponents spoke in support of the Mahans as good people and also in
support of ORV activities as a family-oriented pastime that is great for the community,
but still asserted that it is not the right location for the proposed use due to the intensity
of impacts.
Testimony of Kathi Jo Moore, Richard Banach, Bob Corl, Dr EJ Zita, Patty Miller,
Trish Pecerra, Rick Roberts, Diane D’acutie, Diane Peeples, Dan Johansen, Roger
Porter, Diane Frank, Judy Luczak, Helena Goslin, Daniel Johansen, Maya Silliman,
Debra Jacqua, Susan Mayer, Cameron Jayne, Dr. John Ruhland ND, Walter Korte,
Charles Pracna, John Everett, Lisa Geier, Mickey Beadle, Cameron Day, Peggy
Ledyard, Susy Kyle, Antonia Wood, Mary Colton, Bruce Davison, Linda Tarrant, Myron
Bouchakian, Dale Riston, Valentine Fyrst, Melody Rae, Daniel Lihach, and Diane
Dondero; Exhibit 18C.
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
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70. The following testimony (paraphrased) was offered in support of the proposal:
ORV racing is a wholesome, community-oriented, family event.
ORV enthusiasts testified that participation generates a strong sense of community, that
people who were strangers become like family and look out for each other. Most
testified that their entire families engage in the activity together – up to five generations
– which draws them closer and provides a wholesome pastime shared across
generations. Supporters asserted that participation in this sport teaches responsibility,
because gear and fuel are expensive and kids have to work to earn the right to ride, and
that they also learn to build or maintain their own vehicles, leading to useful skills and
employment opportunities. Enthusiasts raise money for injured riders and also
participate in events that raise money for causes. Those testifying in favor of the
proposal asserted that ORV riding is most definitely an athletic activity, requiring good
physical condition, and that it is not consistent with the alleged partying and alcoholrelated
concerns asserted by opponents.
Regarding safety and crime: Many supporters took exception to the characterization of
participants as “testosterone-pumped 18 year old males”. Several women and men over
30 years old testified that they participate in motorsports. Many regular participants
asserted that in their experience, there is little to no alcohol, drug use, or crime at racing
events because of how family-focused the activity is. Several stated that denial of the
permit would lead to more problems than approval, because kids would be forced to
trespass on private property or ride their ORVs illegally on public roads. Supporters
stated they don’t have problems with dust or crime at race events. One neighbor and
ORV rider testified that he is the EMT who has been present at every event on-site and
he has been comfortable with the Applicants’ management of rider and spectator safety.
High local demand for the project: Many in favor of the project asserted that there are
insufficient opportunities for people to ride ORVs locally and that this facility would
satisfy a large demand. Some testified that other ORV facilities are located a
prohibitive distance away due to the cost of gas and the time for travel, and that the
community needs a local facility. Regarding self policing, several riders testified that
they would be motivated to obey sound restrictions and avoid alcohol, littering, and
crime because they desperately want this facility to open for business.
Noise and rural character: Many testified that concerns about noise from opponents are,
in their opinions, exaggerated, and that sounds from JBLM and logging trucks are
louder than the ORV events. Supporters testified that ORV use and any associated
noise and traffic are part of the rural character of the Rainier area as much or more than
the quiet and enjoyment of nature that opponents referenced in testimony. One selfstyled
“motomom” testified that she is disabled from a nerve disease and that her
neurologist has encouraged her to continue to attend events because the positives she
gets from it outweigh any harm the noise might do her. Several people engaged in
animal husbandry (horses, sheep, etc) and farming (strawberries) near the subject
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
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property testified that their livestock and crops appear to be unaffected by noise, dust,
or other impacts from the site. One supporter, who’s been racing since age 12,
previously worked for years in motorcycle dealership, and now works as a race
mechanic at the amateur and pro levels, testified that bike and after market
manufacturers are already working on reducing noise from bikes; he stated that some
current bikes make 94 decibels maximum and that noise will go down over time as
technology improves. He also asserted that the average rider doesn’t remove baffles
because it’s too technically difficult.
Economic benefits: Many asserted that approval is necessary to save the Mahan farm
and that the County should support retention of this large acreage farm in the rural area.
Supporters asserted that the community would benefit economically from permitting
this new business which would provide some jobs and draw in people from outside to
spend money in and around Rainier. Supporters argued that the community of Rainier
has lost businesses during the economic downturn and the County should support this
on economic development basis.
Support of the Applicants as community members: Several members of the public
testified in support of the Mahans as stewards of their land and upstanding members of
the community. Several offered their opinions that the Applicants’ cattle are very well
cared for and not negatively affected by ORV use on-site. Some testified that they have
attended events at Cadillac Ranch and have been impressed with how conscientious the
Applicants are concerning enforcing the rules and protecting the community at large
from negative effects, as well as how effective they are managing riders and spectators.
One supporter noted that the Applicants put the proposed track in the middle of their
property on purpose to reduce impacts to neighbors. Some testified that they enjoy the
opportunity to tour the Mahan farm and learn about dairy operations.
Testimony of Alexandria Hillman, Shane Ennis, Rocky Lyon, Jamie Heflin, Pete Van
Lierop, Nick O’Brien, Darren Taylor, Sarah Wooten, Connie Largen, Ericka Stancil,
John O’Brien, Shaun Simmons, Rob Neibauer, Kendra Trummert, Shane Barton, Rachel
Barton, Ian Gehrke, Danner Barton, Brandon Marek, Robert Gehrke, Tim Nelson,
Tiffany Scott, Jennifer Mustoe, Gary Johnson, Ginger Mueller, Logan Mueller, Barbara
Eriksen, and Bernie Michaelis.
CONCLUSIONS
Jurisdiction
The Hearing Examiner has jurisdiction to decide this Special Use Permit application under
Sections 2.06.010 and 20.54.015 of the Thurston County Code, and Section 36.70.970 of the
Revised Code of Washington. The Examiner is authorized to decide appeals of environmental
threshold determinations made pursuant to the State Environmental Policy Act pursuant to TCC
2.06.010(E) and TCC 17.09.160(A).
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
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Criteria and Standards for Review
SEPA Appeal
The State Environmental Policy Act (Chapter 43.21C RCW or “SEPA”) specifies the
environmental review procedures the County must follow for proposals that may have an impact
on the environment. RCW 43.21C.030 (b). The SEPA threshold determination is a
determination as to whether a proposal is “likely to have a probable significant adverse
environmental impact.” WAC 197-11-330. If the responsible official determines that a proposal
will not have a probable, significant adverse environmental impact, a Determination of Non-
Significance (DNS) is issued. If the responsible official determines that a proposal will have a
probable, significant adverse environmental impact, a Determination of Significance (DS) is
issued and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be prepared. SEPA provides a
process in which a Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) may be issued to
address identified probable significant adverse environmental impacts so that an EIS need not be
prepared. WAC 197-11-350. The lead agency must make its threshold determination “based
upon information reasonably sufficient to evaluate the environmental impact of a proposal.”
WAC 197-11-335. The lead agency’s reliance on existing laws and plans to mitigate some of the
environmental impacts of a project need not be disclosed in the MDNS. Moss v. City of
Bellingham, 109 Wn. App. 6, 21-23 (2001). Use of mitigation to bring a project into compliance
with SEPA, without promulgation of an EIS, has been viewed favorably by Washington Courts.
Anderson v. Pierce County, 86 Wn. App. 290, 303 (1997).
Clear error is the standard of review applicable to substantive decisions under SEPA. Cougar Mt.
Assocs. v. King County, 111 Wn.2d 742, 747, 765 P.2d 264 (1988). The determination by the
governmental agency is clearly erroneous only if the reviewing tribunal is left with “the definite
and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” Id. at 747 (quoting Polygon Corp. v.
Seattle, 90 Wn.2d 59, 69, (1978)). The burden of proof is on the Appellant to show that the
proposal will have probable, significant adverse environmental impacts. Boehm v. City of
Vancouver, 111 Wn. App. 711, 719, 47 P.3d 137 (2002). The procedural determination of the
County’s Responsible Official shall be accorded substantial weight in appeals. TCC
17.09.160.I.2; TCC 17.09.160.S; RCW 43.21C.075(3)(d); RCW 43.21C.090.
General SUP Criteria for Review
The Hearing Examiner may approve an application for a Special Use Permit only if the
following general standards set forth in TCC 20.54.040 are satisfied:
A. Plans, Regulations, Laws. The proposed use at the specified location shall comply
with the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan, and all applicable federal, state,
regional, and Thurston County laws or plans.
B. Underlying Zoning District. The proposed use shall comply with the general purposes
and intent of the applicable zoning district regulations and subarea plans. Open space,
lot, setback and bulk requirements shall be no less than that specified for the zoning
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
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district in which the proposed use is located unless specifically provided otherwise in
this chapter.
C. Location. No application for a special use shall be approved unless a specific finding
is made that the proposed special use is appropriate in the location for which it is
proposed. This finding shall be based on the following criteria:
1. Impact. The proposed use shall not result in substantial or undue adverse effects
on adjacent property, neighborhood character, natural environment, traffic
conditions, parking, public property or facilities, or other matters affecting the
public health, safety and welfare. However, if the proposed use is a public
facility or utility deemed to be of overriding public benefit, and if measures are
taken and conditions imposed to mitigate adverse effects to the extent
reasonably possible, the permit may be granted even though said adverse effects
may occur.
2. Services. The use will be adequately served by and will not impose an undue
burden on any of the improvements, facilities, utilities, or services existing or
planned to serve the area.
Use-Specific Criteria for Special Use Approval
TCC 20.54.070 Use—Specific standards:
(3.5) Athletic Facilities.
