Oroville Council talks about Main Street parking problem

OROVILLE – When business is bad the Oroville Council hears the parking rules are “too restrictive,” when it’s good it’s “they’re not enforced” enough. Oroville’s parking problem must be a sign that business is good again, at least on Main Street.

And good or bad, some people think Oroville’s custom “no parking” signs just aren’t friendly enough, despite the ‘Welcome to Oroville” at their top. Between the mega motorhomes that take up two or three prime spaces on Main Street to the businesses with employees using up spots, the city council has had a request from some Main Street business owners that the two-hour parking limit be enforced.

Councilman Walt Hart III

Councilman Walt Hart III

“Several business owners have talked to me about the cars of business owners and RVs parking on Main Street. The signs are useless unless the two-hour limits are enforced,” said Oroville Councilman Walt Hart III, who also happens to own a business on Main with his wife Vicki.

“As far as parking your car in front of your business, that’s not against the parking ordinance,” said Mayor Chuck Spieth.

“It is if they do it for over two-hours,” said Hart.

Oroville Police Chief Clay Warnstaff said enforcing the ordinance will open up a whole new can of worms,” adding that he didn’t have the staff to do parking enforcement without taking them away from other duties.

The whole east side of Main Street, in front of the Pastime Bar & Grill and Hometown Pizza and Pasta was full of parked cars last Tuesday afternoon. Some of the vehicles might have been over there for over the two hour limit, but there were no long motorhomes or known cars owned by local business owners present. Mayor Chuck Spieth said the parking issue has been going on since the 70s. The Parking and Sidewalk Rules signs say, "Welcome to Oroville - two-hour parking only, travel trailers, campers and combination vehicles must park one block east or west of Main Street." Gary DeVon/staff photo

The whole east side of Main Street, in front of the Pastime Bar & Grill and Hometown Pizza and Pasta was full of parked cars last Tuesday afternoon. Some of the vehicles might have been over there for over the two hour limit, but there were no long motorhomes or known cars owned by local business owners present. Mayor Chuck Spieth said the parking issue has been going on since the 70s. The Parking and Sidewalk Rules signs say, “Welcome to Oroville – two-hour parking only, travel trailers, campers and combination vehicles must park one block east or west of Main Street.” Gary DeVon/staff photo

“We’ve been aware of this situation since the 70s,” said Mayor Spieth, himself a former Oroville Police Chief.

Warnstaff said that he pretty much left the campers/RVs alone on Main Street unless they were parked right on the corner and blocking sight lines for drivers.

“The Chamber of Commerce is assessing the possibility of renting the parking lot behind the old Peerless,” said Hart.

(Editor’s Note: The Chamber board met last Thursday and agreed to pursue rental of the lot. Several businesses have agreed to help contribute to the monthly monthly in order to make the lot, currently marked “no trespassing,” available for free convenient downtown off-street parking for motorhomes, as well as cars and trucks.)

Tire Recycle Program

Oroville will proceed with the state Department of Ecology Tire Recycling Program on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29. People will be able to drop off their tires for free (time and location to be announced) where they will be stacked on a trailer and removed. Although agriculture tires are allowed, no other types of commercial businesses will be able to drop their tires off for free. However, no tires filled with calcium or foam will be accepted and there is a limit of 20 tires. People with 100 plus tires can call Ecology and arrange for a one-time pickup of their tires. Tires can be on or off rim, according to Kathy Jones, who informed the council about the program at their last meeting.

“I can see this being a big wreck, where people drop off 150 tires by the trailer overnight. We will need to have some way of keeping an eye on it,” said Public Works Superintendent Rod Noel, who otherwise said he thought it was a good program for the community and surrounding area.

Councilman Ed Naillon, who is looking into getting volunteers from the school to help load the tires, asked about liability. He said the city would at least need to supply someone to represent the city when the volunteers are working.

The mayor asked Noel if he could supply someone from his crew.

“I guess we’ll have to. We’ll work it out,” replied Noel.

“I think this is quite an opportunity for those that live in and around Oroville,” said Mayor Spieth.

City Dog Pound

Chief Warnstaff supplied the council with additional information about the group willing to take over the city’s dog pound and unclaimed animals.

“Wendy Stever of the Nourishing Hand Dog Rescue wants to step up and take over the contract,” said Warnstaff. “It’s a question of what to do with the dogs after their time is up. They don’t put them down, but adopt them out. After 15 days the dogs must be spayed or neutered.”

Currently Oroville is paying $75 a month for animal services and the Nourishing Hand will provide dog pound cleaning and adoption for $50 a month, according to Warnstaff.

“They have the county’s ear and I think that says quite a bit that the county is willing to work with them,” Warnstaff said.

“I think it sounds like a good deal,” said Tony Koepke who motioned approval of the new contract which passed unanimously.

“I think we’re very lucky to have someone step up,” said the mayor.

“There is a very bad problem in the county right now… they’ve even hired an animal control officer who is putting in lots of hours,” said Warnstaff.

Senior Transportation and Nutrition

Okanogan County Transportation and Nutrition has requested additional funding from the incorporated cities. Oroville already pays $1000 a year and although no specific dollar amount was asked the council is considering $500.

“They need it to finish this year, once you’re committed to more funding though, they’ll ask for the increased amount each year,” said Jones, who added that the organization had received some funding cuts.

“They do some good things and lots of people take advantage of their programs,” said Jones.

Several council members said they would consider an additional $500 if they knew it would go toward the senior nutrition program.

“I deal with a lot of the senior citizens making sure they get on the bus so they can get to their doctor, pick up their medicine. We’re all going to be there sooner or later,” said Chief Warnstaff.

The council is requesting additional information before making their final decision on whether to give additional funding for this year.

Child Safety Program

The council granted approval to Jackie Daniel’s request to submit another Child Passenger Safety Program application.

“It’s not a huge amount but I think it serves a good purpose,” said Jones.

North End Reservoir

The council was updated on the North End Water Reservoir being constructed to serve the new U.S. Border Patrol Station as well as other North End Water System customers north of Oroville on the west side of the lake. Construction should begin on Sept. 9, with an attempt to get the foundation in before the cold weather starts, according to Noel.

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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