- Written by Reema Griffith, WSTC executive director
OLYMPIA – The effect lower traffic volumes due to the COVID-19 pandemic has had on tolled facilities, and potential toll rate changes in 2021 will be discussed at next week’s Washington State Transportation Commission meeting. Also, transportation organizations and agencies representing cities, counties, ports, transit, and the state will discuss their priorities for the 2021 legislative session and the year ahead.
The meeting starts at 9 a.m. both Tuesday, Jan. 19, and Wednesday, Jan. 20. Due to limitations on the size of gatherings in response to COVID-19, this meeting will be conducted virtually using GoToWebinar. People interested in attending can register on the commission’s website. The meeting will be broadcast live on TVW at www.tvw.org.
On Tuesday, staff will give an update of the Interstate 405 express toll lanes / State Route 167 high-occupancy toll lanes Low-Income Tolling Study. The study assesses the effects of tolling on low-income drivers of the I-405 express toll lanes / SR 167 HOT lanes and will identify possible approaches to mitigate impacts. The project team will present an assessment of proposed low-income toll program options and the commission will select which options will advance for further evaluation. A final report of findings and recommendations is due to the Legislature by June 30, 2021.
Next, the commission will hear from the Washington State Association of Counties on its 2020 Revenue Study, which includes recommendations on alterations to transportation funding and revenues. In addition, Joint Transportation Committee staff will brief the commission on its report to the Legislature on a options for funding transportation programs, projects, and services over the next ten years, including a timeline for legislative action on funding identified shortfalls.
The commission’s afternoon session will focus on the state’s tolled facility performance. The Office of the State Treasurer will provide financial updates on toll facilities, including results of financial models for the SR 520 Bridge and SR 99 Tunnel. Commission staff will provide an update on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge financial status. Washington State Department of Transportation staff will provide an update on changes to toll facility and toll system shared costs. WSDOT will also provide a draft work plan and timeline to support the WSTC’s rate setting process anticipated for SR 520 and SR 99 this year.
On Wednesday, commissioners will hear from various state and local agencies and organizations on priorities for and expectations of the 2021 legislative session. The commission is tasked with providing transportation policy recommendations to the Legislature and Governor, and these briefings keep the commission apprised of emerging priorities for all levels of government with transportation responsibilities.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/
- Written by Erin McCardle, Executive Director, Historic Downtown Chelan Association
Short survey to capture desires of local community on downtown improvements.
LAKE CHELAN, WA (January 13, 2021) — Chelan’s downtown core is due for some updates. The Historic Chelan Downtown Association wants to improve the experience for residents, visitors, and businesses; and is looking to the community to help provide direction. Have your voice heard by filling out a short survey either online at www.historicchelan.org or by scanning the QR code with your phone.
Community input from this survey will guide long-term improvement projects and shape the future of the city’s core, while being mindful of current hardships. This effort is designed to enhance the downtown experience for all, improve function, and sustain local economic vitality.
El centro de la ciudad de Chelan debe recibir algunas actualizaciones. La Asociación Histórica del Centro de Chelan quiere mejorar la experiencia de los residentes, visitantes y negocios, y espera que la comunidad ayude a proporcionar orientación.
Haga que se escuche su voz completando una breve encuesta en línea en www.historicchelan.org o escaneando el código QR con su teléfono.
Los aportes de la comunidad de esta encuesta guiarán los proyectos de mejora a largo plazo y darán forma al futuro del centro de la ciudad, sin dejar de tener en cuenta las dificultades actuales. Este esfuerzo está diseñado para mejorar la experiencia del centro para todos, mejorar la función y mantener la vitalidad económica local.
- Written by Carol A. Kibler, Administrative Office Manager, CFR
Chelan Fire and Rescue
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 3:00 P.M.
232 East Wapato, Chelan, WA
The CFR Board of Commissioners will conduct the meeting via Zoom. The public is welcome to join by following this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87284665516 Meeting ID: 872 8466 5516 or dial +1 253 215 8782
Proposed Chelan Fire and Rescue agenda pending Board approval.
