Oroville seeks Senator’s help regarding old USBP Station

Council considers adoption of ATV ordinance

The old U.S. Border Patrol - Oroville Station, now sports a large "Government Property for Sale" sign. The City of Oroville has been trying to work with the U.S. General Services Administration to take over the no longer used facility for their police department and other agencies. Gary DeVon/Staff photo

The old U.S. Border Patrol – Oroville Station, now sports a large “Government Property for Sale” sign. The City of Oroville has been trying to work with the U.S. General Services Administration to take over the no longer used facility for their police department and other agencies. Gary DeVon/Staff photo

OROVILLE – The City of Oroville would like to take over the old U.S. Border Patrol Station on Main Street, but so far hasn’t had any luck in convincing the General Services Administration to let them use it for more than a police station.

“They asked for their key back and to vacate the premises,” said JoAnne Denney, Oroville City Clerk. “The only reason we had the key to clean it up before May Day.”

The old Border Patrol Station on 1105 Main became redundant when the new $15 million, 22-acre complex was constructed north of Oroville and just south of the U.S. Canadian border. The Oroville station is responsible for 80 miles of international border located in Okanogan County. Included in the Oroville Station’s area of responsibility is the Pasayten Wilderness Area.

Since moving out the station has taken on an abandoned look with the lawn often in need of mowing and the plants in need of water.

The GSA prefers to offer the building to government agencies first and in this case wanted to offer it to Oroville as a new police station. However, according to Denney, just using it for a police station doesn’t pencil out financially and the city would like to use the building for other services. She cited the Oroville building department as one potential additional use, thus freeing up the city to sell their current facility on Main Street, where the old Visitor Information Center was located.

“A letter was submitted to the GSA regarding our concerns and the GSA responded by saying there would be no negotiations on the use of the property, requested the quitclaim deed and key be returned immediately,” said Denney. “Chris Branch has forwarded correspondents to (U.S.) Sen. Maria Cantwell asking for her help in the matter.”

The old station would be an ideal location for the police station with fenced equipment yard, holding cells, a sally port and many other attributes that would work well with city policing. The Main Street location would also make the department have a more visible in downtown compared to the current Ironwood location.

ATV Ordinance

At the council’s Tuesday, June 2 meeting they also discussed a new ATV ordinance which would allow ATVs on Oroville’s streets. This would connect Oroville to county roads where a similar ordinance has already been approved by the County Commissioners.

“The council has been taking a positive attitude toward some kind of ordinance. They are looking at Omak’s municipal code to decide whether they would like to adopt something similar to theirs,” said Denney.

Councilman Tony Koepke asked about the turn signal requirement. The general feeling of the council was that they liked Omak’s code and discussed referencing state regulations regarding turn signals, according to Denney. Omak Mayor Chuck Spieth said city staff had reviewed the code and would like to see Oroville’s code addressing snow removal in Place. Rod Noel, superintendent of public works, said he felt that Oroville’s snow removal laws regarding use of ATVs was modeled after Omak’s.

The mayor also said he had no new update on the ambulance agreement with the Okanogan County Commissioners. In the past, an interlocal agreement between the city and rural parts of the EMS District was always left to city representatives and the Rural EMS Commissioners, however, the county has stated since the EMS Commissioners are appointed, rather than elected, any agreement between the county and the city has to get the County Commissioners’ approval.

In a related matter, Dale Gavin reported that he has worked on making repairs to the ambulance hall roof and explained what further repairs are needed, according to Denney.

The mayor appointed Councilman Walt Hart as the city’s voting delegate to the Association of Washington City’s Annual Business meeting.

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 has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.