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Yet another reprieve for old museum full of items


A “dangerous building” issue in Grand Coulee got a 90-day reprieve from the council at its meeting last week.

Councilmembers were getting a little tired of no action on getting the building removed, and it showed as the council considered that they were dealing with stalling tactics, starting to get the best of them.

At issue is probably the most colorful building in Grand Coulee, a sort of old museum, along Spokane Way. Its bright blue-and-yellow color grabs the eye when you leave the city center heading out of town.

The ramshackle, small, former museum designated as a “dangerous building” got the full attention of the council, causing members to try to figure out a way to have it removed.

Upon examination, city building inspector Gary Lampela determined that the building could easily collapse and injure someone.

The city has been working with attorney Tom Geiger, who in the past has represented the Constantinos Vlachos family, in taking the building down.

An older man on the east coast, a distant relative of the late museum owner, when contacted, disavowed any interest in the property, making it difficult for Geiger to make headway on removing the building.

Vlachos had been represented, when alive, by attorney Geiger, a former Grand Coulee resident, who now is located in Spokane. Since Vlachos’ death, any legal work on the property has been done on a pro bono basis (without charge), Geiger had written in a letter to the council.

Geiger has been trying to get some clarity in getting the property sold and councilmembers are pushing him to do what needs to be done to get rid of the property.

Geiger’s most recent contact with the city was to request more time in disposing of the building and property. It was beginning to test the patience of councilmembers, who granted another 90 days, somewhat reluctantly.

Geiger responded to the city, saying that objects in the old museum and in other buildings on the property might be of interest to the Coulee Pioneer Museum, located in Electric City. He had asked the city for time to contact the elder family member and then to get the property ready for sale.

The city became impatient in waiting any longer, but granted the 90-day reprieve before seeking a legal way of forcing removal.

Last week, Birdie Hensley, who started, and runs, the Coulee Pioneer Museum, gained entry to some of the buildings and reported that one building was piled high with boxes, and some appeared to contain items that were not that old, dating back to the 1970s, she stated.

One item, the frame of an experimental automobile, is still located in the old museum building.

Hensley said the frame is much too large to remove and place in the Electric City museum.

Hensley said she continues to work on the issue, but would need help in removing and going through items stacked in the buildings.

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