Yakima will join the ranks of cities, such as Portland, Olympia and Seattle, in celebrating Native Americans each October in lieu of Christopher Columbus.
The City Council voted 5-2, with members Bill Lover and Maureen Adkison against, Tuesday evening to recognize Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day in Yakima. This year that day is Oct. 10.
Lover and Adkison were quick to point out their no votes were not a lack of support for Native Americans. Lover said he wanted to hear more discussion from Yakima residents and Adkison did not want to “lose a traditional day” and instead wanted to choose another day to celebrate indigenous people.
But council member Avina Gutierrez said the issue was especially close to her heart because Yakima is so close to the Yakama Nation and it was important to pay tribute.
The unplanned vote came about as a result of a citizen request made during the meeting. Council members wanted to consider the request further but, after realizing the day in question was next week, decided to vote during Tuesday’s council meeting.
Community comment continued to rule discussion at the meeting, as Yakima resident Jedidia Haney urged the council not to add family childcare centers to the list of day cares requiring a 1,000-foot buffer from marijuana businesses. Haney suggested a yes vote on the addition could put Yakima at risk of legal action and held up a list of cities he said were facing lawsuits as a result of additions to marijuana laws.
That comment drew the ire of at least one council member.
“I just welcome this talk about being sued,” Lover said. “Maybe we can get it up to a federal appeal.”
After being reassured by staff that the council was within its rights to add zones, council members voted 4-3 to approve adding family child care centers to child care facilities requiring a 1,000-foot buffer from marijuana retail, distributing and processing. The council also voted 4-3 to add small convenience centers to the list of zones that allow marijuana retail.
In other business:
• Council members voted to allow one of the city’s first hot dog stands to operate at 702 S. First St.
• The council stressed that it has been meeting with nonprofits and the Yakima Valley Conference of Governments to find a solution to the city’s homeless problem.
• The council also authorized city manager Cliff Moore to apply for SIED funds for improvements to land owned by Cub Crafters — a local business that builds and restores “Cubs” or lightweight American aircraft.
• The council approved seven appointments to the bicycle and pedestrian committee, which will have its first meeting later this month. Elissa Southward, Neil McClure, Shirley Strader, Phil Matoon, Michele McGinnis, Ken Jones and Susan Schoolcraft were appointed to the committee. Schoolcraft’s appointment is as a representative of Yakima Greenway as required by the City Council.