a. This category shall not be construed to include major sporting facilities or large
indoor facilities. Facilities shall be sized to serve the local community.
b. Indoor facilities shall be limited to the following:
1. Maximum building size: four thousand five hundred square feet.
2. Minimum lot size: two acres.
3. All structures and parking areas shall be set back from adjacent
residential properties a minimum of one hundred feet. The one
hundred foot setback shall include sight-obscuring plantings.
4. Any building shall be of a design that will be compatible with the
residences in the area.
c. Outdoor facilities shall be limited as follows:
1. Maximum number of parking stalls: thirty. However, the approval
authority shall determine if additional spaces will be needed to
guarantee that all user parking will be on the premises and will be
adequate for the use.
2. All parking areas shall be set back from adjacent residential properties
a minimum of one hundred feet. The one hundred foot setback shall
include sight-obscuring plantings.
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Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
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Other Applicable Code Provisions
TCC 20.03.040 (4.5): “Athletic facility” means a building or place that is used for athletic
training, fitness activities or sports-related activities.
TCC 20.03.040(22): “Commercial recreation” means any use of land for commercial recreation
purposes, including, but not limited to, such uses as bowling alleys, billiard parlors, theaters, golf
driving ranges and marinas.
TCC 20.03.040(111): Recreation, Active. “Active recreation” means leisure activities, usually
performed with others, often requiring equipment and taking place at prescribed places, sites or
fields. The term “active recreation” includes, but is not limited to, swimming, tennis and other
court games, baseball and other field sports, and playground activities.
TCC 20.03.040(116.5): “Rural character” means the patterns of land use and development
established by the rural element of the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan:
(a) In which open space, the natural landscape, and vegetation predominate over the
built environment;
(b) That foster traditional rural lifestyles, rural-based economies, and opportunities to
both live and work in rural areas;
(c) That provide visual landscapes that are traditionally found in rural areas and
communities;
(d) That are compatible with the use of the land by wildlife and for fish and wildlife
habitat;
(e) That reduce the inappropriate conversion of undeveloped land into sprawling, lowdensity
development;
(f) That generally do not require the extension of urban governmental services; and
(g) That are consistent with the protection of natural surface water flows and ground
water and surface water recharge and discharge areas.
TCC 20.03.040(129): “Special use” means uses which are not permitted outright in a zone
because of incompatibility with the permitted uses of the zone. However, when such a special
use is considered with reference to a particular site in a zone, or if the special use may be made
compatible by attaching conditions to the maintenance of such a use, uses which otherwise
would be prohibited in a zone may be allowed by special use authorization. In order to
determine whether such compatibility may be achieved, a discretionary review process is
employed. Even if a proposed special use meets all the special standards for that particular use,
the use must also meet the general standards of this title for special uses, and shall be denied if
the special and general standards are not met.
TCC 20.54.010 Purpose and intent (Special Use Chapter):
Each zoning district lists special uses that, because of their special impact or unique
characteristics, can have a substantial adverse impact upon or be incompatible with other uses of
land. This impact often cannot be determined in advance of the use being proposed for a
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
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particular location. Such uses may be allowed to locate within given districts only through the
review process of the special use permit and under the controls, limitations and regulations of
such permits. This chapter establishes general and specific development standards for special
uses and provides for a review process which will evaluate the location, scale, compatibility with
rural character and development characteristics of such uses and their impact on adjacent
properties and the community as a whole, to the end that such uses may be approved, modified,
or disapproved fairly and objectively.
TCC 17.09.030, Additional Definitions (from the County’s SEPA regulations):
“Impacts upon neighborhood character” means the potential effects that a development may have
upon the ways in which residents use and perceive their neighborhood. These impacts include
such areas as pedestrian usage, personal safety and privacy, aesthetics, and recreational use of
outdoor spaces.
TCC 20.09A.010 Purpose (RRR 1/5 zoning district):
The purpose of this chapter is to encourage residential development that maintains the county’s
rural character; provides opportunities for compatible agricultural, forestry and other rural land
uses; is sensitive to the site’s physical characteristics; provides greater opportunities for
protecting sensitive environmental areas and creating open space corridors; enables efficient road
and utility systems; and does not create demands for urban level services.
TCC 20.09A.020 Primary uses (allowed in the RRR1/5 zone):
Subject to the provisions of this title, the following uses are permitted in this district:
1. Agriculture, including forest practices;
2. Single-family and two-family residences, as defined in Section 20.07.020, (limited to one
primary residential structure per lot);
3. Home occupations per standards in Section 20.54.070(16);
4. Farm housing accessory to a farm residence on property meeting the definition of a farm in
RCW 84.34.020 to accommodate agricultural workers and their families employed on the
premises, as provided: …
TCC 20.03.040(67): “Home occupation” means any activity undertaken for gain or profit
and conducted in a dwelling, or building accessory to a dwelling, by a member or members
of the family residing in the dwelling. This includes home office activity for service
occupations where the service is performed away from the home office.
TCC 10.36.010 Declaration of policy (regarding public disturbance noise):
It is the policy of Thurston County to minimize the exposure of citizens to the physiological and
psychological dangers of excessive noise and to protect, promote and preserve the health, safety
and welfare of the general public. It is the express intent of the board of county commissioners to
control the level of noise in a manner which promotes commerce; the use, value and enjoyment
of property; sleep and repose; and the quality of the environment. … Sound is a principal medium
of communication. By its nature, however, it is a potentially intrusive medium to those who do
not wish to hear the specific noise or message. The purpose of this chapter is to protect to the
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greatest extent possible both the right of free speech and the right to privacy within the home and
upon real property. Its purpose is to guarantee ample channels of communication for all ideas,
whether welcome or unwelcome by recipients, yet also secure the private property as a refuge
from unwelcome noise.
TCC 10.36.020 Finding of Special Conditions (regarding public disturbance noise):
The Thurston County sheriff and county commissioners are apprised of numerous citizen
complaints regarding specialized noise occurrences, such as the … [noise] of motorized vehicles,
… at such volume and duration as to unreasonably disturb and interfere with the peace, comfort
and repose of others. Such noises constitute a public disturbance. These noise occurrences
adversely affect the public health and welfare, the value of property and the quality of the
environment and constitute special conditions within the county which make necessary any and
all differences between this chapter and regulations adopted by the Department of Ecology.
(emphasis added)
Conclusions Based on Findings
1. Special Use Permit
A. Land use approvals are an inherently iterative process in which the nature of the proposal
changes frequently prior to permit issuance. The County did not err in allowing the
Applicants to supplement the application up to the close of the open record public hearing
and to identify the proposed use as an athletic facility as late as July 2, 2013. Special
uses are not restricted to those expressly listed in the special uses table. TCC
20.03.040(129).17 Per TCC 20.03.040 (4.5), “athletic facility” means a building or place
that is used for athletic training, fitness activities or sports-related activities. Based on the
record, the Examiner concurs that the listed special use most similar to the proposal is an
athletic facility. Findings 8, 9, 51, and 70.
B. Athletic facilities allowed by special use permit in the RRR 1/5 zone exclude “major
sporting facilities or large indoor facilities” and are expressly limited to those “sized to
serve the local community”. The County Code doesn’t define “major sporting facility”;
however, applicable use-specific standards restrict athletic facilities in size and scale.
Indoor athletic facilities are limited to maximum building size of 4,500 square feet.
Outdoor athletic facilities do not have a building size restriction, but there is no basis in
the Code for assuming this means an outdoor athletic facility is allowed to have greater
17 TCC 20.03.040(129). “Special use” means uses which are not permitted outright in a zone because of
incompatibility with the permitted uses of the zone. However, when such a special use is considered with reference
to a particular site in a zone, or if the special use may be made compatible by attaching conditions to the
maintenance of such a use, uses which otherwise would be prohibited in a zone may be allowed by special use.
authorization. … TCC 20.54.Table 1 speaks to listed uses; it does not state that only listed uses may be allowed as
special uses: “Uses listed below are prohibited unless specifically identified as allowable through special use review,
or unless listed as a permitted or primary use within an individual zoning district chapter.”
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
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impact on the neighborhood than a 4,500 square foot indoor facility. Outdoor athletic
facilities are restricted to 30 parking spaces, subject to the following discretionary
standard: “the approval authority shall determine if additional spaces will be needed to
guarantee that all user parking will be on the premises and will be adequate for the use.”
TCC 20.54.070(3.5). The proposal seeks to: occupy a 26-acre tract; allow an
unspecified/unlimited number of people, 97 passenger vehicles (with and without
trailers), and an unlimited number of off road vehicles on-site; and to permit up to 40 off
road vehicles operating simultaneously for six to ten hours per day up to four weekdays
and on one or both weekend days each week, with no restriction on the number of ORV
engines operating at the same time. There is also uncertainty as to whether all three
tracks would be used, and if yes, whether sequentially or simultaneously, and whether
amplified music and/ or overnight camping or parking would be allowed. The proposal
