Chelan County amended COVID-19 response resolution clarifies rules and fines
- 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.
Summary of the April 9, 2020 Leadership Response Team conference call
- Written by Mark Donnell, Chelan Fire & Rescue
Summary of the April 9, 2020 Leadership Response Team Conference Call
Submitted by: Mark Donnell, Chelan Fire & Rescue
Kent Sisson, Chelan-Douglas Regional EOC: Kent restated continued frustration from inability to obtain PPE (personal protective equipment) through the State due to changing guidelines and lack of coordination. Chelan county did receive needed ventilators and were able to return 40 back to the state due to lower-than-expected patient counts. Kent stated that he believed our latest PPE order might bring in some needed PPE but that long-term care facilities have been moved into the Tier 1 category which will impact the EOC’s ability to distribute surgical masks which are in low supply numbers.
Kent stated that the Sheriff’s Office was working with property owners regarding the recent declaration from the Chelan County Commissioners regarding vacation rentals and using education strategies before implementing enforcement.
Kent reinforced the need for the community to keep our focus on social distancing and the need for all essential services to focus on those infection control measures as it appears to be having a positive effect in controlling this current outbreak.
Barry Kling, Chelan-Douglas Health District: Answered questions regarding the number of patients testing positive in the Chelan/Manson area and referred to current information posted on the Chelan-Douglas Health District website: https://cdhd.wa.gov/covid-19/#case-count.
Barry was also asked about the drive-through testing process in place at Confluence Health and whether or not patients tested were given instructions about self-isolation until test results were returned. He was able to get an answer from Confluence during the conference call and it was affirmed that patient instructions were being given for those being tested.
Barry also offered to work with Kristi Morris form Columbia Valley Community Health to reach out to the Okanogan County Health District to assist in infection control measures to packing facilities in Okanogan County.
Barry reiterated that even with all of the news coming from Washington State that we may be at or near the top of the infection curve, it is extremely important to keep our social distancing processes in place for our area, as the eastern part of the state is about 1 to 2 weeks behind the curve for the Puget Sound. We need to keep sending the message out to our community about staying home, maintaining social distancing, and practicing effective infection control as these things appear to be working.
Chris Foreman, Chelan County Sheriff’s Office: Reiterated that patrol officers are working more towards educating the public regarding essential businesses and the vacation rental declaration rather than enforcement. Chelan County Sheriff has a dedicated number 509-667-6985 for the community to report violators with one deputy assigned to this task
Kristi Morris, Columbia Valley Community Health: Stated that they currently have 5 patients who have tested positive and 9 patients with results pending.
Kari Grover-Weir, USFS: USFS is starting to staff up for the upcoming fire season while working within the confinements mandated with social distancing. Mike Asher (CCFD #8 – Entiat) inquired whether or not the USFS was moving towards an earlier implementation of the seasonal burn ban similar to those released today by DNR. No decision is in place at this time.
Mike Steele, Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce: Gave updates from the business community in regards to unemployment benefits and the business community grant program. Currently over 200 businesses in Chelan County have applied with participation from business owners in the Chelan and Manson communities. Mike also stated that many in the business community are concerned about the recovery of business in our area and the possibility of what social distancing might need to be implemented when this current situation is over.
Mike gave an update on residential construction being an essential service and what the definition and guidelines for this would look like. There are a number of municipalities and counties looking at reviewing this issue and making recommendations for changing the current designation.
Mike also recommended adding the CEO from Chelan Fruit to the Leadership Response Team as a resource for working with the growers in the area, for purposes of educating and enforcing social distancing and infection control measures to safeguard worker health.
Debbie Conwell, Manson Chamber of Commerce: Gave a brief update on the community support program for Manson.
