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Grant County Commissioner, Sheriff send letter to Gov. Inslee regarding urban/housing construction



-Ephrata, WA


The Commissioners of Grant County, the Sheriff and Prosecuting Attorney have written the a letter to Governor Inslee addressing Grant County’s concerns with the current Moratorium of the Stay Home, Stay Health Proclamation.


In the letter the the commissioner, attorney and sheriff ask Governor Inslee to reconsider adding urban/home development to the essential business list to operate during the COVI-19 pandemic. They wrote in their letter,

“Within the Columbia Basin there is a significant need for affordable housing. The current moratorium on development of single-family residences is having the effect of further distancing the affordability gap within our community.”

They continued in asking fir the re-opening of small business mostly in Grant County.

“Small businesses in Grant County are ready to reopen and are prepared to take the necessary  precautions to help stop the spread of the virus e.g., maintain social distancing; wear protective facial  masks; and wash hands frequently.”

Commissioner Tom Taylor asked Governor Inslee’s Central Washington Regional Representative Salvador Salazar asking why is construction of Key Arena, in Seattle, considered essential, but construction of single family homes in Grant County is non-essential?


Construction of the Key Arena is deemed essential because it needs emergency construction according to a report by the Seattle Times.


The only exceptions are construction related to essential activities like health care, transportation, energy, defense and critical manufacturing; construction “to further a public purpose related to a public entity,” including publicly financed low-income housing; and emergency repairs.


KeyArena construction is exempt under the last two carve-outs, Leiweke said. The arena is a public facility, and time is short to reattach the arena’s 44-million-pound roof to its permanent support posts. The roof has been held up by temporary posts since late last year.

The three public officials of the county weren’t the only ones to address the governor about reopening the eastern and central portion of the state. Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward wrote letters and have been speaking to the governor over several phone calls saying that there are huge differences in economics in Central and Eastern Washington than in Western Washington.

“We don’t have big companies that can boost our economy like Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing,” Woodward said. “Our backbone of our economy is small businesses and that’s what’s been shut down.”

As of April, 23rd there are a total of 151 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 8 currently being hospitalized just in Grant County with Quincy continuing to be the county’s epicenter at 50 confirmed cases followed by Mattawa at 37 cases and with Moses Lake just behind at 31 cases following Moses Lake is Ephrata at 14 cases.

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Here is the contents of the letter: Re: Moratorium of Construction and Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation (20-25) Dear Governor Inslee, The Grant County Board of Commissioners, Grant County Sheriff and Grant County Prosecutor again implore you to reconsider the moratorium on the construction of single-family residences and to also begin the opening of small businesses within Washington State and specifically, Grant County. Within the Columbia Basin there is a significant need for affordable housing. The current moratorium on development of single-family residences is having the effect of further distancing the affordability gap within our community. Yesterday, Commissioner Tom Taylor spoke with the Governor's Central Washington Regional Representative Salvador Salazar about this. Commissioner Taylor specifically asked questions concerning construction projects i.e. public vs. private interest. Why is construction of Key Arena, in Seattle, considered essential, but construction of single family homes in Grant County is non-essential? Mr. Salazar did not have an answer to that question and Commissioner Taylor requested an immediate response from the Governor. Small businesses in Grant County are ready to reopen and are prepared to take the necessary  precautions to help stop the spread of the virus e.g., maintain social distancing; wear protective facial  masks; and wash hands frequently. There is no doubt these are unprecedented times for our State and Nation. The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak is forecasted to have a significant impact on our local, national, and global economy. We urge you to amend the Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation. Sincerely, Grant County Board of Commissioners Grant County Sheriff Grant County Prosecuting Attorney

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