Sunday, July 14, 2024

Pateros Council discusses air monitoring system, subsidized apartments

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PATEROS – Clean air and low-cost housing were two topics on the minds of Pateros City Council members at their regular monthly meeting last Monday, Sept. 17.
Council member Holly Bange proposed that the council consider an air quality monitoring technology that is being used in parts of the Methow Valley. The Clean Air Ambassador Program Bange investigated is available through a company called Purple Air (www.purpleair.com).

Bange said the system gives minute-by-minute updates on air quality by locality but has no monitors installed below the town of Methow. She added that the constant air quality readings would be particularly useful during times of heavy pollution like that produced by wildfires last July and August. Bange said users could check local stations online during such times to see if current air quality conditions are better in another area or community and take higher risk persons there to breathe cleaner air.

Bange said the Brewster School District plans to install the monitor but there is nothing in Pateros.

“Why wouldn’t we want to know what our air is all the time?” asked Bange. “All we have now…is Alta Lake and its hours old and it’s inaccurate because they’re higher and more socked-in.”

Bange said the next nearest station is in Malott “which is a half hour away and in a totally different valley.”

With the cost of installation estimated at less than $300, “to me, it’s kind of a slam dunk,” Bange said of the modest expense.

Mayor Carlene Anders said the proposal would be added to next month’s meeting agenda.

Anders advised the council that the Pateros Gardens Apartments at 249 S. Dawson Street are no longer rent-subsidized units and can now charge rents based on open-market value. Anders said the building owner has agreed to hold rents at the current levels for residents until their leases come due. After that, rents will be adjusted to open market levels. Anders said a survey of the current residents conducted by the Pateros Brewster Community Resource Center found that 100 percent of the respondents said they would probably have to vacate if rents are increased.

The building’s new non-subsidized status also allows for the sale of the property and Anders said the Okanogan County Housing Authority (OCHA) is interested in purchasing the complex. OCHA is holding meetings with USDA Rural Development to explore funding options for a possible purchase offer.

In other business, Anders said a work crew from the LDS Church in Wenatchee will be in Pateros from 9-11 a.m. on Make a Difference Day, Saturday, Oct. 27. The church has been given a list of mostly cleanup projects, but Anders encouraged anyone with project ideas to bring them to city hall. Local volunteers are also welcome to pitch in and help that day.

Council members also approved a resolution authorizing a $19,056.99 change order for a manhole cover replacement for city pump house No. 3 as required by the state Department of Health.

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