Carnation community praised for effort

Letter to the Editor

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 3:41am
  • Opinion

I want to thank everybody involved in successfully removing the threat of a sex-offender halfway house proposed to be built in our Valley.

I first heard of the project when my dear friend and neighbor Patti Atkins called me on a Thursday morning. She and her husband Gary live almost directly across the street from the site. They knew this must not be allowed to happen, and they were ready to do their part to prevent it.

I told her that years ago I had been involved in a community fight against a gravel pit that would operate directly above the city of Carnation’s water supply. It took 3 years to persuade the state and county that it was not a proper land use designation. I told Patti that it was the help and support of the wonderful, concerned citizens in our neighborhood and Carnation that made our victory possible. I hoped she could draw strength from that same pool of people who love this Valley.

Three short days after Patti’s call I was able to attend what I thought was a hastily organized initial meeting about the sex-offender site issue. I had assumed that first meeting would have relatively low attendance, and that support would build from there. But Patti and Gary had not just started a small ball rolling, they had created an avalanche of support and commitment from citizens and officials. I was shocked, and in total awe, to see the Tolt Middle School gymnasium filled with 300 citizens eager to participate in the urgent undertaking.

The Atkins led the meeting, presenting a wealth of information we all wanted and needed. In addition, State Rep. Toby Nixon, Carnation Mayor Stuart Lisk, Duvall Mayor Becky Nixon and other officials had been invited to give us specific ways to best address the problem.

Everybody in the room listened intently, we appreciated their help and many people immediately volunteered to join committees that could get the necessary work done. Mayor Lisk’s wife Kim had also started, and continued to actively collect, a huge number of signatures on a petition to DSHS specifying how the proposed site did not meet the state’s own criteria.

I was heartened to see many people at that first meeting who had been part of our gravel pit process in the past. And I was extremely pleased to see so many citizens I did not know who were new to the area, but they also genuinely cared about being part of the Valley and were ready to help in any way necessary. There are so many people I would like to thank but for fear of leaving anyone out I will simply and sincerely thank everyone who participated in achieving this victory.

For the next few weeks many people took part in a non-stop, 24/7 frenzy of work with many meetings and communications with citizens and DSHS officials, press coverage, committee meetings, e-mails and sacrifices of family time. The expected differences of opinion that often occur during this intense type of situation did not deter the entire group from achieving the goal for all of us. In an absolutely amazing short time, everyone’s hard work paid off and the Carnation site was removed from the list.

Illness has prevented me from being involved in this type of large project for the past several years and I felt so useless while all this was going on. But it made me feel so good, and so thankful, that the Valley continues to attract great people who are committed to digging in and making a difference. Community involvement is what makes America such a great place to live.

Jan. 28 was supposed to be the state’s public hearing, where we all would have had to defend our right to live in a safe neighborhood. Instead, Mayor Stuart, Kim Lisk, Patti, Gary and others organized a Celebration of Victory in the same gymnasium that just a few weeks earlier had been filled with fear and uncertainty. Toby Nixon and Kathy Lambert both complimented our community on its passionate, yet professional, targeted approach to the problem. And the citizens, in turn, told them how very grateful we will always be for their help and support.

I cannot end without once again saying how impressed I was with how Patti and Gary Atkins so deftly galvanized a whole town full of caring people in such a short time. In the first three dark days of fear, moving from uncertainty to commitment to organized plans of action, hundreds of people from all parts of the Valley responded – so many worked so hard – and achieved an amazing victory. Everyone involved should be very proud of the community togetherness and values we all treasure.

Robin Boynton

Carnation

For a complete list of letters, pick up a copy of this week’s Valley Record


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