While not widely known, the June 27th closure of the Warrenton office of the Department of Environmental Quality is certainly of concern to local septic system installers and realtors who depend on the records kept by that office that may end up in Portland,or worse, across the state in Pendelton.
The records are used on a daily basis by those who may be working on septic systems in the unincorporated areas of Clatsop County and local realtors say it will impact their ability to have all the data necessary to conduct business. For those homeowners, primarily outside the cities it could mean some real hardship when it comes to making applications to the DEQ and could mean delays in permiting for months. The county was approached last month about retaining those records locally but decided not to do so. Reportedly realtors are trying to save the situation by contacting coastal legislators to see what influence could convince DEQ that the Warrenton office is nesscessary afterall. The Warrenton office is the reportedly the only one set for closure at the end of the current fiscal year due to budget constraints. A representative for DEQ told KAST news that since construction has been depressed in the area for several years and because the Warrenton office budget is dependent on permit fees it was determined that the office could no longer support itself. The DEQ is in the process of working through the issues regarding local records access and the agency says they are not prepared to comment on that item nor will they make an official announcement about the office closure until May. Astoria City Manager Paul Benoit said the closure will have no impact on city projects but it would impact unicorporated areas of the county.