Friday, March 7, 2014

Nephew Jason & Spencer Jack Look At The Skagit River Vision While I Look At The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle

Spencer Jack's dad, my nephew Jason, emailed me some photos this morning, along with some email text which got me thinking about Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

In part nephew Jason's email said...

En route to school today, via a dad transport from his mother's home in West Mount Vernon, we stopped to survey the seasonally high river water levels. Took some photos I thought you may enjoy seeing.

Western Washington has been soaked the last week with a lot of rain!

As you can tell, Mount Vernon’s Waterfront Revitalization Project Phase II is nearing completion. The old buildings that use to house the first Skagit County video rental store, restaurants and many lawyer and other professional offices, as well as the revetment were bulldozed down. A long time tavern that use to sit on the revetment was knocked down as well.

Do you remember the old Moose Lodge that used to sit on the south end of the revetment overlooking the river? It's now gone too.

In addition to photos of the Skagit River running a lot of water there were a couple photos of bulldozers bulldozing and the current state of the Skagit River Vision project, which is known to the Mount Vernon locals as the Waterfront Revitalization Project.

Unlike Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, the Skagit River Vision addresses an actual real flood issue. When the Skagit River goes into severe flood mode the river bank in downtown Mount Vernon has to be sandbagged. I've been part of the sandbagging operation more than once. Twice Mount Vernon escaped disaster when levees broke downstream, taking pressure off the sandbags just as the river was about to top them.

The Skagit River Vision project installs a permanent flood wall which will render sandbags and the National Guard no longer needed when the Skagit River goes wild. Along with the flood wall the waterfront revitalization will connect downtown Mount Vernon to the river in more of a San Antonio Riverwalk way than the old way, which was pretty much a parking lot, known as the revetment, which stuck out over the river.

You may have noticed the list of buildings, businesses and restaurants that have been removed to make way for the Skagit River Vision.

Eminent Domain was not abused to take these properties, unlike what the Trinity River Vision has done in the Eminent Domain Abuse capital of the world.

The old Moose Lodge to which Jason referred did do some negotiating over the value of their property. I do not believe people in Mount Vernon, or other locales on the west coast would tolerate the cavalier way in which a citizen's property rights can be negated in some locations in Texas. Like Fort Worth. And Arlington.

The Skagit River Vision came into being well after the Trinity River Vision began. The Skagit River Vision had a project timeline, unlike the Trinity River Vision, with the Skagit River Vision nearing completion, while the Trinity River Vision seems to really have no vision regarding where the project is going, hence the boondoggle reputation.

The Skagit River Vision was, and is, fully funded, which may have something do with it being an actual functioning project with an actual scheduled time of completion, unlike the un-funded Trinity River Vision Boondoggle which relies on more than half the project being funded by federal money which is very unlikely to appear.

Another possible reason why the Skagit River Vision is a successful project, unlike the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, is that no local  politician's unqualified son was hired to run the Skagit River Vision project....

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