Clallam County looks to prioritize CARES aid

Federal dollars to help recovery from coronavirus

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners are reviewing spending priorities for coronavirus relief.

The county received $4.18 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to support needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I do expect there will be additional resources,” Board Chairman Mark Ozias said in a Monday work session.

“I also expect that, whatever it is, it’s not going to be enough to meet the need.”

Commissioners have identified six priority areas — public health, business support, rental and utility assistance, support for the homeless population, child care and food security — for CARES Act funding.

Clallam County already has committed a “large portion” of its CARES Act funding for public health staffing, information technology infrastructure and other areas specific to COVID-19, officials said.

The county had $1.3 million in unallocated CARES Act funding available as of last week, Chief Financial Officer Mark Lane said in a board memo.

Commissioner Randy Johnson on Monday said public health staffing and COVID-19 equipment “have to rise to the top” of the priority list.

“As much as all these other things are absolutely a need of individuals, all we need to do is have a Yakima outbreak and not have the capability to handle that,” Johnson said, referring to the 6,326 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Yakima County.

“I think everyone understands that that’s a need.”

Ozias and Johnson agreed Monday — with Commissioner Bill Peach excused — to disperse CARES Act funding in the following amounts:

• $200,000 for business support.

Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marc Abshire suggested a $100,000 allocation for Black Ball Ferry Line, which operates the M/V Coho ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria.

The ferry is not operating because of COVID-19 restrictions in the U.S. and Canada.

“I certainly understand and agree with the unique importance of Black Ball to our region and to our economy,” Ozias said.

“I do want to make sure that there aren’t other businesses that would fall into that category that we’re not thinking about.”

• $110,000 for nonprofit child care.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, Shore Aquatic Center and Olympic Peninsula YMCA have agreed to collaborate on child care through September.

“There’s a longer-term issue,” Johnson said of the child care shortage in Clallam County. “Big time.”

• $60,000 for food security.

Clallam County’s Washington State University Extension Office will use the funds to purchase two food storage units, Extension Director Clea Rome said.

• An unspecified amount for public health and homeless issues.

“Those are going to be firm expenses that will develop additional shape over time,” Ozias said.

“If were lucky, maybe they’ll cost a little bit less than we planned for.”

• An unspecified amount for rental assistance and utility relief.

“For right now, I think that we can say that our assumptions are that we will be dedicating some CARES (Act) dollars to rental and utilities assistance,” Ozias said.

“We’re not yet sure how much.”

Commissioners will continue to discuss CARES Act funding every week at 10 a.m. Mondays.

“We’ve got additional work to do to put some shape around some of these areas,” Ozias said.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at

More in News

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council leaders celebrate the opening of the tribe’s new library at its Blyn campus on Saturday. Pictured, from left, are treasurer Theresa Lehman, vice chair Loni Grinnell-Greninger, chair/CEO Ron Allen and secretary Rochelle Blankenship. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe celebrates library opening

Chairman/CEO: New facility is ‘second to none’

Solar array, battery storage to be installed on Port Angeles Senior Center

System could provide hours of backup power in case of an outage

UPDATE: Power restored between Sequim, Port Angeles

A tree has been removed from a Clallam County PUD… Continue reading

Road work to close Quinault Loop

Work crews from Haztech Drilling will begin geotechnical drilling… Continue reading

Fiber gathering Thursday at Studio Bob

Marva Holmes will host “St*tch & B*tch” at 4:30… Continue reading

Dream Playground to be fully covered by insurance

Donations still will be used in May rebuild

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual Shipwrights Regatta on Port Townsend Bay on Saturday. More of a fun event than a sailing competition, awards are given out during a pizza party afterward for the most navigationally challenged (Directional Helmet trophy) and for the “saltiest” boat and crew. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Shipwrights Regatta

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual… Continue reading

The City of Sequim hosts 13 manufactured home/mobile home parks with 596 existing units and 786 approved dwelling units. City staff continue to look into zoning options that could protect these sites from redevelopment to help protect affordable housing options in the city. (City of Sequim)
Sequim extends its mobile home moratorium

City staff to work preserving manufactured housing option

Olympic Medical Center chief outlines efforts at improvements

Decreased number of travelers among them

Jay and Trudi Inslee wear red for #WearRedDay to support women’s heart health in 2022. (Jay Inslee)
Gov. Inslee reflects in his final year of three terms

On the second level of the white and gray marbled… Continue reading

Chris Johnson of Nordland-based Nordland Construction loads traffic drums onto a trailer as coworker Robert Bufford prepares to secure the load as the pair prepares to open the parking lot at Port Angeles City Pier to automobiles on Friday. The work was part of a project to improve storm drainage, replace damaged sidewalks and ADA ramps and mitigate shoreline erosion around the lot, which had been closed since early January. Tree replacement and other project detail work is expected to follow over the next few weeks.
City Pier parking open

Chris Johnson of Nordland-based Nordland Construction loads traffic drums onto a trailer… Continue reading

Sequim Citizen of the Year luncheon on Tuesday

Emiko Brock, Labbe, Olsen to be honored