Why Tenino, Washington is printing its own wooden money

Jun 20, 2020, 8:12 AM | Updated: 8:15 am

Tenino, Washington...

The town of Tenino, Washington. (Wikimedia Commons)

(Wikimedia Commons)

The town of Tenino, Washington, is helping its residents survive the coronavirus shutdown by printing its own wooden money.

Thurston County Sheriff on how he views stay-at-home enforcement

The Thurston County town printed its own money during the Great Depression, using a newspaper press built in the 1870s. Its current mayor, Wayne Fournier, spoke to KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show about how that strategy has been translated into the modern era.

“We wanted to do something to help people that have been affected [by COVID-19] and people that are out of work,” Fournier described. “So we fired up the same exact press from the late 1800s, and we have printed off wooden money once again.”

This comes as business in Tenino has slowed to a crawl, making for something of a “ghost town” in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The town — with a population of just 1,800 people — put aside $10,000 for the project, printing the wooden money in $25 pieces.

People who have been affected by the pandemic can receive up to $300 a month in wooden money. They can then use it at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and other Tenino businesses.

King County gets approval to move into Phase 2 of reopening

The city then reimburses the business. Fournier says it’s helping to rescue the local economy, while many businesses have already reported a slow trickle of wooden currency flowing in.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

pierce county pride...

Frank Sumrall

Pierce Co. Council member to avoid chambers while Pride Flag is present

Pierce County Councilmember Amy Cruver says she will refuse to sit in the county's council chambers while a pride flag flies overhead.

14 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: GEE and Baby GEE

A very special guest joined the Gee and Ursula Show: Gee Jr.! It’s fair to say that like father, like son. Watch Gee Jr. answer questions about his dad, life, and more! Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show every weekday at 9am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM Listen to KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM or […]

20 days ago

Image: From left, Heather Bosch, Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin of KIRO Newsradio share some laughs du...

Steve Coogan

Peace out! Malfunction on ‘Gee and Ursula’ leads to lots of laughs

Sometimes, equipment malfunctions on shows like "Gee and Ursula" can lead to a few minutes of chaos and a fun, unique moment.

1 month ago

newcastle mayor...

Frank Sumrall

Gee Scott: Newcastle mayor’s comments ‘are awful, what he represents is awful’

Newcastle Mayor Robert Clark fired off a plethora of controversial comments about the local LGBTQ+ community and reparations during a city council meeting.

1 month ago

seattle spd lawsuit...

Ursula Reutin

Ursula: Being gay has no bearing on allegations against former SPD Chief Diaz

In his first interview since he stepped down as the city's top cop, former SPD Chief Adrian Diaz publicly came out as gay.

1 month ago

rahr police...

Frank Sumrall

Interim SPD Chief Rahr on police-city relations: ‘Can we please hit the reset button?’

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell appointed Sue Rahr as the city's interim police chief after removing Adrian Diaz from the role due to accumulating allegations.

1 month ago

Why Tenino, Washington is printing its own wooden money