Oroville City Council discusses State Park

OROVILLE – Oroville is in line to get Veteran’s Memorial State Park, however, the Colville Confederated Tribes has filed suit against the state for its method of determining the criteria for the transfer.

At their Tuesday, Oct. 6 meeting, the Oroville City Council heard a report from the mayor and city planner about the recent State Parks Commission meeting in Spokane where the board agreed to transfer Osoyoos Lake Veterans’ Memorial State Park to the city.

“The commission directed the regional director to go forward to take measures to transfer the park to the City of Oroville,” said Chris Branch, director of Community and Economic Development.

Branch added, “The Parks Commission had a generic criteria for all 13 state parks that were slated for closure. I believe they considered those issues when they set the criteria… I believe they wanted to be fair.”

The state Parks Commission was familiar with the city, having met here once last year, according to Branch.

Mayor Chuck Spieth said Superintendent of Public Works Rod Noel attended the meeting with he and Branch.

“He gave our public works capabilities to run the park,” said Spieth. “It was pleasing to see a unanimous decision.”

Branch said some of the ideas for the park that the Tribes had were “pretty much pie in the sky.” During their presentation the Colvilles talked about a floating stage, luxury RV spots and making several changes to the facility – including the name of the park, according to Branch.

A lawyer for the Tribes said the criteria the commission used was flawed. However, Branch said he felt the fact that the park was in the city’s Urban Growth Area constituted a good reason to transfer it to Oroville.

The mayor and city officials learned that the Colville’s had filed a lawsuit some time after the meeting.

“They may try to delay the thing like they did at Twisp,” said Mayor Spieth, in a call last week to the Gazette-Tribune. “We have no ownership yet, so their complaint is with the parks commission.”

Spieth said he heard the news about the lawsuit from Branch, who heard it when he was trying to get further information on the camping reservation system utilized by the state.