- Written by Undersheriff Tyler I. Caille, DCSO
See our previous story: Missing person sought after major structure fire
On 4/21/2020, a Unified Command Team was established to help coordinate fire investigation efforts. Members of this team included the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas County Fire Marshal, Douglas County Coroner, Douglas County Fire District #1, and the Town of Waterville. Due to the size of the scene, Chelan County Volunteer Search and Rescue was contacted for the assistance of their cadaver-trained detection K-9. The K-9 identified areas within the fire scene to help guide investigators to check for the unaccounted person. Due to the amount and size of the debris, heavy equipment had to be mobilized to the scene to assist with further search efforts.
On 4/22/2020, Douglas County Detectives, Coroner, and Fire Marshal re-entered the fire scene to conduct a search for the unaccounted subject and attempt to determine the cause of the fire. As a result of the search and the assistance of the heavy equipment, one deceased subject was located within the debris. The subject located has not yet been positively identified, but is believed to be the property owner, 87-year-old Waterville resident Ray D. Kope. The Douglas County Coroner will work to confirm the identity. The Douglas County Fire Marshal has concluded his investigation work at the scene and determined the cause of the fire to be accidental.
- Written by Sarah Deenik, Communications Coordinator/Finance Specialist, CDRP
The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority has been working with the Washington State Department of Commerce in administering the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant Program. This program was announced by Governor Inslee on March 18 to assist small businesses impacted by the COVID‐19 outbreak and the response to it. Funding is being provided through the use of $5.0 million from the Governors Strategic Reserve Fund.
Grant funding up to $10,000 per business will be provided to a limited number of businesses in Washington’s 39 counties. Applicants must have been in business for at least a year and have no more than 10 full‐time employees. Grant funds can be used for operating expenses including rent, supplies/inventory, utility bills, consulting, marketing, and training. Payroll cannot be reimbursed as part of the grant program.
The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority accepted and processed applications on behalf of the Department of Commerce. The Governor’s Office will make the final small business selections. The Regional Port was flooded with applications once the Department of Commerce website went live on April 7th.
To date, the Regional Port has received over 800 applications from small businesses in Chelan and Douglas Counties with grant requests exceeding $8.0 million. The Regional Port estimates $173,000 will be available for the two county area from the Governors Strategic Reserve Fund. With so many applications and very little money, the Regional Port has requested the maximum grant amount for Chelan and Douglas County small businesses be placed at $5,000 per business. This way more deserving businesses will receive some funding instead of none at all. Grants will be made available to approximately 34 businesses in lieu of 17. Grant award announcements are expected within the next three to four weeks.
The State also requested the Regional Port submit applications for “Aspirational State Funding” in case additional state and/or federal funds could be secured for the program. That amount for the two county region is estimated at $674,000.
Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority Board of Directors President Rory Turner said, “the demand for small business grants in our region has been overwhelming. The board of directors have asked our administrative team to look at other opportunities to secure funding for our impacted small businesses.”
The Regional Port is currently working with several local governmental agencies to determine if Community Development Block Grant funding can be used to assist small businesses impacted by COVID‐19.
- Written by Undersheriff Tyler I. Caille, DCSO
On 4-16-2020 at approximately 7:07 PM, Douglas County Deputies responded to assist with a commercial structure fire located in the 100 block of W. Locust Street, Waterville.
Douglas County Fire District #1 personnel were on-scene of the fire, which was reported as being fully involved upon arrival.
Fire District #1 personnel requested a second-alarm fire response which provided additional fire resources from both neighboring Chelan and Douglas County Fire Districts.
Washington State Patrol Troopers also responded to the scene and assisted with traffic control.
During the course of the fire containment, deputies learned one of the subjects reported to be at the location, prior to the start of the fire, is currently unaccounted for.
Douglas County Detectives are currently assisting the Douglas County Fire Marshal with the investigation of the fire and are working to locate the unaccounted subject.
Due to the compromised integrity of the building, US 2 will remain closed past the fire scene and WSDOT has established a detour route for motorists traveling through the Waterville area.
- Written by Tiana Rowland
Effective April 14 2020, the Douglas County Commissioners are limiting the use of Short Term or Vacation Rentals and recreational vehicles until May 4, 2020 or until the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is lifted.
