Thursday vote causes confusion

What appeared to be a relatively simple election resulted in a series of e-mails buzzing through Enumclaw late last week.

The King Conservation District offered a Thursday election to give voters the opportunity to choose a new member for the district’s board of supervisors. There were 13 polling sites throughout King County, including the Enumclaw Public Library.

City residents who wanted to vote, however, found they were not allowed.

The city of Enumclaw chooses not to participate as a member of the district, meaning those residing inside the city limits cannot participate in elections. Local residents in the unincorporated areas were eligible to vote.

Enumclaw is one of five King County cities that is not part of the King Conservation District. Others are Federal Way, Skykomish, Milton and Pacific.

As one of 47 conservation districts in the state, the KCD provided information and assistance to landowners within the district’s boundaries. District staff focus on issues regarding land, water and wildlife management and are guided by the Washington State Conservation Commission.

Enumclaw Mayor John Wise said he personally supports the KCD and noted that the city has worked with the district on projects like improvements to Newaukum Creek.

The city has not joined the district, he said, because there is a fee attached to membership – $10 per parcel, paid by the landowner – and Enumclaw isn’t greatly impacted by streams running through the city limits.

Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.