A Message From Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - February 10, 2023

Message from Commissioner Bacon


Board of County Commissioners

Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 6th week of 2023.

  • Regular Session. You can find the agenda and recording for this week’s Tuesday’s meeting here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/1d8d8aad-46df-461a-9bd1-44af8c6957ae.
  • Work Session. The agenda and audio for the February 8th meeting can be found here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/Pages/WorkSessions.aspx.
    • Ryan Beach, our Facilities Director, brought for discussion a proposal for 3 electric vehicle charging stations at the Camano Administration Building. This project will come back to the Board several more times before construction begins (for example, we will have to review a contract in work session, then agree to it in regular session)—but I wanted to mention it here today because these 3 EV charging stations will be the first visible things that citizens will actually be able to see and use, showing you that your Board of County Commissioners is serious about taking action toward climate resiliency. This discussion can be heard at mark 00:08:41 in the above audio.
    • Human Services brought to the Board a grant from The Arc of Washington for $8,500 for bilingual/multicultural support for the Parent 2 Parent program, mark 00:29:31. During that conversation, the Board heard the first hint that the County website update will include translation services so that citizens can read our website HTML in languages besides English—mark 00:32:30.
    • You may have noticed from my weekly updates that the regular sessions and work sessions so far in 2023 have been a lot shorter than those held at the end of 2022. At the end of our work session on Wednesday, Commissioner Jill Johnson, County Administrator Michael Jones, and I discussed our concerns that departments seem to wait until the end of the year to bring their projects to us, giving us a plethora of work to complete during a short period of time which sometimes results in us making crabby and hasty decisions. We believe we could make more informed decisions if more of those discussions came to us earlier in the year, long before the Budget process begins, when we have a lot more time available to focus on important policy matters. This conversation begins at mark 00:54:49 in the audio.
    • The next work session for the Board will be held on Wednesday, February 15. You can find that agenda here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/Pages/WorkSessions.aspx
  • You may recall that last year when LIHI first approached the County to purchase the Harbor Inn in Freeland for supportive housing, they committed to holding community meetings to keep the community updated on their plans and issues, and to listen to any concerns and ideas local residents might have about the facility. The first of these meetings has now been scheduled: Monday, February 27th from 6 – 7:30 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland. LIHI has a flyer with a lot more information; I understand that they are putting these flyers up around the community starting today, but if you would like me to send one to you just email me at district1@islandcountywa.gov
  • Last week I wrote about the Island Transit meeting and the Zero Emission Bus presentation and discussion. Those videos are now available (thank you, Derek): the Zero Emission Bus presentation is here: https://www.islandtransit.org/zero-emissions and the actual Board meeting is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mbcd61SscFQ
  • As you know, I serve on many boards and committees. This week I attended meetings of the Island County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) and the Northwest Clean Air Agency (NWCAA).
    • Besides their normal important work tracking forage fish, bull kelp, and so on, the MRC has committed to helping the County with our upcoming Comprehensive Plan, including educating shoreline communities on how they can remain resilient in the face of sea level rise. Much more to come on this.
    • By the way: if you missed Sound Waters University this year, for the next several weeks you can still access recordings of all of the presentations here: https://soundwaterstewards.org/education-center/sound-waters-university/.
    • At the NWCAA meeting we talked about the $4M settlement agreement with Petrogas in Whatcom County, for multiple significant air quality issues. This $4M will be received by NWCAA by the end of February and will be used for future projects to improve air quality. You can read the press release on that settlement here: https://nwcleanairwa.gov/news-release/whatcom-plant-agrees-to-settlement-for-alleged-violations/. There are 60 registered sources of air pollutants in Island County that are monitored by the NWCAA; happily none of them were issued violations or penalties in December or January.
  • The Historical Preservation Commission (HPC) of Ebey’s Reserve is seeking a couple of new members. This is really important work--most development within the Reserve is reviewed for concurrency with a set of Design Guidelines, and if we don’t have a quorum of HPC members at a meeting, citizens can’t get their building permits. If you’re interested in learning more about this volunteer position, contact Lisa at lisa@pacificnorthwestartschool.org or Marie at ebeysrm@gmail.com. If interested in applying, contact me.
  • I want to keep the issue of wildfire safety in front of us all this year. Hopefully providing reminders all year will help all of us (including me!) take the steps necessary to prevent a disaster. This week: Fire Safe Cooking (cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires in America).
    • Don’t cook if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol, or have taken medicine or drugs that make you drowsy.
    • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
    • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly. Remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
    • Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge.
    • Keep cooking surfaces clean and free from anything that can catch fire.
    • Never lean over a lit burner.
    • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves while cooking. Loose clothing can catch fire if it touches a gas flame or an electric burner.
    • Check the kitchen after you finish cooking. Make sure the oven, burners, and other appliances are off.
    • If a fire starts, stay calm and get out. Once out, call 911 or the fire department from a cell phone or a neighbor’s telephone. Have an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your house where first responders can see you.
  • Monday Tea with Melanie occurs most Mondays, including next week on the 13th, at 3 pm at the WiFire Community Space, 1651 E. Main Street, Freeland. Tea is on me. The following Monday, February 20th, will be a holiday (President’s Day) so I will not be there on that day.


“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” 

 ~ Barack Obama