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Wash. developer settles shoreline dispute

Dan Wheat
A Cashmere, Wash., developer and former mayor and his contractor have dropped an appeal and agreed to restore a creek bed and pay fines.

CASHMERE, Wash. — A Cashmere developer and a contractor he hired have signed a settlement with the state Department of Ecology to restore a shoreline of Mission Creek near Cashmere and drop their appeal of a restoration order and civil penalties.

In November 2013, developer George N. Valison, of Quail Lane Development, and David G. Baker, of D. Baker Construction & Excavating, were cited $20,000 each by Ecology for moving dirt and rocks with heavy equipment in Mission Creek without permits, Ecology said in a news release.

The work occurred in September 2012 and Valison and Baker were attempting to stabilize the creek bank near Valison’s development after high water eroded it the prior February.

Valison is a former mayor of Cashmere and was executive director of the now defunct Columbia Cascade Winery Association in the early 2000s.

The unpermitted work was investigated by Ecology and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife in response to a citizen complaint.

Ecology said it found the excavation resulted in environmental harm, including creek bed and bank erosion, and water quality degradation in an area of sensitive steelhead and salmon habitat. Ecology ordered Valison to stabilize and restore the creek bank.

In December 2013, Valison and Baker appealed the penalties and orders.

The cost, time and uncertainty of further litigation were considered in reaching a settlement, Ecology said. The settlement through the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board was signed May 29. In settling, Valison and Baker admit no violation of law but have obligations.

Valison must obtain permits and restore the shoreline as previously ordered. Work must be completed by July 31, 2015. If it is his $20,000 penalty will be dismissed. Otherwise, it will be assessed.

Baker’s fine was reduced to $10,000 and he agreed to pay $5,000 over a year with the remainder suspended for three years.



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