Friday, February 22, 2013
By Ken Harvey
As a kid growing up on Riverside we had a lot of fun playing in the open fields that surrounded our house. There was an orchard field across the street. We would pick apples, cherries, pears and plums. Another field we could ride our bikes or in later years ride motorcycles there. Behind Margaret Wilson’s house was a basketball court. Not concrete or asphalt, but good old fashioned dirt and when it rained and you tried to dribble the ball it was a splattering mud that got your face and clothes pretty dirty. At the end of the street was a great restaurant called the Idaho Inn. Mary and Carl Peterson ran the business and it also was our bus stop area. When it was raining it was always nice to be able to stand inside their business and stay dry until you would see Howard Brundage swing the school bus in for our trip to school.
Next to the Idaho Inn Punch Deyo had the Saw Service business where he sold a lot of us kids our first motorcycle. Going to motorcycle races back then was a big thrill. Just up the highway (where Riverside Sport Shop is) was the original Bee Line gas station. Emma and Earl Williams owned the business. Next door to that (the Camp, Cabin and Home site) was the Riverside Market. Pat and Ellie Hayes owned the grocery store where I made several trips on my bicycle to pick groceries up for my mom. The building next to that (it is vacant now) was the Riverside Hardware store owned by Beth and Pink Dennison. Great people and I used to go there just to listen to Pink tell his stories. When Riverside Lanes was built, what a boom to Riverside that was, not only a great place for many people around the area to try their skill at the game, but this was a fantastic place for kids to hang out. Pin ball machines, Jr. Bowling league on Saturday mornings, and a bumper pool table.
The bowling alley was a second home to many kids and a great place for mom to know where you were at. Roy Soule was manager and Margaret Wilson worked there in the kitchen and she was the rock that took care of the bowling leagues and kept track of the huge tournaments that people from all over the region would come to compete. I know at one time there were 85 teams signed up for three weekends of competition. It was a big thing to be asked to keep score at these functions. 10 cents a line was a lot of money back then.
Just across the street from Riverside Lanes (where Wolverton’s vet clinic is now) was the Erickson’s Café. Across the street from that was the Union 76 gas station. A little further up the road (where Farmers Insurance is now) was the Phillips 66 gas station. For the people that think Riverside never had a fast food place, a Dairy Queen was located behind the gas station. I know that for a fact, because my mom worked there. There was also an A&W Root Beer stand located where the airport is now and the old highway went around the airport. Lots of good memories as a kid on Riverside.
The 1960’s brought a lot of changes to Riverside and surrounding areas. Riverside citizens saw a need for a water and sewer project for the Riverside and Chases Flats area. The project could not have come at a better time because there were many projects starting to evolve that had the population of Clearwater County area growing quite rapidly. Dworshak Dam, Dworshak Fish Hatchery, the new four-lane highway down Riverside and Chases Flat area that did away with the old highway going around the airport. Jaype Mill was being constructed along with the Grangemont Road project to help with the traffic to Jaype Mill and log hauling. Dent Bridge and Granddad Bridge construction. The school district saw a need for a new Orofino and Timberline High School. Washington Water Power constructed their new building across from the Elementary school. Konkolville Motel and the Avery Apartments were new construction. Idaho First National Bank was having an additional branch built on Riverside (Just Brew It is in the building now).
A few more construction jobs on Riverside were the airport was being remodeled, Stoddard Electric’s new building, Hayes Food Store built new and had Rod’s Drug Store in the new building for awhile. Barneys was constructing their new grocery store at that time. The LDS Church was constructing their new building out on Riverside. Down river towards the end of Chases Flat (where Deano’s is now) was the Payless gas station owned by Frank Davis. In town the Shell Station (where the health food store is now) was new, First Security Bank built a new building on the site where (Wells Fargo is now) Sam Harding had built a new hardware store along the road to Konkolville, Valley Recreation was a new business (where the DMV and County Road shop is located towards Konkolville). Phil and Ron Johnston’s were the owners. Boats and Motorcycles were sold there. Across from the Konkolville Lumber Mill, Geraldine (Jerri) and the late Bill Russell built a new lumber and hardware store called Gem State Supply. Yes the 1960’s and early 1970’s were big times for our community. The population of Orofino in 1960 was 2,471 and Clearwater County had 8,548 residents. In 1968 the combined Orofino elementary, junior high and high school enrollment was 1,640 students. 1969 enrollment increased to 1,675 students. The school year of 1970-71 brought about the highest enrollment of the Orofino schools. There were 1,739 students. Orofino’s population grew in 1970 to 3,883 and Clearwater County’s population was 10,871.
