Farmer objects after city changes road named for family

Family was not notified of name change, asks to restart process



Attorney Laura Hoopis discusses how the residents of Hood drive were not notified of the street name changing on Tuesday night at Pullman City Hall.

BENJAMIN WHITE, Evergreen reporter

A local lawyer and a family farmer brought a personal grievance to the city council regarding the renaming of a road which was named in tribute to a heritage family farmer at the Pullman City Council meeting on Tuesday night at city hall.

Attorney Laura Hoopis said Hood Drive, named for family farmer Allan Hood’s late family was recently renamed without giving notice to the Hoods.

“I saw, with great pleasure, the street sign for Hood drive go up because it was certainly a tribute not only to Allan’s family but also to the farming community and the history of Pullman,” she said.

Hood said the road was named for his family because they have been a part of the Palouse community for over a century.

“My grandfather came here, I’ve got it on my hand, in 1896 and he actually got into the stable business and he was in that until he got a chance to go farming and so he’s been around Pullman ever since then and then of course the family continued on,” Hood said.

Hoopis said the city can change the road name if it is for public interest, but there is no public interest in taking the name of the old family farmers off and replacing it with the developer’s name.

Hoopis and Hood asked the city to restart the process, first with notification to the family then with public discussion before changing the name of the road.

“The point isn’t some ego gratification that the Hood family needs from seeing their name on the sign,” Hoopis said. “The point is that the Chipmans and the Wilsons and the Hoods, they’re all a part of this and if a developer can kick the Hood Drive sign off, what happens when the Young sign comes up… it sets a bad precedence.”

Last city council meeting, city attorney Laura McAloon provided a memo for councilmembers to review to make judgments on the nuisance code for the downtown area. The memo had examples of codes adopted by other cities with similar issues.

The issue spirals around the Mimosa building, a vacant and unkempt building in downtown Pullman that residents have asked the council to address.

There were discussions among the councilmembers about different executive fees for vacant buildings in the central business district and mandated decorations for downtown property.

In the memo, one option outlined was to pass legislation that allowed the city to decorate the vacant property and bill the landowner. The example city used in the memo never attempted to enforce that policy.

Councilmember Dan Records said he did not want to pursue a policy that the city had no interest in enforcing.

McAloon said the city could justify an executive fee for the external inspection of vacant buildings because it costs money to perform inspections.

Councilmember Al Sorenson said he would like to make this a collaborative effort with business owners, rather than having the city be a strict enforcer.

McAloon said she will bring a draft to the council that would include an executive fee for inspections and a statement that outlined collaboration between the city and the landowner to beautify the property.