Montesano Common Sense

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November3, 2017    Just in, I have been told by a reliable source that the rest area is off the table at this time (it was not included in the State Operating Budget).  Like the rat you swatted with a broom, it may not be dead.

November 3, 2017.  It's been a few days since the meeting.   I have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of folks.  Those who walked out of the meeting are calling BS on the  presentations as it appeared the city's choice had already been made.  

There was serious discussions about the meeting's legality as the Legal Notice said it would be a Council Meeting, called to order about 7pm for the purpose of taking comments, information, etc. from the community.  Since no opportunity was made for PUBLIC comments (sure there were one-on-one comments to each of the project suggestions but NO PUBLIC question and answers as indicated in the legal notice.    

None of the folks I have spoken to are in favor of a roundabout except one an they thought a light would be OK.
There are a lot of comments on KBKW and many Facebook pages.  I have a poll going on at Nextdoor North Monte that closes soon (about 150 members) and will post the results when it closes.

One person became very emotional and told me he thought the Mayor made a decision to get a roundabout and went through all the steps to make it appear it was good for Montesano, regardless of what people who use that intersection want.  He also believe it is an attempt to funnel people north into the main part of town, just as the original attempt at getting a rest area.  I am trying to get  him to write something I can post here.      Ken Estes

November 2, 2017  From a question by Robert Hatley (he would make a great Councilman) on Facebook, I posted the following.   Long read but click here.

   October 30, 2017   Disappointing night. The people were bamboozled!   Hoodwinked!  Waited for the words Trick or Treat, but no Treat was coming.   There was NO meeting, just an open house not allow everyone to ask questions, here the answers or make comments only talk to the men at each station. Each man told me this was a means of collecting opinions that would go to the city council for them to "make the choice of what the city wanted". Then the city would notify DOT and DOT would make the decision based on that and what DOT engineers would say. However, there was a DOT employee there who told me, that whatever the city wanted that is what they would get.
About 50-60 persons came and went over the time period with most leaving when they heard there was not going to be an opportunity to speak or give their opinion openly. Instead they were offered a card by the City to mark a preference of the suggestions.  This advertised "meeting:" was like going to a candidate night and the candidates were scattered around the room instead of them going forward and expressing their platform. I would believe whatever comes of this will not be what citizen’s want or expect and will not improve the turning of 30-36 wheel truck/trailer rigs onto SR 107. But it is coming.
Oh four-way stop signs?---too cheap of a solution; there is already $550,000 of your tax money already allocated.

Here is some website called Cut the Crapola and their view of the meeting (this person is NOT me!)


This may be your last chance to stop the Roundabout and the "rest area"  
Montesano City Hall, up-stairs at 7PM on October 30, 2016

October 26, 2017  Click here for an Opinion by former Mayor Ken Estes with his rebuttal of Mayor Samuel's Opinion piece of Oct 12-17

October 11, 2017 Click here for an Opinion  by Former Mayor Doug Iverson with his rebutal of Mayor Samuel's Opinion piece of Oct 12-17

October 12, 2017 Click here for a "Opinion: Let's work together for a better Montesano" written by Mayor Vini Samuel.   The Mayor said "So, we need to correct the record after a lot of misinformation from former mayors Ken Estes and Doug Iverson. Because facts do matter."
Our basic rebutal is "it is a mater of opinion".  We do not believe the Rest Area would profit Montesano, but in fact cost us.  We do not believe the roundabout can be built in that small area (that would permit truck traffic) without 'taking' of private property or distruction of the wet land.  

October 11, 2017  Click here for a letter to the editor

September 22, 2017   Click Here for a Letter to the Editor regarding this meeting written by two former mayors and submitted to the Vidette Paper.

September 22, 2017 The Vidette has reported (on page A-6) of the September 20 paper, that there will be a meeting (unknown where or time) on October 30.   We urge all to mark their calendars and come let you opinion be heard! Click here for the Vidette "news story".
AUGUST 22, 2017   4PM
We have been silent for a while: (1) waiting for the WSDOT to make some notice of activity and (2) prepping for what action we would take if WSDOT intended on building a Roundabout at the intersection at the exit of Highway 12 and Main (SR 107).

As we have stated here and at council meetings, the intersection is much too small for a roundabout.   We believed (perhaps wrongly) that the roundabout had something to do with and was conceived in conjunction with the City’s push for a rest area and to “beautify” the city south entrance.   And we have shared with you, the mayor and the city council, (we believe a majority of the city agree) that a "Rest Area" which will become known as the Highway 12 toilet, maintained by city taxpayers and causing traffic jams at several downtown intersections was not a good match with beautiful Montesano.  But we will fight that fight if it comes up again!

