Flooding has again caused extensive damage

By Don Nelson

After the Winthrop Town Hall basement flooded for the second time in two years last July, the town has decided the old building needs a structural inspection to help determine what repairs it might need.

At its meeting last week, the council approved a contract with design and engineering consultants SJC Alliance of Wenatchee to inspect the building, prepare an assessment report about its condition and make recommendations on how to proceed.

SJC cautioned in its proposal letter to the town that “this site inspection is not intended to be a comprehensive structural inspection and review of the structure.”

The building is the former Duck Brand Saloon, which was owned by Winthrop pioneer and entrepreneur Guy Waring. It flooded a couple of years ago, requiring extensive repairs so that the Winthrop Marshal’s Office could move back in.

In July, heavy rains again caused the basement to flood. The Marshal’s Office has since moved to the former Riverside Printing building, which the town is leasing.

While files and office equipment survived the flood, all the drywall, wooden wall paneling and flooring had to be torn out and thrown away.

At the time, former Mayor Sue Langdalen said that “No one will go back in the basement to work” because the risk of mold was too great.

At last week’s council meeting, Town Clerk Michelle Gaines said the basement’s deteriorating condition requires a professional assessment. The council approved a contract for $3,136 for the inspection.

In other town news:

  • The council learned that a street overlay and water main replacement project on White Avenue, scheduled to begin this fall, will be postponed to next spring because necessary survey work has not been completed. Also, because the new water mains will much larger than the old ones, the state Department of Health requires a formal review of the project, which will take some time.

Winthrop Public Works Director Rick Karro said the White Avenue project won’t interfere with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) plan to repave about 2 miles of Highway 20 through the town.

In the meantime, Karro said, White Avenue — which has severe potholes and a broken pavement surface — will need some temporary repairs. “We’ll have to do some patching,” Karro said. “We’ve been using gravel but we need to do more to get through winter.”

  • Bob DeHart was sworn in as a council member. He replaces Anne Acheson, who was recently appointed mayor after Langdalen resigned because she moved out of the community.