Getting the old USBP station is the right move

Editorial Gary MugThe General Services Administration giving the old Border Patrol Station to Oroville for law enforcement is the right move for both the federal government and Oroville.

First of all it will make a great police station for the city and free up the old police station for other uses. It also means the vacant property will get the attention it has been needing since the Border Patrol moved into their new digs on Shirley Road. Or as one agent, who will remain nameless called it, the Taj Mahal. The old brick station was looking pretty shabby, which as far as I know is actually station number two, with the real old station, station number 1, being across the street where you get your vehicle tabs from Betty Hart. Very little, if any maintenance had been done on the empty building and the weeds alone were a big eyesore.

Funny though, when the city threatened a $500 fine if the mess wasn’t cleaned up, the man handling the sale for the federal government said they weren’t subject to the city’s laws and wouldn’t pay anyway. Seems that is often the answer when you expect some federal representatives to follow the rules – like congress, somehow they don’t apply. Another example goes back to when the GSA was expanding the building – the city gave the feds the requirements for how wide the sidewalks needed to be and they just thumbed their noses at the town. Again, the rules didn’t seem to apply.

On the other hand, the local Border Patrol seems to be happy the city got the building. Former Agent- in-Charge Richard Graham posted on the Gazette-Tribune’s Facebook page that his wish had come true for the old building and congratulated the city. Maybe he just hopes the mural featuring him mounted on a horse across the boundary fence from a mounted Mountie doesn’t get painted over (just kidding, hope all is going well Dick).

What a natural fit for our police department and being on Main Street it might slow down some of those trucks who barrel through town in the mornings. The city can address their overcrowding issues at city hall and in the council chambers by moving some of the old records into the current police station – lock them in the unused jail for even more security. It would be nice to remove the sliding wall and get council chambers back to where they can hold more people at meetings if it needs to.

Overall it is a win-win, with some paint, a little cleaning and some yard work the city gets a great building for the police department, as well as storage at the old police department and federal government gets accolades for turning the building over to the town.

Besides using the old PD for storage, hopefully the city will find a great use for that building as well. The old police and fire station have a great mission-style vibe going on and should be utilized, either as part of city hall, expanded fire hall or maybe we can coax public works superintendent Rod Noel out front from his hideaway office in the back of the building.

 And, speaking of the Border Patrol, our congratulations go out to Bailey Griffen for being selected as the U.S. Border Patrol’s Explorer of the Year for 2015. It is quite an accomplishment especially as she was selected from nearly 1000 other USBP Explorers from 51 posts nationwide. Great job Bailey.

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.