Regular Meeting Call to Order:
• Revenue and Expenditure Report: December 2020
• Payroll: December 1-31, 2020 for $123,535.99 paid 01-05-2021
• General Account Vouchers: #746823 – 746877 for $31,192.09
• Capital Account Vouchers: #746858 - 746864 for $12,078.16
• Minutes: December 16, 2020
Fire Chief Report:
• 2020 Budget & Financial Report
• Emergency Response Report / Operations / Community Risk Reduction / Apparatus Update
Assistant Chief Report:
• Volunteer Recruitment & Retention / Training
Firefighters Association Report:
• City of Chelan Fire Protection Services Contract – Update
• Station 75 Short Plat – Update
• 2020-2021 Annexations – Update
• Badge pinning – FF/EMT Brittany Adkison
• 2020 Budget ending funds transfer – Chief Donnell
• 2021 Budget - Update Chief Donnell
• Community Advisory Group – Chief Donnell
Board for Volunteer Firefighters:
• Voucher – Recruit Firefighter
- Written by Barbara LaBoe, WSDOT communications
An increase in people looking for winter recreation has led to a dangerous increase in vehicles parking alongside a highway and sledding on interchanges right next to the road.
Winter's here and outdoor activity is a good option during a pandemic – so we know why so many people are flocking to the mountains right now. But we're also seeing some serious safety and access issues with travelers parking and walking along roadways near crowded areas.
Winter activities aren't new, but we're seeing much higher numbers as people seek out new outdoor activities or just a chance to get out of their house. Those higher numbers mean more crowding at popular recreation areas and this poses serious safety concerns. It also is preventing our crews from clearing some roadways and passes. With several more months of winter ahead of us, we're asking all travelers to help us keep everyone along our roadways, exit ramps and interchanges safe.
Highway shoulders are not parking lots – or walkways
On multiple mountain pass roadways, ramps and interchanges across the state, we're seeing vehicles parking along shoulders when parking lots or other areas fill up. This also means people walking along the highway, often carrying bulky gear that obstructs their view of vehicles around them, or wearing snow gear that may affect their mobility. This is a tragedy waiting to happen – just as it was this summer when we saw similar practices. Now, however, we have lower visibility and snowy/icy roads in play as well – and we've already seen close calls in areas.
In the past few weeks, we also saw people using highway interchanges as sledding hills very close to active traffic and areas where crews are clearing snow. Again, this poses serious dangers, including the chance a sledder will shoot out into open traffic. Interchanges and other highway right of ways are not designed for pedestrian use or recreation and they're simply not safe for those activities – even if covered in snow.
Vehicles parking along the shoulder also slow down traffic and increase the risk of crashes as passing vehicles have to maneuver through the now-narrowed area. That's the last thing we need during busy travel times or winter weather.
Help keep our snowplows moving
In addition to the safety factor, vehicles parking along shoulders at interchanges and other areas are also causing problems for our plows and the crews working hard to keep the roadways open.
On Snoqualmie Pass, plows couldn't make it into storage areas for additional salt and supplies recently due to vehicles parked on shoulders and blocking access. In some cases, there also wasn't enough room to turn around a plow to do their return runs, or barely enough space for large plows to move through roadways that people decided to turn into parking lots. Our partners at the Washington State Patrol ticketed some of those vehicles, but they don't have the staffing for such widescale parking enforcement.
During heavy storms these delays could lead to more road closure as crews aren't able to keep roadways treated or cleared. It can also affect emergency crews being able to reach crash sites. We hope everyone keeps that in mind when looking for safe, legal parking options.
So, what can you do to help lower these risks?
- Plan your trips ahead of time – and have a Plan B if your first choice is full. Simply driving until you see snow isn't always safe, especially if there is no designated parking area. Some areas also may not be developed due to avalanche or other risks that aren't immediately apparent.
- Find safe places to recreate. State parks as well as local parks can be a good option to explore the outdoors – check state park sites and safety tips online. If visiting ski areas, check ahead to see if they have limits or new safety procedures due to the pandemic.
- Check conditions and know your limits. Heavy snow can increase avalanche dangers. Check the Northwest Avalanche Center for forecasts and alerts and be sure to carry safety supplies with you. If you're not used to outdoor snow activities, research risks and needed skills, or consider a less risky alternative.
