City of Yelm Mayor Pro-tem Bob Isom shared with the collective at Rep. Tom Campbell’s Open House on Saturday, April 29, 2006 in Yelm that Amtech Corp. was leaving Yelm because of plant consolidation and not because of the encroachment of residential homes, as reported in the Nisqually Valley News. In this writer’s listening, I heard Mr. Isom to say the environmentalists are thrilled about the impending plant closure, yet are not concerned with the loss to Yelm of those 50 jobs [Ed. Note: Mr. Isom, you and your fellow city council members touted the 400 jobs created with a proposed Yelm Wal-Mart last year. With their permit now paid, Wal-Mart will be placing local ads for new hires by year-end and the non-relocated Amtech employees can apply there for jobs. Wal-Mart will not match the pay or benefits of Amtech, yet there will be an option according to the city]. Yes, the loss of jobs is serious, yet the constant pollution of the air has been far worse and could have greater lasting impact for generations on the health of our fellow citizens who live downwind.
Additionally, with the closure of Amtech, the City of Yelm is left with an empty industrial area as defined in the Yelm Vision Plan, except for an unmaintained rail spur the city purchased to entice light industry here. With gas at $3 a gallon, Yelm is too distant a freeway or rail connection to be of interest to any manufacturing concern requiring rail or truck service. Access to the city is even more challenging to any prospective company because of continued growth by city officials with no road capacity increase within the Yelm urban core on already-clogged highways 510 or 507, main arteries to I-5, IMHO.