Kathy Jones talks about 40 years with Oroville

OROVILLE – As Kathy Jones settles into retirement after 40 years as Oroville's City Clerk/Treasurer she looks back with pride...

“I want to thank the community for allowing me to serve the community for over 40 years. I know I didn’t get to meet everyone, but I made a lot of friends” Kathy Jones, former Oroville Clerk

OROVILLE – As Kathy Jones settles into retirement after 40 years as Oroville’s City Clerk/Treasurer she looks back with pride at many of the city’s accomplishments.

When asked what she’s most proud of Jones contemplates for a moment and answers, “Probably the millions and millions and millions of dollars we have been able to receive over the years. There have been a lot of great improvements to our little town.”

Kathy Jones
Kathy Jones

She says those grants have allowed the city to make improvements to the city streets, sidewalk, water and sewer systems, as well as the parks. During Jone’s time as clerk the city took over and improved Deep Bay Park, created Bud Clark Ballfields and took on the former state park, Osoyoos Lake Veterans Memorial. The latter she describes as one of her and Public Works Superintendent Rod Noel’s pet projects for the last couple of years. The city also built a couple of water reservoirs and developed the industrial park during her tenure. There have also been many improvements to Dorothy Scott Memorial Airport with more to come in the future, she adds.

While the population has dwindled after several growth spurts, the town’s city limits have grown considerably during Jone’s watch.

“We’ve annexed here and there, Reman and Reload, the Zosel properties, the airport, Deep Bay, Veterans Memorial and the ball park,” she said.

“Perhaps what I’m most proud of is that Oroville has always been able to work in the black. We haven’t been forced into laying off people and we’ve passed all of our audits, even federal ones, with flying colors,” she said. “All that and maintaining some of the lowest water and sewer rates in the county.”

She said she made friends over the years with mayors, council members and members of the community.

“It wasn’t a job where you made friends with everybody. When you do your job eventually there’s going to be some bad feelings when people take out their anger on you personally instead of realizing you are doing a job… the job you were hired to do,” said Jones.

Jones started her career as a replacement for Margaret Forthun in the water/utility billing position in July of 1974 when Kem “Bill” Smith was the city clerk. She took on the head clerk’s job in 1978.

Things were a lot different back then with everything, including bills, being written out by hand and recorded in a big ledger.

“We handwrote the water bills, with only a carbon. When I became clerk I asked for two purchases, an electric typewriter to replace the old manual one that had three keys that stuck and a cash register,” said Jones.

She worked under seven mayor during her time with the city, the first being Ed Northcott. Steve Bailey followed when he was appointed mayor and then came John Shaw Jr, Jimmy Dale Walker, David Reynolds and then Chuck Spieth, the current mayor.

Spieth and Jones go way back, she said, becoming friends when he was still the city’s police chief and through the years he served on the council.

“We’ve just known each other for a long time. I think we have always got along real well. I think Rod Noel has also done a terrific job for Oroville. I think we have a good group of employees.”

The sad part of her job, she said, was seeing businesses come and go over the years.

“That’s still happening, unfortunately,” she said.

She started out life in Okanogan, where her grandfather had served as mayor. The family moved to Oroville when she was still a youngster. Her dad Bob Monroe owned a lumber yard and building supply in Oroville and was well known in his later years for his western paintings. Her mom worked at Heavy Pack and helped with the store and she has a older sister, Marla, and a younger brother, Rob. She and her husband have one son, Eric and three grandchildren, who she says she will be spending a lot more time with. She and Craig also plan on traveling more around in their fifth-wheel, especially in the Southwest.

Jones said she had a great send off with a party that included many members of the community, city employees and clerks from other towns in the county, including Tonasket and Okanogan. She said she was roasted by several in attendance, but they all made her feel her time with the city was well spent.

“It was a lot of fun, they roasted me pretty well,” she said, adding, Chris Branch was the Master of Ceremonies.

“I want to thank the community for allowing me to serve the community for over 40 years. I know I didn’t get to meet everyone, but I made a lot of friends,” she said. “I will always be concerned for the city’s future, you can’t work somewhere for 40 years and not be.”

“I want to thank the community for allowing me to serve the community for over 40 years. I know I didn’t get to meet everyone, but I made a lot of friends,”

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