The WSDOT didn’t give notice to the public; however, the City of Montesano advertised in the legal pages of The Vidette on August 17 and 24, for a consulting firm that will provide a civil engineer (which we thought was the reason for a high paying new PW Director) for the purpose of creating ”Preliminary and final engineering design and construction support for street improvements”.  And the next line in their story says, “The city has received funding from the State of Washington, WSDOT for improvements to the intersection of the west bound off-ramp from Highway 12 to Main Street.”  

This new consultant engineer will be task with “technical assistance with public involvement activities to be conducted by WSDOT”.   This public involvement to WSDOT will be for the selection of the specific intersection improvement.  The Legal Advertisement says also that the options for that intersection will be “traffic signalization, re-channelization or COMPACT ROUND-ABOUT”.

So this is the trick---A State Representative (not one who represents the 19th Legislative District) inserts $550,000 into the Transportation budget (at the request of the mayor) and the obliging House Majority approves the transportation budget.   Then WSDOT then gives the funds to the City of Montesano to begin the project.  And even though they say there will be three choices of “improvement” we know which one the city wants—ROUNDABOUT!

What is next?   We suggest you attend a council meeting and tell them  

(1) There have only been two fender benders (minor accidents) at that intersection in the past 10 years (info from WSDOT)

(2) Your concern of the closeness of buildings on the Northwest, public wetlands on the Southeast and would create limited entry to private property.

(3) If it isn’t broke, send the money back to the state for real problem areas.

(4)  you do not want the city to proceed with any type of Roundabout

(5) Suggest a roundabout be put on the next ballot.  (we believe if the majority of the users of that intersection want it, so be it).

Some General Information they don’t publish in the local papers:

Large 36 wheeled semi-truck-trailers cannot maneuver an 80 ft (current space) roundabout.  Enlarging the space only takes public and private property that is not currently needed.  A traffic back up from the Rail Road tracks (7 cars) would then block a roundabout.  Unless a courteous driver was to stop before the roundabout, no traffic could turn south or west.   North bound traffic on Main would be difficult for Vehicles towing RV trailers or Boat trailers wanting to enter those businesses (or maybe that is why a roundabout is suggested?)

The Daily World reported on August 18, 2017, traffic was stopped on State Route 8 for the delivery and installs of two bridges-one 110 ft. the other 160 ft.  That length of a rig would not be able to make a turn on a roundabout.  A truck carrying large steel pilings (perhaps 100 ft. in length)--same problem.  
Other Permitted, over-length and over-wide loads turn left from Hiway 12 going south onto SR 107 on a regular basis.  Talk to any truck driver and he will tell you turning left on a roundabout is not easy.  Today (as we post this) there is no difficulty for these vehicles to wait till the traffic is clear and make their turn.  If control is needed (beyond Stop signs) a Signal would work best.

We will post signs when we know the date of public hearings and encourage you to turn out—if you want a roundabout or not, it will be time to make your voice heard!   

Previous Comments:

May 9th 7pm   Please come to support speakers (you can speak as well!) against the roundabout at the City Council Meeting.  You only have to be there at the beginning and you are free to leave after the first Public Comment period.  A few minutes of your time could convince the Council we do not want a Roundabout!

This was an OP-ED piece printed in The Vidette  May 4th

By Ken Estes
The Vidette

     Just suppose, you are driving to the beach, in your fully loaded RV, from Seattle.  The kids are calling for a pit stop.  Ah you see the sign – Rest Area—and pull off.  Next you navigate a small roundabout and wait for the traffic to clear the railroad crossing.  Finally the traffic clears and you pull into a small, nearly full parking lot; ahead you see two small restrooms.  After waiting out the line, it is the kids (and your) turn.   Done--you are ready to get on the way, but now the exit seems to point you into the small down-town.  Traffic is snarled as you try to navigate the busy narrow streets.  Finally you turn at the only signal light in town and head back to the highway, cursing the moment you decided to make the stop rather than using your own facilities.  With kids munching on the snacks brought from home, you are headed out of this obvious attempt to force you to visit the merchants.  Never again at this stop, you mumble to yourself.

    Suppositions over, several of us have attended many council meetings in Montesano for one purpose: to request the council call for a public meeting to find out if the residents really want a roundabout and a rest area in our city.  It would be a major change in our small town.   We have been firm but polite and due to the room’s acoustics, have had to raise our voices to be heard.  We are not against our Mayor, there is no “sour grapes” discourse, just a simple request to the council–find out if the community wants either.  At a recent non-government sponsored meeting of concerned citizens, one person wanted both, two persons wanted to hear more about the roundabout (but were against the rest area) and 24 people wanted neither.  It tells us one thing—most folks are not interested in either proposal.   Just among a few friends over 200 signatures were collected from people not wanting the rest area or roundabout.

