"Like it or not, Glendale gets its road"
June 25, 2008 · Updated 11:54 AM
"Glendale Road will be a road again. No if's, and's or but's.Well, probably not.This week, Michael Bobbink, Island County's Hearing's Examiner, ruled that the planned reconstruction of Glendale Road will go ahead. The reconstruction project, which is to repair damage caused by a winter storm in 1997, has been under fire from local environmentalists and Glendale community residents since it was proposed three years ago. In a hearing held May 4, activists from the Whidbey Environmental Action Network and Glendale residents tried to get Bobbink to stand in the way of the shoreline and use approval permits the county needs to begin rebuilding the road. Glendale Road runs through alongside one of South Whidbey's most productive salmon-spawning creeks. Opponents have said that the road construction will destroy the creek, which is known both as Glendale Creek and Whidbey Creek. The opponents have asked that the road be closed permanently.But, in the aftermath of the May 4 hearing, Bobbink sided with the county's engineering department, which maintains that reopening the road is necessary to provide access to the tiny Glendale community, even though it is already served by Humphrey Road. Both Dick Snyder, the engineering department's supervisor, and Island County Commissioner Mike Shelton have argued that if Humphrey Road slides in the future, as it has several times, Glendale Road will be the only route out.Just days after Bobbink released his decision, Shelton and Snyder met with Glendale residents on Glendale Road. Also present were Rep. Dave Anderson (D-Clinton), WEAN's Marianne Edain, and Island Asphalt owner Curt Gordon. Shelton made the county's position clear to everyone gathered.The fact of the matter is we have a village served by two precarious roads, he said. John Crawford, a Glendale resident, told Shelton that South Whidbey and Glendale have gotten along quite well without the road since 1997. He said county road workers will have little to rebuild if they start the project this summer.Half the road is gone, he said. With the exception of the two county representatives, those at the impromptu meeting were disappointed with the hearing examiner's ruling. However, they were not surprised.It's what I expected, said Marianne Edain. I'm pretty disappointed.So was Dave Anderson. He told Shelton that the county is ignoring the health of a prime salmon stream and the will of the people by building the road. Providing emergency access along Glendale Road might be a good idea, he said, but under no circumstances would the little community need four lanes of traffic access.The chances of both roads sliding in my lifetime are infinitesimal, he said.Shelton said road building and protection of salmon habitat are not incompatible. Construction crews will replace a culvert that currently blocks fish access to the upper portions of the creek. In accommodating salmon, you can also accommodate a road, he said. At the end of the meeting, the two sides did agree -- at Curt Gordon's prompting -- to consider making Glendale a one-lane, one-way road out of the community. Snyder said he expects to go out for bids on the road work in early June. By the end of the month, a road crew should be in place to rebuild the portion of the road running through the Glendale community. Work on the remainder of the road must start before October."