Department of Ecology News Release - June 10, 2014

Cashmere contractor, developer settle Ecology penalty
Mission Creek shoreline to be restored as part of agreement

YAKIMA– A Cashmere developer and a contractor he hired have entered into a settlement agreement with the Washington Department of Ecology resolving their appeal of a restoration order and civil penalties associated with unpermitted excavation work in Mission Creek.

In November 2013, developer George N. Valison of Quail Lane Development LLC and construction contractor David G. Baker, of D. Baker Construction & Excavating LLC, were cited $20,000 each for moving dirt and rocks with heavy equipment in Mission Creek without appropriate permits, planning or precautions.  

The September 2012 incident was investigated by Ecology and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife in response to a citizen complaint. Ecology’s investigation found that the excavation work resulted in environmental harm, including creek bed and bank erosion, and water quality degradation in an area with sensitive steelhead and salmon habitat. In addition to the penalties, Ecology issued an administrative order to Valison to stabilize and restore the streambank.

The cost, time and uncertainty of further litigation were taken into consideration as part of the settlement decision. In settling, Valison and Baker admit no violation of law. Each has independent duties to fulfill to satisfy their obligations under the settlement.

Valison must restore the shoreline area and obtain appropriate local, state and federal permits to conduct shoreline and in-water work as ordered last November.

Stream restoration and bank stabilization work must be completed by July 31, 2015, absent unavoidable project delays. Ecology will hold the $20,000 penalty in abeyance pending compliance with the restoration order and settlement agreement. Valison will be released from his obligation to pay the penalty once the project is satisfactorily completed. If the project is not completed or is clearly abandoned, Ecology will collect the full penalty amount.

Baker’s fine was reduced to $10,000. He has agreed to pay $5,000 in 12 monthly installments over the course of one year. The remaining penalty amount of $5,000 will be suspended for three years. If Baker violates water quality or shoreline management laws at anytime during the three years, the balance of the penalty will become due immediately.

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Contact:

Joye Redfield-Wilder, communications, 509-575-2610; @ecyCentral