Motorcycle group asks for city’s cooperation with Run for the Border
OROVILLE – Tina Jancowicz, representing the Columbia River Harley Owner’s Group (HOG) came to the Oroville City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 18, requesting street closures for motorcycle parking during the Run for the Border charity ride planned for Armed Services Day Saturday, May 17.
This is the event’s twelfth year and involves as many as 300 motorcycle riders making their way from Wenatchee to Oroville. The expected arrival time is between 12:30 and 1 p.m., according to Jancowicz. The group is raising funds for two charities this year – the Okanogan County Shop with a Cop Program and the Lilac Services for the Blind in Wenatchee.
Councilman Walt Hart commented that Shop with a Cop was a great program.
“It seems like Oroville is going to do some things to try and keep the riders up here longer which is great,” she said, referring to the Border Rally Blues Festival planned at Deep Bay Park.
“We’re really doing a push to get people to come up to the park,” she said.
The city received a letter from Dave Allen, with the ASCJ Alliance recommending Versatile Industries Inc. of Ione, Wash. be awarded the bid for the Central and Cherry streets Overlay and Water Improvements project. Versatile was the low bidder at $563,312.41 (including sales tax).
Councilman Jon Neal asked if anyone had heard of the contractor before and if they new what kind of job they had done in the past.
“They’ve done a lot of work for the city of Colville and done a great job,” said Rod Noel, superintendent of public works.
Neal made the motion to approve the bid and it was seconded by Councilman Tony Koepke and passed unanimously.
The project consists of grinding and overlaying existing pavement, installing new water main and services, curb, gutter and sidewalk replacements to accommodate ADA ramps, pavement markings, traffic control and utility adjustments.
Community Development Update
Chris Branch, Oroville’s director of Community Development, discussed several issues, including proposed changes to the governance of the RTPO (Regional Transportation Planning Organization). There has been talk of changing which members pay dues and which have the right to vote. The RTPO helps to make regional transportation decisions in Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties.
“The cities and towns of Okanogan County kind of got cornered on the idea of pay to play and the idea that they always have to travel to Wenatchee,” said Branch, who added there had been a vote to change he organizations structure.
He added, that the manager of he planning department in Olympia, who was contacted by the mayor of Twisp, has stated that she would like to see the RTPO stay the same a it is.
“The mayor also contacted Sen. Linda Parlette and she is not in favor of changing the structure either,” said Branch.
Branch said that there was also a presentation on expansion of the Heavy Haul Corridor prior to the last RTPO. There has been a push from the south end of the county to expand it, however, Oroville, which has greatly benefited from the Corridor would like to see it stay as it is. Tonasket Mayor Patrick Plumb has also stated that he doesn’t want the additional traffic going through his town that expanding would bring.
“Dan Sarles regional director of the state Department of Transportation talked a lot about what it would cost to improve the pavement… to expand the corridor to Brewster it would be $55 million,” said Branch.
Branch said that John Weiss, president of the Okanogan County Farm Bureau suggested an expanded Heavy Haul Route would allow import of more items from Canada.
“He was very speculative about fruit being shipped down from Canada, whole timber logs and perhaps hog fuel for the mill,” said Branch, adding, “This discussion should really be on a regional level because a lot of communities would be affected.”
Branch expected to have more information for the council at their Tuesday, April 1 meeting.
The Community Development director also informed the council that Okanogan County Planning and Public Works are trying to clarify the parameters of the Similkameen Trailhead project and whether or not pit toilets would be approved as alternates to water/sewer serviced toilets. Branch also said the county commissioners had brought up using some of the lodging tax money that currently goes to the Methow trails for use in the north end of the county.
Lastly, Branch said he had gotten a call from Ryan Skinner of Carbon Cycle Crush, which currently produces canola oil at their Oroville facility. He told Branch the company has eight employees and that the plant runs 24 hours a day, five days a week.
“They’ve been talking about proceeding with their waste to energy plan, something they had discussed before. They have some new investors and it sounds like it has some real potential.
New Police Sergeant
Oroville Police Chief Clay Warnstaff asked permission to promote Corporal Todd Hill to the position of Sergeant withing the police force starting April 1. Hill was successful in completing his Sergeant Oral Board earlier this month. The council approved the promotion and agreed to not fill the corporal position.