In 1969 Clearwater County was still maintaining the roads, streets, culverts, stop signs, bridges, and doing the snow plowing for the residents of Riverside and Chases Flats area. I am talking from the airport to the end of the four-lane highway. The Clearwater County Sheriffs Department took care of the Riverside and Chase’s Flat area. We had Clearwater Power and Washington Water Power for electricity and Riverside Water and Sewer for our other utility needs. The residents of Riverside and Chases Flat were happy with their community the way it was. Then came the talk of Orofino wanting to Annex Riverside.
June 19, 1969 (Clearwater Tribune) The City of Orofino discussed Annexing Riverside. It was stated that Orofino would realize greater state aid with the annexation.
August 14, 1969 (Clearwater Tribune) Orofino Mayor Bert Curtis stated the annexation must be completed before January 1st, 1970 for the people of Riverside to be included in the Orofino’s 1970 census count. Planning and Zoning regulations are being considered.
October 9, 1969 (Clearwater Tribune) when annexed, Riverside streets would be maintained by the Orofino street department. However, improvements such as paving, curbing and gutters would have to made through local improvement districts (property owners and the city) as has been the case in Orofino. Annexation will mean an increased mill levy for Riverside property owners. Orofino’s city levy for lights, airport, recreation and general funds would likely be added and the fire department levy would increase.
November 6, 1969 (Clearwater Tribune) Riverside Zoning Study Completed.
December 4, 1969 (Clearwater Tribune) Final Reading of Riverside Annexation Ordinance.
December 11, 1969 (Clearwater Tribune) Annexation Ordinance is approved by city council. Approximately 60 persons were in attendance at the meeting, largely from the Riverside area. Many of them voiced their opposition to the annexation procedure, asking that it be dropped at this time. Mayor Curtis said that with the population of the town increasing from slightly over 3,000 to approximately 5,000 it would have a stronger voice in the state legislature, and would also be eligible for more state and federal programs.
November 6, 1969 (Clearwater Tribune) The most favorable aspect of the proposed annexation of Riverside to Orofino, Mayor Curtis said Tuesday is that the combined population would place the city in the population rank to become eligible for state and federal aid as well as giving the city a stronger voice in state government. The city planning commission favors zoning Riverside as a means of controlling its development and prevent its naturalness and beauty from diminishing into a lower grade urban area. The planning commission feels as separate identities it is not practical to provide the city parks and recreation space valley residents will need. The commission states without annexation Orofino cannot provide these facilities for Riverside and Riverside cannot not do it alone. The commission feels that until some union is made between the two communities the people of the valley will not likely recognize or realize the full value of where they live. If annexed Riverside will continue to have their own independent water and sewer system and anticipates no changes in the future. How will annexation affect the county revenue-wise is one of the questions put to Casey Beghtol, council woman. Her answer is “very little as new things coming into the county (such as Dent Bridge construction) will help absorb cost so the county will not suffer any large loss of revenue.”
Part of my reason for telling the past of Riverside and Chases Flats was to show that since the annexing of 1969 and the promise of a park and fixing the streets with curbs and gutters, in 43 years nothing really has changed on Riverside. Yes new business, but they have taken the place of old business. You might say the Health District office is new, yes new building, but there was a business in that spot before. Yes Orofino wanted the new population count for the census and I am sure they did not mind the $500,000 in new valuations from the annexing of Riverside.
