Monthly Archive: September 2019

Centralia Holds First Open House for City Streetscape!

The City of Centralia held the first of many public open house discussions about the proposed City Streetscape project. The $3 million dollar project could include wayfaring signs, banners, esthetic improvement, and sidewalk and street improvements. There are a lot of possibilities that our community should be excited about.

In June 2019, the Centralia City Council discussed the project and the varying opinions on how the money should be invested. Our city needs to look at the priorities and what will be the best investment today and long-term for local residents, businesses, and visitors.

Councilmember Peter Abbarno gave tepid approval for the project in March, stating his wish for the money to be used to extend sewer lines or other improvements to infrastructure meant to spur economic growth. He said Thursday he hopes to find out more about how the streetscaping will benefit the local economy, as well as what steps will be taken to make arterial streets more welcoming for pedestrians and those needing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant access points. . . .”

The Daily Chronicle
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Providence Centralia’s Healthier Together Event Is Timely!

The annual Providence Centralia “Healthier Together” Event could not come at a better time. In addition to the amazing opportunity to get their cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure tested and speak with health care professionals in many fields like physical therapy and chiropractic.

Team Abbarno at the 2019 Providence Centralia Healthier Together Event

I am very thankful for Providence and their Healthier Together event. Our family has a great time joining the 5k races and I appreciate the Providence staff taking the time to host a free event that focuses on the community’s health and prevention. I have long felt that “we” don’t focus enough on preventing illness and disease.

As a father of two elementary school students, and husband of a middle school teacher, it is this time of year that I notice the runny noses, sneezes, and coughs. They bring home EVERYTHING to this innocent father and husband.

Each year, I fall victim to the germs brought home by my loved ones. So, here are some back to school health tips I picked up at the Healthier Together Event and along the way. . .

Back-to-School Health Tips To Keep an Innocent Spouse Healthy!

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Stihl NW in Centralia was a Successful Partnership

In February 2019, the Chronicle published an article about the UNFI Distribution Center and the expected 350+ new employees locally and relocated. The article asked the question “Where Will Everyone Live?”

New UNFI Facility at the Port of Centralia expected to hire and relocate 350+ jobs to Centralia when fully operational.

In the article, I explained that there were a number of things our community could have done and should do to encourage well planned commercial and residential development; including modifying design guidelines, improving roads and infrastructure; maintaining an efficient permitting processes, and looking at annexation to encourage smart growth.

Above all else, having strong partnerships with the Port, Chamber, EDC, Downtown Associations, and government officials and agencies is essential. If we are all rowing in the same direction our community can reach its full economic potential. I appreciate the work of everyone on this project including State Rep. Richard DeBolt and State Sen. John Braun.

Since being elected, in 2015, I have focused many efforts on residential and commercial growth to allow our community and region to meet its full economic potential.

This year, I was able to pass a design guide modification resolution that helps residential and commercial developments. We have already seen some of the results with UNFI, Borst Avenue, Centralia Station, Streetscape, and Alexander Court. The most recent success story was at the Port of Centralia with Stihl NW.

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First Responders Honored in Tenino!

Local first responders are on the front line protecting our families, neighborhoods, and community. In Tenino, the annual First Responders BBQ highlights the importance of our law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency responders.

The event traditionally coincides around the anniversary of 9/11. Why are First Responders so important?

First Responders, whether law enforcement, firefighters, or ambulatory services, are the officer who responds first to the scene and have the responsibility to protect the public, preserve the potential crime scene, and provide medical assistance to injury victims. We are forever thankful!

A number of children attending the First Responders BBQ in Tenino!
Peter Abbarno with Miss Lewis County Rebecca Ford.

Thank you to all those keeping us safe and to John J. O’Callahan, volunteers, hosts, and supporters of the annual First Responders BBQ in Tenino, Washington at the Tenino Middle School.

First Responders see some of the most traumatic experiences, which can be stressful and traumatic. First responders, including emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and firefighters, can assist individuals in a suicidal crisis, as well as those who may be affected by a suicide death or attempt. First response agencies also have a role to play in assisting their own staff, who may experience increased risk of suicide as a result of exposure to traumatic emergencies.

If you need help, immediately call 1-800-273-8255 for the Free Suicide Lifeline or visit Lifeline Crisis Chat, the Lifeline Website, or Text “HEAL” to 741741 Crisis Text Line.

Peter Abbarno joins Miss Lewis County Rebecca Ford and Miss Thurston County contestants at the First Responders BBQ in Tenino.

Seminary Hill Natural Area: A Gem in Downtown Centralia

Downtown Centralia hosts a beautiful 70-acre natural area called Seminary Hill. The natural area overlooks Centralia, the Chehalis and Skookumchuck River valleys and the municipal water reservoirs on Seminary Hill Road.

Removing Ivy From Seminary Hill with Miss Lewis County Rebecca Ford

This week, my family joined the Friends of Seminary Hill for their annual work party to preserve and improve the 2.25 miles of trails and natural area. The Friends of Seminary Hill is a community group that that partners with the City of Centralia to maintain the area.

Each Spring and Fall we join the Friends of Seminary Hill and lend a hand. I encourage you to learn more about the Hill and the Friends, and join us at the many events scheduled on the Hill throughout the year.

