Beaver presses for consolidated crisis response center

KENNEWICK — Benton County Commissioner Jim Beaver wants to move quickly to build a consolidated crisis response center, regardless of what a consultant recommends.

"I'm tired of waiting. I want it done with or without the consultant's answer," Beaver said Monday morning at the commission's workshop prior to the weekly meeting.

Commissioners are waiting for final cost estimates before deciding on remodeling the former health district offices on Canal Drive in Kennewick or choosing to put a new building elsewhere.

Beaver said the need for a consolidated crisis response center must be met as quickly as possible.

Leo Bowman, commission chairman, said the urgency is real, but he also would like to know how much of approximately $3.5 million in reserves for the Benton Franklin Human Services Department can be used to build a consolidated center.

"I've been asking this for a long time, long before you (director Ed Thornbrugh), your former boss (Carrie Huie-Pascua) and the guy before that (David Hopper). And I'm still waiting for an answer," Bowman said.

Thornbrugh said the consultant's report is almost ready and should be helpful.

-- Also Monday, commissioners learned that the county's animal shelter will have an open house Feb. 14.

"We'll start rounding up animals the next day," said David Sparks, county commissioner.

Commissioners also discussed changes in a proposed ordinance on short plats and access easements.

The changes would allow short plats in cities' urban growth areas and would allow up to 12 lots, not four, on a private access easement and would permit turnarounds every 600 feet for emergency vehicles access, if approved by the fire marshal.

The commission continued the public hearing for two weeks before it adopts the ordinance.

* John Trumbo: 509-582-1529; jtrumbo@tricityherald.com