Local News

Road damage keeping strawberry pickers from Greenbluff orchards

Road damage keeping strawberry...

MEAD, Wash. - This week marked the start of strawberry season on Green Bluff but for one popular U-Pick orchard, there was concern over whether people would be able to get there.

An 18-inch drop across Dunn Road has created great concern for motorists and surrounding businesses.

The staff at Walters' Fruit Ranch says they're happy to see families enjoying the U-Pick farm Saturday, as the last few weeks have been challenging for business.

"For us it was pretty much non-existent. People pretty much thought we were closed," said Jason Morrell, the co-owner of Walter's. 

Customers normally get to the fruit ranch by driving up Day Mount Spokane Road and taking a left on Dunn Road. But thanks to that drop in the road, that's no longer possible.

"We've had troubles over the years with it washing out but never to this degree where the county had to completely close the road," Morrell said. 

Anyone looking to get to Walters' Fruit Ranch is forced to take a 3-mile detour. But, at first, few detour signs were put up leaving customers lost, confused and frustrated.

“Originally I would have said this is only affecting three businesses but I've spoken to other businesses and they've said its kind of affected them too along the road because a lot of people will take Dunn Road to take the East loop,” Morrell said. 

Some businesses took matters in to their own hands, creating their own detour signs. Earlier this week, Morrell contacted his local commissioner.

“Right away, once they knew there was a problem, they got up here and put some detour signs up,” he said.

As well as add a sign 'businesses open' as the road closure signs seemed to be a little misleading to those who've never ventured up to Green Bluff.

Because of the winter we had , many roads in Spokane are in need of repairs. Morrell said once officials realized how much this particular closure was affecting business, they are aiming to get it done sooner rather than later. Construction will hopefully start in the next week.

As for U-Pick strawberries, Walter's Fruit Ranch had to halt picking around noon Saturday because of enthusiastic pickers in the morning. They hope to open the U-Pick fields once again on Tuesday or Wednesday when more strawberries are ready to be harvested.