Thank you to Relay for Life supporters

The Relay For Life of Anacortes Steering Committee would like to thank everyone who attended and helped to create a truly amazing American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Anacortes.

A huge thank you to all the incredible sponsors, donors and teams that helped raise over $100,000 in the fight against cancer. A special thank you to the Anacortes School District for allowing us to use Rice Field for the event.

Anacortes is a wonderful community. Your spirit and love shined this year. Thank you for making this event a success.

Barbara Cooper

Relay For Life

Town needs more affordable housing

The City Council is currently considering approving amendments to the Unified Development Code enabling development of the MJB land along our waterfront as well as land near the ferry terminal and Skyline. After long dispute and resistance, this land will be developed for mixed residential, commercial and retail occupancy.

The concern we should all share is that these zoning changes do not require the inclusion of any affordable housing in what are the last large developable areas in Anacortes. The only nod to affordable housing in the new code is a building height allowance in exchange for making very few of the total units affordable to people at or below our median income level.

We already have an affordable housing shortage, and people born here are being increasingly displaced as new high-end houses are built and the price of all housing rises.

This is our last chance to mandate the inclusion of meaningful affordable housing construction in this town. I urge the City Council to take this last opportunity to amend the code to make these Mandatory Housing Affordability zones with a specific minimum percentage of housing required to meet affordable housing standards. Make 25% mandatory affordable housing instead of an optional 5%.

We can’t solve our housing problem with timidity or by trusting that developers will voluntarily forgo profits to serve the needs of our residents. This is the opportunity to make a difference.

Tor Fleming

Anacortes

Conserve water to help forest lands

I see the Anacortes Water Department has issued an alert about low water flow in the Skagit River.

This alert was set up by legal agreement between local Native American tribes on the Skagit River, and our two water utilities, Skagit PUD and Anacortes, some years ago. The main purpose was to bring awareness to the plight of salmon in the upriver streams, where fish spawn, which is primarily affected by rainfall, glacier melt and snow pack.

Many factors are at play to affect salmon. Habitat loss, overfishing, and now, climate change, are the largest. In 2018, Anacortes Water used around 18.5 million gallons per day to serve all its customers. The flow now in the main stem of the Skagit River is about 6,500 million gallons per day, which is about one quarter or 1% of the total flow in the river.

The future of salmon in the Skagit River that relate to water will mostly be decided by the complete loss of our glaciers in 2030-2040, and the change in rain patterns caused by climate change, not saving 20-30 gallons a day for each home in Anacortes.

Gov. Jay Inslee just declared a “drought emergency” for Western Washington. I believe the biggest problem that Anacortes has, as relates to the drought and climate change, is our forest lands, the AFCL. Our forest is stressed right now. There is a large die-off of cedars, Noble firs and some hemlocks, and the forest is drier than normal.

Fourth of July is here. Please be very careful all summer. In the future, as our climate warms and trees die, the forest will burn easier and hotter.

We may need that saved water, but to protect homes close to the forest.

It’s not “if” we have a fire in the forest lands, but “when.” Ask the city what you can do to help.

Bill Turner

Former councilman,

Anacortes

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