Toledo's Reserve Sergeant Randy Pennington stands next to a Dodge Charger police vehicle in this undated photo provided by the Toledo Police Department.
Toledo Rejects End to Police Contract
By the Lewis County Tribune staff
TOLEDO — The city of Toledo formally rejected Winlock's claims of a material breach of the interlocal police contract between the two cities in a March 20 letter signed by Toledo Mayor Steve Dobosh, and said the agreement remains valid and binding.
"Winlock is searching for any justification to support its desire to terminate the interlocal agreement now, rather than allow the agreement to expire on its terms on Dec. 31, 2018," the letter from Toledo said. "This claim of material breach by Winlock is disingenuous and is rejected."
In a letter sent to Toledo on Feb. 27, Winlock City Attorney Samuel Satterfield stated numerous sections of the agreement signed in Dec. 2016 were violated, specifically a Dodge Charger patrol vehicle belonging to the city of Winlock that was not returned to the city after its engine was damaged.
Toledo responded that the engine in the Dodge Charger patrol car provided by Winlock failed in early June of 2016, was no longer operational and was then towed by Payneless Automotive of Winlock.
"In July 2016, and at Winlock's direction, the Dodge Charger was towed to Winlock's bullpen," Toledo's letter states. "Toledo has no contractual obligation to repair or replace the engine in the Dodge Charger and Toledo will not do so. Winlock is in possession of its Dodge Charger."
The letter from Dobosh said Toledo has not materially breached the interlocal agreement and therefore Toledo has nothing to cure and Winlock remains liable for payment.
"So long as Toledo is providing law enforcement services to Winlock, Winlock will be obligated to pay Toledo all consideration under the agreement," the Toledo letter said. "Toledo is willing to discuss early termination of the agreement. Provided, Winlock must first withdraw all of Winlock's claims of Toledo being in material breach of the agreement. Toledo conducts its affairs professionally and in good faith, and Toledo will not succumb to bully tactics."
Toledo began providing police services to Winlock in August 2015 after Winlock's police chief retired and the city's only other officer left. Winlock Mayor Don Bradshaw recently won a write-in campaign and immediately sought to terminate the agreement signed by his predecessor, former mayor Lonnie Dowell. Bradshaw was a former Winlock police commissioner and had twice served as mayor of Winlock, but he lost another bid for mayor to Dowell in 2013.
The letter said Toledo contacted Mayor Dowell in December about that month's delinquent payment and Dowell said he thought the payment had already been made. Winlock's payment to Toledo is due on the tenth of each month.
"Mayor Dowell contacted the Winlock city clerk and was informed the delinquent payment had in fact not been paid by Winlock," the letter from Dobosh said. "Toledo had been informed that incoming Mayor Bradshaw had contacted the Winlock city clerk and instructed the clerk to not pay Toledo prior to his tenure as mayor beginning on January 1, 2018. That actually is a 'material breach' of the agreement, as Winlock's primary duty under the agreement is to pay Toledo for law enforcement services."
Toledo said for 32 months in a row, Winlock has never paid on time. "Toledo will take necessary steps to protect its interests," the letter said. "Toledo hereby provides notice to Winlock that Toledo will no longer waive Winlock's failure to pay on time."
The February letter from Winlock also requested that Toledo Patrol Sergeant Samuel Patrick be reassigned out of the jurisdictional boundaries of Winlock, "for the reasonable cause that Officer Patrick is suspected of entering into restricted areas of the Winlock City Hall and accessing court files without permission." The letter said Winlock City Hall has had to be rearranged and locks changed for this liability issue.
Toledo responded that this is a very serious allegation and it has inquired with the Lewis County Sheriff's Office about conducting an independent investigation.
"Winlock is alleging a law enforcement officer has committed the felony crime of burglary," the Toledo letter said. This allegation could cause "severe damage to Officer Patrick personally and professionally," including defamation of character. Patrick also served as a Winlock city councilman in 2014 and the letter from Toledo suspects the request to reassign him was made out of personal animosity.
