Oroville signs agreement with LifeLine to increase in-town coverage hours

LifeLine Ambulance Service will add two days where first responders are based 24-hours a day in Oroville

Under a newly ammended contract with LifeLine Ambulance personnel will be on duty at the Oroville Ambulance Station with 12-hour in-town service five days a week and 24-hour in-town coverage two days a week. This increases the number of in-town coverage to 108 hours a week. Gary DeVon/staff photo.

Under a newly ammended contract with LifeLine Ambulance personnel will be on duty at the Oroville Ambulance Station with 12-hour in-town service five days a week and 24-hour in-town coverage two days a week. This increases the number of in-town coverage to 108 hours a week. Gary DeVon/staff photo.

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council met Tuesday, June 6 and approved an agreement with LifeLine Ambulance Services that would station EMTs in Oroville more hours each week, as well as hearing about a potential WSDA apple maggot quarantine on this end of the valley.

“This is the contract we’ve been working on over the last couple of months. This agreement was sent out to everybody,” said Mayor Ed Naillon about the new contract with LifeLine Ambulance Service. “We updated the section that allows us to reexamine the terms of the agreement if our levy income falls by five percent or more. It also removes all references to the vehicle because that is no longer a factor in this agreement.”

The mayor got a positive response from the council when he asked if they were happy with the new agreement. They indicated they were, and the mayor entertained a motion directing him to sign the agreement.

Councilman Mike Marthaller made the motion, with a second by Councilman Richard Werner and it was unanimously approved.

Oroville began negotiating with Lifeline after their April 18 city council meeting. At that meeting, the council heard three options to increase coverage from the Oroville ambulance facility and rely less on ambulances from Tonasket and elsewhere for coverage. Negotiations resolved around Option 2 which increases coverage from the Oroville ambulance facility to seven days a week for a total of 108 hours. Five days a week there will be 12-hour coverage and two days a week there would be 24-hour coverage.

At the time, the mayor said this would be at a cost of $53,000 a year which was in line with the $57,000 the levy brings in each year. He also said cost projection going forward for the next five years, the city may have to dig into some of the reserve funds it has.

Wayne Walker, general manager of Lifeline Ambulance was at the April 18 meeting and said they were looking at Friday as one of the two days that would increase to 24-hour coverage.

“We’re going back and looking at our statistical data. Friday is historically the busiest day of the week for Oroville, which is different from all the other areas we cover,” said Walker in April, adding LifeLine wanted to choose days where it would catch the largest number of calls.

In addition, the council approved an agreement to help the Oroville Senior Citizens organization with some financial help.

Our Oroville Senior Citizens agreement, we’ve gone over this here and we’ve gone over it with the Oroville Senior Citizens. In our discussions with the Senior Citizens, we’ve finalized the wording changes that were proposed by us in the last meeting and made one more slight change, changing the reference to Oroville Senior Center to Oroville Senior Citizens right up at the top. They like that a little better,” said Mayor Naillon.

The city will contribute $2,000 per year to help with services provided by the Senior Center

The Senior Citizens have approved the agreement and are ready to enter into an agreement with the city for their ongoing support, said the mayor. Naillon entertained a motion to approve.

Arnie Marchand was on the list of scheduled appearances. Marchand made a request to put an additional metal sign on the fence at Prince Heritage Park.

“I am going to ask permission to put a sign up on the fence and it will say Dorothy Scott International Airport,” said Marchand, who added that the sign measures about four feet by four feet.

“I want to tell you; it is the most expensive project our little group of fence art people has done. This cost more than anything and I’d like your approval to put it up,” said Marchand.

The council approved the sign project and the mayor said, “Thank you for thinking about our airport.”

“Thank you very much for your work on state Highway 20. That was awesome,” said Mayor Naillon.

He was referring to Oroville American Legion Post #84’s efforts that changed the name of SR20 in Okanogan County to the “Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway” and the renaming ceremony that took place on June 3.

