OBITUARY: Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Lee Parker, 1936-2022

LoCO Staff / Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022 @ 6:56 a.m. / Obits

Roberta “Bobbie” Lee Parker, 86, of Fortuna passed away on August 6, 2022. She was born on March 4, 1936, in Forks, Washington to William Warren Smith and Jessie Alexandria Smith. Roberta, along with her brothers and sisters, was raised in Forks, Washington. She graduated from Forks High School, Class of 1954.

In October 1955, Roberta married Sherman Leroy Parker in Forks. In August 1959, Roberta, Sherman, and their son Steve moved to Carlotta. Carlotta is where Roberta and Sherman made a home. Roberta worked as a bus driver and teacher’s aide at Cuddeback Elementary School. She was also a waitress and scorekeeper at the bowling alley in Fortuna for many years. Her longest held career was also her most cherished one, a homemaker to her husband, kids and grandchildren.

Roberta enjoyed many hobbies and activities throughout her life. While raising her children and grandchildren, she could be found at any sporting event they were participating in. When she wasn’t at the field or the courts, you could find her at the bowling alley. Whether she was watching her family bowl, keeping score, teaching the next generation how to bowl or bowling herself, she spent most of her days and nights there. Saturday mornings with the Junior Bowling League was one of the many things she was known for in the community. She enjoyed teaching the next generation how to bowl, how to keep score, and showing them her love for the sport. When Roberta was at home, you could find her crocheting a blanket, working on a quilt, mending clothes on her sewing machine, doing crossword puzzles, reading a western novel, or gardening. Roberta loved her family and some of her best days were spent with all her family at her house having a BBQ, playing horseshoes or cards and visiting.

Roberta is survived by her sons Steve Parker of Fortuna and Kenny Parker (Ginger) of Rio Dell, her daughter Bobbi Jo Parker of Alton, and her brother Allan Smith of Washington. She is survived by grandchildren Richie Wolfe, Reggie Henrikson, Steven Parker Jr, Leanne Henrikson, Bob Reid (Bobbi), Shannon Parker (Janelle), Heather Parker, Ashley Parker, Melissa Essig (Anthony), Shane Parker, Jake Prescott, Rebecca Parker, and Bailey Parker. She is also survived by many great-grandchildren.

Roberta was proceeded in death by her beloved husband Sherman, her mother and father, her sisters Aggie, May and Carrie, her brother Gary, and her daughters Shelley Elliott and Karen Reid.

The family would like to extend their gratitude to the doctors, nurses, aides, and staff at Fortuna Wellness and Rehabilitation Center for the care they showed to Roberta during her time in their facility. Many of the staff members became like family to her.

A celebration of life was held on Sunday, August 14, 2022, at the Rio Dell Firehall from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. to honor Roberta’s life.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the local junior bowling league in honor of Roberta Parker at:

Harbor Lanes Junior Bowling League
Attn: Amanda Livingston
2136 Broadway St
Eureka, CA 95501

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The obituary above was submitted by Roberta Parker’s loved onesThe Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.


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OBITUARY: Joseph Wallace, 1933-2022

LoCO Staff / Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022 @ 6:56 a.m. / Obits

Joseph Wallace, 88, passed away on July 25, 2022 in Eureka.

Joe was born September 6, 1933, in New Brunswick, Canada, the third child of Leo and Margaret Wallace. His father was a fisherman and a carpenter in the off season. Joe moved to California when he was eight and grew up in the Bay area. He graduated from Santa Clara University as a mechanical engineer. He spent two years in the army in Germany. Most of his career was as a branch manager for Johnson Controls.

He met his wife Irene at Burlingame High School and were married for 67 years. They raised five children, Joseph, Daniel, Martin, Mary and Jeanette on their small ranch in Loomis, California. They raised most of their own food there, beef, sheep, chickens, ducks, rabbits, and goats. Had multiple horses. The family was active in 4-H. Had a vegetable garden, orchard, and a pond of fish. Cows and goats provided milk.

After the children moved on, Joe and Irene moved to Petrolia in 1990, lived in their cabin and built their house. He and Irene rode out the 1992 three major earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks. They lived off the grid on a hilltop overlooking the Mattole River, estuary, and ocean for 25 years, then gradually to Eureka.

Joe is survived by his wife Irene, children Joseph, Daniel, Mary (Belton) and Jeanette (Roberts), and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

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The obituary above was submitted by Joseph Wallace’s loved onesThe Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.



