Shorty Parrish clears a pile of trees in his yard, but it's nothing compared to the mess at the end of his driveway.
“It's crazy!” said the longtime Sedro-Woolley homeowner.
About 500 feet of Fruitdale Road has been closed outside his house, between Wildflower Way and Willida Lane, since January when the ground gave way. Parrish says the city should've seen this coming a mile down the road.
“This has been trouble for 43 years that I know of. I've been right here watching it. And I told them repeatedly you'd better do something,” he said.
It's going to take about $300,000 to completely repair the road. That’s a number that could sink Sedro-Woolley into a deep financial hole. It would devour the city's entire road budget for four years.
“It really was a mistake from a decade ago,” said Eron Berg, Sedro Woolley’s City Supervisor. “I don’t know why it was allowed to happen.”
Sedro-Woolley annexed the road in 2002, before Berg took office, even though there isn't a single city resident living on it. The city wants Skagit County to help pay for the fix because that's where almost everyone who uses the road lives. Not to mention, if the county had helped 6 months ago when Fruitdale first went bad, it would've helped alleviate some of the traffic from the Skagit Bridge debacle.
The county's public works director essentially told KING 5 News the road isn’t his problem.
“That entire stretch of road is in the city limits,” said Henry Hash. “We can’t pay to repair other people’s roads.”
Berg disagrees, saying the county routinely assists municipalities in road projects. In fact, he says it helped improve a part of Fruitdale Road in 2008, less than a mile from the current collapse. Hash told KING 5 Skagit County is in “no position” to assist in outside projects right now while it is dealing with the ongoing Skagit River Bridge situation. The city has asked about state funds, but they may not be available either.
“You're looking at years of not doing maintenance anywhere else in town to fix his small stretch of road,” said Berg.
There's even talk of cutting Fruitdale Road off permanently at Shorty Parrish's house. What started as a bump in the road could now become a dead end.
“We don't know if it will ever get fixed,” said Parrish. “It's hard to say.”