Oroville Council prepares for potential flooding

OROVILLE – The City of Oroville took steps to prepare for flooding by approving a plan to bring in sand to fill sandbags in case the Okanogan and Similkameen Rivers overflow their banks this spring.

At the Tuesday, May 2 meeting of the council, City Clerk Kathy Jones said Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works, attended a meeting with representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Okanogan County Emergency Management Department about the potential for flooding.

“They said the potential was very high and Rod wants to get a truck down to Bridgeport to pick up sand for sandbags,” said Jones. “We’re of course concerned about the potential impacts to Lake Osoyoos Veterans Memorial Park, the sewer plant and other places around town.”

Mayor Chuck Spieth added that Supt. Noel, who couldn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting, also talked about putting a couple of pumps on standby.

Venterans Memorial Park is now open to the public for day use and Rich Solberg has moved in as camp host at the camping area. At Tuesday evening’s meeting the council approved a motion to rent the concession stand at the park to Kristin Sarmiento this summer. The building will be upgraded with a new sink to meet Okanogan County Health Department codes and will also be cleaned and painted by the city. Sarmiento approached the council about renting the building last year, however, it was the first season the city had operation of the park since being transferred to Oroville by the state and it was felt there wasn’t enough time to get the building ready in time.

A pay estimate to Cates and Erb Construction was approved for the Pedestrian Sidewalk Project of last summer. The money will go to pay for the addition of catch basins, raising light poles, thickening ramps and the addition of extra light poles added to the project, according to Clerk Jones.

“We do have DOT approval to authorize the mayor to act on this,” said Jones.

Councilman Jon Neal made a motion to authorize the mayor to sign the pay estimate.

“I second it as long as it is covered,” said Councilman Tony Koepke.

Jones announced Candidate Filing Period is June 6 through 10 and three city council positions are up for election. These are Position 3, currently held by Ed Naillon; Position 4, currently held by Walt Hart III and Position 5, currently held by Neysa Roley.

Mayor Spieth asked Oroville Police Chief Clay Warnstaff if he had anything to report.

“Only that because of the change in body style of the Ford Explorer from the Stone Garden grant, outfitting it may cost a little more,” said Chief Warnstaff.

The police chief was referring to the new patrol vehicle that Oroville is getting through a U.S. Department of Homeland Security program. Off-duty Oroville officers are paid to aid the U.S. Border Patrol through the Stone Garden grant and the new city vehicle was paid for through the program as well.

Debra Donohue, coordinator of the Oroville Ambulance, reported there would be an EMT class offered in the fall and that the week of May 15 through 21 was EMT Appreciation Week.

In other business, Councilman Hart said, “I appreciate Rod and the city crew’s quick fix of the collapsed sewer lines near my house.”

The next Oroville City Council meeting will be at Tuesday, May 16 in the city council chambers at city hall located at 1308 Ironwood St.