Photo: Alyson Hurt, via Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0 license.



You hear the conversation burble up from time to time. McKinleyville — why is it not a city? Why is the third-largest population center in our region still run by county government? Why doesn’t it have a police department? Why can’t it control its own land use decisions? Why can’t it fill its own potholes?

Then, nearly as soon as the conversation burbles up, it fades away. Too hard!

Well, as the 2022-2023 Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury notes in its most recent report — released today — the conversation has recently burbled up again. And this time, the GJ argues, the county should take it seriously, by funding a comprehensive “Initial Feasibility Analysis” that would take a hard look at the costs, the benefits and the drawbacks to incorporation.

Such a document could inform residents whether or not to pursue incorporation on the ballot — something that hasn’t happened since 1966, when residents of a very different Macktown than the one we have today voted it down.

From the Grand Jury report:

Citizens of McKinleyville have expressed interest in becoming a city. Similar interest has been demonstrated several times over the last 58 years, but aside from the “no” vote of 1966 there hasn’t been a comprehensive study of whether incorporation makes any sense. The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, using discretionary funds, can commission such a study. Thus far, they have not demonstrated interest in exploring the issue.

An independent and neutral Initial Feasibility Analysis will give the 16,500 residents of McKinleyville the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their future. We believe that they deserve to possess this knowledge. The Board of Supervisors can make this happen, and we believe they should do so.

This is the third report released by the 2022-2023 Grand Jury, with more on the way as the term wraps up. Previous reports this term gave a glowing review of the county’s election systems and cast a critical eye on the state of child welfare services. If you’re curious about the Grand Jury’s operations, this year’s foreperson recently stopped by to talk with our John Kennedy O’Connor about just that.

Below: a full press release from the Humboldt County Grand Jury. Find the complete report on McKinleyville incorporation at this link.

The 2022-23 Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury urges the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to fund an in-depth Initial Feasibility Analysis into the possible incorporation of McKinleyville.

The incorporation of McKinleyville has been a topic of discussion for decades. That conversation was not able to accurately deal with the effects and potential impacts of McKinleyville becoming a city because no in-depth analysis was ever done.

The citizens of Humboldt County deserve better!

It is not the intent of this report to argue for or against incorporation; it is however the intent of this report to urge the Board of Supervisors to fund an analysis that will make available to the citizens of McKinleyville the information necessary to once and for all make informed decisions regarding possible incorporation.