COWLITZ COUNTY, Wash. (KOIN) — Cowlitz County commissioners sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee asking him to lift a number of COVID-19 restrictions, including fishing, hunting and home construction.
Hunting and fishing are not allowed in Washington — but it is in Oregon. Commissioner Dennis Weber said there are some inconsistencies with the stay-home order and the county just wants some balance.
On Tuesday, Cowlitz County commissioners approved a resolution asking Inslee to lift restrictions on gun sales, religious activities and rent evictions.
“There was a recommendation that we need to be very careful of simply giving renters months of free rent without the possibility of eviction,” Weber said. “It sounds a little bit harsh but from the local government standpoint side we do have a problem of resources coming in to the county its based on property tax.”
He noted landlords have property taxes due at the end of the month and wants to make sure they’re not left dangling.
“But having a blanket non-eviction program we thought was bit of an overreach,” he said.
To date, there have been 34 cases of COVID-19 in Cowlitz County with no deaths. In Clark County there have been 281 cases and 15 deaths.
On Tuesday, commissioners passed a motion to extend the emergency declaration for another 30 days and also approved a resolution asking Inslee to lift other restrictions on construction and gun sales.
During the meeting, 3 of the 4 members of the public were opposed to that resolution.
One of those in opposition said she was against any relaxation of the restrictions unless it was science- and medically-based.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff requested the resolution to lift restrictions and said in the meeting that people can make their owne decision based on guidelines that have been set.
Weber said, “We are not alone. There has been push back from a lot of counties where the pandemic isn’t as serious as it is in the urban centers. I think he [Inslee] is trying to find a way to be a little more flexible.”
He said as for many local governments, it’s been difficult to find that balance between freedom and safety.