far exceeds the impacts reasonably expected from a 4,500 square foot building. As such,
the proposed commercial athletic facility is not sized and scaled to serve only the local
neighborhood and exceeds the use-specific parameters of athletic facility allowed by
special use permit in the RRR 1/5 zone. Findings 12, 13, 14, 15, 57,and 69.
C. Although the Public Health Department accepted the sound study and noise control plan
as evidence that the project was capable of complying with State standards, the evidence
as further developed at hearing demonstrates that worst case scenario sound levels have
not been measured. The noise study did not measure the sound of the track being used at
maximum capacity and did not measure the sound volumes resulting from activity at the
actual location of the proposed track, which is closer to nearby residences. As a result, it
is not known whether implementation of the noise control plan would restrict noise at
property boundaries to 55 decibels. Even assuming sound levels could be shown to
comply with State noise standards, the project would still result in noise that substantially
interferes with the right of quiet enjoyment of property owners in the area. Testimony
regarding the nature of the noise impacts, the duration and character of the noise, and its
undesirability to so many neighbors called to mind the intent of the Thurston County
public disturbance noise ordinance.18 This testimony was not based on conjecture by
neighbors who just don’t enjoy motorsports. Area residents have had the opportunity to
experience ORV noise from the site over the course of at least four years, according to
evidence in the record. Their testimony is credible and of sufficient duration and number
to demonstrate undue impacts from the track on property owners in the area. The
Applicants’ proposal to have a third party consultant measure and report sound twice
annually as a means of verifying compliance with noise standards does nothing to address
the impacts of the constant, undesirable noise five or more days per week for much of the
18 The Thurston County public disturbance noise ordinance expressly acknowledges that the noise of motorized
vehicles at certain volumes and durations is capable of unreasonably disturbing and adversely affecting the public
health and welfare, the value of property, and the quality of the environment. TCC 10.36.020. In this ordinance, the
County legislative body acknowledged the physiological and psychological dangers of excessive noise and
expressed a clear intent to control noise levels in a manner that promotes: commerce; the use, value and enjoyment
of property; sleep and repose; and the quality of the environment. TCC 10.36.010.
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
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year. (It also seeks to place the financial burden of ensuring compliance on neighbors.)
Because of the substantial and undue noise impacts of the proposed commercial ORV
track, the use is not appropriate in the proposed location and fails to satisfy the general
special use criteria. Findings 7, 20, 21, 26, 27, 29, 32, 37, 48, 58, 59, 68, and 69.
D. The Applicants seek to satisfy a County-wide, if not regional, demand for ORV
recreation areas. Regardless of the Applicants’ intentions, the record clearly demonstrates
that the facility would be used by a larger population that just the local community. The
proposal is inconsistent with rural area designations in the land use chapter of the
Thurston County Comprehensive Plan, which restrict commercial uses in rural areas to
“be small in scale [providing] convenience services to the rural neighborhood.” Thurston
County Comprehensive Plan, page 2-11. The proposed commercial 26-acre ORV track,
associated parking, and schedule of events are not consistent with a “small in scale”
commercial use and are arguably not proposed to provide convenience services to the
local neighborhood. Findings 12, 13, 14, 15, 68, and 70.
E. The purpose of the RRR 1/5 zoning district is to encourage residential development that
maintains the County’s rural character and provides opportunities for compatible
agricultural, forestry, and other rural land uses. TCC 20.09A.010 (emphasis added).
Uses permitted outright in the zone are limited to agriculture (including forestry),
residential uses, and home occupations. TCC 20.09A.020 . Regarding noise generated by
the ORV track, Applicant witnesses and members of the public in favor of the use
testified that agricultural, forestry, and military uses in the vicinity are already loud and
that the track is not louder or more annoying to them than these existing rural sound
sources. However, the sounds of agriculture and forestry are expressly anticipated in the
RRR 1/5 zone. Because the noise resulting from the proposed commercial recreational
use would not be compatible with existing and approved residential uses, it is inconsistent
with the purpose of the RRR 1/5 zone. Findings12, 13, 14, 15, 68, 69, and 70.
F. Finally, both because the use (commercial ORV track) is not included in the County
Code’s definitions or permitted/special use listings and because of the discretion
conferred to the decision maker to adjust strict standards relating to athletic facilities, the
County Code provisions regarding this application are arguably ambiguous and require
code interpretation. In questions of code interpretation, Washington courts give great
weight to the contemporaneous construction of an ordinance by the officials charged with
its enforcement.19 The Resource Stewardship Department recommended denial on the
grounds that the use fails to comply with the use-specific and general special use criteria
and is inconsistent with the purpose of the RRR 1/5 zone and the Thurston County
Comprehensive Plan. Review of the record as a whole does not demonstrate that the
Department erred in its interpretation.
19 Morin v. Johnson, 49 Wn.2d 275, 279 (1956). Also, “[a]n agency acting within the ambit of its administrative
functions is best qualified to interpret its own rules[.]” D.W. Close Co., Inc. v. Dept. of Labor and Industries, 143
Wn. App. 118, 129 (2008).
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
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G. The Examiner recognizes that permit denial was argued by the Appellants at the prehearing
conference and in their pre-hearing motion to dismiss. However, the examiner
does not have authority to dismiss an application without hearing it fully and allowing the
proponent to make a case for consistency with criteria for approval. The Applicants have
had a full and complete opportunity to make their case but have not shown that the
project complies with applicable criteria.
H. The Examiner also acknowledges that evidence in the record overwhelmingly supports
the conclusion that motorsports offer a unique opportunity for family-oriented,
wholesome pastimes that build community, provide healthy physical activity, foster
responsibility and motivation in youth, and teach skills that are beneficial to individuals
and the community. The record also demonstrates a clear demand for a facility such as
that proposed. Yet upon thorough review of all evidence presented, as detailed and cited
in the conclusions above, the Examiner is left with the firm conviction that the project is
not allowed in the zone because it fails to satisfy both the use-specific and the general
special use criteria for approval and because the proposal is inconsistent with the purpose
of the RRR 1/5 zone and the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan’s rural land use
designation.
2. SEPA Appeal:
A. Because the use is prohibited in the zone, the appeal of the environmental threshold
determination is moot and the MDNS should be withdrawn.
DECISION
Because the proposed land use is not allowed in the underlying zoning district, the permit must
be denied and environmental review pursuant to the State Environmental Policy Act is moot.
The application for SUP is DENIED, the SEPA MDNS must be WITHDRAWN, and the SEPA
Appeal is DISMISSED.
DECIDED August 29, 2013.
________________________________
Sharon A. Rice
Thurston County Hearing Examiner
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Appendix A
Public Comments Submitted
Exhibit 2C Email comments opposing the proposal, from the Appellant (144)
1. 4/17/13 – Lyn Quayle
2. 4/13/13 – Lucille & Terry Ryan
3. 4/13/13 – Lori Drayson
4. 4/12/13 – Mary Colton
5. 4/11/13 – Michael Beadle
6. 4/11/13 – Jeffrey Springer
7. 4/11/13 – Marlene Goodman
8. 4/11/13 – Kathi Jo & Eric Moore
9. 4/11/13 – Teri Fellows
10. 4/11/13 – Brian Anderson & Diana Peeples
11. 4/10/13 – Walter Cedar Korte
12. 4/10/13 – Daniel Johansen
13. 4/9/13 – Steven Odd
14. 4/9/13 – Cameron Day
15. 4/10/13 – David J. Perry, PhD & Linda Perry
16. 4/9/13 – Antonia Wood
17. 4/9/13 – Belinda Dawson
18. 4/8/13 – Peggy Ledyard
19. 4/8/13 – Jeanne Catherine Flick
20. 4/8/13 – Janet Semsak Hilger
21. 4/8/13 – Jilian Latimer
22. 4/8/13 – Susan McLean
23. 3/29/13 – BJ Lemke
24. 3/28/13 – Marcia Keizer
25. 3/30/13 – Lina Seidman
26. 4/2/13 – Susan Janus
27. 4/3/13 – Lynne L. Stewart
28. 4/3/13 – Paula M. Wall
29. 4/4/13 – Bettye Johnson
30. 3/31/13 – Brian Anderson
31. 4/5/13 – Richard & Mary Banch
32. 6/24/13 – Terry & Lucille Ryan
33. 4/3/13 – Ana Maria Mihalcea, M.D.
34. 1/4/12 – Susan McLean
35. 1/6/12 – Walter Korte
36. 1/5/12 – Helen Rolls
37. 1/5/12 – Carl Burgasser
38. 1/5/12 – R.M. Beasley
39. 1/5/12 – Charles & Dr. Jenifer Preston and Family
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
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40. 1/5/12 – Judith Lashley
41. 1/5/12 – David Naughton
42. 1/5/12 – Bettye Johnson
43. 1/5/12 – Miro Bouchakian
44. 1/5/12 – Mr. & Mrs. Anderson
45. 1/5/12 – Janet L. Ferrari
46. 1/5/12 – Carole Yano
47. 1/5/12 – Marian Lancaster
48. 1/5/12 – Bill Dallavo
49. 1/5/12 – Pat Kelly
50. 1/5/12 – Donald Schmidt
51. 1/5/12 – Cameron Jayne
52. 1/5/12 – Tony Engler
53. 1/5/12 – Stanley Lee
54. 1/5/12 – Weigl Stephan
55. 1/5/12 – Jacqueline Smith
56. 1/5/12 – Paulette Alaena
57. 1/6/12 – Jean Dickson
58. 1/6/12 – Nancy Bronner
59. 1/6/12 – Patricia Richker
60. 1/6/12 – Janice Maddox
61. 1/6/12 – Bob Maddox
62. 1/6/12 – Cameron Day
63. 1/6/12 – Inge Piller
64. 1/6/12 – Ron Smith
65. 1/6/12 – Susan Tabor
66. 1/6/12 – Marlene Goodman
67. 1/6/12 – Judy O’Neal
68. 1/6/12 – Margaret Gilbride
69. 1/6/12 – Belinda Dawson
70. 1/6/12 – Susan Janus
71. 1/6/12 – Charlie Davidson
72. 1/6/121 – Gary Minor
73. 1/6/12 – Susan Bailen
74. 1/6/12 – David Weintraub
75. 1/6/12 – Antonia Wood
76. 1/6/12 – Eva Lester
77. 1/1/12, 1/4/12 – Sharon Olson
78. 1/4/12 – Daniel Johansen
79. 1/5/12 – John Bowman
80. 1/31/12 – Roger Pitts
81. 1/20/12 – Norma Klinger
82. 1/13/12 – Joan Wunderlich
83. 1/7/12 – Joyce Anaya
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
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84. 1/7/12 – Kelly Van Dusen
85. 1/7/12 – Cheryl Powers
86. 1/8/12 – Aaron Gilbride
87. 1/8/12 – Elizabeth Kriesten
88. 1/8/12 – Clare Berg
89. 1/8/12 – Nancy Hillman
90. 1/8/12 – Chantal Lafont
91. 1/8/12 – Mary Tereszkiewicz
92. 1/8/12 – Valerie Plaschka
93. 1/9/12 – Patsy Smith
94. 1/9/12 – Victoria Harper-Parsonson
95. 1/12/12 – Melody Rae
96. 1/6/12 – Valentin Fyrst
97. 1/6/12 – Eva Fyrst
98. 1/6/12 – Raymond Blocher
99. 1/7/12 – Diane Dondero
100. 1/5/12 – Patti Chapman and Family
101. 1/5/12 – Christine Hartman
102. 1/5/12 – Molly Gordon
103. 1/5/12 – Timothy Seabod
104. 1/5/12 – Kathleen Devin
105. 12/23/11 – Donna Love
106. 12/23/11 – Walter Korte
107. 12/22/11 – Carlo Giorno
108. 12/22/11 – Stanley Lee
109. 12/22/11 – Kathi Jo & Eric Moore
110. 12/22/11 – Susan McLean
