Forks mayor gives updates on sanctuary dogs, art center

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

Corrects surname of Forks sanctuary owner Steve Markwell.


FORKS — Calls regarding the Olympic Animal Sanctuary dogs have stopped and the Rainforest Art Center is on schedule, Mayor Bryon Monohon told about 50 Seahawks-clad members of the Forks Chamber of Commerce at the State of the City presentation Wednesday.

It has been about two weeks since the city received a call about the sanctuary dogs, though the city is still getting a few letters from people who aren't aware of the departure of more than 120 dogs in December, Monohon said.

Steve Markwell, who ran the sanctuary, was under fire from animal rights protesters who alleged that the dogs were abused and neglected inside a Forks warehouse, which served as kennels.

The protesters also took aim at the city and population of Forks for failing to take legal action against OAS.

Markwell departed Forks with 124 dogs in early December and turned them over to Guardians of Rescue, a New Jersey organization, at an Arizona animal shelter.

“I'm proud of how the community carried itself, and I found many of the protesters to be unpleasant and unnecessarily threatening,” Monohon said.

He said the city will continue to address the issues the OAS situation revealed.

“It will be with us for years to come,” he said.

On the subject of dogs in general, Monohon put local dog owners on notice that they need to keep their dogs leashed or fenced.

“Dog owners, some of your neighbors are really upset and tired of your loose dogs threatening them and damaging their yards,” he said.

Increased patrols

Monohon said the Forks Police Department has increased patrols and that he sees an impact on heroin sales.

“From the names I see on the jail roster, we are making progress. The names on the jail roster meets up with my knowledge of supply and demand,” he said.

Currently, jails in both Forks and Port Angeles are full, so something needs to change, Monohon said.

He said the final answer is to reduce drug use.

“We need to reach out to all our folks, get them off the streets, to get in the right direction,” he said.

It's not a problem unique to Forks, he noted; “it's everywhere.”

Rainforest Arts Center

“The Rainforest Arts Center is on a tight budget, on schedule, with groundbreaking in April,” Monohon said.

Currently, the city is working with architects on the final details on the interior — including small “Easter eggs” of architectural detail.

“We're putting as much as we can into it,” he said.

The exterior will use rustic cedar shakes and two different colors of bricks.

Monohon said the brickwork will be reminiscent of the original design on the 87-year-old International Order of Odd Fellows Hall at 35 N. Forks Ave., which was destroyed in a fire in October 2012, but the pattern will not be as intricate.

Road work

Two major road projects are expected to be completed in Forks this summer.

The entire length of Spartan Avenue will be repaved and the street closed for construction as soon as school lets out in June, Monohon said.

The project was supposed to be completed in 2013, he said, but construction was delayed, and the street required emergency repairs to keep it operational.

“It is one of the worst stretches of roadway in the whole community,” he said.

Sidewalks also will be installed on Maple Avenue, which he said is the last downtown-access street in Forks to get sidewalks.

Monohon predicted a Superbowl win for the Seahawks, with a final score of Seahawks 24, Broncos 17.

“Go Hawks!” Monohon said.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 01. 2014 9:58AM
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