Bob Goedde, City of Chelan: City of Chelan and its citizens must follow this directive the Chelan County Declaration on short term rentals as we are in Chelan County and fall under their jurisdiction on this issue. The city is also seeking clarification on owners of second homes and where to shelter in place. There have been concerns from the community that people who own second homes are travelling back and forth and not sheltering in place as is the intent of the current stay-at-home policy
Mike Asher, Chelan County Fire District 8 (Entiat): CCFD # 8 has sufficient stock of PPE to handle current call volumes. Is concerned about the impact that current social distancing will have on partner agencies’ ability to respond for a potential busier-than-normal fire season. Fire Chief Mark Donnell spoke to the conversation he had with Bob Plumb (Chelan County Fire Marshal) about the possibility of starting the burn ban earlier this year (May 1st). Mr. Plumb indicated that he was working with the county commissioners and fire chiefs in coordination with the County Director of Community Development to put this in place.
Brandon Asher, Chelan Fire & Rescue: Updated team on recently implemented infection control measures put in place at Station 71. PPE stock is sufficient although disposable gowns and surgical masks are at critical lows. EMS call numbers for March are down but CF&R has had 19 fire or fire-related events since March 1st. All predictions are that we will be experiencing a busier-than-normal fire season.
Douglas County Treasurer’s tax relief plan in response to COVID-19
- 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:
Chelan Fire and Rescue Commissioners Meeting Agenda 4-15-20
- Written by Carol A Kibler, Administrative Office Manager, CCFD
The CFR Board of Commissioners will conduct the meeting via google hangout. The public is welcome to listen to the open public meeting by calling #351-888-7591 no access code is needed.
Proposed Chelan Fire and Rescue agenda pending Board approval.
Regular Meeting Call to Order:
Revenue and Expenditure Report: February 2020 / March 2020
Payroll: $111,849.11 February 1-29, 2020 Paid: 03-05-2020 / $117,566.60 March 1-31 Paid: 04-05-2020
Vouchers for February 1-29, 2020 General Account: Vouchers #746238 - 746259 for $20,171.83; Vouchers 746260 – 746280 for $19,400.87; Vouchers 746282-746290 for $3,502.45.
Vouchers for March 1-31, 2020 General Account:
Vouchers for February 1-29, 2020 Capital Account: Vouchers 17106 - 17107 for $2,054.17; Vouchers 746281 for $2,235.97and Voucher 17108 for $53.18.
Minutes: February 10 & 19, 2020 and March 23, 2020
Fire Chief Report:
2020 Budget & Financial Report
Emergency Response Report / Operations / Community Risk Reduction
Assistant Chief Report:
Volunteer Recruitment & Retention / Training
Firefighters Association Report:
Long Range Planning
Resolution 2020-02 Surplus - Laptops
Resolution 2020-03 Delegating Authority to Declare an Emergency
Resolution 2020-04 Surplus – 1987 Ford Water Tender
Resolution 2020-06 Surplus Items Structure Helmets and Boots
Resolution 2020-07 Surplus 1992 Seagrave and 2000 Nav/IH
Incident 2020-129 Illegal Burning Billing
Incident 2020-186 Out of District Brush Fire Response Billing
Board for Volunteer Firefighters:
Douglas County pre-existing home sales agreements proceed during the COVID-19 "Stay Home Stay Healthy" Governor proclamation
- 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:
Swanson Gulch Brush Fire 4-7-20
- Written by Mark R. Donnell, Fire Chief, Chelan Fire & Rescue
On 4-7-20 at 5:41 PM, Chelan Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched to a reported brush fire in the area of 752 Swanson Gulch Road.
Arriving crews found an approximately ¼ acre wind driven brush fire that had moved into several large debris piles.
13 personnel from Chelan Fire & Rescue, working with several area residents, were able to get the fire under control within an hour and remained on scene to mop up until 1950.
The property owner was not burning at the time of this incident and the cause is still under investigation.
Chelan Fire & Rescue would like to remind our community that we are already experiencing an unusually active fire season this year and to please use caution when burning.
Studded tire removal deadline further extended to May 15
- Written by Barbara LaBoe, WSDOT communications
OLYMPIA – The arrival of spring typically means drivers in Washington have until March 31 to remove studded tires. However, this year the Washington State Department of Transportation is further extending the deadline to Friday, May 15, due to COVID-19 virus concerns and Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order to help reduce the spread of the virus by limiting social interactions. This extends the previous April 30 deadline.
