The first of three tiny houses dedicated on Saturday, New homeownership becomes a reality thanks to a cooperative effort by Grays Harbor County, Habitat for Humanity.

     It was an emotional scene on Saturday, March 4, when Judith Cissner was handed the keys to her new tiny home in South Aberdeen. The home was the first of three tiny homes being built by Habitat for Humanity of Grays Harbor, with funding secured through the county’s Affordable Housing Pipeline in 2021. 

 Habitat for Humanity was “awarded funding for a pilot project to build three tiny homes for low-income homeownership,” said Cassie Lentz, Grays Harbor County Public Health’s Healthy Places Division Manager. “The contract is for $256,500 which is primarily for materials and a bit of their construction manager’s time since most of the labor is volunteer.”

Cissner was one of the applicants for the home and was selected by the Habit for Humanity Board. Cissner said a friend urged her to apply, which Cissner saw as a long shot at the time.

The homeowner “must make below a certain income threshold and provide some ‘sweat equity’ in building the house as well,” said Lentz, meaning Cissner spent a considerable amount of time assisting in the construction of her own home. “Habitat holds the mortgage and the owner pays 30% of their monthly income as the mortgage payment.”

Habitat for Humanity board president Tony Enzler emceed the home’s dedication and mentioned the many hours of volunteer work and numerous contributions of many others in the county it took to realize Cissner’s dream of homeownership. Enzler thanked the county for its involvement with funding the project – in attendance were Lentz, Public Health’s Kimberly Stoll-French, and Commissioner Jill Warne.

At Saturday’s dedication, Cissner was presented with several gifts from Habitat’s homeowner support committee, a gift of food from Grocery Outlet, and a quilt made by local quilters. Pastor Michelle deBeauchamp of Saron Lutheran First Presbyterian Church blessed the house, after which Cissner was handed her key. This house is the first of the three in the project, with the other two at different stages of progress, said Lentz.

Grays Harbor County Public Health Communications Director Dan Hammock Says that the cold weather Shelter in Westport has been seeing an increase in use due to no central county shelter options after the City of Aberdeen has chosen so far to not set up any options for those in need.  

The emergency cold weather shelter in Westport has been serving the county’s unsheltered for five years. Managed by Chaplains on the Harbor, this year’s shelter began with 15 beds for the unsheltered seven days a week, from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.

  Some Westport citizens have noticed more traffic from the unsheltered this year because, unlike most previous years, there is no emergency cold weather shelter in the central portion of the county, forcing those seeking shelter to attempt to use the Westport location, often using the public transit system. 

Organ donors are hard to come by these days, and that story doesn't fall short for Jennifer Bush, a Montesano graduate (1998).  Jennifer was raised in Grays Harbor County, graduated from Montesano High School and later moved out of the area currently living in Surprise, Arizona.  Her Husband Lawrence Bush also from the area still has ties locally as his parents live in Central Park. Jennifer also has 3 boys.

Jennifer has a genetic disorder called Polycystic Kidney Disease. PKD has also caused two other family members to get transplants in recent years.  Lawrence says that they are trying to spread awareness of her situation in hopes that someone may have the desire in their heart to be a living donor.

In a recent update, they thought Jennifer was going to be officially placed on the transplant list, was waiting to share the good news. It turns out that Mayo Clinic wants her to have some additional testing/evaluation on January 26th. They are very hopeful that this will be the final piece before Mayo sends her case before the selection committee. Jennifer's kidney function did unfortunately drop from 18 to 15.8 in the last couple of months, but outside of some increasing fatigue, she is doing quite well.

 Jennifer will need a kidney from someone with B or O blood type, and it would mean the world to our family to have someone come forward.

You can learn more about Jennifer and her struggle to find a kidney in order to live at their Facebook Page -

An end of an era begins tonight as the Washington State Department of Transportation says that it will begin re-configuring the stop lights starting from the Wishkah River Bridge to Hoquiam in all directions

Beginning Tuesday evening, Sept. 27, travelers on US 101 and US 12 in Aberdeen and Hoquiam will see nighttime traffic signal changes. 
The Washington State Department of Transportation will convert all the traffic signals on US 101/US 12 from the Wishkah River Bridge to Hoquiam in all directions to standard “green-yellow-red” signals, which will have them operate the same as they do during the day.

Using the regular “green-yellow-red” signals during the night will clarify right of way for all users along the corridor. Drivers on the side street will be able to cross or make a turn onto US 101/US 12 with a green light rather than yielding to highway traffic. Pedestrians will be able to cross on a “Walk” signal in the same manner as the daytime.

These traffic signals have detection to trigger side street greens and pedestrian “Walk” signals. Travelers will approach the traffic light on a side street and see a solid red light, or a “Don’t Walk” sign, but once detected will receive a green light or a “Walk” signal. Once the side street or pedestrian traffic is gone, the main highway signal will revert to green and remain there until more side street traffic approaches.