City Council hears 2020 update from Sheriff’s Dept.

by Richard Uhlhorn
All Things Lake Chelan

Sgt. Chris Foreman presented the Sheriff’s Department 2020 update to Chelan City Council on Tuesday, December 15. He presented a 2019 versus 2020 graph of Calls for Service from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. “Despite COVID we were busier with call this year than in 2019,” said Foreman.

Foreman specifically noted the increase in calls for service on the lake. “Our marine calls on the lake were the busiest we’ve ever had,” he stated. Marine Patrol Officer Brian Moody reported that 90 percent of his patrol time was spent on the lake this past summer.

The Chelan River and Riverwalk Park saw unprecented use in 2020. Boats anchoring in the river channel became a problem for the Marine Patrol who made contact with many boaters, asking them to move on.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth told Foreman that he was glad to see the patrol in the river channel. He noted that there were several altercations when boaters who had been rafting up were asked to move along. “It happens only when things get busy,” said Hollingsworth. “It’s a big lake out there.”

Riverwalk Park became a go to place when the City shut down its parks from overcrowding.

Foreman replied that the Marine Patrol’s main intent was to contact folks and promote safety in the River. “There are safer areas with less boat traffic on the lake. Other places on the lake you can go.” Foreman said the deputies would recommend the Three Fingers area.

Hollingsworth added that a lot of loud music and drinking went on and that the park itself was getting more use also. Foreman replied that the department was trying to be fair with everyone.

Marine Patrol deputy Brian Moody spent 90 percent of his duty time on the lake this year responding to trouble and contacting boaters and personal watercraft users

Councilman Peter Jamtgaard recommended that it might be a good idea to getsome signage over at the boat ramp and maybe on the bridge to make it clear that it is a river channel.

Councilman John Olson brought up the bridge jumping issue and stated he saw several near accidents. “I would hate to see a jumper land on a paddle boarder or, worse, a boat,” said Olson.

Bridge jumping became an impossible activity to control despite new signage stating that jumping was prohibited..

Foreman replied that the bridge jumping issue is one of those things that is hard to monitor. “I’ve seen parents encouraging their kids to jump and the local kids jumping. As soon as we leave, it is happening again. To some people it is a right of passage.”

Public Works Director Jake Youngren stated that the department replaced signage at the bridge with signs that indicate it is illegal to jump. Mayor Bob Goedde added that if you don’t think it is risky, ask his son-in-law who had a diving accident this past summer that has left him a paraplegic.

Councilman Chris Baker asked about Marine 1 that is moored in Manson. “When does it get used,” he asked? Foreman explained that Marine 1 was essentially the department’s up-lake boat build for open water and not a boat easily maneuvered. It is also a two man operation and contacting boats of which some are worth more than a home with Marine 1 is asking for trouble. “Marine 2 is a soft sided vessel moored at the Lake Chelan Marina. We use that for contact along with two jet skis.”

Foreman also said the department is trying to get a volunteer marine patrol up and running. (Note: Lake Chelan had  healthy volunteer group for marine patrol duties under a previous Sheriff’s administration. It was cancelled because of liability concerns.)

Foreman went on to say that all of the department’s plans for marine patrol training in 2020 were sabotaged by the pandemic. “We had more vessel collisions this year than ever before,” said Foreman. “On the Fourth of July the rental companies reported that everything was rented out.”

He said the department was working with Manson Schools to produce an educational boating video to help educate those who want a one day boater license. “The idea was to have them watch the video and then answer some questions before being given a license.” He hopes to move forward with the plan in the spring of 2021 for the summer season.

2019-2020 Memorial Day through Labor Day Weekend Statistics

City of Chelan Zone

Calls for Service                    2019 – 1065  2020 – 1170

Law Incidents                       2019  –  954   2020 – 1116

Marine Calls for Service      2019  –    83   2020  –   111

Marine Incidents                  2019  –    66   2020 –     86

DUI’s                                      2019 –     17   2020 –    23

In other Business:

The City Council had a number of motion considerations to go through that included mostly end-of-the-year issues. The Council unanimously approved all of them including:

            1. – Final Contract Voucher for the Chelan Butte Road Paving Project;

            2. -An authorization with RH2 Engineering for Chelan Airport Well Susceptibility Assessment;

            3. – Adoption of the Chelan Airport Budget for 2021;

            4. – Adopton of the City of Chelan 2021 budget;

            5. – Approval of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City and Union;

            6. – Approval of the Non-Represented Employees Compensation Package;

            7. – Renewal of the General Engineering Services Agreement with RH2;

            8. – Approval of Davis Arneil Law Firm as City Attorney for 2021; and

            9. – Approval of a Golf Course Concession Agreement.

City Administrator Wade Ferris remarked that the new agreement with the union had no significant changes over the past year. McCardle remarked that she liked the how the negotiation went with the Union representatives.

Youngren remarked that he was pleased with where the City is with RH2 Engineering and that the Public Works Department is getting projects completed in time and under budget. “They are also the engineering firm with the Lake Chelan Reclamation District and the South Shore Sewer District which provides a lot of continuity for us.” Councilman Chris Baker asked if the department is without and engineer? Youngren said they had advertised but put the hiring on hold because of the pandemic, but he explained it would have no affect on the City’s agreement with RH2.

The Golf Course Concession Agreement is only for one year. Councilman Ty Witt asked about maintenance of the City owned kitchen equipment. Witt noted that there was a $1,000 bill for hood cleaning and was confused as to why the concessionaire wasn’t responsible for that maintenance?

City Parks Director explained that Witt’s question was a good one. However, City Attorney Quentin Batjer under the agreement that the City is responsible for the hood and exhaust cleaning. McCardle also added that a $1,000 was a “humungous” amount of money for a small business that is only on a yearly contract. She suggested that next year the City determine if the concessionaire would like to have a longer term commitment.

Ferris said that he and Horne have had conversations about this and would like to look at a longer contract. “I have a two inch stack of letters approving this concession,” said Ferris. Mayor Goedde stated that a number of people have tried to run that concession and have failed. McCardle said she would like to wait until the Golf Course Feasibility Study was completed before negotiation a new, longer term contract.

Mayor/Council Comments:

John Olson said he is still very concerned about COVID and remarked that Heritage Heights is doing a good job with their residents. He also mentioned that the City’s STR code was good. He said the County will soon have a hearing to vote on their STR code. “Cashmere as said no to any STRs in residential areas. Leavenworth has said No period. It is a contentious issue.”

Timn Hollingsworth remarked that it has been a challenging year. “I’m pleased that the election is finally over.” He is hoping that the strength of our democracy and institutions prevail.

Chris Baker thanked Finance Director Steve Thornton and the rest of the team for a great job in summarizing the budget. “You made it very simple to understand even though it was 200 pages.”

Ty Witt said that some of the employees at Heritage Heights had tested positive and that the residents have been isolated. “It is hard for them, but there have been no illnesses or deaths at Heritage Heights.” He also thanked Wade Ferris for all of his god work. “Hopefully next year will be better.” He added that the Lake Chelan Community Hospital has the capability of storing the new vaccine and that they would be receiving 1,000 doses in the next several weeks.

Servando Robledo and Peter Jamtgaard wished everyone a good Holiday Season.

Mayor Goedde and Wade Ferris both thanked the staff and individuals for all the hard work this year.

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