The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Rodger Nichols
For The Sentinel 

It's no-go for Nestle


A newly-formed group, the Goldendale Water Coalition, showed up at the Goldendale City Council Tuesday night to thank Mayor Mike Canon for recommending that the city not pursue any water bottling plant options, and to keep up pressure on the council to keep bottlers out.

In his report, posted online as part of the council meeting packet Friday, Canon concluded his promised report by writing, “The development of a proposal with Nestlé would require additional staff and manpower, additional funding for increased manpower and consultant time which could overwhelm the city’s limited budget. Based on the foregoing, I recommend the city take no further action.”

After eight people had spoken supporting the mayor’s decision under the public comments item on the agenda, local businessman Terry Luth took the group to task:

“I heard everybody get up and talk,” he said, “because they’re against Nestlé’s or any such type of item. I’m not against them if they’re controlled. What I am against is the two-facedness of everybody sitting right here. Because the next time there’s a council meeting, Mr. Mayor, how many people are going to be here, besides myself, these two people and maybe one other? None of y’all will be here again until somebody wants to do something in Goldendale to keep Goldendale alive. If you want to get economic growth, then man up and come to these meetings.”

That drew this response from former Goldendale librarian Naomi Fisher: “I’m sorry, but I feel very insulted that you called me two-faced when you don’t know me and don’t know what I’ve done. I really think we can have more constructive conversations about Economic Development in Goldendale if people would quit the reflex of saying, when somebody expresses a concern, they lash out and make personal attacks like we just heard here or they say, ‘Well, you’re just going to be against anything that provides jobs.’” She and others speakers were careful to say they were all for good family wage jobs and were not at all anti-development.

Yakama Tribal attorney Keegan Bordeaux drew the most applause when he cited some specific concerns that generated fierce tribal opposition to any water bottling plant removing water from the Goldendale system.

“Fish cannot survive in the Columbia River without sufficient water quality, quantity, and temperature,” he told councilors, “making every cold water source, including those around Goldendale, vital to the future health of the Columbia River fish. Any threat to these water resources is an attack on the health of our fisheries and the Yakama Nation’s treaty-reserved rights to participate in those fisheries.”

Though council members gave a consensus approval to the mayor’s conclusion, Councilor Guy Theriault asked if this meant that the subject was closed forever. “What I’m asking is, there was a gentleman who brought this to the city’s attention. If he wants to still try to continue researching, doing what the city cannot afford to do, on his own, and brings it to the city’s attention [showing] how this could benefit the city and its residents, is that still a viable option?”

Mayor Canon replied that if the research had been done properly, the city could at least discuss it, leaving the door open a small fraction.

In an otherwise routine meeting, City Public Works Director Karl Enyeart reported crews would be doing crack sealing on city streets, that the sewer project will start on June 26 and run 25 days, and that the bid opening for the Columbus overlay project would be on June 21.

Police Chief Reggie Bartkowski noted that the department had been working very hard, with the officers making 16 arrests recently for drug charges and that he anticipated “a whole bunch more arrests in the near future.”


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