My letter to the editor of the Clearwater Tribune last year stated I had attended a City Council meeting on 3-13-2012 to ask the council a specific question. Has the City Of Orofino in the past or intended to in the future discuss the annexation of the Riverside and Chases Flats area (from Barneys Market to Deano’s or the end of the 4 lane). Mayor Smathers said “It has been mentioned” and asked the cities Building Inspector (Todd Perry) what he knew about the possibility of the annexation and Todd stated it had been brought up at the City Planning & Zoning meeting. I told the City Council I could understand the annexation if we were not developed and needed water, sewer, roads, fire and police, but we have all of that. We have Riverside Water & Sewer, We have the Rural Fire Department, We have the Clearwater County Sheriffs Department. We have Clearwater County Road Maintenance for plowing and maintaining our roads.
I told the council that in my opinion the only reason for annexing Riverside and Chases Flats was for TAX BASED REVENUE.
My research from last March in 2012 until February of 2013 has been done by attending Orofino City Council meetings, reading their minutes and Comprehensive Plan, attending Orofino City Planning & Zoning meetings and reading their minutes. researching regional maps from the past to present time. I have spent countless hours at the Clearwater Tribune researching past copies that relate to County and City information related to annexation.
The City of Orofino’s Comprehensive plans states that the City of Orofino should promote policies to compliment the desirable features of the community. A stable population, with a slow growth factor, would be the ideal characteristic that the community most desires. With that said, the population of Orofino in 1960 (2,471) - 1970 (3,883) - 1980 (3,711) – 1990 (2,973) – 2000 – (3,113) – 2010 (3,142). The Comprehensive plan stated that the City of Orofino would not meet its population year 2000 of 3,313 people until the year 2030.
Orofino’s High School, Jr. High School and Elementary School total enrollment figures for 1968 (1,640) 1969 (1,675) 1970 & 71 (1,739) 1971 & 72 (1,647) From 2003 until the present time the total enrollment figures are (1,408) – (1,382) – (1,372) – (1,322) – (956) – (935) – (882) – (769) – (721) & as of a few weeks ago the enrollment for Orofino High, Jr. High and elementary was (746).
I would say by the statistics of the population and the schools enrollment count that this area is not exactly busting out at the seams with a growing factor enough to warrant an annexation.
At the 11-13-2012 Orofino City Council meeting the council was discussing not being in favor of annexing the Riverside Chases Flat area at this time, but would let the Orofino Planning & Zoning do their research with the goal of giving the final annexation review to the City Council for a decision of whether to annex or not. One of the Council members stated that this process could take a few years and Rick Laam (Orofino City Administrator) stated that was incorrect. It would take some time, but it could be done in several months to gather the annexation information. So far the City Planning & Zoning has discussed the Annexation issue at their meetings on 7-19-2011, 1-17-2012, 2-21-2012, 4-17-2012, 5-15-2012, 6-19-2012, 10-16-2012, 11-20-2012, 1-15-2013 and they will discuss the annexation issue at their next meeting.
Not a lot of annexations have gone in favor of the property owners being annexed – until recently. My research has brought to my attention the recent Annexation in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. A group of about 73 property owners that were being annexed as of Dec 6, 2011 decided to fight the annexation. They hired attorney Fonda Jovick from the law firm Paine – Hamblen. Months of hard work by Jovick and the property owners were rewarded by Judge John Brudie’s decision on October 12,2012. He ruled in favor of the Bonners Ferry property owners not being annexed.
I want to be ready if and when the Orofino City Council decides whether or not to annex the Riverside/Chases Flat area. Property owners only have a short time (28) days to formally respond to a publicly announced annexation.
Please remember this: In 1969 when Orofino started discussing the annexation of Riverside the process of annexation only took 6 months. From discussing it on June 19,1969 to December 11, 1969 when the annexation Ordinance was approved by the City of Orofino.
That is why I have formed a non-profit organization called the Land Owners Against Annexation-Orofino (L.O.A.A.-O) and have an account set up at Potlatch No. 1 Federal Credit Union so that anyone who wishes to donate to the account may do so. I have retained the council of Fonda Jovick so that if the time comes that we might possibly be annexed, the property owners of the possible annexation area will be ready. It not only cost to prepare for an annexation, but it also cost to fight an annexation. Remember this, if you want to know roughly how much your taxes would go up if you were annexed into the city, take what you are paying for property taxes now and times it by 76%. Then subtract what you are paying for the Rural Fire District tax and you will be in the ball park.