Revamped veterans memorial approved at park

Roland Clark shows a mock-up he made of how a new memorial at Oroville’s Osoyoos Lake Veterans Memorial Park might appear. Gary DeVon/staff photo

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council gave tentative approval to a new, larger memorial at the city’s Veterans Memorial Park.

Roland Clark, with the Oroville American Legion Post, appeared before council at their Tuesday, Jan. 15 meeting to request that the current memorial be moved from its present location to a new spot in the park. He also asked that the memorial be enlarged and presented a mock-up of what he envisioned.

The memorial at Osoyoos Lake Veterans Memorial Park features a tree in an enclosed display case. The tree has copper leaves with a veterans name on each leaf. It was conceived of by a former Oroville student as his senior project a couple years back. Since that time a new senior adopts the project each year to carry on the work.

“The problem with the current memorial is it blocks the view of the lake and the plexiglass makes the names kind of hard to read. We’d like to build a concrete wall along a hillside where we can enlarge the tree because we have a lot more leaves with names that need to be added,” said Clark.

Mayor Chuck Spieth asked how large the wall would be. Clark said it would be a foot thick and eight feet high by fifteen feet long.

Rod Noel, head of the parks department, suggested the wall be placed near the bottom of the sidewalk at the entrance to the park.

“Maybe the design could incorporate zero-scape and we could eliminate the watering problems the other one had. We could keep the sprinklers off it that way and if we had bushes that needed some water then we could put in a drip irrigation,” suggested Noel, adding that the city has had trouble getting good water pressure to the sprinklers in that area anyway.

“It sounds like the council is in agreement, the first thing you should do is fine tune your plans and work with the staff on the location,” Mayor Spieth told Clark.

Application Rejected

EMT Chris Allen’s application to serve with the Oroville ambulance crew was turned down by the council when the mayor asked for a council vote. Citing the fact that Ambulance Coordinator Debra Donoghue was not in favor of the candidate, two council members – Tony Koepke and Jon Neal –voted against. Councilmen Walt Hart and Ed Naillion voted in favor, while Councilwoman Neysa Roley abstained because of her connection to the crew.

“Since it is a tie I’ll have to cast the tie breaker,” said Mayor Spieth. “I have stated in the past that I will go along with Debra’s recommendation. Chris, it is denied.”

Neal suggested that if Allen wished to try to mend fences and reapply it would be reconsidered.

Allen asked about bringing the issue to the grievance committee. The committee is made up of the mayor, Neal, Jones, and the ambulance coordinator. He was advised to submit a written request.

Ice and Snow

In other business, the council approved allowing an ambulance standby at this year’s Northwest Ice Fishing Festival near Molson. The city also waived the fee.

Noel, who is the Superintendent of Public Works, said the city’s road grader had lost its engine during snow removal.

“It’s not easily repaired, it’s a 1976 Cat that we bought in pretty good shape in the 1990′s. We will be renting a grader from Beanblossum to get us through the winter,” Noel said.

On the subject of snow removal, Scott Eisen who owns a snow removal company, asked to change the operation hours allowed by the city so they could begin earlier in the morning.

“By 6 a.m. there is so much traffic it is dangerous. Most of the work is done in the industrial area where the noise would not be as noticeable.”

Mayor Spieth suggested the council address the ordinance first, before making any changes to the time allowed.

“Also, we get pounded if we aren’t wearing a vest or have a light while the PUD and Border Patrol do whatever they want. If you are going to enforce the rules on one you should enforce it on all of us,” said Eisen.

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 the 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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