Letter: Kudos to all who worked on Mount Si Road solution
Many are aware of illegal parking by visiting hikers along Mount Si Road. A proposed new parking lot near 470th S.E. stoked residents' concerns that this would exacerbate the problem. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) held several meetings with residents to address the issue.
Initially, my assumption was that officials would go through the motions then ignore residents' complaints. Surprisingly, this was not the case.
Everyone who attended the meetings had an opportunity to express concerns, and the group prioritized items on a list of possible solutions, with Doug McClelland and Katie Woolsey of the DNR office.
We learned why there seemed to be no traffic enforcement, nor attention to Mount Si Road (budgetary constraints mainly). County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert was extremely helpful in coordinating county departments. Sheriff Urquhart agreed to a one-year trial for cross-commissioning DNR officers to assist his department in parking enforcement. The county roads department installed scores of new "No Parking" signs. Deputies issued citations and towed cars parked in unsafe spots.
In four weeks, the situation has improved and there are now very few illegally parked cars.
We often hear complaints about government entities that absorb our taxes then are AWOL when citizens have issues that need to be addressed. It is encouraging to see that the opposite is true.
A critical factor in this success were the several dozen citizens willing to attend a few meetings, express complaints calmly and reasonably, and listen. It was an exercise in patience, trust, and willingness to meet others halfway. Kudos to all involved.