Uncivil war over preservation?

A state official pushes back over 'lynching' threat.

A state official pushes back over 'lynching' threat.

Allyson Brooks, head of the state's Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP), has issued a plea for civility after being threatened, she says, with a "lynching."

Writing on the department's blog:

Recently, I was threatened with a lynching party coming over the mountains for me. In addition to that threat, we are also seeing an increase in verbal abuse of archaeological staff. DAHP staff appreciate that these are tough times. We recognize that resolving problems with our agency, or getting expedited technical support, may seem frustrating due to reduced staff hours and travel. The budget situation has resulted in our being asked to do more by phone and e-mail. With a threat of violence on the horizon, this seems like a good time to remind everyone that we are under as much pressure as everyone else. Yelling at staff or making violent threats will not increase our budget, staff hours or ability to travel.

The threat came in a rambling email from a frustrated constituent who wanted DAHP staff to come to Eastern Washington to view a property. But the travel budgets have been cut (in-state) or eliminated (out-of-state), so staff is trying to do more by phone.

Brooks says it makes the work of regulatory agencies like hers more difficult, and can infuriate people dealing with property issues. She says she thinks the state of the economy has created "a pressure cooker" out there and worries about the trend of the tone of discussions between staff and a frustrated public. "Remember … we're all in this together," she says.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large.