The Chronicle - Centralia

'Stop violence against women' community planning meeting planned in Chehalis

Hope Alliance, the Centralia Police Department, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office will host a public meeting to prioritize issues surrounding domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking at 3 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 2.

The meeting will take place in the basement of Umpqua Bank, located at 401 N. Market St. in Chehalis. People can attend in-person or via Zoom at   

For more information, contact Hope Alliance at 360-748-6601.

Chehalis Basin Strategy progress in review: Improving fish passage on Middle Fork Wildcat Creek in Grays Harbor County

More than 140 local fish and flood projects have been completed across the Chehalis River Basin, coordinated and funded through the Office of Chehalis Basin (OCB).  

The OCB board is composed of local officials as well as tribal and environmental representatives. 

These projects are done in cooperation with the Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority, local governments, tribes and the Aquatic Species Restoration team. Together, these projects are part of the Chehalis Basin Strategy to restore aquatic species and to reduce flood damage for families and communities.

This article is part of an ongoing series highlighting projects that have been completed in the basin. The Chronicle has partnered with the Office of Chehalis Basin for this series. Read previous installments at 


Project summary

This project to restore aquatic species habitat is located on the Middle Fork Wildcat Creek in Grays Harbor County. For years, undersized culverts on the creek have prevented resident and migratory species such as coho salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout from reaching important habitat for rearing and spawning. Wildcat Creek, located north of the town of McCleary, is a tributary of Cloquallum Creek, which feeds into the Chehalis River.

To help restore this critical habitat, the Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force and Grays Harbor County Public Works Department worked together to remove three undersized culverts on Summit, Elma Hicklin and County Line roads, and replace them with concrete bridges that span the stream channel. 

This project is part of the Chehalis Basin Strategy’s Aquatic Species Restoration Plan, designed to protect and restore more than 550 miles of prioritized habitat for salmon, steelhead and other aquatic species.


The challenge

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) identified 11 undersized culverts to be replaced on Middle Fork Wildcat Creek due to their negative impacts on fish passage and impairing the natural connectivity of the creek. Eight culvert barriers had already been removed, yet three remained, continuing to keep coho salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout from reaching quality rearing and spawning habitat. In addition, these culverts also caused localized flood damage as debris and water would build up behind the culverts during high water events.

The Project

WDFW engaged the task force and Grays Harbor County Public Works to remove the final three culverts. Since 2005, the task force has helped invest $27.6 million to remove or correct 81 barriers blocking fish passage in the Chehalis River Basin, including 41 barriers located on county roads.

The task force and county worked to replace the culverts with concrete bridges that are passable for all native aquatic species at all of their life stages. They will also accommodate expected higher peak flows due to climate change.

The Summit Road bridge crossing the creek is 43 feet long while the Elma Hicklin and County Line road bridges are 46 feet long each.

This winter, the task force and county will place woody debris along the stream bank to provide refuge and plant three acres of native vegetation to provide shade and keep water temperatures cool for fish. 

In total, this Aquatic Species Restoration Plan project will open over 4 miles of forested rearing and spawning habitat up for coho salmon, and steelhead and cutthroat trout. 

The project cost is $1.7 million, with $1.3 million from the Chehalis Basin Strategy and $424,000 from Grays Harbor County. 

The task force and county designed the project and received permits for the project starting in 2022. Work to replace the culverts began in summer 2023. 


Additional Information

Location: Grays Harbor County, Black Hills Ecological Region, Cloquallum Creek (a near-term priority area)

Sponsor: Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force

Landowner: Gray Harbor County


Parting thoughts: 

“Working with the task force has aided the county with upgrading our water crossing to meet fish passage standards in a cost effective and timely manner. There have been a lot of improvements to the Middle Fork Wildcat Creek basin recently. We are excited to remove the final three culverts and add to the improvements of others in the watershed.”

“Compared to similarly sized projects, this project has good cost-benefit ratio due to low engineering and construction costs. These projects, as well as others with the Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force have been beneficial from both a roads and fish passage perspectives.”

- John Becker, acting Grays Harbor County engineer


Toledo set to celebrate 142nd birthday with a bang

It’s not every day a community turns 142 years old. When it does, it’s cause for celebration.

Lewis County residents can celebrate Toledo’s birthday during an event to raise funds for the Toledo History Museum. The Toledo Historical Society will hold a birthday social from 4 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 7 at Steamboat Landing, across from Donna’s Place. Admission is free with a donation of a Toledo-related item, including but not limited to old photographs, old newspapers, yearbooks, posters and artifacts such as period clothing, flags, bottles, radios, tools, dolls or art.

Donations via credit card, cash or check will be accepted in place of a historical item.

Named after a passing riverboat, the town is one of 11 locations named Toledo in the U.S. and one of 45 around the world.

Attendees should dress in attire of their favorite decade, and voting for best costume will begin at 6 p.m.

Birthday cake, beverages and appetizers donated by Chris and Dan Gorten of Bonanza BBQ will be available. Pat Herold will play live music at the celebration.

Residents and guests will also be asked to share stories of their time in Toledo.

Car prowler shoots at man who confronted him, Pierce County deputies say

A man who shot at another person in Pierce County on Wednesday morning remains at large, sheriff’s deputies said.

Detectives are asking the public to turn over video of the shooting, which took place about 5 a.m. in the 1300 block of 104th Street East in Midland, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

A 911 caller reported he had been shot at after confronting a person stealing from cars in his neighborhood. The man, who was in his car, said the thief took out a gun and shot at him then ran away. The man sustained non-life threatening injuries from the gunfire, the release said.

