PSE is going to be building 75-foot power poles on Garrett Street, but some, like the Chamber of Commerce and a few council members, don’t like the plan. Image courtesy Puget Sound Energy

PSE is going to be building 75-foot power poles on Garrett Street, but some, like the Chamber of Commerce and a few council members, don’t like the plan. Image courtesy Puget Sound Energy

Puget Sound Energy plan sparks complaints in Enumclaw

PSE’s plan “may very well threaten potential economic development and quality of life in our community,” a Chamber of Commerce letter reads.

A plan by Puget Sound Energy to enhance its energy grid has generated some early – and emotional – pushback in Enumclaw.

The regional power provider has discussed a desire to place new power poles along Garrett Street, between Griffin and Battersby avenues. As envisioned, they might tower over existing facilities; nothing is guaranteed at this point.

Early opposition has bemoaned everything from decreased property values to spoiled views. And, as an important aside, a vocal, local contingent has questioned why PSE’s proposal wasn’t widely advertised.

A key step in the process will come the evening of Feb. 11, when PSE makes a formal presentation as part of the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Enumclaw City Council. The session, open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 1339 Griffin Ave.

The public utility has proposed the system upgrade as a way to ensure better and more consistent delivery of electricity to not only Enumclaw, but across the river into Pierce County.

Because the issue has gained traction in the city, it was a late addition to the City Council’s Jan. 14 agenda. Speaking at that time were a PSE representative, several council members and Troy Couch, who heads the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce.

In advance of the council meeting, chamber leadership had drafted a letter outlining their concerns and general opposition to the PSE plan. The one-page document, signed by Couch and Board Chairman Bert Tyler, noted the group’s “strong opposition” to the proposed Garrett Street project.

While understanding the need for increased local power, the letter expressed “great concerns about the current design and the process by which our citizens were informed of this project.”

The placement of 75-foot power poles, with accompanying transmission lines, would likely impact property values and diminish future economic growth in Enumclaw’s downtown core, the letter states. Additionally, it was noted that a series of towering poles would “forever change the small-town ambiance that is so important to us.”

With regard to transparency, the chamber letter took PSE to task for a perceived lack of information. An earlier public meeting was arranged but was not broadly advertised, resulting in attendance of just two people.

Given the chamber’s ultimate charge of enhancing the local business climate, the letter complained that PSE’s plan “may very well threaten potential economic development and quality of life in our community.”

Members of the Enumclaw City Council also spoke none too kindly about PSE’s proposal.

Hoke Overland noted how the city has created both a Comprehensive Plan and an Economic Development Plan, concluding that the PSE proposal “flies in the face of both of these.”

Kael Johnson spoke on behalf of the local Tourism Advisory Board, adding to the objections. “We work our tails off” to project a certain image, he said, and a series of 75-foot poles would be a detriment. He said the board was “absolutely against” the PSE plan, as envisioned.

Stepping to the podium, Couch summarized the trouble: “what we’re lacking is information,” he said, primarily addressing Julien Loh, the government affairs manager for PSE, who was in attendance.

SOME DETAILS ARE PROVIDED

The local project has a presence on the PSE website, where it is detailed in eight steps.

1. Build roughly 1.5 miles of 115kV transmission line (to operate at 55 kV) from the

Enumclaw substation on Battersby Avenue, along Garrett Street (following the existing distribution line) to the existing 55 kV transmission line on Stevenson Ave. This would involve the new lines crossing over busy Griffin Avenue.

2. Upgrade electrical equipment at the Enumclaw substation on Battersby Avenue.

3. Install a 115 kV capacitor bank within PSE’s Krain Corner substation (at 268th Avenue Southeast).

4. Build a new 115 kV transmission line to a new Buckley substation off 112th Street East and install a new fiber line between the new Buckley substation and Krain Corner substation.

5. Rebuild the Wilkeson substation from 55 kV to 115 kV and install a new 115 kV transformer and other related equipment.

6. Demolish the old Buckley substation.

7. Remove the old 55 kV equipment from the Electron Heights substation.

8. Convert the entire transmission system voltage from operating at 55 kV to operate at 115 kV.

THIS IS PHASE 3

The first phase was completed in 2009 and saw PSE rebuilding eight miles of transmission line between downtown Enumclaw and downtown Wilkeson. Phase 2, completed in 2010, involved the replacement of 12.2 miles of transmission line from Wilkeson to the Electron Heights station.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

King County 2020 unemployment numbers. Source: Washington State Employment Security Department
Boeing, coronavirus likely to impact King County economy

Unemployment remained high in September.

Blotter bug
Enumclaw, Black Diamond police blotter | Sept. 29 – Oct. 11

Possible teenage car prowler, an assault with a firearm, and someone passed out on the sidewalk.

Sara Stratton is the new executive director of the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation picks new director

Sara Stratton has years of experience helping other nonprofits with their events, as well as having started her own, before joining RFWF.

The state Department of Health is seeing increases in COVID-19 infections. Screenshot
Concern that climb in cases means ‘fall surge’ is starting | DOH

Experts are saying we must act now to reverse trend.

With members of the City Council looking on, Black Diamond Mayor Carol Benson cuts a ceremonial ribbon, opening a ballot drop box at the library. Photo by Kevin Hanson
County Elections places ballot drop box at Black Diamond library

No longer will Black Diamond residents have to drive out of town to vote.

Eric Robertson
Fact check: Robertson falsely claims Seattle Times retracted editorial accusing him of racist incident

The Legislative District 31 candidate holds the Seattle Times misreported what happened in its editorial endorsing his opponent, providing 1995-era news reports as proof.

Enumclaw's empty Expo Center has seen a large financial loss. Courtesy photo
Enumclaw council hears of tough financial times at Expo Center

Director Rene Popke has estimated the Expo could see a net loss of $700,000 by the end of the year.

Photo by Ron Heusser
Black Diamond history museum to reopen Halloween

Docents and volunteers took the time it was closed to revamp the displays.

Image courtesy Public Health Insider
What do rising COVID-19 numbers mean for schools? | Public Health Insider

The DOH considers 75 cases or more over two weeks per 100,000 to be a marker of relatively high risk for in-person learning.

Most Read