Tonasket Council hears about garbage concerns

TONASKET – New resident and business owner Mary Lou Kriner of Mary Lou’s Hidden Treasures in Tonasket, appeared before the Tonasket City Council Oct. 12 to discuss concerns about garbage near here home.

Kriner said she recently moved to Bonaparte Avenue from Oroville, and had some concerns. She said after the house they are moving into was broken into, they got a security system for the home.

“We have to go through the trailer park, and it is just horrible,” said Kriner. “It really needs cleaned up. There is junk and trees down in the river, and I keep hearing people say it is going to flood. What can we do?”

Mayor Patrick Plumb said the property owner owns to the high water mark of the river, but City Planner Kurt Danison said it depends on the body of water whether the property owner or the state owns to the high water mark.

“But cleaning up garbage does not need a shoreline permit. This is one more example of a good reason to be a part of the Okanogan Conservation District,” said Danison.

Council member Scott Olson said creeks sometimes needed low branches to slow down fast moving water, and suggested before any clean-up was done, Kriner find someone she could ask those questions of.

Plumb said clean-up of Bonaparte Creek was to be addressed at the City-Wide Clean-Up scheduled for Oct. 3, but only one person showed up. The council discussed how Bonaparte Creek has been cleaned up several times, and trash just keeps getting dumped back into it; which dampens community members enthusiasm for pitching in.

“We need to continue this conversation. You’re concerns are legitimate and we need to have a better plan,” Plumb told Kriner. “I will pursue this at the IACC (Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Council) Conference in Wenatchee with the state agencies that are there, especially the Department of Ecology.”

Plumb will be attending the Oct. 20-22 IACC conference with City Clerk and Treasurer Alice Attwood, City Maintenance Supervisor Hugh Jensen and Council Member Dennis Brown.

Danison suggested contacting the Department of Fish and Wildlife to see if someone could come out and look at the creek.

Olson suggested Kriner discuss her concerns regarding the trailer park with Police Chief Darren Curtis.

Danison said the trailer park is currently non-compliant with existing use permits.

Another garbage issue was addressed when North Valley Hospital CEO Mike Zwicker and Chief Information Officer Kelly Cariker appeared in response to a letter from city staff asking NVH to move hospital dumpsters that have been blocking the sidewalks. The issue has been going on for over a year.

Zwicker apologized to the council that the issue had not been resolved before his tenure began as CEO.

“Those bins have been moved. I am here to assure you if there are issues with the city, you have a partner now in me,” said Zwicker, as he showed council members photographs of where the dumpsters had been moved to.

Council members Olson and Claire Jeffko expressed appreciation for Zwicker taking the time to address the issue immediately.