111. 12/18/11 – Petition opposing race track by 160th Lane residents: Brian Anderson, Diana
Peeples, Cathy Everett, John Everett, Richard Banach, Mary Colton, Janice Holien,
Patricia Fabian Chavez, Milton Bjorklund, Jeanne Catherine Flick
112. 12/22/11 – Paulina Amador & Charles Collins
113. 12/22/11 – Susan Mayer
114. 12/22/11 – Radu Auf der Heyde, Ph.D.
115. 12/21/11 – Rory Sagner
116. 12/21/11 – Tammie & Gene Tabor
117. 12/21/11 – Jack & Kathi Holt
118. 12/21/11 – Daniel Johansen
119. 12/21/11 – Wally Brown
120. 12/21/11 – Lydia Wood
121. 12/20/11 – Lucille & Terry Ryan
122. 12/14/11 – Richard & Mary Banach
123. 12/15/11 – Steven & Wanda Odd
124. 12/18/11 – Jeffrey B. Springer
125. 12/19/11 – Jack Pot
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
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126. 12/19/11 – G. Mar
127. 12/20/11 – Antonia Wood
128. 12/20/11 – Mujdat Ozgunay
129. 12/19/11 – Dr. Jenifer Preston and Family
130. 12/19/11 – Lina Seidman
131. 12/14/11 – Richard & Mary Banach
132. 12/13/11 – Sheryl Palmer
133. 12/8/11 – Brian Anderson & Diana Peeples
134. 5/18/11 – Brian Anderson & Diana Peeples
135. 12/18/11 – Jeffrey B. Springer
136. 8/10/10 – Mary Banach & Richard Banach
137. 8/20/10 – Nancy Agan
138. 8/9/10 – Paula M. Wall
139. 8/9/10 – Susan Mayer
140. 6/29/10 – Daniel Johansen
141. 8/16/10 – Mary Colton
142. 8/21/10 – Bertha Rainen
143. 8/18/10 – Tim Seabold
144. 9/17/10 – Kim Springer
Exhibit 15A Public comments submitted to the County between notice of hearing and
close of the record on August 1, 2013 (205):
1. 7/30/13 Greg Gipe
2. 7/30/13 Scott L. Campbell
3. 7/30/13 Steve Corrie
4. Undated Walter Korte
5. 7/29/13 Daniel Johansen, hand written
6. 7/29/13 Daniel Johansen, letter
7. 7/29/13 Linda Gunn
8. 7/28/13 Sean Derek
9. 7/29/13 Judy G. Luczak
10. 7/29/13 Dr. E.J. Zita
11. Undated Anthony Mills, letter
12. Photos submitted by Cameron Jayne
13. 7/29/13 Rod Maupin
14. 7/29/13 Debra Jacqua, letter
15. 7/29/13 Debra Jacqua, correct email 3:38 p.m.
16. 7/29/13 Cameron Day
17. 7/29/13 Angie Larsh
18. 7/28/13 Mark Lasley
19. 7/29/13 The Harris Family
20. 7/29/13 Dana & Alan Spivey
21. 7/26/13 Douglas Mackar
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22. 7/26/13 Sarah Jenkins
23. 7/28/13 Sean Derek
24. 7/28/13 Dr. John Ruhland
25. 7/29/13 Kathy Capron
26. 7/29/13 Nadja Galadram 4:43 a.m.
27. 7/29/13 Nadja Galadram 5:00 a.m.
28. 7/29/13 Nadja Galadram 5:15 a.m.
29. 7/29/13 Patsy Smith
30. 7/29/13 Heidi Haslinger
31. 7/28/13 Milton M. Gordon
32. 7/28/13 Linda Evans
33. 7/28/13 Rev. Dr. Richard W. Banach
34. 7/28/13 Douglas Mackar
35. 7/28/13 Karen Retter
36. 7/28/13 Dr. John Ruhland
37. 7/28/13 Daniel Johansen
38. 7/28/13 Jack & Kathi Holt
39. 7/28/13 Chris Miller
40. 7/28/13 Sean Derek
41. 7/28/13 Thomas Matlack
42. 7/27/13 Sabrena Neff
43. 7/27/13 Jaime Leal Anaya
44. 7/27/13 Diane Frank
45. 7/27/13 Jay Smith
46. 7/26/13 Sara Jenkins
47. 7/26/13 Eric Tekin
48. 7/26/13 Michael Hood
49. 7/26/13 Diane Dondero
50. 7/26/13 David Huttula
51. 7/26/13 Nancy Montan
52. 7/26/13 Douglas M. Mackar
53. 7/25/13 Kathy Greenwood
54. 7/25/13 Sylvia Morales & Arturo Alonso 7:43 a.m.
55. 7/25/13 Sylvia Morales & Arturo Alonso 8:14 a.m.
56. 7/25/13 Mallery Brown
57. 7/25/13 Preston Collins
58. 7/25/13 Diane Dondero
59. 7/25/13 Dale Riston
60. 7/25/13 Harley Robertson
61. 7/25/13 Christine Hartman
62. 7/25/13 Gerry Winner
63. 7/24/13 Paul Brigandi
64. 7/24/13 Rob Churchill
65. 7/24/13 Robert W. Corl
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 52 of 60
66. 7/24/13 Linda Tarrant
67. 7/24/13 Charles & Mildred Pracna
68. 7/24/13 Beatrice Coleman
69. 7/24/13 Mark Frey
70. 7/24/13 Jana Muller
71. 7/24/13 Helen Hardie 11:48 a.m.
72. 7/24/13 Helen Hardie 11:40 a.m.
73. 7/24/13 Sybille Vital
74. 7/23/13 Glynn Davis
75. 7/23/13 Clare Berg
76. 7/23/13 Karen Kenney 7:49 p.m.
77. 7/23/13 Karen Kenney 8:17 p.m.
78. 7/23/13 Melinda Turner 3:04 p.m.
79. 7/23/13 Melinda Turner 3:03 p.m.
80. 7/23/13 Ken & Kathy Lien
81. 7/23/13 Steve Duerksen
82. 7/23/13 Barry Levin
83. 7/23/13 Charles Gilman
84. 7/22/13 Dale Riston, with attachment
85. 7/22/13 Helene Goslin
86. 7/22/13 Cody Peterson 9:04 p.m.
87. 7/22/13 Cody Peterson 9:17 p.m.
88. 7/22/13 Sean Wells
89. 7/22/13 Kyle Wiebold
90. 7/22/13 Ben Green
91. 7/22/13 Angela Marek
92. 7/22/13 Willie O. Hunt
93. 7/21/13 Rella D. Schafer
94. 7/21/13 Ms. Charlie Davidson
95. 7/21/13 Eric Turner
96. 7/20/13 Mary Colton
97. 7/20/13 Ralph W. Black
98. 7/20/13 Karen Silliman
99. 7/20/13 Walter Korte
100. 7/19/13 Cindy Andersen 7:46 p.m.
101. 7/19/13 Cindy Andersen 8:43 p.m.
102. 7/19/13 Scott McNairy
103. 7/19/13 Christopher Arfman
104. 7/19/13 Dan Marek
105. 7/19/13 Lance Schiedler
106. 7/19/13 Richard R. Quint
107. 7/19/13 Steve Grittman
108. 7/19/13 Jan Olson
109. 7/19/13 Brett Hull
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 53 of 60
110. 7/19/13 Victor Buchanan
111. 7/19/13 Brandon Marek
112. 7/19/13 Angela Marek
113. 7/19/13 Carmen Trummert
114. 7/19/13 Barry Levin
115. 7/19/13 Mary Colton
116. 7/18/13 Tim W. Swartz
117. 7/18/13 William Steele
118. 7/18/13 David Larsen
119. 7/18/13 Joe Holtrop
120. 7/17/13 Joyce Hess
121. 7/17/13 Rick Thompson
122. 7/17/13 William Crawley
123. 7/16/13 Paulina Amador
124. 7/13/13 Jean Handley
125. 7/05/13 Melinda Turner
126. 4/18/13 Diana Peeples
127. 7/27/13 Dr. Jenifer Preston
128. 7/29/13 Shane Barton
129. 7/29/13 Rachael Barton
130. 7/29/13 Cynthia Shuman
131. 7/30/13 Lyn Quayle
132. 7/28/13 Janice Seaton
133. 7/29/13 Susan Mayer (2 comment letters)
134. 7/28/13 Linda Evans
135. 7/30/13 Dennis Child
136. 7/30/13 Robert Bartholomew
137. 7/30/13 Don McBride
138. 7/31/13 Kevin Dahlen
139. 7/31/13 Din Wilkie & Patricia Keenan-Wilkie
140. 7/31/13 James Welsh & Michele Sameulson
141. 7/31/13 Shaun Simmons
142. 7/31/13 Cameron Day
143. 8/01/13 Dale Riston, with attachment
144. 8/01/13 Sabrena Neff
145. 7/31/13 Douglas Cabrera, MsEE
146. 7/31/13 Brian Shelby & Austin Sheldon
147. 7/31/13 Heidi Gould
148. 7/31/13 Marcia Keilee
149. 7/31/13 Brandon Bray
150. 7/31/13 Sean Derek
151. 7/31/13 Walter Korte
152. 7/31/13 Sharon Olson
153. 8/01/13 Dr. John Ruhland, with attachment
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 54 of 60
154. 7/31/13 Priscilla Hoback
155. 7/31/13 Heidi Gould
156. 8/01/13 Terry Ryan
157. 8/01/13 Daniel Johansen
158. 8/01/13 Lisa M. Beverly
159. Undated Ross Reichel
160. 8/01/13 Connie Largen
161. 7/31/13 Susan McLean
162. Undated Antonia Wood
163. Undated Walter Korte
164. Undated Sarah Wooten
165. 7/31/13 Darren Taylor
166. Undated Cameron Day
167. Petitions to Oppose Cadillac Ranch Motocross Race Track (8 pages)
168. Undated Charles A. Pracna
169. 8/01/13 Susie Kyle
170. 7/29/13 Leilani Macmillan
171. 8/01/13 Bian Anderson and Diana Peeples
172. 7/30/13 Diana Peeples
173. Undated Charles A. Pracna
174. 7/29/13 Debra Jaqua
175. 7/29/13 Susan Mclean
176. 7/29/13 Marian Clement
177. Undated Helene Goslin
178. 8/01/13 Lucille Ryan, including attachments
179. 7/29/13 Terry Ryan, including attachment
180. 7/29/13 Shane Barton
181. 7/29/13 Rachael Barton
182. 7/29/13 Cynthia L. Shurman
183. 7/30/13 Alan & Dana Spivey
184. 7/31/13 Tamara Stancil
185. Undated Rick Keane & Family
186. 7/31/13 Katie Merwick
187. 8/01/13 Carlo Giorno
188. 8/01/13 Priscilla B. Dodge
189. 8/01/13 Nadja Galadram for Mickey Beadle, President, MMB Marketing, Inc.
(attachment)
190. 8/01/13 Pamela Cannefax
191. 8/01/13 Ronald D. Smith
192. 8/01/13 David Kramer, Vice Presidend, Pacific NW Vintage Motocross
193. 8/01/13 Joanne Tarascio
194. 8/01/13 Thomas Mani
195. 8/01/13 Trish Becerra
196. 8/01/13 Ian Murphy, including attachment
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 55 of 60
197. 8/01/13 Pamela Roberts-Aue and for Sherry Adolphi
198. 8/01/13 Priscilla Hoback
199. 8/01/13 Linda Chiles
200. 8/01/13 Ruth Sparrow
201. 8/01/13 Dr. John Ruhland, including attachment
202. 8/01/13 Jean Handley (3 emails)
203. 8/01/13 Belinda Dawson
204. 8/01/13 Chris Nubbe
205. 8/01/13 Joy from Rainier
Exhibit 15 B Public comments submitted in response to published noticed of MDNS:
Comments (35):
1. 7/13/13 Steve Duerksen
2. 4/17/13 Lyn Quayle
3. 4/13/13 Lucille & Terry Ryan
4. 4/13/13 Rev. Lori Drayson
5. 4/12/13 Mary Colton
6. 4/11/13 Terri Fellows
7. 4/11/13 Kathi Jo & Eric Moore
8. 4/11/13 Department of Ecology
9. 4/11/13 Marlene Goodman
10. 4/11/13 Jeffery B. Springer
11. 4/11/13 Michael Beadle
12. 4/11/13 Brian & Diane Peeples
13. 4/10/13 David J Perry, PhD and Linda Perry
14. 4/10/13 Wally Brown
15. 4/10/13 Marcia Keilee
16. 4/10/13 Marissa Carver
17. 4/10/13 Walter Korte
18. 4/10/13 Daniel Johansen
19. 4/10/13 Brian Anderson & Diana Peeples
20. 4/09/13 Belinda Dawson
21. 4/09/13 Antonia Wood
22. 4/09/13 Cameron Day
23. 4/09/13 Steven Odd
24. 4/08/13 Jeanne Catherine Flick
25. 4/08/13 Jan Semsak Hilger
26. 4/08/13 Jillian Latimer
27. 4/08/13 Susan McLean
28. 4/08/13 Peggy Ledyard
29. 4/04/13 Bettye Johnson
30. 4/03/13 Ana Maria Mihalcea, M.D.
31. 4/03/13 Lynne L. Stewart
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 56 of 60
32. 4/03/13 Paula M. Wall
33. 4/02/13 Susan Janus
34. 3/30/13 Lina Seidman
35. 3/29/13 B.J. Lemke
Exhibit 15C Public comments in the County file related to the property predating MDNS
and hearing notice (178):
1. 7/13/13 Tracey Bingham
2. 7/13/13 Jean Handley
3. 7/13/13 Tracey S. Bingham
4. 7/13/13 Janet L. Ferrari
5. 7/11/13 Terry & Lucille Ryan
6. 7/10/13 Donna Powers
7. 7/09/13 Walter Korte
8. 7/08/13 Joyce Hess
9. 7/06/13 Susan Mayer
10. 7/06/13 Ted Mindt
11. 7/05/13 Madeline Ogle
12. 7/05/13 Melinda & Eric Turner
13. 7/05/13 Sarah Jenkins
14. 7/03/13 Milton Gordon
15. 7/02/13 (received) Letter from Senator Dan Swecker, Retired
16. 6/24/13 Letter from Terry & Lucille Ryan
17. 5/27/12 Daniel Johansen
18. 1/31/12 Roger Pitts
19. 1/20/12 Norma Klinger
20. 1/13/12 Joan Wunderlich
21. 1/12/12 Melody Rae
22. 1/09/12 Victoria Harper-Parsonson
23. 1/09/12 Waylon Smith
24. 1/08/12 Valerie Plaschka
25. 1/08/12 Mary Tereszkiewicz
26. 1/08/12 Chantal Lafont
27. 1/08/12 Clare Berg
28. 1/08/12 Elizabeth Kriesten
29. 1/08/12 Aaron Gilbride
30. 1/08/12 Nancy T. Hillman
31. 1/07/12 Kelly Van Dusen
32. 1/07/12 Joyce Anaya
33. 1/07/12 Diane Dondero
34. 1/07/12 Cheryl Powers
35. 1/06/12 Antonia Wood
36. 1/06/12 Ms. Charlie Davidson
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 57 of 60
37. 1/06/12 Raymond L. Blocker
38. 1/06/12 Eva Fyrst
39. 1/06/13 Balentin Fyrst
40. 1/06/12 Eva Lester
41. 1/06/12 David Weintraub
42. 1/06/12 Susana Bailen
43. 1/06/12 Gary Minor
44. 1/06/12 Susan Janus
45. 1/06/12 Belinda Dawson
46. 1/06/12 Margaret Gilbride
47. 1/06/12 Judy O’Neal
48. 1/06/12 Marlene Goodman 10:49 a.m.
49. 1/06/12 Marlene Goodman 10:43 a.m.
50. 1/06/12 Susan Tabor
51. 1/06/12 Ron Smith
52. 1/06/12 Inge Piller
53. 1/06/12 Cameron Day
54. 1/06/12 Bob Maddox
55. 1/06/12 Janice Maddox
56. 1/06/12 Patricia Richker
57. 1/06/12 Nancy Bronner
58. 1/06/12 Jean Dickson
59. 1/06/12 Walter Korte
60. 1/05/12 Timothy Seabold
61. 1/05/12 Pattie Chapman and family
62. 1/05/12 John Bowman
63. 1/05/12 Kathleen Devin
64. 1/05/12 Milt Gordon
65. 1/05/12 Christine Hartman
66. 1/05/12 Russell Morgan
67. 1/05/12 Judith Lashley
68. 1/05/12 Charles & Dr. Jenifer Preston and Family
69. 1/05/12 R.M. Beasley
70. 1/05/12 Carol Burgasser
71. 1/05/12 Helen Rolls
72. 1/05/12 Tony Engler
73. 1/05/12 Cameron Jayne
74. 1/05/12 Donald Schmidt
75. 1/05/12 Pat Kelly
76. 1/05/12 Bill Dallavo
77. 1/05/12 Marian Lancaster
78. 1/05/12 Carole Yano
79. 1/05/12 Janet L. Ferrari
80. 1/05/12 Mr. & Mrs. Anderson
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 58 of 60
81. 1/05/12 Miro Mouchakian
82. 1/05/12 Bettye Johnson
83. 1/05/12 David Naughton
84. 1/05/12 Stanley Lee
85. 1/05/12 Stephan Weigl
86. 1/05/12 Jacqueline Smith
