It was a fairly full house at Monday night’s City Council meeting. Many came in support of Darrel Gaydeski, who has a plan for a business that he says may bring 50 jobs to the community.
Before the meeting got started Gaydeski handed out an email, dated July 9, he had sent to the mayor requesting that he be placed on the agenda for an upcoming council meeting (July 13). He also supplied those in attendance with a letter from Interfor responding to his desire to rent the former mill facility at the Forks Industrial Park. Gaydeski is hoping to rent the former mill for a cannabis growing operation.
The letter stated that the company would be willing to terminate their lease with the City in order to enable another party to be able to lease the warehouse directly from the City.
When the meeting got underway Councilwoman Juanita Weissenfels told Mayor Monohon that she is getting questions from the community regarding Gaydeski’s plan and could it be discussed. The Mayor said he would forward Gaydeski’s request to City attorney Rod Fleck. Fleck was not in attendance.
The Public comment period got underway and Gaydeski was asked if he would like five minutes, he declined at that time, and others went on to speak.
Lissy Andros Forks Chamber Director shared that the visitor center had 5000 visitors in June. It was more than the number had last June. She also said the Chamber was sponsoring a movie night Thursday night at the RAC.
Next Mark Soderlind, Forth of July President, reported on the Fourth and float activities. He shared several recent awards and a ribbon won last weekend at Clallam Bay/Sekiu Fundays, where they took first place, he admitted that they were the only float.
He said the Fourth took in $34,000 and spent $38,000 “just like true government” they spent more than they took in! He also spoke about the new food booth that cost the Fourth committee $8,000 and that most of the work was done by volunteers. He said the float will make an appearance in LA (LaPush) this weekend for Quileute Days.
Gaydeski then requested 5 minute to speak. He asked why he was not allowed to be on the agenda. He told the council members he is trying to promote growth and jobs, and could not figure out why nobody was interested. He said, “I realize this is a gray area,and may not even work, but why don’t we look into it?”
He went on to say it could bring valid jobs to the community. He stated that the buildings were all being demolished. (See photo page 10 regarding the demolition of some of the property.)
When Gaydeski was finished Bob Stark, owner of True Value in Forks, spoke in support of Gaydeski. Stark said, “There are two sides to every story and always one loser.” He asked if Interfor vacates the lease can the City afford to lose the money. He mentioned issues that may exist with federal money having been used in the Industrial Park project and those strings may have a negative impact on the city receiving future federal grants, due to the fact Marijuana is not legal at the Federal level.
He used the Forks airport and West End Thunder as an example of when the Feds said no and the City found a way to work it out. He equated the grow operation as a life raft for the town, “Logging is losing, and we are drowning.” “Are we afraid of being known as the marijuana town? Because now we are the salal town, but nobody calls us that” he added.
Jaymi Goetze also commented that her family has lost jobs with the mill closing and she is in support of the city looking in to Gaydeski’s plan. “There is no reason this shouldn’t be looked into” she said.
Ruth Kettel spoke and she was opposed to the idea. “We have a lot of drugs in our community already.”
Jerry King also spoke in favor of at least letting the idea be brought up to the public.
Ed Ansor and Andrew Hoschar both spoke in favor of discussing the idea. Ansor said, “It is disturbing that we cannot have this discussion.”
The Mayor then said these issues are usually not discussed in a public forum, and that legal council will be talking to Gaydeski’s attorney.
It was also announced that councilman Kevin Hinchen has moved out of the City limits and a process will start soon to fill his position. Hinchen was thanked for his time on the council.
Another item of interest was reported by Dave Zellar, that the city well has dropped another four feet and is at August levels already. The city has another well not currently being used that has promise and may come in to play if things get worse.
After department and council member reports the mayor thanked the community for taking the lack of fireworks for the Fourth in stride. The meeting adjourned just before 9 p.m.