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Vlachos building to be destroyed


Birdie Hensley and Kevin Tipps confer during the rescue in June of a Vlachos car from the building where it was stored. Tipps and Richie Gerard hauled it to Hensley's home in anticipation of eventually putting it in the Pioneer Museum in Electric City, where it now resides. - Scott Hunter photo

The city council in Grand Coulee voted to go out to bid for the demolition of the "Vlachos building," on Spokane Way.

The building, once belonging to inventor and mechanic Constantinos Vlachos, has been boarded up and abandoned for some time now.

Thomas Geiger, an attorney who represents the Vlachos estate, had requested an extension to work out a deal selling the property.

The city, tired of granting extensions, moved instead to seek bids to demolish the property that is in a decrepit condition.

"We've never let a nuisance property go on this long," said Councilmember Tammara Byers at the July 17 council meeting.

The first letter sent from the city to Geiger regarding the property was in 1992, when the issue was just boarding up the windows.

"By tearing it down, we're relieving ourselves of the liability if something happens," Mayor Paul Townsend said. "We're going to do this at a loss. It improves the value of the property by it being gone, but on the flipside, something positive can then happen with the property."

City Clerk Lorna Pearce also mentioned that the state of Washington has a lien on the property in the range of $100,000, an amount unlikely to be recovered through the sale of the property.

Payments on the property taxes are up to date, which is partly why action hasn't been taken sooner to deal with the small, dilapidated structures on the property.

The Coulee Pioneer Museum recently recovered some items from the premises, including the bare bones of a car known as the Phibian which Vlachos had invented, a vehicle that he said could run on water rather than petroleum.

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