Gold Bar, Wash., Broke and Divided, May Disappear From Map

To Carol McCraw, who has lived in Gold Bar for more than 30 years, it seems the city's problems boil down to personality. The population is largely fed up with the disputes, most of which originated under the city's previous mayor, and many residents, including herself, are resigned to the idea of ending the city's 102-year history.

But such resignation is dangerous, Martin said. Many residents may not realize it, she said, but disincorporation would mean the nullification of all local ordinances and the contract under which the county sheriff's office sends officers to patrol Gold Bar.

"Who's going to enforce our laws, an overstretched sheriff's office?" Martin asked. "It's not going to happen, and we'll have to wait a whole lot longer for police to show up if something horrible happens."

If Gold Bar pursues disincorporation, the change will likely be permanent.

Under Washington law, communities that wish to incorporate must have in place certain infrastructure, such as a sewer system, that Gold Bar will not be able to afford for the foreseeable future, Martin said. It would be the first disincorporation in the state since Westlake in Grant County disassembled in 1972.

This Tuesday, city council members will finalize the language on ballot measures calling for disincorporation and a tax hike, both of which Beavers expects to see on the ballot in November. If both are approved, the tax hike will override the disincorporation vote, and the city of Gold Bar will live to see another day.

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