Oroville Council discusses demolition of building for city hall expansion


<p align= Photo by Gary DeVon

Brad Calico, with Oroville Public Works, takes a pneumatic jackhammer to the remains of the low cement wall that was removed from the front of what will soon be Oroville’s Centennial Par” title=”266a” width=”" height=”" class=”size-FULL”>

Photo by Gary DeVon

Brad Calico, with Oroville Public Works, takes a pneumatic jackhammer to the remains of the low cement wall that was removed from the front of what will soon be Oroville’s Centennial Par

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council decided demolition of a building to make way for expansion of the city hall will not include trying to salvage the building’s cement blocks.

After agreeing that it was time to advertise for bids to demolish the building, the council discussed whether to offer the structure, located north of city hall, for bids for salvage of its building materials.

City Attorney Mick Howe warned that it might be better to not offer the building for salvage. “You’ve got to be careful, what happens if you find asbestos for instance?” asked Howe.

The cement block building, which has housed various businesses over the years, including a dry cleaners and a bookstore, was most recently used as storage for the city’s Public Works department.

Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works, recommended not offering the building for salvage as it would save time and money if the demolition crew did not have to take care in not damaging things like the old cement blocks.

“My suggestion is we just tear it down,” said Noel.

The council agreed and the city will advertise for bids to do the demolition.

The city has been asked to apply for a Conditional Use Permit so work can move forward on Oroville’s Centennial Park. The Streetscape Committee has agreed to pay the $250 fee for the permit. In addition it was noted that the city still needs to sign its lease with Stan and Tamara Porter for use of the lot on Main Street between Porter’s Sun Lakes Realty and the Old Peerless Restaurant for the park. The Porters have offered the lot at very low terms and attorney Howe agreed to review the lease so Mayor Chuck Spieth can sign it.

The park is being built by volunteers, but the city crew has been enlisted to help during several phases of its development.

The council also discussed a request by the Streetscape Committee to help tear down a low cement wall running in front of the building.

“I told Barb (Drummond, Streetscape Chairwoman) that the city cannot build that park. She said the committee was only asking if the city crew could take down the wall and help install the irrigation,” said Noel. “They did offer to buy us a blade for our saw.”

Noel said taking down the wall, which is less than four feet high, could prove troublesome and would require scoring at the bottom before it was broken off. He also said the Public Works Department would have only a few weeks before they would get too busy to do any additional work as the city’s Spring Clean-up Week approaches and preparation begins for May Festival, as well as all the projects that are planned for spring and summer.

It was suggested that Streetscape find help from another source with the wall and irrigation — Tollefson Construction was mentioned as one possibility for removing the wall.

“Tollefson has done a whole lot of work on this project already,” said Mayor Spieth, adding, “I support the park 100 percent, but there is going to come a time when the city crew is just too busy to help with it, especially during the spring and summer.”

Noel said his department would look into what would be involved in taking down the wall. As of last Monday his crew had most of the wall torn down and Brad Calico with Public Works could be seen chipping away at the rest with a jackhammer.

Yet another annexation request in the East Osoyoos Lake area may be coming before council. A developer in need of water for his property has made inquiries as to what would be involved in annexation. The property includes 108 acres at Dairy Point near the border, said City Planner Chris Branch.

“To annex the property several acres of property between it and the current city limits would also need to be annexed,” said Branch.

The council will wait to see if the developer will officially petition for annexation and address the issue at that time.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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