With Hwy 1 Closed for Nearly 100 Days, Local Businesswoman Writes Open Letter on Hardship to Locals
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An open letter to Dan Gjerde our invisible Mendocino County Supervisor.
I am remiss to complain as I love where we live, however there comes a time when enough is enough when our local government does not represent us and instead chooses to ignore our community as a whole while we deal with a road closure that is affecting the economy of every single business in this community. Since January 11th route 1 has been closed. Today marks day 98 of closure. 98 days… Nothing about that number is acceptable.
We understand the complexities of the road issues, as a heavy equipment operator with the Local 3 my husband has worked on several of the larger slides in the area caused by winter storms. There is absolutely no reason that route 1 could not have been opened at some point at least during daylight hours with flaggers. My husband has been to the slide sites as he serves as a Commissioner with the Leggett Valley Fire Protection District. Emergency calls to the other side of the slides must be served by the Westport Volunteers, a response time of 20 minutes to Hales Grove has now become an hour due to these closures. These minutes mean the difference between life and death in the event of an emergency.
Are you aware Supervisor Gjerde that we also have school students who although they only live 10 minutes from school must now go all the way to Branscomb road and over to the 101 to get to school? A partial opening would have alleviated these two issues, as well as allowing the tourists and travelers to complete their journey on the Coast Highway. Leggett is the first place they arrive at when completing that memorable drive, they stop at our store, they fuel up at the local gas station, and they venture on the The Drive Thru Tree Park all creating revenue for our community and county.
Furthermore those heading to the coast stop in and grab their fishing licenses from us as they head to the coast to enjoy a recreational day on the ocean. We have a minimum sales quota we are required to meet to be able to offer Fish and Game licenses to our customers at no additional cost to us, and this quota is now impacted jeopardizing our ability to offer this service, something we have been proud to offer for the first time in our rural area.
I awoke yesterday to the closure of Highway 101 due to the slide at Bridges Creek. What really has me at my breaking point at this latest road closure is that the South Leggett off ramp is staffed by a State Caltrans worker who is not only turning people around but isn’t even letting non local traffic into town! If people need gas he is telling them to head back to Laytonville. My business, the Leggett Valley Mercantile as well as the world famous Drive Thru Tree Park and our local gas station are essentially ghost towns right now.
When is enough enough? The tourist season is upon us, we cannot further shoulder the economic burden that 98 days of closure has caused. My husband is a current employee of Anderson Logging out of Fort Bragg, his commute now takes him over Branscomb Road or Highway 20, I wonder how the logging community will tolerate this closure as those trucks rely on route 1 to get to their logs to the mills north. I’ve emailed you, to no avail, so maybe you will see this, and maybe you will let the business owning constituents of Leggett know that we are more than just invisible property tax payers lining the county coffers and getting nothing in return, because that is what we get from the county up here, outside of a once a month visit from the Bookmobile we receive nothing from our county, NOTHING!
98 days Supervisor Gjerde, we deserve better.
Scott and Melissa Rosenthal.