County’s ORV park now without a manager

County, operator were in negotiations for extending contract

Straddleline ORV Park is without an operator after Promoto LLC turned down an offer from Grays Harbor County to extend its lease agreement.

Promoto partners, Elaine Derrick, Holly Wolfer and Randy Wolfer, have held an operating lease agreement with the county since April 8, 2011. That lease terminated on Dec. 31, 2015, and the county and Promoto agreed on a contract extension from April 25 to Sept. 30, and had been working on a new lease.

Straddleline, the only publicly owned ORV park in the state, offers several different tracks, trails, courses and campsites for off-road vehicle afficiandos. Besides motocross events, the 155-acre park also hosted the Dirty Dash (a muddy obstacle course), rally cars, go-karts and hill climbs. Some of its trails connect to the Capitol Forest.

At a special meeting of the Grays Harbor County Commissioners on Thursday, Sept. 29, the Board of County Commissioners acknowledged the termination of the lease and unanimously agreed to modify the termination date. The lease, set to expire Sept. 30, has been extended to Oct. 31, giving time for Promoto to evict their caretaker and remove their personal property.

After Friday, Sept. 30, no events are scheduled at Straddleline, and Promoto will not pay for facility use for the month. The county holds a $10,000 security deposit from Promoto, and Deputy Prosecutor Norma Tillotson said it was hoped the full amount would be remitted to the company.

“Promoto LLC will not be renewing the management contract for Straddleline ORV Park. Grays Harbor County will reassume management as of October 1st,” a post on Straddleline ORV Park’s Facebook page said. “We at Straddleline would like to thank all of the volunteers and participants that have helped in the last 6 years to make Straddleline what it is today!”

The post, signed by Derrick and the Wolfers, also thanked their supporters. The same message appeared on the park’s website.

In a telephone interview, Holly Wolfer said there were a lot of different reasons for Promoto not extending the contract.

“There’s not any one thing that I’m going to cite as an example,” Wolfer said. “We are hoping that the county finds somebody awesome to take over for the 2017 season.”

According to Mark Cox, deputy director of public works, the county will be inventorying equipment, from large earthwork machinery such as bulldozers and water trucks to small tools, and ensuring conditions at the park are maintained.

Cox said he was surprised that Promoto terminated the lease agreement as major improvements to park had been made in the last year

“We made improvements to the track surface, water system and the stormwater collection,” Cox said. “And I felt like they did a good job. They put in a lot of time and effort.”

Cox said he didn’t know why the contract was not extended by Promoto’s partners.

“We offered a year extension, status quo, all the terms the same, and they didn’t want it,” Cox said. Grays Harbor County pays about $20,000 in stormwater fees to Thurston County. In negotiating a new contract, Cox said the county was looking to reduce the fees paid to Thurston County, or have the fees paid by the park operator.

“We have an obligation to keep the park going,” Cox said.

Some of the equipment at the park was purchased with grant funding from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. If the ORV park is not up and running within three years, the county may have to reimburse the state for the money it invested in the park. Cox said in the near future, the county would be sending out requests for proposals to parties interested in operating the park and campsite.