Kennewick School District’s levy information violations

The Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) plans to have an “educational discussion” on June 22 when it meets in Spokane about the rule that prohibits the use of public facilities or funding to promote candidates or ballot measures.

In response to a complaint, the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) fined the Kennewick School District $600 for using public funds for a campaign that “implied support” before citizens voted for the last school levy.

The complaint was submitted by John Trumbo, a Kennewick city councilmember, who filed the complaint as a private citizen.

The district paid a fine of $600 and signed a statement of understanding that laid out what the PDC saw as violations. Even the music, which the PDC said “compounded the emotional feel of the sentiment and reduced the neutrality of the message,” was described in the list of expressions going beyond statement of facts.

A PDC spokesperson told the Observer that the discussion, planned for 2 pm, is included in the agenda because it seems to be an area that other jurisdictions are having trouble with.

The meeting will be streamed on TVW.

Richland will begin Wednesday demolishing a burned-out house at 1344 Thayer Drive

1344 Thayer Drive

The city of Richland has slogged its way through a legal quagmire after the city alleged lack of cooperation from the homeowner and Wednesday will begin demolishing a burned-out house at 1344 Thayer Drive. The cost of the operation may result in a lien on the property.

City Manager Jon Amundson explained in an email to the Observer environmental issues that seemed almost as complicated as the legal issues:

“It’s important to note that no hazardous waste was found or tested for.

“All our work is best practice, precautionary work required by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) and Benton Clean Air Agency (Benton Clean Air) to eliminate any safety risks.

“Background: the structural engineer hired by the City to assess the damaged home deemed the structure unsafe to enter, which barred the City’s environmental consultant from entering the building to test for hazardous material. Fortunately, there are best practices for these situations, but they complicate the process & add a few predecessors to the project start. Per best practices, the City had an AHERA (Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act) project designer develop a work plan titled “Alternative Means of Compliance for the Assumed Asbestos Demolition.” Benton Clean Air and L&I approved this work plan, but there was some confusion from the environmental consultant on the required training for a project of this nature. L&I confirmed that instead of the anticipated 8-hr training listed in the work plan, the demolition crew would need a 32-hour Washington State Certified Asbestos Worker training to complete this work. This training course requires a two-week notification to L&I before the start and takes four days to complete.

“Current: The crews completed the training last week. L&I and Benton Clean Air approved the project & work plan yesterday. Today the contractor will be mobilizing equipment to the site, with demolition starting tomorrow, Wednesday, June 14.”

Richland searches for a developer for its riverfront property

The city of Richland has issued a Request for Qualification (RFQ) seeking eligible companies interested in purchasing or leasing the city’s Bradley Blvd. riverfront property for mixed-use development.

The deadline for submitting a response is July 11, 3 pm Pacific time.

Richland cancelled an agreement with Pacific Partners of Eagle, Idaho when the company appeared to only be interested in residential development on the property.

“The City of Richland is seeking qualified proposals from firms interested in the opportunity to purchase or lease and develop 22.6 acres of City-owned waterfront property (the property consists of three tracts located along Bradley Boulevard (Blvd.), Tracts D, E and a portion of Q of the Plat of Columbia Point, Richland, Washington),” according to the RFQ obtained by the Observer through a public record request.

The RFQ specified that, “Developers must acquire or lease the entire property,”

The 22.6 acres includes 9.7 acres of a former landfill. The landfill portion corresponds with the area of the property that was rezoned in October 2021 from Parks and Public Utilities to Waterfront District that allows commercial and residential water-oriented uses.  


Developing buildings on the landfill portion would require remediation so the city has hired a Vancouver, Washington, engineering firm to assess the possibilities.

On March 7, 2023, the city council approved a contract with Maul, Foster and Alongi Inc. “to characterize the lateral and vertical extent and general content of solid waste material in the landfill.”

By August, Maul is to provide a report that will provide, “. . . up to three alternatives for landfill reclamation. Each option will consider implementation feasibility, impacts to the community and environment, and conceptual cost to prepare the landfill area for redevelopment. Alternatives will be considered based on regulatory and land use policy review, a market assessment, and input from the community.”