87. 1/05/12 Paulette Alaena
88. 1/05/12 Bob & Bev Edminster
89. 1/04/12 Daniel Johansen
90. 1/04/12 Sharon Olson
91. 1/04/12 Susan Mayer 2:15 p.m.
92. 1/04/12 Susan Mayer 9:17 a.m.
93. 1/01/12 Sharon Olson
94. 12/23/11 Walter Korte
95. 12/23/11 Donna Love
96. 12/22/11 Stanley Lee
97. 12/22/11 Roberto Mazzarella
98. 12/22/11 Letter from Kathi Jo & Eric Moore
99. 12/22/11 Carlo Giorno
100. 12/22/11 Radu Auf der Heyde, Ph.D.
101. 12/22/11 Paulina Amador & Charles Collins
102. 12/22/11 Susan Mayer
103. 12/21/11 Rory Sagner
104. 12/21/11 Daniel Johansen
105. 12/21/11 Wally Brown
106. 12/21/11 Tammie & Gene Tabor
107. 12/21/11 Walter Korte
108. 12/21/11 Jack & Kathleen Holt
109. 12/21/11 Lydia Wood
110. 12/20/11 Lucille & Terry Ryan
111. 12/20/11 Antonia Wood
112. 12/20/11 Mujdat Ozgunay
113. 12/19/11 Dr. Jenifer Preston & Family
114. 12/19/11 Mrs. Lina Seidman
115. 12/19/11 Jack Pot
116. 12/19/11 G. Mar
117. 12/18/11 Letter from Jeffery B. Springer
118. 12/18/11 Letter from Brian Anderson, Diana Peeples, Cathy Everett, John Everett,
Richard Banach, Mary Colton, Janice Holien, Patricia Fabian Chavez, Milton Bjorklund
and Catherine Flick
119. 12/15/11 Letter from Steven & Wanda Odd
120. 12/14/11 Richard & Mary Banach with attached letter
121. 12/13/11 Sheryl Palmer
122. 12/09/11 Brian J. Anderson
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 59 of 60
123. 12/08/11 Brian Anderson & Diana Peeples with attached Exhibit A
124. 12/05/11 Charles & Ada Gilman
125. 8/02/10 Sam Furer
126. 8/02/10 Douglas, Mary & Micheal Neff
127. 8/01/10 Bruce, Linda, Sean and Bruce Wallin Sr.
128. 8/01/10 Derick M. Clary
129. 7/31/10 Rick & Bobbi Jones
130. 7/31/10 Jayson Liess
131. 7/31/10 Daryl Gitt
132. 7/31/10 Jeff Clark
133. 7/31/10 Josh Bonagofsky
134. 7/31/10 Max Erickson
135. 7/31/10 Ken Workman
136. 7/30/10 Rob Leighty
137. 7/30/10 Shannon Loiacono
138. 7/30/10 Robert Bartholomew
139. 7/30/10 Derrick Paras
140. 7/30/10 Jeff Mathews
141. 7/30/10 janwakulak@comcast.net
142. 7/30/10 Lorendo Gumaru
143. 7/30/10 Chris Kitchens
144. 7/30/10 Lari & Kami Clark
145. 7/30/10 Letter from Christa D. Buergin
146. 7/29/10 Cathy & Tim Fisher, Kris, Mallory, Madelyn, Hannah and Jake Shephard
147. 7/29/10 Valerie @ Tacoma Motorsports
148. 7/29/10 Jessika Lackie
149. 7/29/10 Don McBride
150. 7/29/10 Robert Gehrke
151. 7/29/10 Jeff Money
152. 7/28/10 Curt & Joyce Julsrud
153. 7/28/10 Letter from Mark Orgill
154. 7/28/10 Letter from Chris Kettman
155. Undated Letter from Bob Melloy
156. 7/27/10 Adam Neiminen
157. 7/27/10 John Lybecker
158. 7/26/10 Letter from Ann Roggenkamp & Charles R. Merker
159. 7/26/10 Letter from Bob & Rhonda Turnmire
160. 7/25/10 Letter from Connie Willis
161. 7/25/10 Letter from unknown author
162. 7/24/10 Letter from Mark Keller
163. 7/23/10 Letter from Robert E. Schilt
164. 7/23/10 Letter from Bob & Lois Chatwood
165. 7/22/10 Letter from unknown author
166. 7/22/10 Letter from David Foote
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Findings, Conclusions, and Decisions
Rainier-Vail Neighborhood Group Appeal of Mahan ORV Track SUP MDNS
File Nos. SEPA 12-101068XA/SUP 2011101927 page 60 of 60
167. 7/22/10 Letter from Tanya Foote
168. 7/21/10 Letter from Carolyn Hunsinger
169. Undated Letter from Robert Sury
170. Undated Letter from James Caty
171. Undated Jesse Auston
172. Undated Tiffany Nelson
173. Undated Margaret Miller
174. Undated Jelena Smith
175. Undated Les Reschel
176. Undated Roy Longmire
177. Undated Hoodman, Palm, Goodwin, Smith, Englund
178. Undated Petition titled “Much Needed Outdoor Activities for Families and Younger
Generations,” 20 pages of signatures
THURSTON COUNTY
PROCEDURE FOR RECONSIDERATION AND APPEAL
OF HEARING EXAMINER DECISION TO THE BOARD
NOTE: THERE MAY BE NO EX PARTE (ONE-SIDED) CONTACT OUTSIDE A PUBLIC HEARING WITH EITHER THE HEARING EXAMINER OR
WITH THE BOARD OF THURSTON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ON APPEALS (Thurston County Code, Section 2.06.030).
If you do not agree with the decision of the Hearing Examiner, there are two (2) ways to seek review of the decision. They are described in A and B
below. Unless reconsidered or appealed, decisions of the Hearing Examiner become final on the 15th day after the date of the decision.* The Hearing
Examiner renders decisions within five (5) working days following a Request for Reconsideration unless a longer period is mutually agreed to by the
Hearing Examiner, applicant, and requester.
The decision of the Hearing Examiner on an appeal of a SEPA threshold determination for a project action is final. The Hearing Examiner
shall not entertain motions for reconsideration for such decisions. The decision of the Hearing Examiner regarding a SEPA threshold
determination may only be appealed to Superior Court in conjunction with an appeal of the underlying action in accordance with RCW
43.21C.075 and TCC 17.09.160. TCC 17.09.160(K).
A. RECONSIDERATION BY THE HEARING EXAMINER (Not permitted for a decision on a SEPA threshold determination)
1. Any aggrieved person or agency that disagrees with the decision of the Examiner may request Reconsideration. All Reconsideration requests
must include a legal citation and reason for the request. The Examiner shall have the discretion to either deny the motion without comment or
to provide additional Findings and Conclusions based on the record.
2. Written Request for Reconsideration and the appropriate fee must be filed with the Resource Stewardship Department within ten (10) days of
the written decision. The form is provided for this purpose on the opposite side of this notification.
B. APPEAL TO THE BOARD OF THURSTON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS (Not permitted for a decision on a SEPA threshold
determination for a project action)
1. Appeals may be filed by any aggrieved person or agency directly affected by the Examiner’s decision. The form is provided for this purpose on
the opposite side of this notification.
2. Written notice of Appeal and the appropriate fee must be filed with the Resource Stewardship Department within fourteen (14) days of the
date of the Examiner’s written decision. The form is provided for this purpose on the opposite side of this notification.
3. An Appeal filed within the specified time period will stay the effective date of the Examiner’s decision until it is adjudicated by the Board of
Thurston County Commissioners or is withdrawn.
4. The notice of Appeal shall concisely specify the error or issue which the Board is asked to consider on Appeal, and shall cite by reference to
section, paragraph and page, the provisions of law which are alleged to have been violated. The Board need not consider issues, which are not
so identified. A written memorandum that the appellant may wish considered by the Board may accompany the notice. The memorandum shall
not include the presentation of new evidence and shall be based only upon facts presented to the Examiner.
5. Notices of the Appeal hearing will be mailed to all parties of record who legibly provided a mailing address. This would include all persons who
(a) gave oral or written comments to the Examiner or (b) listed their name as a person wishing to receive a copy of the decision on a sign-up
sheet made available during the Examiner’s hearing.
6. Unless all parties of record are given notice of a trip by the Board of Thurston County Commissioners to view the subject site, no one other than
County staff may accompany the Board members during the site visit.
C. STANDING All Reconsideration and Appeal requests must clearly state why the appellant is an “aggrieved” party and demonstrate that
standing in the Reconsideration or Appeal should be granted.
D. FILING FEES AND DEADLINE If you wish to file a Request for Reconsideration or Appeal of this determination, please do so in writing on the
back of this form, accompanied by a nonrefundable fee of $620.00 for a Request for Reconsideration or $820.00 an Appeal. Any Request for
Reconsideration or Appeal must be received in the Permit Assistance Center on the second floor of Building #1 in the Thurston County
Courthouse complex no later than 4:00 p.m. per the requirements specified in A2 and B2 above. Postmarks are not acceptable. If your
application fee and completed application form is not timely filed, you will be unable to request Reconsideration or Appeal this determination.
The deadline will not be extended.
* Shoreline Permit decisions are not final until a 21-day appeal period to the state has elapsed following the date the County decision
becomes final.
Check here for: RECONSIDERATION OF HEARING EXAMINER DECISION
THE APPELLANT, after review of the terms and conditions of the Hearing Examiner’s decision hereby requests that the Hearing Examiner
take the following information into consideration and further review under the provisions of Chapter 2.06.060 of the Thurston County Code:
(If more space is required, please attach additional sheet.)
Check here for: APPEAL OF HEARING EXAMINER DECISION
TO THE BOARD OF THURSTON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COMES NOW ___________________________________
on this ________ day of ____________________ 20 , as an APPELLANT in the matter of a Hearing Examiner’s decision
rendered on __________________________________, 20 , by ________________________________ relating to_________
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
THE APPELLANT, after review and consideration of the reasons given by the Hearing Examiner for his decision, does now, under the
provisions of Chapter 2.06.070 of the Thurston County Code, give written notice of APPEAL to the Board of Thurston County Commissioners
of said decision and alleges the following errors in said Hearing Examiner decision:
Specific section, paragraph and page of regulation allegedly interpreted erroneously by Hearing Examiner:
1. Zoning Ordinance ________________________________________________________________________________
2. Platting and Subdivision Ordinance __________________________________________________________________
3. Comprehensive Plan ______________________________________________________________________________
4. Critical Areas Ordinance __________________________________________________________________________
5. Shoreline Master Program _________________________________________________________________________
6. Other: _________________________________________________________________________________________
(If more space is required, please attach additional sheet.)
AND FURTHERMORE, requests that the Board of Thurston County Commissioners, having responsibility for final review of such decisions
will upon review of the record of the matters and the allegations contained in this appeal, find in favor of the appellant and reverse the Hearing
Examiner decision.
STANDING
On a separate sheet, explain why the appellant should be considered an aggrieved party and why standing should be granted to the
appellant. This is required for both Reconsiderations and Appeals.
Signature required for both Reconsideration and Appeal Requests
______________________________________________________
APPELLANT NAME PRINTED
______________________________________________________
SIGNATURE OF APPELLANT
Address _______________________________________________
_____________________________Phone____________________
Please do not write below – for Staff Use Only:
Fee of $620.00 for Reconsideration or $820.00 for Appeal. Received (check box): Initial __________ Receipt No. ____________
Filed with the Resource Stewardship Department this _______ day of _____________________________ 20 .
\\Mc1\data\DevServ\Track\Planning\Forms\2011.Appeal-Recon form.he.doc
Project No.
Appeal Sequence No.:

