Sunday, June 7, 2015

Common School Trust Exchange in Pasco

When Washington State was granted statehood, the Federal government granted lands to the state in sections 16 and 36 in each township and range. The lands primary purpose is to generate revenue and are called the Common Schools Trust Lands and are managed to generate revenue by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources with oversight by the Washington State Board of Natural Resources. Those lands still support schools and are a very large part of the public lands in Washington State. Washington State has managed to actually increase the acreage in this original trust category. Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming are the others with Montana at 99% holding even.

At times the land holdings are shifted around from the original land grants. The BNR approves the trades and sales and recently reviewed a buy, swap and approve for sale exchange in Franklin County.

The property on the west in Pasco is Common School Trust Land
The property in on the east will be purchased and will replace the trust land through a "swap"
The former trust land will then be sold at a minimum bid of the appraised value 

The change is presented in this summary: and power point presented to the BNR: bnr_pasco_presentation.pdf.

One can see that the land use has been changing dramatically in the area and demands a new way of management for the particular parcel.

1996 image of north Pasco and approximate trust land area

There are lots of agricultural lease properties in eastern Washington in the trust land portfolio, and "highest best use" for the property now surrounded by urban land is no longer agriculture.  Highest and best use in the case of Common School Trust is revenue and continuation of farming under the DNR management no longer achieves that goal and hence the exchange and sale.

The urbanization of this area of Pasco was set in motion with the construction of a
Interstate Highway and bridge across the Columbia River. Even by 1996 the area was starting to see growth.

The bridge crosses at an old ferry route Ferry, an interesting story in its own right.

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