Hargrove unaware of two Sequim lavender groups

SEQUIM — Sen. Jim Hargrove was unaware there were two Sequim lavender groups when the Hoquiam Democrat co-sponsored a resolution that the state Senate adopted Feb. 21.

Ian Cope, a spokesman for Hargrove in Olympia, confirmed that the resolution cited the Sequim Lavender Growers Association and the Sequim Lavender Festival but made no mention of the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association, which broke away from the growers association in January 2010.

He acknowledged that Hargrove’s office heard about the gaffe after the fact when members of the farmers association contacted the senator’s office.

Hargrove represents the 24th District, which covers Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County.

Tourist attraction

Neither Cope nor Hargrove returned calls last week to comment further on the resolution that commended and expressed support for the growers association and the Sequim Lavender Festival for “work in enhancing the economy of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley and creating a vibrant tourist attraction on the Olympic Peninsula.”

“We believe we passed a landmark, 15 years of continuous success in Sequim and the Sequim-Dungeness Valley promoting a very successful agricultural event,” growers association spokesman Paul Jendrucko said.

“And we are responsible for bringing in millions of dollars to the local economy, and we wanted to celebrate that.”

Jendrucko added: “We’re not trying to make this a feud. There’s no feud.”

Mayor Ken Hays said he was “irritated” that Hargrove’s office did not contact the city of Sequim about the Senate resolution.

“The city should have been included somehow,” Hays said.

“To me, it’s all about business and supporting the community and enterprise, and what I am getting out of it is it seems like it’s become personal, and that doesn’t benefit anybody.”

Scott Nagel, executive director of the farmers association, was unfazed by the resolution.

“Anybody can get one of those things done,” he said. “Who cares?”

Resolution 8681 was carried by Hargrove and Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell.

‘Walking on air’

“We have been walking on air since hearing the news,” growers association President Susan Olson said.

“Even the fragrance of a truckload of lavender could not bring us down to earth.”

Olson and Jendrucko said Hargrove brought growers association members into the Senate chambers to be recognized.

“We are extremely grateful to Sen. Hargrove and the state Senate for giving us this special attention.”

Barbara Hanna, city of Sequim marketing and communications manager, said both lavender groups were still working with the city on their permit applications, which are due by April 1 for the 16th lavender festival.

“We’re going through the details of what their recommendation and requests are,” she said.

Recommendations from both groups involved parking logistics for what the city is calling the Sequim Lavender Weekend.

“It’s going to be a process,” she said. “It’s not going to be worked out overnight.”

After that, the city will issue the necessary permits for the July 20-22 lavender festival, city officials said.

The city’s first-time approach to lavender festival permitting lays down key requirements for visitor signage, shuttle bus transportation and information booths, an issue precipitated by last July’s two separate lavender festival events.

The separate July events followed the January 2011 breakup of the Sequim Lavender Growers Association. A group of longtime farmers separated from the original group to form the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at [email protected]

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