Posted in MX, Quality of life | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Molalla and the Molalla River School District Support RACISM via an Indian Mascot Stereotype

It’s been over a year since I entered the fight to end racist stereotyping in Oregon’s public schools. The few backwater, white power privilege towns that cling to Indian mascots should have by now learned all the reasons the 21st Century won’t accept turning our smallest minority into mascot cartoons. But sadly, racism and bigotry die hard (or not at all) in Tea Party, faith based decayed villages like Molalla. You can lead RACISTS to facts but you can’t make them change.

This says it all about Molalla and its schools: tacky, racist and about as honorable as a dog turd.

This says it all about Molalla and its schools: tacky, racist and about as honorable as a dog turd.

So the fight goes on to make sure we STRIKE OUT RACISM AND STEREOTYPES.

I testified to the Oregon Senate Education committee recently and submitted this:

March 28, 2013

Last night at Reed College I attended an amazing seminar called Native American Appropriations designed to explore how popular culture has stolen sacred Native American icons. We were treated to inspiring performances by a variety of young Native Americans in full traditional regalia dancing to a drum circle. I wish everyone in this room could have experienced the pride those youth had for their cultural heritage. A tiny boy only a year and a half old joined the final group dance. Even at that young age he danced fearlessly in front of a huge crowd, imbued with the spirit of the drums and the chants. We learned that those children from the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland are taught the respectful care of their dance regalia, the meaning of the icons and that their cultural heritage is sacred and unique. The seminar went on to feature a discussion about the horrible ways American Indian art and cultural icons have been hijacked and the hard work contemporary Native Americans are doing to regain control and respect for their culture.

I drove back to my home in rural Molalla thinking  how mortified I would be if any of those committed, protective and passionate Native Americans came Molalla and saw the racist, tacky ways Molalla has appropriated Indian symbols, starting with the  lurid orange clip art  Indian cartoon mascot it clings  to in spite of the ban. Molalla High School has rows of lockers stenciled with the heads of Indian chiefs, a giant scoreboard that is a softball with an Indian chief head on top and a soccer meet teepee ceremony. The cheap clip art Indian chief head is used all over town to advertise the local phone company. Students dance, sweat and dribble balls on the head of the Indian chief cartoon embedded on the floor of the gym. A pseudo- Indian ceremony is acted out when school starts at the High School. There is nothing honorable about the use of these symbols in Molalla. Molalla has instituted a culture that’s a 1950’s version of a Walt Disney summer camp for white kids. I am profoundly ashamed to be a taxpayer in the Molalla River School District.

I have spent over a year trying to inform Molalla about the need to move on and abandon the clip art cartoon Indian mascot, so I left that seminar both inspired and dismayed.  I have learned how professional educators and psychologists have found Indian mascots to be destructive to the self image of Native American children because those stereotypes limit their vision of what they can become in contemporary American society. I participated in two hearings last spring before the extremely professional and patient State School Board. The April 27th hearing more than convinced me that all the districts with Indian mascots are failing to teach about the need to respect diversity and civil rights.

A racist 2006 half time display in Molalla featuring a half naked pretend Indian with a target on his chest triggered the the ODE to ask that Districts voluntarily replace Indian mascots by the end of 2011 and yet virtually none did anything to honor that ask. I begged the Molalla school superintendent, high school principal and school board well before the start of the hearings to inform the community about the issues that would surely lead to a ban and my district did nothing. I have written endless published letters and used social media to tell all I was learning about the need to abandon the cartoon lucky charm Indian mascot.

But today, Molalla is still in full denial, not only about the Indian mascot, but also about its deeply entrenched bullying and racial harassment problems. Molalla recently refused free diversity training. The white power privilege thrust in Molalla has gone from using the excuse that it is too expensive to get a new mascot to a school board member recently circulating a poll asking how much the community would be willing to have the district spend to sue the ODE to keep the Indian mascot.

I firmly believe that only by giving the ODE the ability to impose sanctions will we eliminate these horrific racist stereotypes from our public schools. The history and professional testimony about mascots is online at the ODE site and accessible to anyone willing to learn the facts. But I am old enough to have witnessed the denial that accompanies the need for social change, including the struggle in the 60’s for civil rights, the struggle for women’s rights, the fight over Title 9, fights over handicapped access, mainstreaming and the current struggles for Latino rights.

The bills before you would perpetuate racism and would do a huge disservice to all students in districts that cling to racist symbols. There can be no excuse for trolling to find an acceptable level of racism in our public schools. I believe all students should by now have been taught about the contemporary Native American work to gain control and respect for their cultural icons. We should not be sending students out in the world from these  isolated districts believing it is morally acceptable to use our smallest racial minority as their cartoon lucky charms. If you pass these bills, you will be trashing six years of carefully considered work produced by our excellent State DOE; they are the experts we need to trust to provide universal educational opportunities and to protect the civil rights of all students.

I am very proud that the ODE and State Board did the difficult but necessary work to protect vulnerable Native American students and that we are  leading the nation in the need to respect Native American cultural icons. Please don’t undue that important legacy just because a handful of districts cling to racist symbols and refuse to accept the need to address 21st Century inclusion and diversity issues.

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Molalla: Only Unqualified and Unscrupulous CRONIES Need Apply!

Update 5/4/2013: Whew! The Molalla Council did not pick a new city manager yet – they L appointed a LOL “temporary interim city manager” instead. How’s “temporary interim” for a hilarious title? Can you say “redundant”? That silly title went to Molalla’s public works director, who, to say the least, is not exactly the most customer service friendly guy on the planet.He has a city department phone number but he never answers and he cleverly (!) fails to connect his public works phone number to an answering machine. He must be a registered Luddite – but that does not sit well in “public” service.

So stay tuned to see what poor soul is desperate enough to try to manage Decayville and its Tea Party City Council. That’s truly the definition of a “thankless” task! I still am not certain that crony Council will follow it’s job posting and find someone who fits the qualifications (see end of post for the job search listing, it is VERY SPECIFIC!). But who knows, the more we keep the pressure on, perhaps we can shame them into doing the right thing!

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing” – Bob Dylan

This should hang in Molalla City Hall

This should hang in Molalla City Hall

Molalla is running backwards fast. There was a brief shining minute when Ellen Barnes was selected City Manager in fall, 2011, where fair public process was followed and a qualified employee was hired. But those of us in the know realized that in Decayville, land of self serving insider trading politics, Barnes wouldn’t last – and she didn’t make a year on the job!

Now that Barnes has been run out of Molalla by corrupt and unscrupulous good old boys and girls and a new Tea Party City Council was elected last fall, the path is clear for an April 17th behind closed doors cronyism fest: the City Council will likely appoint a totally unqualified (per its own criteria posted at the League of Oregon Cities job site) man with the initials J.B. to be the next City Manager.

So how, with the League’s job posting closed less than a week ago could I have the audacity to suggest that an out of process, unqualified crony is coming to Molalla?

On April 4, J.B. attended a County meeting with  Molalla’s red, white and blue Councilor Pottle. Pottle had zero to contribute to the County round table but he was crazy enough to rag the County about the lack of the Pledge of Allegiance at the meeting. We don’t care, Pottle, that you served in the immoral Vietnam War. County leaders aren’t beholden to your backwoods views on meeting protocol.

But the nugget at the meeting was hearing that J.B. was ALREADY the choice behind closed doors. And why would J.B. have the inside track? Because he donated to the County’s most unethical Commissioners, Bully Ludlow and Brainless Tootie Smith, Molalla Madame of Vegas Style Weddings! Apparently the unethical twins tried to foist off J.B. in crony payback as the new County administrator.Here’s how Bully Ludlow’s and Brainless Tootie’s minds work:

This is the way the Tea Party/ GOP government job corruption appointments work: is this the way to appoint a City Manager in Molalla?

This is the way the Tea Party/ GOP government job corruption appointments work: is this the way to appoint a City Manager in Molalla?

Luckily the rest of the BCC objected and J.B. has been simply a lowly fire board member. The County will do an orderly job search.

But what about Molalla? The “perceived behavioral control” was the job posting via League of Oregon Cities that was SUPPOSED to lead to a logical decision with community input after a final three were chosen. The City Council PAID the League of Oregon Cities for that process.

The plot got darker when it was revealed the exceedingly lame interim manager was leaving April 24. And lo and behold, there’s an executive session to deal with hiring personnel on April 17! Wow! Could the Council have its League of Oregon Cities’ short list of three candidates in place that quickly?

I’m betting it doesn’t follow the League’s procedure. The Council will use the excuse that since the lame interim City Manager is leaving on April 24, it must act out of process in a great big hurry and cut the public out of the process. That will allow cronyism and corruption to rule.

This is the hallmark of Molalla, the motto that rules the City Council

This is the hallmark of Molalla, the motto that rules the City Council

So the clock is ticking. Will it be J.B. behind closed doors (picked before that April 4th C4 meeting) and with the collusion of the interim manager’s  “urgent” exit on April 24th, likely engineered to make the Council able to claim it has to act in haste? Or will the Council realize their corrupt, unethical appointment smacks of payback, back scratching and outright ugly cronyism? Will they follow the fair and accountable process, including finding candidates who closely meeting the criteria posted?

It’s dangerous to have unethical, puppet Stooges play government “leaders”. It’s even worse when they use their power to boost the unqualified into paid government pork barrel jobs, especially when it is apparent payback for political donation influence peddling!

Molalla City Councilors "running" the job search

Molalla City Councilors “running” the job search

The pathetic residents of Molalla are always the ultimate losers when their Tea Party government keeps nepotism and cronyism in place. The low quality of life city sinks lower because there  is no money for improvements. But you can bet the “little guy” serfs will foot the tax bill to pay for the “staff” and they won’t apparently have a chance to even meet the candidates before the rush to judgement. In Molalla, the good old boys and girls feed at the public money trough and get richer; the little guy’s investments keep tanking.

b unqualified cronyism chart serfs masses exist in poverty and dispair

Don’t laugh at the “masses” in the above cartoon: it’s exactly what happened in Molalla.  First the timber mills raped and polluted the land and those mill owners carried the profits off to “nicer” places. The elected leaders over and over again allowed incompetent and unqualified city staff to make a hash out of the City, further raping the trapped residents. Now the masses lack quality of life and will soon likely face more taxes and fees as the infrastructure crumbles in insolvent Molalla.

Molalla went insolvent catering to speculators. Now it will further tank if it appoints a City Manager because of cronyism! Beware elected leaders who spend YOUR money on crap appointments. Beware elected leaders who put business above YOUR quality of life. Beware the Tea Party, it wants to take you back to the stone age and make you a SERF!

b unqualified Unscrupulous businessman

b unqualified end nepotism

b unqualified liberal vers conservative

YOU don’t need a weatherman to know which way the Molalla bags o’ wind are blowing…

Compare the posted criteria for Molalla City Manager and see if the candidate selected remotely has the background required:

Molalla city manager posting on League of Oregon Cities site (Paid by TAXPAYERS OF MOLALLA):

Molalla – City Manager
Molalla, Oregon, Population 8,100. Salary range $75,000 – $96,000 DOQ plus benefit package. Staff of 33 FTE; annual budget $13 million Position reports to mayor and six-member council.
Minimum qualifications: A bachelor’s degree AND 5 years’ experiences as a city manager/administrator in a similar sized or larger community, or as a department head in a large community, are required. Experience must demonstrate knowledge and experience in Oregon/Pacific Northwest land use; public works (including infrastructure projects); grants procurement and administration; economic development strategies; urban renewal and understanding of state laws relating to the operation of a city, including municipal budget processes and contractual matters and supervision of a police department/chief. A master’s degree and ICMA credentialing would be desirable. Molalla is a full service city offering the following services: police, parks, aquatic center, library, public works, and an adult center.
The League of Oregon Cities is recruiting for this position and the City is the hiring entity.
Send cover letter, resume and references to: Molalla City Manager Recruitment, c/o League of Oregon Cities, PO Box 928, Salem, OR 97308 or email mallen@orcities.org. For questions, contact Mandy Allen at 503-588-6550. Closing date: April 11, 2013.
Full job announcement.
*Posted 02/25/2013

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Help Wanted: Become Molalla City Manager and Commit Career Suicide!

