Mon, Dec 6, 2021
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Willapa Harbor Herald
Lewis County News
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Wong to buy crematory property

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The property for a proposed crematorium in Downtown Winlock is being sold to a resident protesting the development after opposition to the business was leveled for fear of airborne pollutants.

Resident Rosanna Wong had announced an offer June 8 to purchase the property in question, at 201 First St., from Cattermole Funeral Home for $26,000, the price Cattermole paid for the land in November.

Funeral Home owner Russ Weeks told Town Crier Thursday his company has accepted Wong’s offer and is currently waiting for the deal to officially close.

“We’ll just be looking for a better site for the crematory,” said Weeks, who has indicated a desire to work with community members rather than force a business proposal upon them.

Wong had been among residents concerned about smoke, ash and noxious vapors potentially being expelled from the facility, with such opposition leading to the cancellation of a June 10 public hearing intended to consider a special use permit allowing construction of the crematorium.

Upon canceling the hearing, Weeks had said he felt it would be more appropriate to reach out to protestors and respond to their concerns, adding he was not opposed to seeking a different location for the crematorium. Wong has stated she is not against the crematorium itself, but simply a downtown location, saying it would be more appropriate to use a property outside the city limits.

Winlock Mayor Lonnie J. Dowell said Friday his office continues to encourage Weeks to look in Winlock for a potential crematorium site, stating he hopes Cattermole is able to find a location before the summer construction season ends.

“Hopefully we’ll get that going sooner than later,” he said, adding he also has encouraged Cattermole to hold a public forum educating residents about their intent with a crematorium and the potential effects it would have on the community.

According to the Southwest Clean Air Agency, crematoria are considered a negligible pollution hazard by their standards and, while vapors such as mercury may be emitted in such cases as bodies with dental fillings, these occur at insignificant levels and are not seen as a regulatory concern.

When seeking to learn her intentions with the property or her reaction to Weeks accepting her proposal, Wong has not returned requests for comment.

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