- Do not park or walk along highway shoulders. Hate to sound like a broken record here, but this is not safe for you or passing motorists.
- Pack extra supplies. Whether it's due to a road closure, vehicle trouble or other issue, it's always a good idea to have extra food, warm clothing and other supplies during winter travel. Not sure what you need? Check out our online winter supplies list for suggestions.
We know many Washingtonians enjoy outdoor winter activities and we want everyone – members of the public as well as our crews – to be safe when they do so. Please keep these tips in mind to help ensure all of your outdoor adventures are safe and fun.
- Written by Mark R. Donnell, Fire Chief, CCFD
On Jan 8, 2021 at 00:15 am, Chelan Fire & Rescue personnel were dispatched to a reported structure fire at 84 Shadow Lane, located near the Chelan airport.
First arriving apparatus found a 40 X 10 shop/storage shed fully engulfed in flames with spread to another outbuilding and stock pens along with possible exposure to a residence.
A second alarm was called at 00:47 requesting neighboring fire agencies for additional manpower needed to safely control the spread of the fire.
Fire was contained and controlled at 01:34 with crews remaining on scene until 02:39 with no reported injuries.
Estimated fire loss and cause of the fire are still under investigation at his time but it is believed to have been started by a heat lamp in a stock pen.
Chelan Fire & Rescue would like to remind our community that when using heat lamps and devices during the winter months to please take all necessary precautions to avoid any possibility of fire.
- Written by Chief Rick Johnson, EWPD
On January 4th at approximately 10:19 PM, East Wenatchee Police responded to a report of an armed robbery.
The incident occurred on the sidewalk outside of 245 5th St NE. The female victim was confronted by a male suspect immediately after exiting a vehicle. It was reported the suspect pointed a handgun at the victim’s head, pulled her hair, and shoved her to the ground, before taking her cell phone which she was holding in her hand. There was a second occupant in the victim’s vehicle who witnessed the incident.
The suspect was last seen running eastbound on 5th St NE. He was described as approximately 5’6” tall with a medium to “chubby” build. He was wearing black clothing with a black face mask, and a hoodie style sweatshirt.
Responding officers and deputies set up a perimeter and the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office responded with a K9 unit for a track of the suspect. The suspect was not located.
This investigation is on-going, and we are asking the public for assistance. If anyone has security cameras in the area of this incident, please contact the East Wenatchee Police at 884-9511 or River Com at 663-9911.
- Written by Chief Rick Johnson, EWPD
The individual reported to have jumped from the Foot Bridge on December 30th at approximately 3:18 AM, has been identified as Harley Dylan Quint. His family has been notified.
Quint is a 21-year-old male, with ties to Chelan and Douglas counties. At the time of the incident Quint was reported to be residing in Grant County.
Despite the efforts from both Chelan and Douglas County Marine Patrols, Quint has not been recovered.
- Written by Lauren Loebsack, WSDOT Communication
WINTHROP – This Wednesday the east side closure point on SR 20 North Cascades Highway will move from Silver Star Gate at milepost 171 to Early Winters at milepost 177.
The change in closure point is due to increasing winter conditions and allows maintenance crews to focus snow and ice control elsewhere. The road will be gated, and a snow berm will be constructed at the closure point. Recreationalists should plan accordingly, as vehicles will not be able to access the highway past the closure point beginning Wednesday morning.
- Written by Chief Rick Johnson, EWPD
On December 30th at approximately 3:18 AM East Wenatchee Police responded to a report of a man threatening to jump from the Foot Bridge into the river. A family member had received a phone call from the individual advising of his intent. Officers from both East Wenatchee and Wenatchee arrived within minutes but did not locate anyone on the bridge or in the water.
River Com assisted by attempting a ping locate on the cell phone reported to belong to the individual. Results showed the cell phone’s last known location to be in the area of the Foot Bridge. Video surveillance obtained from Chelan County PUD appears to confirm the individual did jump from the Foot Bridge into the river at approximately 3:15 AM.
Shortly after daylight members from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol, Douglas County Fire District 2, and the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol, launched watercraft and assisted with a search. Unfortunately, the individual had not be located by the time of this media release. The identity of the individual is being withheld until all family has been notified.