SEPTEMBER 21, 2020

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met for a Regular session at 123 5th Avenue North, Okanogan, Washington on September 21, 2020, with Chairman, Commissioner Jim DeTro; Vice Chairman, Commissioner Chris Branch; Member, Commissioner Andy Hover; and Clerk of the Board, Laleña Johns, present.

The full detail of the commissioners’ proceedings was captured via AV Capture video and is available to the public on the county’s website.

Review Commissioners’ Agenda and Consent Agenda
Commissioners reviewed their agenda and consent agenda.

Briefing Among Commissioners-Discuss Individual Meeting Schedules
Commissioner Branch informed the other two commissioners about an interview that a candidate running for state auditor had with Fairgrounds staff on Fairgrounds property. Commissioner Hover stated the Board of Health post should also be addressed as well. The Board of Health is a policy issue that should be addressed and made clear relative to the role of government and neutrality of those representing the county. It is different in terms of candidates for election versus appointees of elected officials. Commissioners discussed the difference of supporting issues individually and supporting issues as a board.

Motion Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (1)(b)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 9:45 for 10 minutes to consider the selection of a site or the acquisition of real estate by lease or purchase when public knowledge regarding such consideration would cause a likelihood of increased price. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioners exited executive session at 9:55 a.m. no decisions were made.

Commissioner Hover noted he has union mediation at 2:00 today and will be discussing those strategies with the Tanya Craig until the meeting with Pest Control Agent.

Discussion WSDA Apple Maggot Update-Pest Control Agent Dan McCarthy
Mr. McCarthy explained the next stage has been found with 363 adult flies on 47 different trapes and pupa finds in the native hawthorns. Nothing in the apples. The discussion will happen later in the year. He doesn’t have an argument as to why not. Contiguous borders with some break to prevent the spread of it. It will be a big adjustment. Bill Walker will be at the Pest Control Board meeting on Oct. 12. Trapping around the orchards, inspect the fruit before shipped. Two areas where the most flies were caught one in the Oroville area along Holmes Rd where there is solid hawthorn growing. Everyplace with a positive test gets a high density trapping and where the majority of the flies were caught. The other hot spot is around Alta Lake and near Malott. He has no argument about quarantining the county. It is in the lower valley and lower Methow Valley. He just heard that there is also a positive multiple life stage in Douglas County and they will likely quarantine. All along the Columbia river is where it is found. Hawthorn has many different varieties that are the host pant.

Commissioner Hover asked what the financial cost is going to be growers is. The problem is the logistics because there are only so many inspectors. Getting inspectors out to every orchard will be very difficult. Mr. McCarthy has been preaching to the warehouses about this coming to prepare them and they all said they would wait until it got here. A plan with WSDA director was discussed and where we go from here to figure out how to deal with it economically. He suggested treating it similar to the Cherry Fruit Fly which is a treatment before they are packed. Most warehouses have electronic sorter which are infallible and finds all defects and could detect apple maggot. Getting the fruit to the packing houses within the same county is alright. Fruit leaving the county is the problem, but okay to bring fruit into the county. If Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan County were all under quarantined fruit could be moved around within all the counties for packing and inspection purposes. It would be practible if all were under quarantine but Chelan County just hasn’t gone through all the incubated traps to find the multi life stages yet, but it is possible they find the life stages once the fruit is incubated.

Mr. McCarthy said if at some point the other two pest boards should get together and all three counties meet on this.

Rob Inlow commented on the processor apples since there is only one processor in Selah where does a grower take all the junk fruit. East Coast markets could be lost. 60 day cold treatment could be used before shipped and those would not need to be inspected. Mr. Inlow asked about orchardists with fruit orchards from Washington to Oregon as they would not be able to ship unless inspected.

Commissioner Hover asked Mr. Inlow a question on the challenges this presents to him. Mr. Inlow said this is significant due to the number of inspectors needed to clear growers and what kind of paperwork is there going to be, series of inspection tags, check points…. He is 100% shipped out of the county. Anyone going further south, this will be a nightmare. There is on the tree inspections where they walk down the block, or they look in the bins to see damaged fruit. A written certificate of inspection is required for transport for each individual apple block. Yes. Bill Walker is invited to the next pest board meeting to explain what this entails.

Update-Planning Director Pete Palmer
Planning Director Palmer provided a packet for today’s discussion with regards to the Shoreline Master Program that was updated in 2018. (attached) The goals and objectives were not updated in that version of the plan and Commissioner Hover does not see reference to them as an addendum to the plan as adopted.

Director Palmer stated the information, the Shoreline Master Program information, is posted is on the Planning Dept website.

Director Palmer noted that the original cost for the Methow Trails vaulted Toilet did not include the tax for the toilet. There is some wiggle room in the Planning budget to pay that. Commissioners Hover noted that it did not appear the goals and policies were updated in the adopted resolution 36-2018 that was transmitted to Dept of Ecology. Commissioner Branch will ask Dept of Ecology what was transmitted to DOE.

