205 W 5th Ave
Ellensburg, WA 98926-2887
Monday - Friday
8 AM - 5 PM
Kittitas (pronounced 'KITT-i-tass') County is located in central Washington
State. It spans from the lush forested Cascade Mountains to the upper Yakima River Valley plains and
the Columbia River.
Kittitas County, WA -
On April 21, the Kittitas County Board of County Commissioners, County Prosecutor, and the Health Officer, met and discussed available avenues to pursue opening local economy. At this time, the Governor’s Orders are legally binding and local officials are required by law to follow the Governor’s Orders to Stay Home, Stay Healthy until May 4, 2020.
During today’s meeting, the County Prosecutor clarified that other counties in Washington State have received warning letters from the Governor in regards to their allowance of residential construction. Those counties received a formal letter on Friday from the Governor that clearly stated they need to rescind their allowance of activities that are contrary to the State Order. Counties that are not abiding by state law will receive a warning, then ticketing, and ultimately misdemeanant prosecution.
States may be stricter than federal orders. Counties may be stricter than state orders. Although they can be stricter, it is not legal to be less strict. If Kittitas County were to proceed in breaking the State Order, which is considered breaking the law, local citizens are not protected legally. Kittitas County Commissioners have no defensible authority to repeal any part of what the state is requiring.
Essential activities deemed appropriate by the Governor, specifically to construction, have been a significant issue in our county. The Governor’s Order allows for essential construction, which is the legally binding order. Essential construction is allowed if there is an unsafe condition, damage from an emergency, or spoilage to construction in progress. Based on the Governor’s warnings to other counties, the state has made it clear that construction activities in Chelan and Douglas counties are considered illegal.
Kittitas County will continue to bring forward these issues. Discussion ensued around data for COVID-19 and whether the epidemiological curve data takes into account social distancing. Dr. Mark Larson, Health Officer, explained that the data from the University of Washington includes social distancing, which is why that data is changing constantly. There were continued questions and concerns regarding the confusing nature of the state orders. The recourse for Kittitas County leadership is to continue to work together and directly address inconsistencies in the Governor’s orders.
Citizens’ concerns with the Governor’s orders would be appropriately directed to Governor Jay Inslee’s office at this time https://www.governor.wa.gov/. If you have concerns about the health, please contact your healthcare provider or you can call the Temporary COVID Clinic at KVH at 509-933-8850. For general questions about COVID-19, please call the Emergency Operation Center at 509-933-8315 or 509-933-8305. Please watch our county website along with our social media for more information today at www.co.kittitas.wa.us or Facebook.
Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us
Kasey Knutson, Public Information Officer, 509-962-7515
Kittitas County has a total area of 2,333 square miles. The highest point in the county is Mount Daniel at 7,959 feet above sea level.