April 2, 2011 in Washington Voices

Cleanup delayed

Contractor for completed bridge project storing supplies on fire department property
By The Spokesman-Review
J. Bart Rayniak photoBuy this photo

Construction on theBarker Bridge has been completed for almost a year, but the contractor, Morgen and Oswood of Great Falls, has yet to clean up the storage site owned by the Spokane Valley Fire Department at the corner of Barker and Euclid.
(Full-size photo)

Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners are ready to take a firm line with a contractor that has been using land the department owns for storage for nearly three years without paying a cent.

During Monday’s commission meeting, Deputy Chief Larry Rider said the department agreed to let Morgen and Oswood Construction of Great Falls use land at Barker and Euclid during the construction of Barker Bridge if the contractor agreed to clean up the site when they were done.

Construction ended in June 2010, but the contractor asked to have until September 2010 to remove heavy equipment and tons of debris and other items, Rider said. They then asked for another extension to March 31.

“They’re still there,” Rider said. “They’re not going to be gone. They’ve got 40 trucks worth of stuff.”

There has been no communication from Morgen and Oswood Construction about when the site will be cleared, Rider said Monday. The department wanted to have it clear by now so grass could be planted. “Otherwise we’ll have a weed patch,” he said. “They have been very difficult as a tenant.”

Rider said he sent emails to the company proposing the lot be cleared by April 18. The contractor would also have to show proof of insurance so the department would not be liable for any possible injuries on the site.

Fire Chief Mike Thompson advised that the gates should be locked and an attorney contacted, and the commissioners agreed. “I think you have to do that,” said Commissioner Monte Nesbitt.

Rider said he was able to speak to someone at the company Thursday and he received an insurance certificate and proof of bond, but the company did not officially agree to be gone from the site by April 18. “No locking the gate,” Rider said. “They’re free to move stuff off our property. We’re working with them to get them to move.”

Also during Monday’s meeting, commissioners discussed the department’s plans to build a new Station 6 at its current location on the west end of Sprague Avenue. The department has asked the city of Spokane Valley to vacate an undeveloped portion of Eastern Road to allow for construction, said Rider.

The department currently owns three parcels there, but there isn’t enough room for a standard station where engines turn around and back in, Rider said. Designs call for a two-bay “drive-through” station that has doors on both sides. “We don’t like a drive through, but we don’t think we have a choice,” Rider said.

The city’s land is needed to allow room for the required setback, said Rider. “We’re not going to put the structure on what we’re asking for,” he said. “We really need that piece or we can’t do this.”

Long-range plans call for the new station to be built in 2012, and Rider said he is still trying for that date. “We’re going to play it by ear,” he said. “We’re going as fast as we can.”

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