Bridgeport property parcels to go back out for bid

Bridgeport city officials will advertise for a second time for bids on four parcels of property owned by the city. A previous attempt only resulted in one bid for one piece of land, which was opened at the regular Bridgeport City Council meeting Wednesday, July 23.

Martin Landin bid $3,800 for two city lots next to the building he owns on Foster Creek Avenue. That was above the minimum bid required by the city and was accepted. But there weren't any bids on the rest of the property, and Mayor Steve Jenkins recommended going out to bid again, with advertisements in the Quad City Herald and Wenatchee World. Council member Kevin Morris asked about the cost and if the council would have to consider increasing the minimum bid as a result.

Council member Bill Zweigle said he wondered if the city wasn't receiving bids because the price was too high already. City administrator Jean Hardie said she had received inquiries about the property, but that people lost interest when they discovered the property has special considerations (zoning or size) that make it impossible to build a house alone. Hardie said the city's attorney suggested hiring a realtor. Jenkins said he wanted to try advertising one more time, and the council agreed.

In other business, council members voted to split the cost of roof repairs and upgrades at city hall between funds generated through the real estate excise tax and the departments that use city hall. The money generated through real estate excise taxes can only be spent on capital projects, like roof repairs.

Repairs were completed last week; the project cost $54,600 plus sales tax.

Council members agreed to let the Bridgeport School District use the Bridgeport Swimming Pool for classes for up to two weeks after school starts Tuesday, September 2. The council gave council member Jackie Henteges the authority to work with school district officials on a rental agreement.

Dale Clark and Keith Kutchins, representing the Colville Confederated Tribes, attended the meeting to talk about the tribe's efforts to enhance salmon runs on the upper Columbia River. That will include a fish hatchery at the foot of Chief Joseph Dam; construction will begin in 2010.

Clark said the goal is to improve runs for spring and summer Chinook and steelhead; tribal biologists are experimenting with new methods and tweaking traditional methods, all with the intention of capturing fish alive. Kutchins said that way they can separate wild fish from hatchery raised fish, with the hatchery fish distributed among tribal members and the wild fish released to spawn. Over the long term that should increase salmon runs, which will benefit tribal members by providing more fish for them, and towns along the river by giving them another way to attract visitors. (By agreements with the U.S. government, a portion of the run is set aside for tribal members, said Joe Pione at the Pateros City Council meeting Monday, July 21. But the rest of the fish are out there for anybody to catch.)

The plan is to raise about two million summer Chinook smolts at the hatchery, with release starting in 2011, Kutchins said, along with about 900,000 spring Chinook. The fish will be raised at the new hatchery for a while, then taken to acclimation ponds along the Okanogan River, then released into the Columbia River. Kutchins said the available evidence shows that practice increases salmon survival, and the fish will be more likely to return to the river to spawn. There's one acclimation pond already, and three more are planned. All of the fish released from the hatchery will be marked to distinguish them from wild fish.

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