“Washington is experiencing some extraordinary challenges with COVID-19 right now and we recognize this is not a time for ‘business as usual,’” said WSDOT Maintenance Operations Branch Manager James Morin. “People are dealing with a lot of concerns – and this further extension means getting tires changed by the end of April doesn’t need to be one of them.”
Studded tires are legal in Washington from Nov. 1 to March 31. State law gives WSDOT authority to extend the deadline when circumstances call for it, most commonly when a forecast indicates widespread snow and ice. With most residents asked to stay home through Monday, May 4, removing studded tires before the previous deadline could be difficult for some.
Because the COVID-19 event is rapidly changing, WSDOT will re-evaluate the situation near the end of the new extension period. If no new extensions are granted at that time, the May 15 deadline means that starting at midnight on Saturday, May 16, drivers with studded tires face a $136 fine.
WSDOT encourages drivers to remove studded tires prior to the deadline, if possible. Studded tires damage pavement, so removing them promptly after winter has passed helps preserve state roadways. Tire removal services can get crowded near the removal deadline, so please plan accordingly.
Crews continue to monitor roads, passes and forecasts, and work to quickly clear any late season snow or ice. Travelers are always advised to “know before you go” by checking road conditions before heading out and staying up-to-date on changes by using WSDOT’s social media and email alert tools or calling the 5-1-1 road conditions report.
Other states may have different studded tire removal dates, but the Washington law applies to all drivers in the state, even visitors. No personal exemptions or waivers are issued.
More information about studded tire regulations in Washington is available online.
New resolution discourages out-of-towners coming to our area to escape COVID-19
- Written by Gregory Kennedy
This is a very important resoulution that affects those renting space to out of town visitors, campers and anyone staying in an RV or other vehicle that are non-residents of Chelan County.
A fine of $500 per day can be applied to owners, operators and managers of B&Bs, vacations rentals and campgrounds that are shown to be in violation of the order.
Chelan Fire and Rescue contemplating extending siren uses
- Written by Brandon Asher, CCFR
Chelan Fire and Rescue is currently looking at reactivating the downtown “air raid” siren for larger, multi alarm incidents within the fire district.
Chelan Fire and Rescue runs over 900 calls a year and is a recognized as the 6th most high-risk area for large catastrophic fires in the state. As we have seen in the past, occasionally these fires can quickly overrun the capabilities of our limited local resources, especially with the right weather conditions. The majority of our calls are usually handled by the on-duty crews in combination with the volunteers at outlying stations. Those calls would NOT activate the siren. But due to the reduction of half of Chelan Fire and Rescue’s daily career staff coupled with a decrease in volunteers responding to calls we feel now is the time to research different ways to notify the community to prepare.
As more orchards are being torn out and more homes are moving deeper into the urban interface, we feel the Lake Chelan community as a whole, needs to be alerted. The community can share in their part of the response by looking up, looking for smoke, recognizing that there is a fire, and generally remaining vigilant to their surroundings. Fires that used to be slowed by green orchards and irrigation now have paths from the hills right into homes.
Chelan Fire and Rescue is looking at activating the siren only on 2nd alarm or greater fires. By activating the siren on 2nd and 3rd alarm fires it serves many purposes. It lets the community know that all five stations and all firefighters are being requested for a fire in the district. It lets business owners who employ our volunteer members know that there is a significant fire event locally in hopes that they may be able to release them to respond to the call. It lets you the citizens know there is a chance that if you call 911, your emergency may have a slight delay as incident commanders decide what to break free from the major incident or who to call to assist you. It lets you also know that there will soon be apparatus and personnel from all over Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan counties potentially coming through town to assist. It creates community situational awareness that is vital to the safety of all as conditions can change in a matter of minutes. We will do our part in getting up to date factual information out to all media platforms as the situation allows.