MADAM DECAYVILLE FORTUNE TELLING BOOTH: Do YOU want to be City Manager of Molalla? Read on carefully, I predict career suicide ahead!

MADAM DECAYVILLE FORTUNE TELLING BOOTH: Do YOU want to be City Manager of Molalla? Read on carefully, I predict career suicide ahead!

Are you a wizard with a magic wand?

Do you have Tinkerbell at your side, ready with fairy dust?

Can you slay dragons, print money and ignore state ordinances and  laws without flinching?

Can you spew false propaganda about how great decayed Molalla is doing without blushing?

Can you support the long-standing legacy of a city that wants to hide its plans from the very citizens it plans to impact?

Do you have a finger big enough to keep plugging the holes in the Molalla budget?

Do you love bickering elected officials who are ready to stab you and each other in the back at the drop of a hat?

Would  you enjoy having hordes of greedy speculators nipping at your heels, clamoring for special favors at public expense?

Do you like working with city employees who were appointed and protected because of nepotism? Can you ignore incompetence?

Do you love the Tea Party? How about the KKK?

Do you love racist “Indian” mascots?

Do you hate diversity?

Do you love cult like Churches that don’t pay taxes yet open for profit businesses that  compete with  local businesses?

Can you hold your head up when the rest of the County and State is snickering about what a BLIGHTED and FINANCIAL DISASTER Molalla is?

Can you practice selective enforcement of codes and planning mandates? Are you a quick learner so you’ll know what good old boys and girls will be your puppet masters?

Can you pretend to think positive even when reality tells you there are serious problems?

Are you good at telling half-truths and dodging full public disclosure when problems arise? Do you enjoy ignoring public information requests and hiding minutes of important city meetings? Do you like getting letters and calls from the Clackamas County DA because you refuse to answer public information request that might prove city malfeasance?

Are you ready to be saddled running a city pool that never  breaks even but can’t be shuttered, due to a ridiculous contract?

Are you ready to deal with horrific infrastructure nightmares, like water quality permitting and convincing rural land owners to accept sewer sludge from Molalla’s many years late and millions of dollars short public works department? Or can you convince the DEQ that overflowing sludge ponds are a scenic wonder along Highway 213? Can you help forge landowner permission slips and send employees to pretend they represent the DEQ because your public works department is BROKE AND INCOMPETENT?

Will you enjoy trying to suck up to warring factions – bourgeois “us first” cheap skate  merchants, angry city residents who will revolt if you ask for a cent more money in fees and local environmentalists who will do anything necessary to prevent the city from adding more pollution and contamination to local rural lands, riparian zones and wetlands?

Or, let’s be frank: Are you a good LIAR?

Would you like to use public money to run a city like it’s a charity?

Do you enjoy mixing  church and state?

If you answered YES to the above questions, the  Molalla City Manager  is the perfect job for you!

Don’t apply to be Molalla City Manager unless you look like this:

b magic wizard

And don’t forget your backup, that fairy with a crystal ball you’ll need to protect YOUR career:

If you aren’t ready to slay civic dragons, to keep you finger plugging the ever-growing hole in the shrinking Molalla budget, to inherit lawsuits out the kazoo and to accept endless “me first” whining and insider trading corruption, then beware! Becoming Molalla City Manager is a sure path to career suicide.

If you don’t have MAGIC SOLUTIONS don’t bother to apply.

The former City Manager Ellen Barnes spent a year pawing through horrific past disasters that caused Molalla’s present insolvency. She was rudely run out-of-town because she was a professional realist. It was “shoot the messenger”. When she honestly announced she would not continue in Decayville Molalla, the vindictive City Council hauled her into executive session and tried to force her to leave on the spot with no severance. She was such a sterling professional she refused to leave the city in the lurch and insisted on staying long enough for an interim manager to be found.

Barnes exit interview in  the Oregonian:

Barnes said the year has been a challenging one. “I wish it would have worked out differently, and that we would’ve had better communication, but that’s not what happened.”

She said “philosophical disagreements” contributed to her departure.

“I’m trained to be a professional manager,” she said. “I treat the city as a business. The council doesn’t view it the same way. A lot of the individuals have come into the position and view it as, I don’t want to say a charity, but more they’re here for outreach and support.”

She said the changes she initiated in City Hall to balance the budget created a “culture shock” for council and staff. “The business as usual…where you could spend money without oversight, that changed. It had to change, because of the financial crisis the city was in, and is still in.”

ww.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2012/10/molalla_city_manager_ellen_bar.html

Did you get the “STILL IN” part about Molalla’s financial MESS?

Beware the Molalla City Council – any elected body dumb enough to try to back stab a manager on the spot in closed-door executive session (and lie about it later) and that tried to leave their city with NO MANAGER can easily turn around and do that to YOU!

Let's spin the fortune telling wheel and figure out what the future holds for the City Manager Want Ad.

Let’s spin the fortune-telling wheel and figure out what the future holds for the City Manager Want Ad.

If Molalla was an ethical and honest city, it would post an ad saying:

HELP WANTED: It’s a crap shoot to find a ….

Molalla City Manager

Qualifications:

MUST ENJOY WORKING WITH A DANGEROUSLY SHRINKING SUPPLY OF MONEY!

Must be capable of riding herd on a witless City Council, still filled with Councilors who watched the city take a dive into insolvency while they sat on their hands and kept funding a clearly illegal urban reserve proposal to “see what will happen”.  (But hey, the Molalla Councilors like to ignore the past and “think positive”: toot, toot, get on board the Molalla train with no logic and be ready to jump off when it runs off the rails! Reality need not apply in Molalla).

Must be able to ignore the years of pleas from rural advocacy groups for early disclosure about projects that impact rural lands and residents. Currently, you will be faced with vitriolic wars over wastewater and sewage sludge disposal. It’s always a pathetic struggle for Molalla to face facts about permitting and regulations – as usual, their surly public works “guy” has dropped the ball and left the city scrambling for solutions.

Must be able to look the other way when faced with  incompetent employees.  The files are a mess in City Hall? Too bad, live with it, you can’t fire the perp! Don’t think it’s ethical to pay forever to keep a Molalla cop indited by Clackamas County on administrative leave? Shut your trap because in Molalla nepotism rules.

Must enjoy being ignored when you try to be the voice of reason. The last City Manager – ethical, honest, accountable, transparent, frank, professional – was run out-of-town on a rail after she was honest enough to announce she was looking for another job. Be prepared to be vilified if you attempt to stop the whiny hordes who want money for nothing – it’s a long-standing tradition to toss public money out for private gain and Molalla’s traditions don’t ever die! Molalla insider traders expect City Hall to be run like a charity!

Must be a cloying “people person” capable of smiling through the gloom of Molalla’s never-ending budget problems. Maybe you are a gifted counterfeiter? We’d love to hear about the quality of the money you print, because the way things are going, we might not be able to keep the doors to City Hall open (or pay you!) unless you and Tinkerbell conjure up some magic money. Who knows what new budget problems await?

Must enjoy fielding  lawsuits.  Who cares that you didn’t create the problems – you’ll be stuck with them so be prepared!

Must be ready to deal with the GIANT coming PERS increase and union contract negotiations. Molalla pays for all employees’  health plans (and their family as well!) with NO deductible! Whew! What an insane deal, on the backs of the pathetic citizens who are bled for higher than average property taxes in a town that lost huge property values (and has little hope of recovering those values, due to low quality of life).  And that health plan largesse insanity extends to the entire family of the employee – even if a spouse is covered elsewhere. WOW! That surely will be “fun” to negotiate in the coming contracts. Get out your wizard robe for that coming fiasco.

Must not be frightened away by the endless urban decay. Put on blinders when you drive through town, so you don’t see all the ugly, empty storefronts. Ignore the lack of quality of life features because with ongoing insolvency you can kiss goodby any hope of fixing the cruddy roads, adding needed sidewalks and bike lanes or providing adequate parks. Any hope of a “better not bigger” city was trashed long ago when greedy “stuff em in” development trumped adequate SDCs. It’s all WAY TOO LATE to fix anything in Molalla now, so be sure you’ll enjoy presiding over a growing slum.

Must be willing to “work” with good old boy and girl insider pushers who are trying to re-up the “improperly formed” (i.e. ILLEGAL) EID called TEAM. Get the slogan “Molalla steals from the poor to pay the rich” tattooed on your arm if you want the City Manager job!

Must be able to pretend that dioxin contamination is no big deal and that Molalla will be the next greatest destination for businesses in Oregon ( LOL: don’t worry about demographics or distance from freeways and population centers – just use you magic wand to pump up the economy!).

If you plan to bring your family here, make certain your kids enjoy being bullied. You must endorse a School District that protects racism via its refusal to teach the community why the State of Oregon banned their idiotic lurid orange clip art “indian” mascot.

Could it be that Molalla is so desperate it needs a cartoon lucky charm “indian” to cling to because it has no hope left? Here’s some typical brainless, insensitive, smug, white power privilege  Molalla “indian’ supporters:

indian costumes coolest-indian-couple-costume-2-21313004

And here’s how those racists “honor” Native Americans:

Molalla HS scoreboard - this field is home to "indian" ceremonies and symbols right out of a cheap, tacky summer camp for white kids!

Molalla HS scoreboard – this field is home to pathetic and insulting “indian” ceremonies and symbols right out of a cheap, tacky 1950’s summer camp for white kids! Anyone for cowboys and indians?

STRIKE OUT  should be Molalla’s motto! They’re all soft in the head!

Still interested in applying? Throw your name in the hat and let’s see how long you survive. Serf this blog for an insider view of Molalla’s MANY Walks of Shame.

Don’t forget how the sleazy “leaders” of Molalla treated the former City Manager – you know, the smart, talented, ethical, accountable, transparent one they tried to ride out-of-town on a rail when she was honest enough to say she would be looking for another job: I guess that’s another qualification, not to care when the Council gangs up and vilifies YOU behind closed doors.

You’ll need this sign to keep your spirits up when the nasty shit hits the fan if you try to emulate the great former city manager and inject honesty and reality into Molalla:

The sign left by the former Molalla City Manager for YOU!

The sign left by the former Molalla City Manager for YOU!

Still feelin’ lucky? If you take the job, keep your weigi-board handy so you’ll have the upper hand when the end is in sight and the natives get hostile.

Don't forget to bring your weigi-board so you can say "Good Bye" before the Council fires you!

Don’t forget to bring your weigi-board so you can say “Good Bye” before the Council fires you!

And  Zoltar is always ready to give cogent advice to hapless reality based fools who are naive enough to try to present facts to the Molalla City Council:

If you need a second opinion, don't hesitate to ask ZOLTAR for his opinion - but I'm certain his fortune would be the same: Avoid the City of Molalla like the plague!

If you need a second opinion, don’t hesitate to ask ZOLTAR for his opinion – but I’m certain his fortune would be the same: Avoid the City of Molalla like the plague!

And if you are too cheap to consult MADAM DECAYVILLE, ZOLTAR or even to spin the Wheel of Fortune, then I’ll loan you my book. Believe me, I’ve watched it all go south in Backwaterville Molalla for YEARS and I don’t need any magic to see Molalla’s future is an ever accelerating RACE TO THE BOTTOM!

I'll loan this to anyone foolish enough to try to "manage" the City of Molalla. Forewarned is forearmed!

I’ll loan this to anyone foolish enough to try to “manage” the City of Molalla. Forewarned is forearmed! Don’t let Molalla’s BAD LUCK BECOME YOUR PATH TO CAREER SUICIDE!

BOYCOTT MOLALLA! It’s TOXIC!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Molalla’s TEAM for Economic Development Bites the Dust! It’s ILLEGAL!