Supervisors Narrowly Approve Letter Opposing a Bill That Would Make Coroner Independent From Sheriff’s Office

Ryan Burns / Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022 @ 3:10 p.m. / Local Government

File photo.

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On Tuesday morning, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2, narrowly agreeing to send a letter of opposition to Assembly Bill 1608, a proposed piece of legislation that would force California counties to separate the offices of sheriff and coroner.

Humboldt is one of 48 out of 58 counties statewide in which the duties of the coroner are combined with those of the sheriff’s office. The bill’s authors, Assembly Democrats Mike Gipson and Dr. Akilah Weber, say the legislation is necessary to increase transparency and accountability.

“This bill would ensure that death investigations are conducted objectively, reducing any perception that the investigative process could be influenced by other segments of the criminal justice system,” Gipson said in a statement.

The bill was inspired in part by the 2020 death of Angelo Quinto, a 30-year-old Navy veteran who died in a hospital three days after an Antioch police officer knelt on his neck for five minutes. The Contra Costa Coroner’s division, which is part the county’s sheriff’s office, later ruled the death an accident, listing the cause as “excited delirium.”

First District Supervisor Rex Bohn brought the draft opposition letter to the board for consideration. The letter argues that maintaining the coroner and sheriff duties under a single elected official is “administratively and fiscally efficient for our rural county” and says the proposed bill “would create significant costs and remove the existing authority” of the board of supervisors. 

Humboldt County consolidated the offices of coroner/public administrator with the Sheriff’s Office in January of 2015, and Bohn said the move has likely saved the county money. 

“It has been beneficial to us,” he said. “We have not had any issues.”

He then added, “I do want to mention that the white Corvette comes up every once in a while.”

He was referring to the 1976 Corvette that belonged to the late Fred Hawkins, whose estate was administered by the Coroner/Public Administrator Bureau, another county division that was placed under the sheriff’s authority in 2015. The Corvette was sold to a sheriff’s deputy in violation of California Government Code Section 27443, which makes it a crime for deputies or their family members to purchase any belongings from an estate being administered by the public administrator.

A 2017 Outpost investigation into the county’s Coroner/Public Administrator Bureau found that these illegal insider sales had been happening for years, with deputies selling automobiles, electronics, furniture, a firearm and more to their fellow deputies and other county insiders, typically with minimal documentation and at prices well below market value.

When the corruption was uncovered, Sheriff Billy Honsal vowed to conduct a thorough internal investigation. District Attorney Maggie Fleming forwarded the case to the FBI and the California Attorney General’s Office, and the state agency agreed to take on the investigation. Its “thorough review” of the evidence was completed in November 2020, with the AG opting not to pursue charges. To date, no one with the Sheriff’s Office has been held publicly accountable, though in 2018 Honsal implemented a number of new procedures and anti-corruption policies

Bohn downplayed all this, referring only to the Corvette, which was among the belongings that Honsal ordered deputies to return during the initial investigation. Bohn said the vehicle was eventually sent to John’s Used Cars and Wreckers to be crushed because it was so run down the Public Administrator couldn’t manage to sell it.

“We’ve had a great working relationship, and I haven’t had any complaints on the coroner’s office in four or five years,” Bohn said.

Of course, the investigation into the county’s public administrator function doesn’t directly relate to AB 1608, which would only require the separation of county sheriff’s duties from those of the coroner, not the public administrator.

Bohn suggested that counties with smaller populations should maybe be exempt from such legislation, which he predicted will just create more bureaucracy.

“It would be expensive to set up a separate [coroner] entity,” he said. “That’s the savings we were looking for eight years ago.”

Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass said she remembered thoroughly examining the consolidation upon the retirement of former Coroner-Public Administrator Dave Parris. “And while, you know, there had been challenges as you said, I think that has been addressed and I think it’s operating really well.”

Third District Supervisor Mike Wilson offered a differing opinion, saying he doesn’t support the letter and likely wouldn’t support one supporting the bill either. He said he sees the value in transitioning coroner services away from sheriffs’ offices, and while he does have some anxiety about increasing costs, he believes coroner services could operate in much the same way under another department, such as the Department of Health and Human Services.

“I think the issue is the potential for conflict of interest,” Wilson said. But he also noted that the language of the bill will likely change a lot before it winds up on the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom, if it ever does.

Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone returned to the matter of the Public Administrator corruption investigations, saying he remembered that “the community was very concerned about the disposition of a number of assets,” not just the Corvette, and that the results of the sheriff’s internal investigation were never made public due to confidentiality clauses regarding personnel issues.

