Press Releases

U.S. House Approves Herrera Beutler’s Bill to Expand Economic Opportunities in Skamania County (with video)

Jaime’s bill will transfer ownership of the former Wind River Nursery from the U.S. Forest Service to Skamania County, allowing the county to develop recreational and business opportunities

The U.S. House of Representatives today approved Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler’s legislation – the Wind River Administrative Site Conveyance Act – which would expand economic opportunities and help Skamania County solidify revenue to fund local services like roads, schools, police, and fire protection.

Herrera Beutler’s bill, introduced last year, would transfer ownership of approximately 23 acres of the former Wind River Nursery from the U.S. Forest Service to Skamania County. The transfer is supported by Skamania County and the U.S. Forest Service.

“This bill exemplifies a groundbreaking, win-win agreement in a rural county where so often, locals’ needs get completely trampled by the federal government,” Herrera Beutler said during a speech in support of her bill on the U.S. House Floor – click here to watch.

“Skamania County can’t thank Congresswoman Herrera Beutler enough for all her efforts to bring this cause from our community to the halls of Congress, she spent years getting us to this point and that hard work is evident by the House’s unanimous vote. This is also yet another example of the Congresswoman’s ability to work across party lines to benefit her district and demonstrates her commitment to using her position to drive local issues forward instead of falling into familiar partisan gridlock” the Skamania County Board of Commissioners said.

Background:

In Skamania County, 80% of the land is owned by the federal government, with state and private timber land comprising much of the rest, leaving approximately 1.8% of land in Skamania County taxed at full market value. This in turn has hindered the county’s ability to fund basic services like law enforcement and schools.

Skamania County currently owns 187 acres adjacent to Wind River Nursery and plans to develop the acquired acreage for recreational, historical, and business opportunities that will draw in tourism and additional revenue for the county.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest, which encompasses a majority of Skamania County, is currently facing tens of millions of dollars in deferred maintenance. By conveying the land to the county, the U.S. Forest Service will shed financial responsibilities associated with the maintenance of buildings and facilities on the Wind River Nursery – providing a win-win solution for Skamania County and the U.S. Forest Service.