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Concerns about a proposed logistics center:
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Friends of Rocky Prairie
 

 

ACTION ALERT

We are so very grateful to everyone who came to the Port of Tacoma meeting on Thursday, June 13, to show and speak their support for saving Rocky Prairie!!

Unfortunately, the Port of Tacoma Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the Purchase and Sale Agreement with Northpoint development company through August of 2020!, ignoring the pleas of Thurston County citizens to sell the property to WDFW.

The fight continues. 
Please stay tuned....

 (View, read, and share the fact sheet).

 

Friends of Rocky Prairie is an all-volunteer group of homeowners and residents in Thurston County, Washington (including the communities of Maytown and Tenino), concerned about preserving the rural character and unique prairie habitat in south Thurston County.

Rocky Prairie is a 745-acre parcel of land located 13 miles south of Olympia, mile from historic Millersylvania State Park, and next to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife's 800-acre West Rocky Prairie Wildlife Area.

 

Rocky Prairie in Danger, Again:


The current owner of Rocky Prairie, the Port of Tacoma, is working with a Missouri company, NorthPoint, to develop an extensive logistics center on Rocky Prairie with a projected six million square feet of warehousing, most probably served by frequent Burlington Northern rail and truck traffic, and bringing 24/7 noise and light -- right next to a sensitive nature preserve.  This is no place for an industrial hub!

 

For more information on what this could mean to our community and what to do about it, see fact sheet (two pages).

In 2007 and 2008, the Port of Tacoma attempted to establish a similar logistics center that, but after much citizen protest, the plan was withdrawn by the Port of Tacoma.  At that time, thousands of county residents petitioned to rezone the property to one house per 20 acres to show how opposed we are to changing the character of our county.
 

Now the Port and the buyer want to rezone the entire parcel to Rural Resource Industrial. On May 7, 2019, the Board of County Commissioners, in a 2 - 1 vote, decided to hold off putting this rezone on their docket for consideration until next year.

 

This area has an extremely high water table and is a critical aquifer.  Impervious development and polluting truck/train traffic would threaten not only the endangered Oregon-spotted Frog and its sensitive wetlands, but also compromise the aquifer, the integrity of the WDFW preserve (and its threatened species and priority habitat), and neighbors' wells.

WDFW's West Rocky Prairie Wildlife Area includes federally threatened species, State Priority Species, Mima Mounds, and oak and prairie ecosystems. The site is slightly southeast of the nearby historic and popular Millersylvania State Park. It is no place for an industrial hub.

This area has an extremely high water table. Impervious development and polluting truck/train traffic would threaten not only the endangered Oregon-spotted Frog and its sensitive wetlands but also compromise the local aquifer as well as the integrity of the WDFW preserve.
 

Rocky Prairie is Unique

Rocky Prairie forms a rare habitat matrix unique to Western Washington. This fragile environment includes rare oak woodland, wetlands, and native outwash prairie and is home to numerous state and federally threatened and endangered species. The prairie lies within the important Black River watershed, an area that agency and organizational partners have been working for years to protect.  Rocky Prairie also forms the headwaters for two salmon-bearing streams running through it, and its hydrology is important to hundreds of residents living nearby.

 

Brief History and Update: The WA. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, in conjunction with the Center for Natural Lands Management and other partners comprising the Cascadia Prairie Working Group, spent more than 25 years attempting to acquire the entire 1,650 acres of valuable habitat.  In 2006, approximately 800 acres of Rocky Prairie were purchased for conservation and restoration purposes, now known as the West Rocky Prairie Wildlife Area Unit.

Also in
2006, the Port of Tacoma, in cooperation with the Port of Olympia, purchased the remaining 745 acres of this biologically diverse area to develop the South Sound Logistic Center (see Background). Their plans contained numerous possibilities, including a rail-switching yard, chemical manufacturing plant, solid waste transfer station, warehousing and a truck-to-rail distribution site. This would have created a massive 24-hour-per-day industrial complex the size of Olympia, and would inundate roads from Olympia to South Thurston County with 1000’s of trucks and blocked railroad crossings.

Friends of Rocky Prairie believed this facility was a serious threat to this rare prairie environment, to Millersylvania State Park, to the Black River watershed, and to the rural treasure of South Thurston County.

In June of 2008, pressure from Friends of Rocky Prairie convinced the Ports of Olympia and Tacoma that the SSLC was not a popular idea in Thurston County.

Friends of Rocky Prairie then began working with state and federal agencies and non-profit conservation organizations to preserve this unique habitat into the future. 
 

In April 2010, the Port of Tacoma sold the property to a southern California developer who formed a company called Maytown Sand & Gravel. 

They attempted to mine the site, but after about a year they defaulted on their payments to the Port of Tacoma and went out of business.

 

Currently, the Port of Tacoma is attempting to sell the property to NorthPoint Development Company, presumably for another attempt at a logistics center on this site.


For information and updates, email: FriendsofRockyPrairie@gmail.com

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Friends of Rocky Prairie

Contact us by email:  friendsofrockyprairie@gmail.com

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