Loggers Playday Committee drops funding for parade this year

The Loggers Playday Committee has chosen not to contribute funds this year to the city of Hoquiam for the annual Loggers Playday Elks Lodge Grand Parade.

Because of the decision, sparked by a continuing controversy over the city’s preferred parade route, the Hoquiam City Council on Monday chose to make up the difference with distributions from its 2012 lodging tax receipts.

Hoquaim Mayor Jack Durney said the city only learned of the decision late last week.

Historically, the Loggers Playday Committee has provided funds to the Elks-sponsored parade on the Saturday that kicks off the annual event.

The current route runs northeast on 8th Street until K Street before turning left down K Street and finishing at 3rd Street. “Originally, the parade route went down Simpson Avenue and it consequent blocked Highway 101,” Durney said. “It created a lot of problems and it required that the parade entries congregate on Emerson Avenue, which caused problems there. It was just a great big hassle.”

The route was changed two years ago to move the parade off of Simpson Avenue to accommodate bridge closure detours, and the city decided to keep that route last year.

“It works an awful lot better and allows the flow of traffic on Simpson,” he said. “From the city’s point of view, we don’t have to block streets, we don’t have to have as many cops out directing traffic. The (state) Department of Transportation prefers it and it just works.”

Durney said the Loggers Playday Committee never provided the city with any reason why the funding had been dropped, and committee members contacted this morning indicated it was a split decision with several members in favor of the new parade route.

“The ones who have been in Loggers Playday a long time like myself thought there is nothing wrong with the current route,” said Don Hurd, a committee member who said he did not support the move to withhold money.

“There were some members who felt the Elks went to the city and ironed out the route the city wanted without conferring with the Loggers Playday committee,” he said.

As a result of the committee’s decision, the City Council Monday night decided to shift money it normally gives Loggers Playday from the lodging tax receipts and give it to the Elks Lodge for the parade. Under a motion by Councilwoman Jasmine Dickhoff, the council agreed to reduce funds budgeted for the Loggers Playday Committee from $3,000 to $1,000, and that the Elks receive an additional $1,000, for a total of $3,500 for the parade.

“The city is going to make sure the parade continues,” Durney said. “It’s just absolutely a huge deal.”