May 29, 2013 | LXXIII, No. 9

Grand Coulee considers compelling cleanup

Members of Grand Coulee’s council would like to develop a city “cleanup of property” program like the one in the town of Coulee Dam.

Councilmember David Tylor stated that’s there’s hardly a block in Grand Coulee that couldn’t stand some cleanup.

After some discussion, Mayor Chris Christopherson stated: “When we go there, we’re going there.”

The Grand Coulee nuisance ordinance is almost identical to Coulee Dam’s and calls for a fine of $500 a day after notification of violation of the city’s ordinance on the upkeep of property.

Coulee Dam police have been working the streets, with officers preparing notices of violation as they come across them. The notices are sent to the residents, followed up with a second notice; and while the town of Coulee Dam hasn’t written citations as yet, they likely will start.

Police Sgt. John Tufts was asked if the police patrolmen could identify violations in Grand Coulee, and he replied that it was possible.

One thing that has kept municipalities from success in such programs is the cost of litigation in the event a citation is challenged in court.

Electric City has used the power of persuasion of its enforcement officer, Gary Haven, to good advantage in cleaning up some of its problem properties.

Haven has told the council that he goes to the door, if necessary, and after talking with the offender, usually gets good results.

A number of places have cooperated, Haven said, and slowly properties are looking better.

Mayor Christopherson asked his council committee on ordinances to meet and return to council with some suggestions on the cleanup problem.

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