Letter to the Editor: Residents Will Feel Pain of Winlock Development

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Economic development growth in median wage: fail.

Annual wages for Lowe’s Winlock warehouse jobs calculate to be $34,000 to $42,000. Lewis County’s average annual wage in 2019 was $44,692, below the state’s average of $69,615. Lowe’s Winlock positions pay $17 to $21 per hour. Lewis County’s median hourly wage in 2018 was $21.46, below the state’s median hourly wage of $25.98. 

Economic development to improve infrastructure, prepare for future needs: fail. 

The traffic impact study expects 2,600 big rigs every day, 24 hours a day. That’s almost two trucks a minute. An endless big rig traffic jam. 

It’s September 2021. Lowe’s warehouse is nearly completed. The train-like convoy of 2,600 big rigs a day is coming. An inadequate Exit 63 Interstate 5 interchange. Eighteen-wheelers grinding up and down olde tyme two-lane state Route 505. Elected leaders, you have zero road improvements and zero fire or EMS upgrades in place for us, your Winlock constituents, taxpayers. No infrastructure upgrades have been completed, let alone started, to counter traffic jams, fender-benders, injuries and worse. Increased medical aid, fire and police response time. 

Public safety response times may also impact Toledo residents.

Elected leaders, please tell us how Winlock residents are supposed to safely navigate 2,600 big rigs a day? The retired folks at Bay’s and Shell customers are expected to negotiate this heavy 505 traffic safely? How? The Knowles-505 interchange is another nightmare. South and North Military-505 intersections need to be aligned and incorporated into one interchange for improved traffic flow. Elected leaders, have you imagined the added daily nightmare-mix of school buses, cars, pickups, parents, kids, fire trucks (including the new ladder truck), ambulances all tangled together along with the never-ending train-like convoy of big rigs from Benaroya’s giant truck terminals on North Military Road.

Economic development public safety: fail. 

Winlock Fire Department (Fire District 15) has been left out of the public safety conversation. The huge Benaroya development triggers the demand for a new multi-million-dollar ladder truck and a new fire station to store it. 

There is a finite number of commercial properties in Lewis County within strategic proximity to the I-5 corridor. The out-of-town fat-cat investor handouts must stop.

Elected leaders: Please tell us Winlock residents how you’ve planned to fund Benaroya’s Lowes Winlock infrastructure. Do not expect your Winlock constituents to fund millions of dollars to cover your out-of-town fat-cat investor handouts.

And Lewis County PUD is looking for $9-$12 million dollars to fund a new substation and infrastructure to power Benaroya/Lowe’s Winlock; at present the electrical supply temporary.

Sincerely,

 

Eric Bernard 

Winlock