Methow Pride grateful
Methow Pride would like to thank our amazing community for coming out in full sparkle and support for our first fundraiser Saturday evening. It felt important for us to gather and celebrate inclusion and belonging at a time in our country when other states are banning drag shows, removing gender affirming education from schools, prohibiting kids from talking about their parents if they are same-sex, or school staff from talking about same-sex partners. Community like ours, that embraces full expression of identity and love, is beautiful and not to be taken for granted.
We also thank Old Schoolhouse Brewery for contributing the beer, Hank’s Harvest Foods for the ice, Glover Street Market for special wine pricing, Little Star School and Thrifty Fox for loaning decorations, Snowball leaders past who painted such a fabulous photo booth backdrop, the Twisp Valley Grange for working with us on the reservation, Room One for fiscal sponsorship, and all the volunteers. See you in June for Pride Fest!
Methow Pride Leadership Team
The renewed quest for wheeled all terrain vehicle access to more roads in the Methow Valley raises some serious concerns. Since some of the riders seem to regard the existing laws as just suggestions, expanding the places they can access is just inviting more of the same. I’ve witnessed such vehicles driving up and down Highway 153 multiple times already. Giving access to roads like Bear Creek, Balky Hill, and the Twisp-Carlton road gives them access to the private roads that are connected to them with the attendant violation of private property, theft and vandalism. Yes, there might be some who try to respect the law, but enforcement is limited at best so what is to be done about the rest? Are private property owners allowed to impound violator vehicles at gunpoint? That sounds like planned disaster.
As to reducing speed limits just to cater to this group, that seems like a penalty to the rest of the folks who live and work in the area. And the idea of dual speed limits just guarantees accidents. Sooner or later someone driving legally at 60 is going to come around a bend and cream a WATV doing 35. Nobody is going to be happy with the result.
And all we’re being offered to compensate for all of this? Maybe a bit more tourism money? If you’re going to try to buy us off, the payoff needs to be in terms of improvement to the amenities of this valley, not just a weak promise to try not to make things too much worse. Absent a much, much higher possibility of enforcement of the laws being proposed, this expansion request does not serve our community.
Two speeds OK
Why didn’t we think of this before? Speed limits on Methow roads that show two different speed limits: one for normal vehicles and a different one for ATVs. So many roads posted at a safe and comfortable 50 mph were changed to accommodate ATVs even while they had not been approved for road travel. I suggest our county commissioners, when they approve ATV travel, as I’m sure they will, create two-limit road signs and post them on roads unnecessarily changed, such as Twisp-Winthrop Eastside Road, Bear Creek Road (paved section), East and West Chewuch Roads.
Here we go again
The North Central ATV Club is back again, complaining that that 530 miles of county roads open to ATVs isn’t nearly enough. They want to ride on a whole lot of Methow Valley roads, like Gunn Ranch, Twisp River, Twisp-Carlton, Balky Hill, Bear Creek, and a long list of others. They also want town roads opened, but that’s a separate process.
Where the existing, safe speed limits are 50 mph, they want the county to limit cars and trucks to 35 mph so allowing ATVs wouldn’t violate state law. Or we should have dual speed limits on the same stretch of road, 50 mph for cars and 35 mph for ATVs. This isn’t a joke, but it could be a setup for catastrophe. And how can we expect this dual speed limit to be enforced? We all know there is little enforcement of speed limits as it is.
The last time the county tried to go along with the ATV club, valley citizens and organizations (including the Methow Valley Citizens Council) stopped it with their objections and a successful lawsuit. I remember testimony from many valley residents about ATVs ignoring private property lines, damaging private lands and scaring pets, wildlife, and landowners. They testified about the virtual impossibility of getting help from local law enforcement.
The Court of Appeals told the county it had to do a complete environmental analysis, “including harm to soils, slopes, water, animals, and plants; [and] reported instances of off road use and its damage to environment” before opening roads to ATVs. Those directions still apply. If the county ignores them, we’ll almost certainly see another lawsuit that the county loses, again at a significant cost to taxpayers.
I urge you to participate by voicing your concerns during the public comment period that starts when the county formally publishes a proposed rule. And call Andy Hover to tell him you don’t want the valley flooded with ATVs.
Too much waste
In the introduction to the 2023 “Methow Home” supplement, a change of focus was noted to include attention towards affordable housing. A key component of affordability in housing is an efficient use of materials and labor to construct dwellings designed to require a minimal amount of energy for heating and cooling throughout the lifetime of the building. Disappointingly, in articles and architectural firm advertisements, this year’s edition in part profiles needlessly energy wasteful residences.
Floor-to-vaulted-ceiling walls of glass underneath material and labor-inefficient roofs, scream waste. High-quality windows are only as insulating as about 1 inch of fiberglass insulation. Such walls of glass will waste energy for the life of the building. Since collectively we all share in the expense of the generation and transmission of the power for all of our homes and businesses, we will all pay in part for the energy wasted in glass walled houses.
The building industry learned by the mid-1970s that such houses may be appropriate in coastal California but were not suited for northern climates, especially ones with the extremes we have in the Methow. With the objective “to achieve reductions in energy consumption,” the 1986 Washington State Energy Code limited the square footage of windows to approximately 17% to 21% of the floor area of a house. Lobbying, in part by window manufacturing and architect associations, stripped that provision from the 2001 and later editions of the code, allowing for “unlimited glazing” in residences, and a return to design styles of the 1970s.
Also mentioned in the introduction are “considerations that make the Methow special.” Hopefully in the future, being “special” won’t include an overabundant memorialization of architectural waste. So much of architectural expression is fashion. Let’s change the fashion.