(Update: 1/24/2013 Business owners who want a refund for TEAM (EID) funds should write a letter asking for their money back to the City Manager of Molalla. Take the letter to City Hall and ask for a receipt or mail with proof of delivery service.  Business owners may be entitled to recover not just the last two years of “improperly” collected funds but perhaps an addition five years for a total of seven years TEAM (EID) was in existence. The City of Molalla needs to proved that the original first five years represented a “proper” use of an EID. That is starting to look doubtful.)

Look out! An unlucky black cat has clawed out of its bag in Molalla!

Trouble waiting to happen in Molalla! The black cat of bad luck for TEAM has clawed its way to daylight!

Another truth about a big failure in Molalla has come to light.

Molalla’s much detested TEAM for Economic Development, an Economic Improvement District (EID: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/223.112 ) , was “improperly formed” in 2010. I’m guessing TEAM will bite the dust!

b bite the dust

Let’s cut to the chase: “Improperly formed” = ILLEGAL! But will the zip our lips City Council or the Interim City Manager come out with the details about  the RIGHTS of the beleaguered business owners  to recover the money they were FORCED to contribute to the “improperly formed” EID?

No! That would mean that they would anger the TINY HANDFUL of good old boys and girls who have controlled TEAM from the outset. That would mean that business owners in droves would storm City Hall and demand their ILLEGALLY COLLECTED money back!

Some of Molalla’s elected officials are gleefully colluding behind closed doors with the elitist TEAM board and their paid propaganda shill to write a “plan” to try to jam through a new incarnation of TEAM. Good luck on that! Given that businesses IN BUSINESS don’t need phony TEAM and can opt out of any new EID, that will leave a handful of large property owners to fund their own little club.

If you have hundreds of acres of contaminated brownfields and empty commercial dirt to pimp, you need TEAM. If you have greedy dreams of garnering public money grants to “help” you with your speculative dreams, you need TEAM. The rest of the merchants will run screaming for their money back and will choose the opt out if – and that’s a huge IF – a new EID can be formed.

No wonder the owner of this dioxin leeching brownfield wasteland wants TEAM to help him market it using funds ILLEGALLY collected from unwilling Molalla business owners!

No wonder the owner of this dioxin leaching brownfield wasteland wants TEAM to help him market it using funds ILLEGALLY collected from unwilling Molalla business owners!

And did I mention that the vast majority of the good old boys and girls who push TEAM’s  “us first, us only” agenda don’t live anywhere near crumbling Molalla? They take their money and run to better quality of life in rural estates or in high-end Lake Oswego! They are thrilled to grab money from a struggling city but they sure won’t consider living in decayed Molalla or spending their money here.

The previous TEAM propaganda shill “director” collected about $50,000 a year from the “improperly formed” EID and took her paycheck to live and spend in SE PDX. Cool trick if you can get away with it: take the money from a depressed town that can barely keep the store doors open and spend it somewhere nice up in Metro!

Are you getting the absentee slum landlord picture yet? Maybe the TEAM board can have a fund-raising campaign and wear these for fun:

Molalla's Slum Lords see the city residents as marks with money in their pockets - money the Slum Lords want to get!

Molalla’s Slum Lords see the city residents as marks with money in their pockets – money the Slum Lords want to get!

And when the LOL hearings come to try to approve a legal TEAM, the Slum Lords can pass out these bumper stickers:

We'll know who support TEAM when we see these on the Slum Lord cars as they drive out of town to their better quality of life somewhere else homes!

We’ll know who supports TEAM when we see these on the Slum Lord cars as they drive out-of-town to their better quality of life somewhere else homes!

Where did this “improperly formed” TEAM nightmare come from? You guessed it:  a City Council that failed in 2010 to do its homework to ensure they were voting for an EID that conformed to Oregon State law. I can’t imagine a City Council anywhere that has more talent for ignoring state laws and ordinances than the Molalla City Council. This is just part of a long, long, long line of failures to dig deeply for FACTS before a vote that risks public funds on nonsense.

Non-conforming land use plans? City Council voted YES for years, wasting a fortune!

Budgets that entered each year in deficit, contrary to State laws? City Council voted YES!

Retention of  (to be polite) incompetent City Manager, fake planner and lawyer full of bad advice for far, far too long? City Council voted YES!

Form an EID that fails to follow the Oregon ordinance? City Council voted YES!

Defeat a Noise Ordinance because a handful of Buckeroo Animal Abuse Festival Rodeo promoters don’t want regulations? City Council voted YES! Backwater Molalla NEVER puts quality of life ahead of the “needs” of good old boys to make money!

Tell lies and try to hound the only decent City Manager out-of-town overnight? The City Council went behind closed doors and took a stab at leaving the city with no manager! Luckily, the City Manager was ethical and refused to be bullied!

Tell the truth and the whole truth about details of  the “improperly formed” EID? City Council, TEAM and Interim City Manager are SILENT.

In fact, some  elected “leaders” work with TEAM to try save it. They sit in on TEAM propaganda planning sessions to decide what message to dribble to the public to try to mollify resistive business owners who have wanted OUT of TEAM for years. Who cares if the voters and the businesses who oppose TEAM don’t know all the facts when insiders on the City Council have personal businesses interests and want to push TEAM back on the community?

Remember: the theme in Molalla is always to steal from the poor to give to the rich!

In Molalla, it’s always about keeping the whole truth under wraps so self-serving insiders can push that “steal from the poor” agenda.

And certainly the City Councilors, Mayor or Interim City Manager would never have the guts to write an op-ed to explain ALL the facts about “improperly formed” TEAM (don’t you love “improperly formed” as a euphemism for “ILLEGALLY FORMED”?) to the community. They never had the guts to do that in the  past. But the shit will hit the fan as word spreads about ILLEGAL TEAM and the potential for refunds.

This motto must hang in Molalla's City Hall to keep the truth cat in the bag. The good old boys and girls certainly don't want the truth to get in the way of their control of the City Council.

This motto must hang in Molalla’s City Hall to keep the truth cat in the bag. The good old boys and girls certainly don’t want the truth to get in the way of their control of the City Council.

It’s been fascinating to work with the investigator for the Oregon State Board of Accountancy. I filed a complaint about Molalla’s pathetic audits and have been extremely impressed with the interest the investigator is taking in all the sleazy past practices in Molalla – past practices that brought insolvency.

The most stunning statement from the investigator is his assertion that the responsibility for accountability ALWAYS rests on City Councils. City Councilors are elected to protect the electorate, period. There’s no excuse for not FULLY UNDERSTANDING what they are asked to approve.

The Board of Accountancy  investigator has ended his interviews with me with the wistful statement “I sure hope things get better in Molalla someday“.

Get it: “SOMEDAY“. He’s been looking in-depth at Molalla’s records past and present and he clearly knows Molalla is still a house of cards.

Don't miss the pun:  We are all "MAD" here!

Don’t miss the pun: We ARE all “MAD” here on some level!

Here’s a clear and honest account of the rights of the business owners now that ILLEGAL TEAM is out of the bag. Why didn’t the Council have the courage to spell it out for the people? Why did a disgruntled business owner have to be the one to produce this honest list of the rights of those who have been forced to fund the ILLEGALLY CREATED EID called TEAM?:

  • “For those of you who haven’t heard, the City of Molalla is revising the Economic Improvement District. The 2010 renewal was handled improperly, and the City has been improperly collecting funds since that time.If you own commercial or industrial property within the EID zone, PAY CLOSE ATTENTION to the information coming to you from the City and from TEAM regarding the revision/renewal. Key points you should be aware of:
  • 1) The City has to present you with an actual plan for how they intend to use EID funds. “Economic improvement” isn’t specific enough.

    2) You have the choice to opt out. If you do this in writing, the City *cannot* collect EID taxes from you. If 33% of owners opt out, the EID fails and no one pays.
  • 3) If you run a home-based business, you are exempt from the EID – it is for commercial and industrial property only.
  • 4) The EID tax you are charged must be based on the assessed value of your property. The two-tiered flat fee the City was charging is improper.
  • 5) You may be entitled to a refund of EID taxes paid since 2010. (Keep in mind that, if you wrote these expenses off in your own tax returns, a refund would require you to re-file your taxes for the affected years.)
  • Please convey this information to property owners within the EID.”

Why do community members have to do the work to get the TRUTH OUT? Will the City Council ever have the courage to admit their mistakes? Will they ever work for ALL THE PEOPLE?

REST IN PEACE TEAM.  We’ve heard the propaganda lies for enough years and seen the non-results:  ever-growing inventories of empty, crumbling storefronts and piles of money spent trying to peddle worthless brownfields and hideous commercial lands that no one in their right mind would develop. Phony stories from TEAM’s paid shill about a glowing Molalla future that NEVER COMES! And a bunch of business owners HATE HAVING TO FUND TEAM!

Most of all, we’ve seen that the Control Freak City Council continues on its tired old secretive path. The Council seemingly never understands that honest, accountable and transparent government depends upon informing the public and trusting them to use their awareness to inform elected officials how to proceed. Here’s the chart that will NEVER hang in Molalla’s City Hall:

Less control of the message means more control by the people! It's likely never to happen in Molalla!

Less control of the message means more control by the people! It’s likely never to happen in Molalla!

Engagement is a dirty word in Molalla. We’ve already seen that the Council isn’t aware, given the horrific bad choices that keep coming down the pike. People who question are censored or hung up on by elected “leaders”.

Molalla’s failure is its inability to accept MARKET FORCES: tiny, depressed, decayed, far from Metro, low quality of life Molalla isn’t part of the recovery. Let the poor Molalla businesses struggling to survive keep their profits. Let TEAM bite the dust!

TEAM SUCKS!

This TEAM R.I.P memorial would fit right in all over Molalla - maybe TEAM can regroup long enough print posters to post on all the empty lots, brownfields and blighted, empty storefront windows.

This TEAM R.I.P memorial would fit right in all over Molalla – maybe TEAM can regroup long enough print posters to post on all the empty lots, brownfields and blighted, empty storefront windows.

Letter to the editor in Molalla Pioneer published August 2012  ( in response to a glib interview with TEAM’s “director”):

If TEAM’s empty promises, insider trading, street fairs and glib propaganda were economic drivers, Molalla would be the land of milk and honey by now. Sadly, no matter how many “I’ll fix it” TEAM stories the Pioneer publishes, it’s clear that modern market forces aren’t favoring off the beaten path, insolvent Molalla.

If TEAM faced the stark reality that business developers demand ready to go infrastructure, need to locate on major transportation hubs and seek communities with sound finances and great quality of life, it might at least garner a glimmer of respect. It borders on the immoral when you realize TEAM has spent decades taking money from struggling local businesses to churn out nothing but trite, feel good slogans.

TEAM’s incessant drumbeat about the Forest Rd is a clear example that TEAM only represents the interests of a small group of inside traders who think they could personally benefit if the public risked “studying” the financially and environmentally impossible bypass to dioxin contaminated brownfields. The laughable Forest Rd was on the draft economic summit agenda TEAM recently presented to the City Council, along with the false assumption that TEAM could summon the County contract planner on the city’s dime.

TEAM took a grant from Clackamas County Soil and Water, promising that at least 50% of the “farmer’s market” would be produce vendors, but the first three markets had zero produce. When will TEAM wake up to Oregon’s thriving agricultural economy and focus on a winner for a change?

The only “economic development” produced by agencies like TEAM are salaried propaganda positions and incentive give always to developers at the expense of taxpayers. I wrote recently to Governor Kitzhaber to decry a decade of Molalla’s grant abuse; wasted public “donations” total over one and a half million dollars (https://oregonfirst.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/molalla-still-doesnt-understand-that-reality-bites/ – scroll to bottom for detailed grant list).

Molalla, choked with empty, archaic buildings, has no walkable downtown supermarket, yet so-called TEAM for economic development continues to snivel about totally out of scale baloney like a truck bypass. Local businesses forced to fund the TEAM boondoggle are getting ripped off. Molalla’s blighted downtown provides stark proof that TEAM is a loser.

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