The Douglas County Commissioners find that people coming to Douglas County for recreational purposes avoiding the COVID-19 emergency directive and recommendations in other communities are negatively impacting the public health, safety, and welfare in Douglas County. Additionally, these actions are negligent in complying with Governor Inslee’s Proclamations 20-25 and 20-25.1 by not staying home. An influx of people living in recreational and other vehicles, as well as short term and vacation rentals, creates traffic, sanitation hazards, trespass, and other public safety problems further exhausting law enforcement and first responder resources.
The Douglas County Commissioners are directing all use of recreational vehicles for camping, sleeping or occupancy to cease unless occurring on owner’s own property. Furthermore, all short term/vacation rentals are hereby directed to close, whether compensated or not.
The Douglas County Commissioners are committed to the health and safety of their community and as such strive to ensure the continued operability of all emergency services. The Board believes that limiting the influx of visitor during this emergency will help reduce the strain on community resources and protect Douglas County.
- Written by Amanda (Levesque) Newell, Education & Outreach Specialist, Cascadia Conservation District
Spring is a great time to get work done around your property, including wildfire preparedness. Consider using our spring chipping program instead of burning debris piles.
Burning your piles can lead to air quality issues and is a safety concern if fires were to get out of control.
Registration is open for our chipping program until May 1 here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GKTNND9.
Chipping will take place in late May. You don’t need to leave your property, just stack your branches on the street or driveway and our contract chipping crew will take care of it!
- Written by Gregory Kennedy
Resolution 2020-42 has been signed by the Board of Chelan County Commissioners. This latest resolution will allow pre-existing home sales to continue.
- Written by Gregory Kennedy
The Chelan County Board of Commissioners have released a new resolution in response to questions from citizens who stated they were not clear about declarations stated in Resolution 2020-38.
- Written by Jordyn Giulio, Douglas County Records and Risk Manager
In the interest of public safety, the Douglas County Treasurer has opted to maintain the April 30 deadline for property taxes and assessments. In our largely rural county, many of our small hospital and fire districts, as well as other valuable districts that provide services to the public are often supported by property taxes alone.
To respond to the economic impacts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Douglas County Treasurer is encouraging property owners who are financially able, to pay first half or full year property taxes early to fund essential services needed now and in the months to come. However, the Treasurer’s Office understands that some taxpayers will be unable to make the April 30 deadline for their payments.
The Treasurer will be offering two tax relief plans for homeowners and small business owners who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first option is a grace period extension. A taxpayer that enters into this plan will pay 50% of their first half tax and/or assessment(s) payment by April 30, with the remainder of the first half payment due on or before May 29 and will not be assessed interest or penalty. The second option is an 8-payment plan. The Treasurer office will assess the statutory monthly interest to the first half payment, but waive the state penalty. The balance will be divided into eight (8) payments, with the final payment due November 30. The second half tax due date of October 31 will remain unchanged.
In the event the pandemic persists into late 2020, the Treasurer will consider offering similar plans for the second-half 2020 taxes and assessments.
Applications for both plans are available on the Treasurer webpage at http://www.douglascountywa.net/elected-offices/treasurer or a paper or email copy can be obtained by contacting the Treasurer Office at (509) 745-8525.
You can also download the forms here:
- Written by Tiana Rowland M.Ed., CMC, Clerk of the Board, Douglas County
On April 8, 2020 the Douglas County Board of Commissioners passed Resolution CE No. 20-26B & TLS 20-22B, Proclamation of Pre-existing Home Sales Agreements Proceed During the COVID-19 Stay Home Stay Healthy Governor Proclamation.
This proclamation allows pre-existing home sales that also have building permits in place to proceed to build completion as an essential activity under the Governor of the State of Washington’s guidance, subject to restrictions. Both the purchase and sale agreement and the building permit must have issue dates on or before March 27, 2020. The restrictions are as follows:
- An affidavit stating there is an existing Purchase and Sale Agreement or Real Estate contract and previously approved building permit prior to March 27, 2020 must be provided.
- An authorization letter will then be issued by the Douglas County Planning Department.
- Property viewings, inspections, appraisals and final walk-throughs shall be arranged by appointment only, and be limited to two people at each occurrence. Inspector may require additional measurers as required by the building inspector.
- County authorization must be posted on site.
- All persons on site must observe social distancing guidelines and applicable health and worker protection measures.
- This proclamation may be rescinded or superseded any time at the direction of the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners.
Full documents can be read here: