Public Works

Public Works Blog

Snow removal policies apply even in an emergency

Posted On: January 19, 2022

It's always wise to stay off the (wet) lines

Chelan County is clarifying its snow removal policies with the public after receiving calls from frustrated citizens who were not prepared for the significant snow levels the area received overnight on Jan. 6.

“For some of us, we are seeing record-breaking snow levels that we have never experienced in our lifetimes,” Chelan County Commissioner Bob Bugert said. “Living in a remote, rural area has its inherit risks, and while we are seeing most residents were prepared to shelter in place with food and supplies, they were not prepared to remove such large amounts of snow from their driveways and access points.”

Since the Jan. 6 snowstorm, county road crews have been clearing roads and widening roadways, intersections, cul de sacs and school bus turnarounds in the unincorporated areas. Much of the county’s manpower and equipment has been utilized in the Upper Valley, where county crews reported seeing as much as 5 feet of snow in areas near Lake Wenatchee.

Unfortunately, the county cannot divert its road crews from public roadways to private property, or U.S. Forest Service or private roads. It is not only a gifting of public funds, but county resources are needed to continue to address the public roadways, said Eric Pierson, County Engineer/Director of Chelan County Public Works.

“Our priority early on was to get roadways open to at least one lane so emergency responders and citizens living off our county roads would be able to travel the county road,” Pierson said. “A week later, our priority is still to continue to improve that access by clearing additional width for emergency responders, citizens and school bus routes.”

Emergency Management (EM) and the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office also have been working together to provide welfare checks on citizens when they receive calls. Most callers report having adequate food, water and power, said Rich Magnussen, EM specialist. Several callers are seeking help with private snow removal, which the county does not provide, he said.

In response, EM has compiled a list of private snow removal resources for the public. It is available HERE.

In addition, if people are unable to stay in their homes for reasons such as collapsed roofs or lack of power, the American Red Cross also is on standby to assist with shelter, Magnussen said. However, EM has received no such requests as of yet, he added.

The city of Leavenworth called on the National Guard to assist with welfare checks on people who live in the city limits. In some cases, the National Guard is also helping city residents with clearing paths from their homes to city roads.

“Chelan County did not feel the need to call on the National Guard for assistance because we have the county resources to clear our county roadways and provide those welfare checks in the unincorporated areas when needed,” Bugert said.

If you know someone in need of a welfare check because you are worried their lives are in danger, call RiverCom on its business line at 663-9911. If you are in an emergency, call 911.

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Chelan County Calendar

Upcoming events and schedules at the county!

  • 02
    Nov 2022
    03:00 PM - 04:00 PM

    Observer Training

    Posted by: Chelan County Elections

  • 31
    Oct 2022
    09:00 AM - 05:00 PM

    Registration deadline for new voters or address updates by mail, online, email or over the phone.

    Posted by: Chelan County Elections

    Registration deadline for new voters or address updates by mail, online, email or over the phone.

  • 31
    Oct 2022
    08:00 AM - 05:00 PM

    Second half property tax deadline

    Posted by: Chelan County Treasurer

    Second half property tax deadline

  • 26
    Oct 2022
    06:00 PM - 09:00 PM

    Planning Commission - October 26, 2022

    Posted by: Community Development

    400 Douglas Street
  • 22
    Oct 2022
    09:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Make a Difference Day at Ohme Gardens

    Posted by: Ohme Gardens

    Ohme Gardens