Deputies attempted to have a K-9 track the gunman but were unable to locate him. Detectives are asking residents in the neighborhood to share any surveillance video that might show the shooting or the gunman.

The release said that the gunman is Black, 18 to 20 years old, 6 feet tall and 120 to 130 pounds. He has shoulder-length black dreadlocks, which were about an inch thick. He was last seen wearing a dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt, dark sweatpants and a black backpack.

Washington Sens. Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell join calls for Menendez to quit

Washington’s U.S. senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have joined a growing chorus of Senate Democrats calling for Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., to resign amid federal corruption charges.

In a statement Wednesday morning, Murray called the charges against Menendez “extremely serious” and the details “deeply disturbing.” While saying Menendez has the right to defend himself in court, Murray said, “I believe he should step down and focus on his legal defense.”

If Menendez refuses, Murray added, “I encourage the Senate Ethics Committee to open an investigation into this, separate from the ongoing criminal case.”

Cantwell, in a statement Wednesday, also called the indictment “shocking and disturbing” and said that while everyone deserves their day in court, “I don’t believe anyone under such a damning indictment can effectively serve, and I urge Senator Menendez to step aside.”

The statements add to those of numerous other prominent Democrats, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who have said Menendez should resign. Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., was the first senator to call for Menendez’s resignation.

Menendez and his wife were charged last week in a sweeping bribery case, with federal prosecutors accusing them of accepting cash, gold and a luxury car in exchange for favors including aiding the government of Egypt and interfering in three criminal cases.

Federal agents who searched his home found more than $480,000 in cash stashed in envelopes, clothing and a safe, and gold bars worth more than $100,000, according to prosecutors.

Menendez has denied the charges, saying the cash and gold in his house were from his legitimate personal savings and kept there for emergencies.

While refusing to resign from the Senate, Menendez stepped down as chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee until the criminal charges are resolved. Senate Democratic caucus rules require members to give up leadership positions if charged with felonies, but allow them to resume those duties if cleared.

It’s the second time Menendez has faced federal bribery charges. A jury deadlocked on the previous charges in 2017, leading prosecutors to drop the case.

New study suggests looser Washington drug laws do not mean more overdose deaths

OLYMPIA — As drug overdoses continue to claim lives and policymakers at all levels try to address the problem, new research examining Washington and Oregon suggests there isn’t a link between decriminalizing drug possession and a rise in fatal overdoses.

The research, a collaboration between the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the Network for Public Health Law and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry on Wednesday.

“Our analysis suggests that state decriminalization policies do not lead to increases in overdose deaths,” said Corey Davis, assistant clinical professor with the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy in the Department of Population Health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the study’s senior investigator, in a statement.

The findings emerge in a year where policy debates flared in Washington over how state law should treat drug possession, culminating in the dramatic April failure of an attempt to rewrite Washington’s law on the last day of the legislative session. State lawmakers eventually met in a special session in mid-May to raise penalties for drug possession after a two-year experiment with a lighter touch.

In 2021, the Washington Supreme Court tossed out the state’s felony drug possession law as unconstitutional. Simple drug possession was in effect decriminalized until legislators put a temporary law into place classifying possession as a misdemeanor. And even when that new law was put into place, police had to refer a person to treatment resources twice before arresting them. (That was changed this year, and the new law allows police to arrest people on the first encounter for drug possession).

In Oregon, drug possession was decriminalized in February 2021 after voters passed a ballot measure the previous November. 

Possession of small amounts of drugs went from a crime to a non-criminal violation with a maximum fine of $100, waived if the person went through a health assessment within 45 days of getting a citation.

The new research used statistical modeling to compare fatal overdose rates in each state in the year after the policy changes were put into place to what those rates might have looked like had those policies not been implemented.

Because there’s no way to know how things would have played out had neither state passed such policies, researchers created synthetic versions of each state using data from certain other states that did not implement decriminalization policies, said Spruha Joshi, a co-lead author of the study and an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. 

The group of 18 states used to create a synthetic version of Washington had similar rates of overdose to Washington before decriminalization, and the same was true for the 13 states used to simulate Oregon.

While fatal overdose rates are increasing across the country, Joshi said, researchers did not see a statistically significant increase in the overdose death rate in either state in the first year compared to what might have been observed if the legal status of drugs had not changed. In each state, the increase amounted to a fraction of a fatal overdose per 100,000 population.

Joshi acknowledged that one year provided limited data, but that it was important to look at the first year, as there was potential for the policies to have immediate impact. She also said it was “extremely crucial” to continue to follow up as more data become available.

The CDC provided funding for the study.

Portland Business News

Oregon House Republicans propose bills to repeal Measure 110 drug decriminalization
Author: Elizabeth Hayes
Measure 110 has come under fire in recent weeks as the drug addiction crisis has worsened.
Oregon Democrats call on McCarthy to present bipartisan bill and avoid shutdown
Author: Demi Lawrence
As the United States nears a Sunday deadline that would force the federal government into a shutdown, Oregon’s Democratic Congressional Delegation is mad, and they’re calling on Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy to agree to a bipartisan deal.

Seattle Times Opinion

A Seattle fish market’s closure reveals the slippery truth of a city divided
Author: Claudia Rowe

The closure of Mutual Fish on Rainier Avenue after 75 years is a metaphor for a city experiencing an epidemic of anti-Asian hate crimes.
A South Carolina newspaper’s path to success and sustainability
Author: Brier Dudley

The success of The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., gives hope that newspapers will find a way to survive and thrive.