Diking officials seek specialist to deal with Corps over pump permit

Island County Diking District 1 commissioners will meet in special session on Friday to talk about hiring an attorney to represent the district in dealings with the Army Corps of Engineers.

The meeting will be 9 a.m. Jan. 22 at Edwards & Associates, 5492 S. Harbor Ave. in Freeland.

The Corps notified the district Jan. 4 that it was revoking the district's permit for its controversial $430,000 pump project, the center of a lawsuit by a group of district residents.

The Corps said the district can continue to run the pump while officials pursue a new permit.

But it also directed the district to provide an operation plan for the pump, along with documentation that shows water levels and other information being used to regulate pumping at the Useless Bay pump station.

Diking district commission chairman Steve Arnold said Thursday that he's recommending the district hire an unnamed Seattle attorney familiar with the workings of the Corps.

Another Seattle attorney, Scott Ellerby, has been representing the diking district in other matters, including lawsuits filed against the district.

"They say they pulled our permit," Arnold said of the Corps. "If we have to defend that, we want someone familiar with that kind of work."

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