Antonio on Earth Day 2019 Helping Deliver Bark on the Trails.

To learn more about Seminary Hill or to support and volunteer, consider visiting Seminary Hill Natural Area website. There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to participate in events or volunteer. Stay Tuned for the 2020 planning meeting and upcoming events.

Sophia Joining Friends of Seminary Hill Volunteers Remove Ivy From the Hill
Centralia City Councilor Peter Abbarno with former Centralia City Councilor/Mayor Bill Moeller, and President of the Friends of Seminary Hill Brian Mittge.

To learn more about the Friends of Seminary Hill, visit Friends of Seminary Hill!

What is a Natural Area like Seminary Hill? According to the Friends, it is:

  • A quiet place to walk or run. The trails are main- tained for careful walking. (For safety and trail damage reasons, wheeled vehicles are banned by city ordinance.)
  • A grand place for nature study. There is a wide variety of trees, shrubs and leafy plants…some of the older trees date from about 1900. The low growing plants are sensitive to foot traffic, so it’s best to stay on trails.
  • Possibly a place to picnic…. but littered natural areas aren’t very natural. A simple rule is to take out everything you take in. And fire is the worst enemy of all. (Camping, guns of all sorts, and fires are also banned by city ordinance.)


Lewis County Head Start Makes a Difference: Early Education Investment!

This morning, I had the great opportunity to address the Lewis County Head Start teachers and staff at Reliable Enterprises. These are some amazing people in our community working to end the cycle of poverty and prepare children for success in school.

Head Start is a federally funded comprehensive program providing services in the areas of Education & Early Childhood Development, Child Health & Development, and Family Services for income eligible families of preschool age children.  Reliable Enterprises is the Grantee Agency for Lewis County Head Start. 

I just wanted to start by saying THANK YOU. Thank you for everything Head Start does for our community and in our community. I guarantee they don’t hear it enough.

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Centralia College Scholarship Night a Success!

It’s an honor serving as the Centralia College Foundation president & supporting higher education in our community at Centralia College.

A packed room for both nights of scholarship presentations!

The Foundation invested over $1.3 million in student scholarships over the past two years. That is due to our amazing donors, supporters and staff at the Foundation and College. Thanks to your continued support! Learn more at

Centralia College Trustee Debbie Campbell and Centralia College Foundation President Peter Abbarno are joined by Miss Lewis County Rebecca Ford, a scholarship recipient.

A quality education is the cornerstone to a successful community. And that is not limited to K-12. . . but includes our exceptional community college. It provides opportunity and you know what they say when opportunity knocks. . . you answer.

Scholarships are the same. The great equalizer. A reward for your hard work and perseverance. The hard work and support also includes the student’s family and friends. Sacrifice for a quality education and opportunities is a team sport.

The Centralia College Foundation was formed 35 years ago with only $50 and a handshake. Today, I am proud to announce the Foundation has more than $19 million in total assets.

Tessa Smith, a scholarship recipient with Peter Abbarno, Centralia College Foundation President

Over the past two years we have invested $1.3 million in student scholarships and financial aid. The Foundation, has invested in faculty and staff and student research projects like the capstone. The Foundation has invested in infrastructure and raised money for better facilities like the new SWFT building which will be an amazing 12,000 sq ft flexible trades building to help meet the needs of our local and global economies.

If you are interested in supporting the Foundation or the College, visit

World Suicide Prevention Day: What You Need To Know!

Suicide is the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 29 and for every suicide that results in death, there are as many as 40 attempted suicides.

The CDC data show that southwestern Washington has the state’s highest suicide rate, at 17.8 deaths per 100,000 people. The rate in the easternmost part of the state, and in the Puget Sound counties outside the Seattle area, are only a little lower. The Seattle area suicide rate is 13.7 deaths per 100,000 people, the lowest in the state.

Did you know that most people who attempt and die by suicide have a mental health condition although it’s often not diagnosed? Many people who consider and attempt suicide have never seen a behavioral health specialist. Almost all of these people though do see a healthcare professional within a year of their attempt.

Support and Prevention is a Team Sport!
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Are you prepared for Flooding?

Catastrophic flooding is one of the most important issues facing our region. Past floods have cost our community personally and financially. The threat of future catastrophic flooding is holding our community back from reaching its full Potential. Do you have a plan for your business and family?

While long-term large projects and solutions are being discussed, many smaller local projects throughout the Chehalis Basin have been completed, are in the process of completion, and being planned for construction with the purpose of reducing flooding on small and large scales. Those small projects are still moving forward, like China Creek in Centralia and Airport Levee in Chehalis.

In addition to large scale flooding, localized flooding is increasingly problematic; especially early in the year when leaf and grass debris is on the ground and in our streets.

Are you Flood Ready?

Want to know more?

Localized Flooding

One major cause of localized street flooding are leaves. Please don’t block storm drains by raking leaves into the street. Proper disposal of leaf and lawn debris helps prevent street flooding, along with preventing major blockages within the storm lines, which can cause street flooding and costly repairs.

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Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day! A time to celebrate the working men and women who built our country, made it great, and continue making it great!