    On April 18, in a Daily World  and The Vidette in a letter to the editor, more information about the roundabout was given by a non-resident of Montesano than most residents have heard to date.   Although the state budget has not been passed, we were informed $500,000 was appropriated for engineering studies and that the idea of a rest stop would bring a portion of a million tourists in to town; an economic development.   No facts to prove this could happen, just an idea.   And no true idea the city could afford it.

    Communities survive by building within, by encouraging businesses that tourist (or even locals) would shop at; encouraging use of our city’s RV parks; truly find a niche that the city would fit in—not just hope it would occur after using supposedly hard to get “state” taxpayers money to build a rest area and roundabout!     The Mayor told us to bring other ideas—How about cleaning up under the highway overpass and putting a nice WELCOME sign, surrounded by beds of flowers and shrubs.  Request the RR remove the tracks and fix the bumps in the eastbound exit would be a great help.  How about finding out if a business would be interested in using the old park and ride?  That would create more money to the city and would draw people to Montesano to shop?  Better than a couple toilets.

    One comment the writer had that was proven truthful was to get involved.  We urge you to do just that.   It is our town and our money.    Suppositions and name calling in letters to the editor will get us nowhere.

September 7, 2017 in an email from Doug Streeter, City Clerk he said:
From: "Doug Streeter" <>
Date: September 7, 2017 at 9:16:35 AM PDT
To: <>
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Doug, saw your letter and wanted to get you some information on process.
The traffic study that was done was only in draft form and not finalized.  WSDOT has requested a final report so the City requested qualifications from firms.  Once the firm is selected and a final report complete, it will be submitted to WSDOT.  After that, WSDOT will coordinate public workshops on the options.  People will be able to come and talk with WSDOT and the traffic study firm.  WSDOT will take all the information they receive and make a final decision.  The intersection is controlled by them so they get the final say on design.  The LeMay project was privately funded so there were no public meetings, this is not the case for the Montesano project.  
WSDOT will host an open house type forum, most likely upstairs at City Hall.  We will notice the meeting dates and times in the Vidette as well as post them around town.  I will make sure we get one at the Library and Senior Center.
Let me know if you have any questions,
Doug Streeter, CPA

4-17-17  Hearing a lot of locals saying they are afraid of speaking up against the Roundabout and the Rest Area.  Wanted to share with you a statement made by Ronald Reagan:  "If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he'll eat you last."

4-13-17  Here is a copy of the Letter to Editor Doug wrote:

Thu Apr 13th, 2017 6:30am  The Vidette Newspaper e-Edition

Dear Editor,
Is there anyone out there that can explain to the Montesano City Council that their role is to look out for the needs of the residents of Montesano, not to please the mayor? It appears that Mayor Vini Samuel is marching the city council down the path to approve her idiotic plan to build a Rest Stop/Roundabout in town. With the exception of maybe one or two council members, the rest appear to be marching in step. Can’t these people think for themselves, instead of being “bobbleheads” for the mayor.
On March 16 I helped organize a meeting for the general public to discuss the rest stop/roundabout project and have a chance to ask questions. The mayor was unable to attend, so Councilman Dan Wood did the honors. The attendee’s had many questions and appeared incensed when they learned that the city had already spent $13,000 on this project.
Long story short, at the end of the meeting, I asked the group to participate in a straw poll. Of the 24 people left in the room, here are the results: One voted for the project, two were undecided and the remaining were opposed. Newsflash — the citizens of Montesano don’t want this ridiculous project. They want their roads repaired and the basic services provided by most cities.
People, you need to wake up and make yourselves heard. If not, you are going to have this albatross shoved down your throats. I went to the last city council meeting to discuss the results of the public meeting and it fell on deaf ears. Most of the council wouldn’t even make eye contact, instead staring intensely at the papers in front of them as though they were looking for Waldo. I encouraged council to set up a public meeting so they could hear from their constituents, because we know the mayor isn’t about to. Mayor Samuel knows what is best for this town. Remember Wi-Fi? This was supposed to bring hordes of people into town and boost the economy. How’s that working? That was her first “build it and they will come” project.
I have done what I can and now it is up to you.
The Committee for Common Sense is currently collecting signatures from people who oppose this project and we plan to present them to city council on May 9. It would be great if a couple hundred of you would be willing to show up to show your support. You don’t have to talk, just show up and demonstrate to these elected officials that you want them to do their job. Remember, this group ran on the idea of transparency in government, so far all we’ve seen is MUD.
Show up on May 9 (6:45 p.m. at city hall) and demand that at the very least, the rest stop/roundabout project be put up to a vote of the people. This will ensure that the people’s needs are met, not our elected officials. We need your help.
Doug Iverson