“So from a transparency perspective, I think that it would really be good to have these [offices] separated, because when an investigation happens and you can’t actually tell the public what was the outcome of that investigation, it leaves people not knowing and wondering, you know, what happened there,” Madrone said. “So for that reason, I really think that they ought to be separated, because of transparency.”

Lt. Sam Williams, who works in the Coroner/Public Administrator Bureau, told the board that the doctors who perform autopsies for the county are contract workers, not employees.

“I think that our doctors are as disconnected as they can be from the [cases behind the] autopsies that they’re conducting in order to provide an unbiased and transparent cause of death,” Williams said. 

Second District Supervisor Michelle Bushnell said she feels that local control is important, and she objected to the bill’s provision prohibiting county boards of supervisors from consolidating the two offices.

Regina Fuller, the deputy director of financial and support services with the Sheriff’s Office, tried to clear up some confusion by explaining that separating the coroner into its own division wouldn’t necessarily have any impact on the sheriff’s authority over the public administrator, which is an entirely separate function.

Bushnell asked for an estimate of the cost if the county were forced to separate the Coroner’s Office from the Sheriff’s Office. County Administrative Officer Elishia Hayes said that a “very rough estimate” based on conversations with Sheriff Honsal was “roughly $400,000.” Since all three divisions currently operate under one department head, separation would require appointing a new department head to oversee the coroner’s duties, she explained.

Madrone voiced skepticism about that cost estimate. 

“I don’t think it’s really fair to suggest that one person [who’s] doing three jobs within one position — and the cost for that position — is suddenly going to become three full-time positions,” he said. Madrone went on to add that most of his concerns lie with the public administrator duties, and he’d like to see that authority separated from the Sheriff’s Office.

He and Wilson voted against sending the letter, but Bass, Bushnell and Bohn formed a majority, approving the opposition letter, which will now be sent to the chairs of both the Senate Public Safety Committee and the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, along with the authors of the bill.



ARCATA’S GATEWAY AREA PLAN: Arcata City Council and Planning Commission Joint Study Session Tonight; Maximum Building Heights May be Set

Stephanie McGeary / Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022 @ 2:51 p.m. / Local Government

The Gateway Area | Images from the draft Gateway Area Plan

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It is time, Arcata. The Gateway Area Plan – that big infill development strategy that will rezone 138 acres of land in and around the Creamery District to facilitate the development of more housing – is reaching a critical planning stage, as the Arcata City Council and the Planning Commission will review the draft plan during a big joint study session tonight, Tuesday, Aug. 23. 

After reviewing the plan’s background and context (you can view the presentation outline here), the council and commission will review three major questions surrounding the Gateway Area Plan: building heights, transportation and the next steps to take, which will focus on public engagement, form-based codes and amenities. 

“These are the details we really need clarity on to move the plan forward,” Community Development Director David Loya told the Outpost. “A lot of the public’s concerns have been related to these issues.” 

Though none of the decisions made tonight will be final (that won’t happen until the plan is ready for adoption), the council and commission will make decisions that will help guide the planning process moving forward. One of those decisions will be to set the maximum building height allowed in for development in the Gateway Area. 

Building height has arguably been the most controversial aspect of this plan, with city staff suggesting that the rezoning allow for up to eight-story buildings in parts of the Gateway Area. During previous meetings and workshops, many community members have voiced concerns over these proposed heights, saying that buildings that tall would obstruct the town’s lovely views, cast large shadows on neighboring buildings and generally compromise Arcata’s small town charm. 

The council can choose to go a couple different ways with setting maximum building heights – either setting one standard for the entire Gateway Area, or going with the staff recommendation to set different maximum heights for different sections of the Gateway Area. 


Left map shows potential development areas in the Gateway Area. Right map shows the different Gateway Area districts and proposed building heights | Screenshot from Building and Massing Presentation video



City staff has separated the Gateway Area into four different districts or neighborhoods, based on the types of existing structures and some of the aesthetic characteristics – the Barrel District, the Gateway Hub, the Gateway Corridor and the Gateway Neighborhood, which includes mostly residential buildings. Staff recommends allowing for up to eight stories in the Barrel District, up to seven stories in the Gateway Hub, up to six stories in the Gateway Corridor and up to five stories in the Gateway Neighborhood. 

But there is the chance that the Council will not go that direction. Some community members have been pushing for a four-story maximum height in all parts of the Gateway Area and “that option is certainly on the table tonight,” Loya said. 

