By David Anderson, Tillicum
As there are two rails that make a train track, and a two-way street that provides directional choices, so listening and responding would appear to be integral to good communication.
Not in Lakewood.
Dave Bugher charges the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) with “Inadequate Community Outreach” as regards the latter’s plan to thrust 12 high speed trains per day through the business districts and along the borders of Lakewood’s life-congested neighborhoods.
Ditto that of Tillicum residents who are likewise charging city officials with ‘telling, not asking’ on the thorny and touchy subject of Camp Murray’s gate relocation plans.
Bugher, who is Lakewood’s Assistant City Manager/Community Development, was asked by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to explain what he meant by “Inadequate Community Outreach” especially given the several meetings the city has had with WSDOT – both around the table and throughout the city.
In his May 5, 2010 deposition before the UTC, Bugher writes: “Over several years’ time, WSDOT has held numerous regional meetings promoting its planned rail system improvements. Its staff has made presentations before various bodies of elected officials and community organizations. Generally, the tone of these various activities was not one of identifying and addressing issues so much as informing people the project is forthcoming and refuting any concerns. In numerous cases, WSDOT’s response to our various written comments was along the lines of ‘we came and told you why that concern is invalid’ . . . . Again, community outreach seemed more geared toward telling and not asking.”
Our point exactly.
From Camp Murray’s 1st press release of July 20, 2010 announcing plans for a new gate (Tillicum’s first notice of the project despite the fact that city and Murray staff had already been meeting for two years) to the pending decision on Murray’s right-of-way permit application to build that gate, residents of the Tillicum neighborhood have the distinct impression that “community outreach seemed more geared toward telling and not asking.”
In numerous cases, the city’s response to our literally hundreds of pages of written comments was along the lines of ‘we came and told you why that concern is invalid.’
So, perhaps, now you know how it feels to be railroaded, to be no more than a speed bump, to be told – not asked – how it’s going to be.