Dori: Shameful that Jay Inslee abandoned snowed-in people of Skykomish

Jan 16, 2020, 3:56 PM

What is happening to our neighbors, to our fellow Washingtonians stranded in Skykomish due to the snowstorm is a damning indictment of local government. This is a shameful situation that is unfolding as we speak.

U.S. Highway 2 was closed for days due to the snowstorm knocking trees and tree branches onto the road. It was deemed too unsafe for drivers to travel in this path. The small towns of Skykomish, Baring, and Grotto on U.S. Highway 2 have been without power for about seven days, since this snowstorm began knocking down trees and power lines. They have also been without water for four days.

In the clip above, KIRO 7 TV talked to a mom who was stranded on the highway with her four kids when the highway was shut down. With no room left in Skykomish’s one hotel, they had to sleep in the car, quickly running out of snacks.

Dori: Local leadership wouldn’t help us survive major earthquake

Where is Governor Inslee in all this? This is so unbelievably shameful. Jay Inslee, on Wednesday morning, wrote the following on Twitter.

I started getting emails from listeners in rural areas. Their tone resembled the responses to Inslee’s Tweet. Here is a sampling:

I have no doubt that these comments are 100-percent accurate. If this was a blue zip code near Seattle, Jay Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine (whose county these small towns are in) would have been all over that community. They take care of their voters. But the people in Sky Valley are left to fend for themselves.

A citizen effort to help snowbound Skykomish

Instead, a citizen, Garry Vire, had to organize a convoy. When the highway was closed, he and the other citizens got people with heavy-duty four-wheel-drive trucks and military vehicles to deliver food, gasoline, and other resources up the mountain. They told the Washington State Department of Transportation and the King County Sheriff’s Office that “the convoy was happening one way or another … we were not letting these people to continue to do without and suffer.”

“Snowpack has come in at an extensive rate and very quickly. And as we all know, this was very heavy snow — it was not your normal light powder,” Vire explained to me. “It all started by tons of people being stranded on the mountain … and then the whole highway ended up getting shut down.”

With the road between Gold Bar and Skykomish shut down, Vire said, no supplies were getting to the people in those communities.

“Nothing was going up or down the mountain — that means no access to fuel, no access to power, no access to food, no access to medicine,” he said. “Absolutely nothing.”

He has not seen a single material resource sent by federal, state, or local government this entire time. It was the people who organized the effort.

“To this day, nothing has been done other than what we have organized within our own communities to make happen,” Vire said. “We’ve had no help from federal agencies of any kind. All of this has been done 100-percent by myself and volunteers in the Gold Bar area.”

Vire and the other volunteers took it upon themselves to raise money, collect supplies, talk to community members to find out what they needed, and send convoys of resources up the mountains.

“People need resources, and the only way they’re getting them right now is by us,” he said. “So we’re dedicated to continuing to make this happen.”

And while the highway is thankfully open again, many people in Skykomish, Baring, and Grotto are still not able to get down the mountain. Power and water are not back on, and may not be for some time.

“This is going to continue for weeks because the power is still not restored up there, the water systems are still not flowing,” he said. “So people need resources, and the only way they’re getting them right now is by us — so we’re dedicated to continuing to make this happen, as long as we can continue to raise the funds.”

The citizen effort needs help from their fellow Washingtonians; a GoFundMe page is “critical to continuing to make this happen.” As Vire explained, the fuel to power a household with a generator and water-pumping system for a few days can cost thousands of dollars.

“We’re adamant and we’re focused that we will make it happen for our neighbors, we will make it happen for our families, we will make it happen for our community, because in times of need, that’s what you do,” he said. “So we have stepped up, and if government won’t take care of them, we will make sure that no one goes hungry up there, no one is stranded in the cold for days at a time.”

The stark divide in Washington

It’s wonderful that they did that.

But this is why we have such a divide in our state. Jay Inslee and Dow Constantine will do anything for people in Seattle, but they leave the rural people in the rest of the state to fend for themselves. It took a bunch of citizens saying, “We’re going to save ourselves and help our neighbors because government has too much contempt for us to send any aid.”

When you vote incompetent people into office as we have done, what is going to happen when we have a true disaster? I have asked that question for years. I was thinking about an earthquake or a terror strike, but we are seeing a small version of that right here with this snowstorm — people without electricity or water, snowbound and cut off from getting supplies by a closed highway. While the politicians are living the high life, their constituents are struggling to get the food, water, and heat that they need to survive.

“Seven days of ‘monitoring’ — people are going without. They don’t have heat. They don’t have formula for their babies. They don’t have fuel to run their generators,” Vire said. “They don’t have anything — and they’re just sitting up there.”

Jay Inslee had a press conference Thursday morning, during which he was asked why he has not done more for Skykomish and surrounding areas. He spoke of “prodigious efforts” to reopen the highway. Why didn’t he make “prodigious efforts” to bring them food and gasoline? Why didn’t he ask the National Guard to come in? He responded that he took his direction from the mayor of Skykomish and would not “tell a mayor how to run his city.”

That’s funny, because earlier this week in his State of the State speech, he implied he’d tell a whole lot of mayors how to run their cities when it came to the homelessness crisis. Mr. Governor, you’re going to have the state intervene in the homelessness problems in Seattle and Everett without seeking the mayors’ approval because you believe the problem is that critical, but you can’t spend a couple of days helping taxpaying, working citizens of rural Washington?

By the way, while I often criticize WSDOT management, the road crews and the people trying to restore the power and water along Highway 2 are angels on Earth. Those are government workers earning every single penny they make. They do fantastic work, impossible work at times. The same goes for the men and women of the Washington State Patrol, who have been providing escorts to get people safely down the mountain. My government criticism is not of those people on the ground. My criticism is of Jay Inslee and Dow Constantine.

We have two Washingtons, and it never has been more clearly illustrated than with this story. You have desperate people fighting for basic survival necessities, and what is the governor doing? He’s posting tweets. He doesn’t do anything to get supplies to them. It took the heroic work of local citizens to help those people.

This is what you get when you put someone like that in office — someone who has contempt for the rural communities didn’t vote for him.

You left those people to die, Mr. Governor.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

Dori Monson Show

Seattle homeowner sells rental, says he doesn’t want to ‘be a landlord here’

The owner of a West Seattle home describes why he doesn't want to be a landlord in the city and is selling his home with the tenants in it.
2 days ago
Seattle firefighters...
Dori Monson Show

Terminated Seattle firefighters turn in their boots

Seattle firefighters who lost their jobs over the COVID vaccine mandate dropped off their boots on Tuesday.
3 days ago
Dori Monson Show

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer says he’ll fight AG’s misdemeanor charges

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer is charged with one count of false reporting, and one count of making a false or misleading statement to a public servant.
3 days ago
scam, vaccine...
Dori Monson Show

Meet the firefighter and deckhand who won’t get vaccinated

Washington state’s COVID vaccine mandate for most government, healthcare, and education employees is set to take effect Oct. 18. Meet the state workers who are leaving their jobs.
7 days ago
JAY INSLEE, covid...
Dori Monson

Dori: Inslee planning to push COVID vax through 2024

Gov. Jay Inslee has given himself extra-constitutional "emergency" powers for 19 months. Now it looks like he is planning to extend those powers.
7 days ago
seattle police, vaccine...
Dori Monson Show

Seattle police union president says some officers are ‘willing to walk away’ from job in solidarity

If Seattle police officers are not vaccinated against COVID-19 or haven't submitted proof by Oct. 18, they risk losing their job.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Dori: Shameful that Jay Inslee abandoned snowed-in people of Skykomish