Chelan-Douglas Port Authority Examine Security Measures Due to Safety Concerns
The Chelan-Douglas Port Authority is looking into increasing security at the Confluence Technology Center after a string of incidents on Old Station Road prompt safety concerns.
Building Manager Tricia Degnan recalled an incident where a man entered the Confluence Technology Center (CTC) last Thursday.
Wenatchee Police along with a SWAT team responded to an incident where a man retrieved a knife from the CTC kitchen and hid in their basement for several hours.
Staff shared that he was acting erratically but did not threaten staff.
Then on Monday around 5 a.m., an RV camper was found engulfed in flames. Shortly after that fire, an individual was found screaming, running back and forth, and acting erratically in the back of the CTC.
Degnan states that these events have made staff scared for their own safety, especially when it's dark.
She proposed locking the front doors, hiring a security guard for when there's heavy foot traffic, increase lighting, and install more security cameras.
Port Director of Economic and Business Development Ron Cridlebaugh also described an incident when plumbers had to clean up after a trespasser used one of their properties as an “outdoor toilet,” and that a nearby Arby’s was being littered on by nearby RVs and vehicles.
“We continue to get tenants expressing frustration to us that we can't handle the problem,” Cridlebaugh said. “Nobody seems to be able to handle the problem and it's affecting their ability to operate their businesses.”
Degnan said that they recently received a call from Pete Phillips with North Central Educational Services regarding the City of Wenatchee’s plan to build a homeless encampment on Old Station Road.
“His goal was to join tenants [and] building owners out here in the old station area and gather together and maybe talk to the city council about how we don't feel that locating that encampment in the Old Station Business Park is a good idea, because he had heard that the Port had declined already," Degnan explained. "He thought that the Port might be a good company to spearhead that process."
Port CEO Jim Kuntz said it’s a “hollow argument” to try and ask the City of Wenatchee to move the homeless encampment somewhere other than Old Station Road.
“To come out against something and not be willing to be part of the solution is not good,” Kuntz said. “That's what we got going on right now, is 'it better not happen in this backyard and if it does, we're going to fight it and fight it and fight it and you solve the problem somewhere else but it's not going to be at old station. Put more out in South Wenatchee or out of the way but it's not going to be here and we're going to fight it.' That's a pretty hollow argument, commissioners, that's pretty hollow. We should not be involved in that kind of an argument.”
The Wenatchee City Council will decide whether to push a citywide ban on RVs parking on city streets Thursday night.