Walking paths part of high schooler’s senior project

OROVILLE – Isaac Iverson, an Oroville 12th-grader, appeared before the council to discuss his senior project which would more designate a walking path around Oroville.

He appeared with Barbara Drummond from Oroville Streetscape. The two discussed where the walking paths, which utilize Oroville’s sidewalks, would go. They described a course that would be a three to four mile loop. Superintendent of Public Works Rod Noel reminded the two that with the city’s new pedestrian project linking the north and south city limits on the east side of Highway 97/Main Street, the loop could be increased nearly another one and a half miles.

“Isaac has obtained funding to prepare maps and signage,” said City Clerk Kathy Jones.

Neysa Roley, a member of the council, told Iverson that he was sure to have the city’s support if he could find the funding to help mark the loop. Oroville Mayor Chuck Spieth also offered the city’s continued support for the project.

On a different subject, the council heard from Supt. Noel about the city’s continued search for money to help pay for equipment to treat bio-solids at Oroville’s wastewater treatment plant.

“Chris (Branch) and I met with the county about our intent to make an application with rural development to fill in the gaps in funding for the project,” said Noel, who added some of the equipment has already been pre-purchased, while other is going out to bid.

“We will complete what we can,” said Noel.

Branch, Oroville’s Director of Community Development, said the county was sorry for using money from the Public Works Trust Fund to do roadwork when the city was counting on those funds for the bio-solids project.

“We also looked at the .09 money, which used to be called ‘point zero eight’ money. Those accounts are to be used for infrastructure but they are pretty well swept out,” said Branch. “Forty percent was to go to the county, forty percent to the cities and 20 percent to emerging opportunities. Some of that went to the arena and some to legal fees.”

Noel said they were also looking at some federal monies that are available as a loan/grant program, but the application process was a lengthy one.

The council received a petition asking that the former Eisen’s Lagoon RV Park be shut down. The RV park, is now operated by those developing the Desert Breeze condominiums.

“The petition states that it is not compliant with the city’s bylaws,” said Branch. “However, the code cited is not pectinate to that site… it was actually permitted under a Conditional Use Permit.”

Branch said the city visited the park for compliance problems several times in the 1980s and 1990s. One part of the condition is people are allowed to stay in the park for 30 days or less, according to Branch.

“It appears they have people staying on a permanent basis,” said Branch.

Referring to the city’s permit administrator, Christian Johnson, Branch said, “I think Christian was hoping it would go away under this phased development, which itself hasn’t yet been permitted. We may find ourselves in the position of having to close the park. We will give an update at your next meeting.”

Police Chief Clay Warnstaff asked and received permission to purchase a new 2008 Ford Crown Victoria patrol car for the police department. The money is in this year’s budget and by buying off of the state bid Warnstaff was able to save the city some money.

“It’s the best vehicle out there,” said the police chief about the Crown Victoria, which already has a partition installed that will result in another $415 savings.

Warnstaff also discussed a program where a patrol car with a mannikin is being parked in various locations around the city as a way of slowing down drivers. He said the car with the fake officer will be moved frequently and already seems to be having a positive effect.

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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