ILWACO — Pacific County awarded Ilwaco more than $70,000 for city projects.

The projects were discussed at Ilwaco City Council’s June 10 meeting. The city earned the money for projects at its wastewater treatment facility.

County grant awards

Councilors authorized two agreements between Ilwaco and Pacific County.

The first agreement awards Ilwaco with a $50,000 grant for improvements at the city’s wastewater treatment facility.

Improvements will cost the city a total of $105,450. The city will use $5,000 for software upgrades. The remaining $50,450 will come from the city’s wastewater reserve.

The improvements will include replacing the city’s SCADA at the facility. The SCADA is expected to be replaced again in 2027 for $15,000.

Councilor Matt Lessnau asked Mayor Gary Forner to get a stronger sense of the city’s budgets and needed projects. Lessnau noticed the city isn’t maintaining its updates, he said.

“We’ve needed to make these improvements for at least two years, since I got here,” Lessnau said. “Moving forward, with big pieces like this, we need to have council workshops to review everything.”

Councilors Missy Bageant and Kristen Mathison agreed with Lessnau.

“We don’t want to be doing all our big projects at the end of the year like we’ve been,” Mathison said.

Councilors Lessnau and Bageant also questioned whether the city has the funds to cover its half of the project. Forner said he couldn’t answer whether the city has the funds for the project without talking to City Treasurer Holly Beller.

“This is a time-sensitive decision,” Forner said. “We can’t take the money out of another source than wastewater.”

Councilor Kenneth Sprague suggested the city save its money to use in the 2020 budget. Ultimately, the council approved the agreement after realizing the city would still have time to find its own funds for the project.

The second agreement is for a $21,694 grant from the county. This grant money will be used for a septage management feasibility study at Ilwaco’s wastewater treatment facility. Gray & Osborne will complete the study.

The study is being done to see if Ilwaco’s facility can handle taking commercial septage. Earlier this year, Warrenton stopped accepting Pacific County’s septage, so the county needs to find another place to send its septage.

“This is a bit misleading. Our wastewater plant cannot accept the amount of septage this needs. Long Beach can’t either,” Lessnau said. “We’ve determined that without spending $21,000.”

Lessnau questioned whether there’s any value in moving forward with the study, when both cities have already determined they wouldn’t be able to take on the county’s commercial septage.

Bageant questioned what advantage of the study there is for the city. Forner said it’d officially answer the question on how much septage the city can take on, and whether it can take on some of the county’s need.

Other news

New businesses: During a joint meeting, the Port of Ilwaco and Forner recognized two new businesses at the Port of Ilwaco. The Ilwaco Bakery & Cafe is open and serving a variety of drinks and pastries.

“I told her, you’re going to be the place to be,” Forner said. “They have great cinnamon rolls.”

Soon, At The Helm Hotel & Waterline Pub will open at the port. The business is a boutique luxury hotel, featuring a pub.

“I think we’re going to see some big-name visitors here because that’s the experience they want to have,” Forner said .

Port of Ilwaco vacancy: Port of Ilwaco Commissioner Dave Nichols announced he’ll be leaving the commission. Nichols served the commission for 16 years, he said.

Nichols’ vacancy is another of the city’s increasing vacancies. Ilwaco City Council and Ilwaco Planning Commission each have vacancies.

Logging: Logging started at the city’s water reservoir on June 3, Forner said. About 2,000 trees are being cut down daily, he said.

115 Main Street SW: Councilors approved resident Mark Davis’ request to replace a mobile home with a smaller home at 115 Main Street SW. The request was approved by Ilwaco’s city planner Sam Rubin and the Ilwaco Planning Commission.

Graduation: Fifty-four students graduated from Ilwaco High School over the weekend. Bageant complimented the school for its ceremony.


The council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on June 24. The meeting is open to the public and held at the city’s community room, 158 First Ave. N.

Alyssa Evans is a staff writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact her at 360-642-8181 or

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