Oroville City Council updated on Blues Festival

Road relocation would have benefits to city, companies and jobs

“We’ve had a couple of good years… we also felt we wanted to get it more into the city. We have a great line up of bands.” Jeff Bunnell, Rally at the Border Blues Fest

OROVILLE – Representatives of the Rally at the Border Blues Festival gave a quick update on this year’s upcoming event at the Tuesday, April 19 Oroville City Council meeting.

Jeff Bunnell and Clay Warnstaff described a scaled down festival with in town venues, rather than at Deep Bay Park like the past two years. The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22.

“We’ve had a really good couple of years, but we lost a couple of big sponsors, like Kinross,” said Bunnell. “We also felt we wanted to get it more into the city. We have a great line up of bands.”

This year’s bands include: Lisa Mann, Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method, Tuck Foster and the Mossrites, VooDoo Church of Blues, The Jones Street Boys and The Deepwater Blues Band.

The festival is scheduled to coincide with the annual Run to the Border charity motorcycle ride sponsored by the Columbia River Harley Owners Group. The run attracts as many as 300 riders who travel from Wenatchee to Oroville to raise money for a good cause.

Bunnell asked permission to have 14th Street closed from Main to Ironwood for a small stage from about 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and an area where alcohol could be served for people 21 and older. He also asked for permission to allow dry camping at the city’s soccer fields for the weekend. The music on the street stage would go from noon to 7 p.m.

Other venues include the Pastime Bar and Grill and Alpine Brewery.

“We are hoping to have a few vendors as well as a poker walk through town. We are also hoping to talk to the business owners that are not normally open on Saturdays and Sundays into staying open.” Bunnell said.

“I like the idea of keeping it down town as a way of spreading the business around,” said Councilman Walt Hart.

Oroville Chamber of Commerce president Clyde Andrews said the motel he manages has been sold out for two weeks now.

“The festival has been very well received in Wenatchee and the Seattle area,” he said.

Councilman Tony Koepke made a motion to approve the festival’s requests and it was seconded by Councilman Hart and passed unanimously.

In other business

Chris Branch, director of Oroville Community Development and Michael Guss, executive director of the North Central Washington Economic Development District discussed the city’s grant request to the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) for funding of a road relocation near Oroville Reman and Reload.

“We are now in the throws of submittal of a grant application,” said Branch, who added the city would also have to decide on a request for annexing more of the Reman and Reload made by the company.

“I think we should hear something on the grant sometime in July,” added Guss, “It’s a pretty good application, so fingers crossed.”

The project would include improvements to Bob Neil Road up to the intersection with the Jennings Loop Road, according to Branch.

“Residents would lose the use of Ninth, but would take a new road which would be about two minutes longer,” Branch said.

The city is applying for a $1,015,000 grant from the EDA Public Works fund. Reman and Reload will supply the $335,000 matching funds, according to Guss, who adds that the project has many benefits to the city, as well as other businesses.

“I’m excited about this thing coming together. I think it will be a good thing for the city

According to Guss, the benefits are:

Project will retain 136 jobs in the core Oroville Industrial Area.

Project will create 20 jobs in the core Oroville Industrial Area

Project will enable $5 million in foreign direct investment into the United States.

Project will benefit the following: Cascade and Columbia Railroad, Zosel’s Lumber, Oroville Reman and Reload and the Pacific Calcium Mine in Tonasket.

“We will file the application this week and will hear a decision from EDA as to whether or not they funded the application no later than Sept. 30, but should hear something by this summer.

As part of the project, Reman and Reload has submitted a letter of intent to annex more of their property into the city.

“It is up to the city council to decide whether to accept that submittal and whether it should be expanded beyond the request. There are conditions on the property that is annexed, like being taxed at the same rate as everyone else in the city, although there is not a lot of debt,” said Branch.

Other conditions prior to annexation would include allowing other industrial users to use the road, like access to Gold Digger Apples and Zosel Lumber. The annexation also would have to allow access to the property by the city which has buried utilities that may need to be serviced, as well as emergency access.

The council approved a resolution to move forward on the grant application and to accept the submittal for annexation. A hearing on the annexation is planned for Tuesday, May 17.

The council also approved amendments to the police department’s policy regarding the number of hours in a shift.