Oroville Council hears from Community Development Director

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council heard several items from Chris Branch, the city's director of Community Development, at their...

Bin lot may become city park

“Right now we are keeping our focus on transportation.. The RTPO used to decide what would be funded, now we have to do that” Chris Branch, Director of Oroville Community Development

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council heard discussion on several items from Chris Branch, the city’s director of Community Development, at their Tuesday, Nov. 18 council meeting.

Branch reported on the coalition of governments, known as the Okanogan County Council of Governments, that has formed in order to handle a number of local issues, especially those concerning transportation. The COG was formed by the municipalities and county after they were voted out of the Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) that included Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan County. The other counties and the larger municipalities decided that there wasn’t the same shared interest in regional transportation planning.

“Right now we are keeping the focus on transportation,” said Branch. “The RTPO used to decide what would be funded, but since we were expelled, if you will, now we have to do that.”

The COG includes all the unincorporated cities of Okanogan County, as well as the county itself.

Branch also talked about the North Central Washington Economic Development District, or NCWEDD, which still includes the three counties — Chelan, Douglas an Okanogan. The organization gets funding from the federal government and is still very supportive of regional planning, according to Branch.

Branch said there was a change in leadership for the district, but there is still support for things like the partnership with Canadians along Highway 97 regarding tourism.

“Some of the bigger entities which may have wanted us out of the RTPO are still on board. They are willing to finish work on the Highway 97 project,” he said.

Branch also talked about the need for a Capital Facilities Plan Update, he said this would be important to the city especially for projects involving the federal government, like the proposed FFA project to move the location of the runway at the city’s Dorothy Scott International Airport.

“When it comes out you’re going to go ahead and spend the dollars you have got to have a Capital Facilities Plan or the auditor beats up on JoAnne (Clerk Denney),” said Branch.

His commented about the Shoreline Master Plan, which he said was heading the council’s way after being reviewed by the state Department of Ecology.

“We’d like to get it adopted by the end of the year,” he said.

In addition, Branch discussed the area of Osoyoos Lake Veteran’s Memorial Park that divides the lake from the pond. Property owners whose property is adjacent to the pond are requesting a right of way in order to move their boats from the pond to the lake.

“It might also be in the city’s interest if we want to make the pond accessible to things like paddle boats, etc.,” said Branch. “One of the owners does not have an easement and he keeps the boat outside of the pond.”

Although the council was not asked to make any decisions on the matter, some of the property owners did get in trouble with the city earlier this year when they created their own access by digging a channel on city property.

Dog Park

Paul Bouchard, an EMT with the Oroville Ambulance, asked if the city might consider a “dog park” area at Veterans Memorial Park where dogs can be taken off their leaches to run.

“Omak just did one, it takes a fence,” said Branch.

“I don’t think that’s the right park,” said Mayor Chuck Spieth, who said the city could look at other areas.

New Park?

Among the items the city discussed at their budget workshop on Oct. 28, was an offer by the Prince Family to lease the property where Gold Digger Apples stores their apple bins for a park. They discussed a potential five-year lease agreement, with five year renewals, but the details have yet to be worked out.

Bin lot may become city park

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