The Twisp Town Council has denied a claim for damages to a parking lot at the Aspen Building on Highway 20 that the claimant alleged resulted during a water main replacement and sidewalk construction project in 2017.
The Town Council discussed the claim in executive session at its Oct. 23 meeting and announced a decision to deny the claim, filed by Aspen Beach LLC on Oct. 16 and signed by Aspen Beach LLC members Michael and Patricia Port and Bob and Mary Lou Ulrich.
The claim document, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, alleges that the town’s water main replacement and sidewalk construction project, which took place last year along Highway 20 at the south end of town, caused damage to the parking lot at the Aspen Building at 20268 Highway 20. The claim seeks damages in excess of $26,954.50.
According to a notice of claim for damages filed with the town, “Through the performance of these projects within the state right of way, the town and its contractors trespassed upon and used the Aspen property for equipment parking, equipment unloading, storing supplies, staging work, and stockpiling dirt, causing significant damage to the parking lot.”
The claim further stated that the work was done without easements or permission from the LLC. According to the claim, there is now a “high sidewalk with a steep graveled slope facing back towards the parking lot,” which has caused gravel to come into the parking lot and damage the asphalt. Documents filed with the claim included an estimate from a local contractor of $26,964.50 for work to repair damaged asphalt and reduce the slope from the new sidewalk.
The claim states that Mike Port, Aspen Beach LLC manager, submitted a public records request related to the water main and sidewalk project on Oct. 13, 2017, and on Nov. 9, 2017, Port was terminated from his appointed position as Town of Twisp Airport Manager “without prior notice or explanation.”
The claim said the town has been slow in providing requested records, and the “town’s behavior has clearly been a show of bad faith, unfairness and retaliation.”
Prior to Port’s public records request, Town Council members had expressed concern about his performance as airport manager, an unpaid position, in public discussions at council meetings. According to minutes from a Town Council meeting on Sept. 12, 2017, council member John Fleming, a liaison to the Airport Advisory Board, expressed “concern that the Airport Manager’s presence seemed to have been disruptive to the work of the board.”
The council at that meeting decided to instruct the manager to attend the Airport Advisory Board meetings only if requested by the town’s public works director. Two months later, Port was dismissed as airport manager by the mayor, who said in a letter that he had been “disruptive and not acting in the Town’s best interests in representing the airport.”