“It went off like it was supposed to and that is rare. We had a lot of responses that came back. Louie (Wilson) is still getting calls,” said Marchand.

Mayor Naillon asked Marchand to pass on the city’s gratitude to all that helped make the renaming possible.

The mayor said the state Department of Ecology has sent the city recognizing the city’s wastewater treatment plant for “Outstanding Performance.”

“It goes on to say turning wastewater into water clean enough to discharge takes an efficient process, control and skill. That’s something we don’t often think about, but I grew up on that river, never had to give it a single thought,” said Naillon.

Steve Thompson, Superintendent of Public Works, said, “Robert (Marcille) does a real good job,” referring to the manager at the wastewater treatment plant.

Councilman Werner asked to speak about a potential apple quarantine in the north end of the county.

“Okanogan County Commissioners just got wind about an apple maggot quarantine, tentatively planned from Ellisforde up both sides of the valley to Highway 97 that has been drawn up

“The Okanogan County Commissioners just got wind about apple maggot quarantine – tentatively from Ellisforde up both sides of the valley to Oroville that has been drawn up by the apple industry,” said Werner. “It is a native pest to the U.S. that came out of the southwest and made it up here.”

At present, according to Will Carpenter, with the Tri-County Pest Control Board, the quarantine would entail the area starting at the Ellisforde Bridge Road north following the river between the two highways, SR97 and County 7.

Werner said there are certain levels of materials available locally that can be used to kill the pest.

“Carpenter is out reminding growers that have quit farming that if they have rogue apple trees they need to take care of them,” said Werner, adding that people with homegrown fruit trees will also need to spray them or have them removed.

“As an industry, having the whole county quarantined could be devastating to the growers, those that work in the industry, and to the local economy,” Werner said.

The apple maggot could potentially affect the apple industries in Washington and Oregon as many of the countries that buy fruit will ban it if they find evidence of so much as a single apple maggot fly is found, according to Werner.

The pest control board is sending a letter to the Washington State Department of Agriculture requesting a quarantine zone between Ellisforde and Oroville, said Werner.

“One of the takeaways from my discussions with Will Carpenter is it really comes down to us. I’m a grower and it also really comes down to those of us who have backyard trees to manage them. Allow one apple maggot fly to escape and it becomes financially devastating,” said Werner.

Jeff Bunnell, with The Oroville Initiative, asked if there was information available on how to treat homegrown fruit trees to eradicate the pest.

“Carpenter has lots of information they can point to about what you can do,” replied Werner, who adds that apple maggots are also known to inhabit hawthorn, especially red hawthorn like what is found in the river zone.

“The hawthorn in Okanogan County loves the river zone and signs of apple maggots have been found in three traps,” said the councilman.

In addition to the red hawthorn, which produces a small apple-like fruit, people with crab apple trees must also spray to prevent the apple maggot, according to Werner. He adds that there is no treatment approved by Ecology at this time for the treatment of the hawthorn that goes along the rivers.

The mayor asked to hear department head updates.

Thompson said the city crew had hung the banners with the photos of the graduating Oroville High School seniors along Main Street, and after graduation (the previous Saturday), had since taken them down again.

“Sergeant Hirst is officially working for the City of Oroville again. He is fitting in well and there is nothing to indicate he will do nothing but a good job for us,” said Oroville Police Chief Michael Langford.

“The town cleanup is seeing some pretty decent progress,” he added.

“It’s looking a lot better,” said Thompson.

Under public comments, Sonya Birch asked some questions about the new Civic Room use policy and the mayor suggested she get together with Clerk Denney to arrange for her knitting and crocheting group to schedule its use.

The Oroville City Council normally meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 7 p.m. in the city council chambers. The June 20th meeting is canceled, and the following meeting day would fall on the July 4 holiday, so the next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 5, according to Clerk JoAnn Denney.