Another important section of the plan that will be discussed tonight is the proposed changes to transportation, including the addition of  new pedestrian and bicycle trails, added bus routes and the possibility of redirecting traffic on portions of Eighth, Ninth, K and L Streets, to accommodate increased traffic. The study session will include special attention to the proposed “L Street Couplet”, which would convert L Street into a one-way, southbound street and K Street into one-way northbound between Alliance Road and Eighth Streets. Loya said that the L Street Couplet is the traffic proposal that has received the most community concern. 

Map showing all the proposed one-way street changes


The final part of the study session will focus on the next steps, which will include a discussion on whether or not the Gateway Area Plan should use form-based codes. Form-based codes regulate land development based on the physical form of structures – such as height and aesthetic – rather than focusing on separating land uses. This is the type of code City staff recommends using for the Gateway Area. (If you want to learn more about form-based codes, you can watch the video from the Form-Based Code Workshop, held on Aug. 16.)

The council and commission members will also discuss how they would like to see public engagement take place in the future in relation to the Gateway Plan. This will likely include the discussion of a possible Gateway Area advisory committee or task force, something that was suggested to both the council and the planning commission by citizen group Responsible Growth Arcata. 

The study session will take place tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 23) at 6 p.m. in the Arcata City Council chambers – 736 F Street. You can view the agenda here. Unlike usual public meetings, the study session can only be attended in person! There will not be an option to view or participate virtually. Loya said that the audio will be recorded, and hopefully will be made publicly available after the meeting.  

If you are not able to attend tonight, don’t worry! There will be other opportunities to contribute your feedback and there are still many steps that need to happen before the Gateway Area Plan is ready for adoption, including the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Loya predicts that the Gateway Area Plan will be finalized by spring of 2023, at the earliest. In the meantime, Loya encourages you to email your comments to dloya@cityofarcata.org, or to the Community Development Department at comdev@cityofarcata.org

To brush up on your Gateway Area Plan knowledge you can view the draft plan here, check out Loya’s “Building and Massing Presentation” video series and the Form-based Codes Workshop (both available on the City of Arcata’s Youtube channel), and look over the Outpost’s past coverage bellow. 

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Eureka’s Visitor Center is Moving to the Heart of Old Town

Isabella Vanderheiden / Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022 @ 2:39 p.m. / Eureka Rising

The Eureka Visitor Center is moving to the historic D.C. McDonald Building! | Photo: Hank Sims

Ooh, what do we have here? 

LoCO caught a glimpse of what appears to be the city’s new visitor center while meandering through Old Town Eureka this week.

As it turns out, the Eureka Visitor Center, currently located within the Clarke Museum, is in the process of moving into the historic D.C. McDonald Building smack dab in the heart of Old Town. We asked if we could take a peek at the new digs but city staff politely turned us down and advised eager onlookers such as ourselves to wait for the big reveal this fall.

Image via the City of Eureka

“The grand opening of the new location will be on Oct. 1 at Arts Alive,” Sarah West, economic development coordinator for the City of Eureka, wrote to the Outpost this morning. “The visitor center at the Clarke Museum will remain open and operating through the end of September, with only a few days of closure to transition the space. Eureka Main Street and Economic Development staff have already moved into the offices of the new space.”

Why change spaces? For years, the city has rented offices in the former Vance Hotel building and the Clarke Museum to house Eureka’s Economic Development team and Eureka Main Street. The new location will allow staff to consolidate operations into one space in Old Town.

“[The D.C. McDonald Building] at 108 F Street was available and an ideal fit for both uses,” West continued. “Its location and visibility are perfect for both the Visitor Center and the business-serving side of Economic Development and Eureka Main Street. We’re excited to be close to the gazebo and the waterfront.”

She was careful not to share too many details but did note that the new visitor center will be “more concierge focused” and less focused on selling local products.

“There are plenty of Eureka businesses doing a fabulous job selling locally made goods and tourist items, so we will be scaling back our merchandise selection,” she said. “As the city, our job is to uplift all of the wonderful things Eureka has going on. That’s what we will be focusing on for the new space.”

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Friends of the Eel River Plans to Sue County, Says Groundwater Pumping Harms Fish Ecosystem

LoCO Staff / Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022 @ 2:29 p.m. / Environment , Local Government

Low flow in the Lower Eel River near Fernbridge in 2014. | Photo courtesy FOER.

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Press release from Friends of the Eel River:

Friends of the Eel River, a Eureka-based citizens’ group dedicated to protecting and restoring Eel River fisheries, has sent a formal letter to Humboldt County demanding it move to protect fisheries and other public trust values in the lower Eel River from groundwater pumping that lowers surface flows in the river.

