There was a lot of response to this column last week on property tax assessments, with many people wondering if seniors and those with disabilities could find some relief.

I called Assessor Dianne Dorey to find out. The answer, it turns out, is yes. For some. But there are strict limits set up by state law to quality for the Senior and Disabled Persons Exemption. 

If your household’s income is below $40,000 a year and if you’re a senior age 61 or over, or are 100 percent disabled, you can apply to have your property tax assessment frozen. That can also lead to an exemption from paying some of the local school tax levy.

“There’s going to be a lot of people who are disappointed, because the income limit is $40,000,” Dorey said. “That’s gross income. That includes Social Security, retirement, pensions, disability, everything.”

The Legislature sets that $40,000 limit, Dorey said. Income has to be maintained below that level to keep the property values frozen. 

Come into the assessor’s office at the county courthouse in Chehalis or call them at 360-740-1392 for information and to see if you qualify.

Dorey also noted that every property owner in the county should have received a white revaluation card this summer. If you own property and didn’t receive the card, it doesn’t mean you magically won an exemption from property tax valuation this year — it means the address on file for you is out of date. Call the number above to update your address. Getting a major change in your tax valuation might or might not be good news, but knowledge is better than the alternative, right?


Speaking of knowledge, the good folks at Book ‘n’ Brush in Chehalis have ordered a few copies of “Life’s Little Instruction Book.”

It’s a great gift for graduating seniors as they head off to college. Swing by the store in downtown Chehalis and pick up a copy (they also have several leatherbound editions that are designed as more deluxe gifts.)

I wrote about that book a few weeks ago and asked for readers to send in their advice. 

Barbara Lewis, 69, who retired as Winlock’s beloved librarian and now is volunteering at the community-run Toledo Community Library, sent me a memorable response. 

“My daughter Shannon was in a hospital for over six months and she had a nurse who would say to us, ‘Always remember to have F-U-N.’ She'd spell it out, each and every day. And so we adapted that phase. We could have been so sad and serious but we actively searched for humor and it made those challenging days so much better.”  

Even decades later, that saying is her family mantra. 

“Shannon died 15 months after entering the hospital. I'm so glad we did what the nurse advised us to do ...  Always remember to have F-U-N.”

Lewis also responded to my request for marriage advice. She married Joe just two and a half weeks after marrying him. This year they are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

“I always feel so  lucky that I met him. My girls couldn't have asked for a better father and our two grandkids absolutely adore him. Make memories now. There's so much you can do even if you don't have money. We had very little money but we had each other and my daughter Robyn has told me she didn't even realize we were poor because we did so many fun things.”


The summer is a busy time with many great ways to spend your time, but one activity to consider is the annual Riverside Gala, from 4-7 p.m. on Aug. 10 at the Chehalis River Discovery Trail northwest of Centralia. It’s a fundraiser for the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust, which maintains that jewel on the river, and preserves other environmentally notable spots alongside Chehalis Basin waterways. 

They’ll have hors d’oeuvres, local wine and beer, an auction, a talk from Chehalis Tribal Chairman Harry Pickernell Sr., and plenty of time to walk along the river in the glorious summer sunshine. 

Learn more and buy tickets at — it’s a good way to connect with our natural world and those who love it. 


Brian Mittge’s community commentary appears in The Chronicle each Saturday. Drop him a line at  


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