4-11-17   Council meeting:
Two people spoke up for the Rest Area, suggesting more people would stop to shop in town, with the opening of the rest area.  (If this dream becomes a reality it will clog the streets and even locals will stay away from down-town.)
They also suggested the Roundabout with a fountain would "beautify" the downtown entrance.  This was the first most of us had heard anything about a fountain and later the Mayor clarified with saying the original plans had changed to a “compact” roundabout.  An engineer from (SCJ Alliance-same folks who made up the drawing for the Clemons Road/101 roundabout) who did the original drawings, described a compact roundabout could be built in a 90 ft. circle allowing large truck/trailer rigs to “ride” an inside slightly elevated paved path to clear the rear wheels.

Too bad he didn’t speak to a few chip load drivers or lowboy with giant excavator or trailer with long power poles, he might have had a little more knowledge of who uses this intersection.

From this council meeting we learned the Rest Area may be dead for this session but would be brought back for the legislative session in 2018.  This being the case we must be vigilant.   However as the mayor announced at the last meeting, $550,000 will be available for the DOT to “study, design and permit” a roundabout IF DOT thought it would be the best way to safely move traffic.  As we have tried to explain in this website, permitting will require considerable Wetlands use---Both the Department of Ecology and the Corps of Engineers would have to sign off to get that done.

3-28-17  Montesano Council Meeting, Mayor Vini Samuel presiding.   In her comments near the end of the meeting, the Mayor informed the council and the 5-6 citizens in the audience, that the House Transportation Committee had approved $550,000 for work at the exit from the freeway onto Main.  She also said the Senate Transportation bill included funds for the rest stop and the roundabout.  Now it was time for the Senate and the House to agree on the final transportation budget and she held out "hopes" that the money would be appropriated for her projects.  You can listen to the excerpt of that report HERE.  Note that it keeps repeating and you can click to stop.

It appears there will be no public meeting regarding this and when the funding is approved (and it will be unless some small miracle occurs).  All the more important that we speak up--Letters to editor, on social media, sign petitions and speak out at council meetings.   The Committee for Common Sense will meet soon to discuss future steps and that will be posted on this page.

Meeing was held.  Lots of input (go to meeting notes) and click here for Dan Wood's Power Point Print Out.  Thanks to Dan for attending and his presentation.  It created lots more comments and if you can take the time to read through those pages, you will get a lot more information than even we have gotten.  Has it changed our mind's?  Well not yet, but this thing is still in planning stages and if funds are found from the Legislature, it seems doubtful if you will every get any input as to do you want a round about or a rest area or do you have better ideas?  See you on our Meeting notes page.

Ken Estes


A Community Meeting has been set up in Montesano to discuss the proposed Rest Stop/Roundabout project that the mayor has been promoting.  This will provide the public with an opportunity to learn the specifics about this project and get answers to their questions.  The meeting is set for 7 PM on Thursday, March 16 at the Montesano Community Center located between the Beehive and the Organics 101 Store on Main Street.    

The mayor has been invited to attend the meeting to explain the planning and specifics of the project.  We hope that she can attend or delegate someone else to fill in for her.  The public has had very little input on this proposed project, since there has not been any Public Hearing.  Hopefully, this meeting can provide the public with the details and planning that went into this project.  

In the meantime, a petition has been developed and will be circulated around town.  We realize that many people will not be able to attend the meeting so the petition is one way for them to express their thoughts on this project.  Along with the petition, an information sheet has been developed listing the biggest concerns identified regarding this project.  There has been a web site developed to provide information,  For more information please call me at 249-5374 and I would be glad to discuss it further.  

Montesano cannot afford to gamble on this ill-conceived project.  It is highly doubtful that the revenue generated by this project would even cover the maintenance costs.  This would leave the City with additional costs out of a budget that is already stretched beyond it's limits.  Why spend $2 million dollars on a two seater Rest Stop and Roundabout and have to pay additional expenses as well?  The City has already spent $13,000 on this debacle, money that could have been spent on repairing some of the roads.  Let's cut the losses and put an end to this nonsense.  Let's stop this now!

Doug Iverson

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