Commissioner Hover moved to direct the planning dept to pay the additional cost of the tax for the vaulted toilet from the planning budget. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried

Director Palmer discussed the Well Tracking Grant. Aspect does not believe they will have the work completed by the deadline. If Department of Ecology is willing to make an exception and extend the deadline, then Commissioners are alright with it taking additional time. Commissioners Request an extension the board can authorize.

Discussion Relief Resources & Relief Coordination Plan-Emergency Management
Emergency Manager Maurice Goodall stated the reason for the meeting was to relay what roles the groups are involved with in the recovery due to recent fires. Four major disasters in 6 years is ridiculous.

The county cannot be involved with the distribution of public donations. There are entities more appropriate for this purpose.

Carlene Anders Okanogan County Long Term Recovery group was founded in 2014 with their official name as Carlton Complex Long-Term recovery. They have been working on recovery for the past 6 years. She explained they help people through the program for rebuild and other things. The will help with Disaster intake and coordination for the Palmer and Cold Springs fire in Okanogan County and Douglas County. It is determined by Unmet needs and is individual based. Fencing is challenging. There is also an advocacy piece that advocates for funds in Olympia.

There is confusion about who the Long-Term Recovery group is. Ms. Anders explained how it formed what it has become and who is involved. The Long-Term Recovery helps steer people to where their need can be met. Whoever is taking in the money does not make the decision where it goes.

We are not going to have the resources we’ve had in the past due to other major disasters such as the Malden fire, Oregon and California fires. Resources will be stretched thin. She would like to see the commissioners extend its short-term recovery to the end October for a place to put the donations. We cannot say no or it goes down the road to someplace else.

Commissioner Branch discussed having a structured agreement in place for whatever the county is involved in and who the authority would be who is representative of the particular group to be helped such as Cattlemen association etc…... Ms. Anders stated the assessment of the needs is critical also having a facility is critical. Protect infrastructure where fire victims bring their waste.

Commissioner DeTro asked where the plan is and stated that why we are here.

Naomie Peasley Fairgrounds Coordinator explained what help the Fairgrounds is providing to the fire victims. Mostly the relief is for immediate needs for animals and livestock. Everyone they have been in contact with a binder has been created for each victim that has a list of their needs. At the end of September this roll would be passed onto someone else. Ms. Anders said relief officers for case management can be arranged for to take that piece. Is there a separation between the Mom and Pop’s and the big-time ranchers? She feels the mom and pops are just now getting off the mountain and getting services and asking for their needs to be met.

Rod Haeberle said he knows one person who lost over 2000 hay. Coordination is critical for trucks bringing hay in to prevent loading and unloading. Ms. Peasley explained why that has happened and it was due to the drivers not knowing our county, fire districts not wanting strangers getting lost or traveling on unstable roads and not knowing when they are coming. There are also driver restrictions that must be accommodated. Commissioner Hover stated the hay market is starting to move because of the uncertainty. Mr. Haeberle said if the game department opened up their tens of thousands of acres of graze land to the cattlemen affected so the cattle can be grazing now, then the hay situation could be less of a concern in the winter. He usually doesn’t start feeding until December, but with no graze land a lot more hay is going to be needed sooner to start feeding now until spring. Mr. Haeberle said Coordination is critical so people get help now, they lost everything, have cattle running around with no where to go.

Kathy Powers said the immediate relief must be kept rolling we cannot stop the momentum, we will lose the volunteers to fatigue. These people need help. Six months down the road those same volunteers will be back to work, tired, and not available. The groups felt the fairgrounds must be made available for a longer period of time to avoid turning away resources and volunteers. Fairgrounds is where folks are coming to for help and where Ms. Peasley is able to arrange volunteer teams for the relief needed. When does that transition to the organized groups happen?

The fairgrounds being used as the Single point of contact to coordinate the resources coming in. Kory Heindselman agreed that was where the missing piece was. The groups don’t have the means to broker the system.

Daniel Platt Okanogan Fire Watch commented on the need for communication. Ms. Anders said they need the time in order to get the case management piece together and stream that. Hay was going straight from the producer directly to those in need.

Okanogan Fire Watch groups said Habitat for humanity is ready to build but we are about three weeks out. Christian Disaster Relief is who is doing Palmer Fire clean up.

Commissioner DeTro stated the commissioners intend to approve a resolution to waive the fire debris fees for only fire debris and there are conditions for being able to do that.

Trinity Stucker asked when Emergency Management will release the numbers and assessments of those in need with miles of fence, numbers of destroyed homes etc…. Mr. Goodall said things need to be broken out and he is working on that and the numbers need to come from the ranchers. Ms. Stucker said the information should come from one source. Mr. Goodall explained where he will get the information from and that is still being worked on.

Ms. Power urged the county to be the lead on the coordination efforts and is essential for our communities because the volunteers cannot do it all by themselves. It is not sustainable.

Volunteer said this needs to be coordinated and a commitment on the county commissioners to provide it. Everyone wants to do something, but there is not an overall plan. The problem is a lot of wheels spinning going on. This is her fifth disaster and not a lot has changed.

Building Official Dan Higbee assumes in terms of the reservation, the tribe is going to take care of those permits.

The board adjourned at 4:00 p.m.