Survey shows no state-owned lands in Henry Kniss Park

OROVILLE – A recent survey to determine what parts of Henry Kniss Riverfront Park were owned by the state revealed that little if any of the Oroville park was outside of city ownership.

The matter, among others, was discussed at the Tuesday, Jan. 20 meeting of the Oroville City Council.

“The survey shows no state-owned aquatic lands in what is used for Henry Kniss Park,” said Oroville City Clerk Kathy Jones. “All of the park is in the original upland plat, therefore we need to withdraw the lease.”

It was believed that part of the park might have been included in state-owned Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lands and would require they be leased. As part of the lease procedure the DNR required Oroville hire a surveyor to determine what was and what wasn’t state-owned.

The resulting survey showed that only a tiny speck of the park along the Okanogan River, often referred to as “Goose Poop Park,” was under state ownership and would not require a lease. That state-owned piece was on the riverbank and outside the city limits, according to Jones.

“There have been numerous issues regarding parking down there and disputes over ownership with nearby property owners, it might be advantageous to have the surveyor set a few of those monuments establishing boundaries,” suggested Superintendent of Public Works Rod Noel.

Noel went on to say that his department was going to ask that the monuments be set in the most critical areas, even if they had to use some of the street department funds.

In other business, Mayor Chuck Spieth named his appointments for 2009 with few changes for the new year. He re-appointed Mick Howe as city attorney, Rod Noel, superintendent of public works; Kathy Jones, clerk-treasurer; Clay Warnstaff, chief of police; Chris Branch, director of community development; Debra Donohue, ambulance coordinator and Rod Noel, fire chief.

The mayor said he would make his committee appointments at the next council meeting.

Police Chief Warnstaff said he was hoping to hear whether the city’s candidate for the Police Academy would have a spot when the academy is next in session.

Councilman Tony Keopke thanked Warnstaff and his department for getting some of the vehicles off Central Avenue that were parked in violation of city ordinances.

The mayor and council agreed the city should support efforts to keep the Washington State Driver’s License office open in Oroville.

Some of the council members wondered if they were shutting down offices on the west side of the state where they are closer together. If the offices in Oroville and Republic close those wishing to renew their licenses will have to travel to Okanogan or Colville to do so.

“I think the state is cutting in all the wrong spots,” said Councilman Keopke.