“Humboldt County’s recently submitted Groundwater Sustainability Plan appears to be an attempt to prevent regulation of groundwater pumping in the lower river, at the expense of Eel River fish,” said Friends of the Eel River Executive Director Alicia Hamann. “But the county’s own data shows well pumping is pulling water out of the Eel River’s flows. In dry, hot years like those we’ve been seeing recently and expect to continue, groundwater pumping in the lower Eel River basin is reducing surface flows, and even leading to the lower river entirely disconnecting.”

The lower Eel River includes groundwater dependent ecosystems, providing habitat for rare, threatened, and endangered species. In particular, it serves as critical habitat for Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead. The County’s data indicates that during periods of low flow, groundwater pumping can reduce surface flows, which inhibits salmonid migration and degrades water quality.

“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the federal National Marine Fisheries Service have emphasized in their warnings to the county that pumping-induced loss of flows in the lower river is harming not just adult Chinook salmon seeking to migrate upriver in early fall, but juvenile salmon and steelhead in the river in the summer,” said Scott Greacen, Conservation Director for Friends of the Eel River. “Harm to fish listed under the state and federal Endangered Species Acts are textbook harms to public trust values.”

“Under California law, counties must consider impacts on public trust values, before allowing actions that can harm those values,” Greacen noted. “As well, California courts have also affirmed that the duty to protect the public trust in groundwater connected to surface flows is separate from, and not satisfied by, the responsibilities imposed by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.”

FOER states they intend to seek a court order requiring the County prepare a management plan to protect surface flows – and a halt to new well drilling – in the lower Eel River basin until the plan is approved.



Local Tribes Demand Immediate Action After Upstream Farming Association Found to be Illegally Diverting Shasta River Water From Reaching the Klamath

LoCO Staff / Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022 @ 1:42 p.m. / Environment

A Shasta River Water Association Irrigation Canal. Image taken from a 2016 environmental assessment by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

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Press release from the Karuk and Yurok Tribes:

Map of the district. Click to enlarge.

Days after a fire induced mudslide killed all fish in a 60-mile reach of the Klamath River, ranchers defied state law by diverting flows from the Shasta River, one of the most important Klamath tributaries for imperiled salmon.

“The Shasta River Water Association is illegally dewatering one of the most important salmon nurseries in California,” according to Karuk Chairman Russell ‘Buster’ Attebery. “After last week’s fish kill, every juvenile salmon in the Klamath basin must be protected to ensure future runs. We are horrified, we are angry, and we expect accountability.”

The diversion led to a 37% decrease in Shasta River flows, from 58 cubic feet per second to 36 in about 2 hours on August 17.  Rapid drops in flow strand fish along the banks leading to mortality.

Since August of 2021, water users in Siskiyou County’s Shasta and Scott River Valleys have been subject to a curtailment order (Order). The State Water Board developed the Order after Governor Newsom declared a drought emergency in the Spring 2021.

The Order is an attempt to maintain bare minimum flows in two of the Klamath’s most productive tributaries for Chinook salmon,” explains Karuk senior fisheries biologist Toz Soto. “These flows reflect the best available science and are the minimum amount of water the fish need to survive in drought years.”

Salmon spend 3-5 years of their lives as adults in the Pacific Ocean. Adults return to the freshwater streams they were born in to mate and lay eggs. Juveniles hatch in the Spring but normally spend a year in the river to grow large enough and strong enough to make the swim out to the ocean, repeating the cycle. The Shasta River is unique in its abundance of cold springs that flow year-round, making it an outstanding place for juvenile salmon to rear. Unfortunately, most of this cold clean water is being diverted to flood irrigate pasture.

“We demand and deserve an equitable and fair approach to sharing water,” said Frankie Myers, the Yurok Tribe’s Vice Chairman. “For too long ranchers have done what they please with no concern for those of us living downstream. It is time we manage the Klamath basin together as a whole.”

The Tribes are evaluating all options for holding those engaged in illegal diversions accountable.

On August 18th, 2022 the State Water Board issued a letter to the Shasta River Water Association “…the SRWA’s water right is curtailed under the drought emergency regulation and SRWA should not be diverting water from the Shasta River watershed.”

“The State Water Board needs to act immediately to hold these illegal diverters accountable. We know the drought is tough on the agricultural community, but once these fish are gone, they are gone forever,” concludes Myers.