"Winlock's request to reassign is denied at this time," the Toledo letter said, noting that nothing in the interlocal agreement obligates Toledo to grant a request for reassignment of personnel made by Winlock.
The 11-page letter from Toledo also contained 57 pages of attachments, including monthly police activity reports from August 2015 to February 2018, vehicle maintenance records, an FBI document on the proper use of uniform crime reporting statistics, a list of police department inventory and unpaid invoices sent to Winlock for court services including transport to and from jail since 2015 totaling $4,950.
"These invoices must be paid in full by the next due date of April 10, 2018, or interest at the rate of 12 percent shall accrue," the Toledo letter said.
Winlock Seeks to End Police Contract
By Marlea Hanson, staff writer
TOLEDO — Winlock's new leadership is seeking to terminate the interlocal police contract with the city of Toledo, claiming a material breach of the agreement in a letter dated February 27, 2018.
The letter was made public at the March 5 Toledo city council meeting following an executive session. Winlock said numerous sections of the agreement signed in December 2016 were violated, specifically a Dodge Charger patrol vehicle belonging to the city of Winlock that was not returned to the city after its engine was damaged, a failure of Toledo to provide all monthly report requirements and a failure to render police services in the same manner as Toledo receives.
"Since the city of Toledo has taken over police duties for the city of Winlock, crime rates seem to have risen and care and coverage of the city of Winlock have not met the same standard that the city of Toledo receives," said the letter signed by Winlock City Attorney Samuel Satterfield.
The letter stated Toledo has 30 days to cure the material breach or the interlocal agreement is terminated and Winlock will no longer remain liable for payment to the city of Toledo. The agreement is set to expire at the end of December 2018. The letter proposes a mutual agreement to terminate early, including a reasonable transition plan that details Winlock's plan to install a new police chief, inventory all original and current equipment, and its intention to cease making payments to the city of Toledo by July 2018.
Toledo began providing police services to Winlock in August 2015 after Winlock's police chief retired and the city's only other officer left. The Dodge Charger patrol vehicle provided by Winlock in 2015 broke down in the summer of 2016 and a new replacement vehicle was purchased using Toledo's capital fund. The police equipment was transferred from the old vehicle to the new one in 2017.
Winlock Mayor Don Bradshaw recently won a write-in campaign and immediately sought to terminate the agreement signed by his predecessor, former mayor Lonnie Dowell.
The letter from Satterfield also requested that Toledo Patrol Sergeant Samuel Patrick be reassigned out of the jurisdictional boundaries of Winlock, "for the reasonable cause that Officer Patrick is suspected of entering into restricted areas of the Winlock City Hall and accessing court files without permission." The letter said Winlock City Hall has had to be rearranged and locks changed for this liability issue.
County Commissioner Gary Stamper explains the county’s efforts to increase rural tourism at last year's big community meeting at the Toledo Middle School. The next meeting is March 22, 2018.
Photo by Jake Morgan / Lewis County Tribune
Annual Meeting Showcases Volunteers
By Jake Morgan, staff writer
TOLEDO – Volunteers shared new ideas, gave updates on ongoing projects and offered each other encouragement and support at Vision:Toledo’s seventh-annual big community meeting.
“There are great, wonderful things going on in this community,” Toledo city clerk Michelle Whitten said of the March 16 meeting at the Toledo Middle School that drew approximately 80 attendees. “New stuff is happening all the time and there are a lot of new people getting involved who are full of energy.”
Vision:Toledo volunteers are proud of their national designation as a “cool and connected community” and updated attendees on their progress to revitalize the downtown area by leveraging ToledoTel’s advanced broadband Internet and Wi-Fi technologies to further increase tourism and attract new businesses. Lewis County’s tourism website discoverlewiscounty.com will soon be installing a touch-screen computer kiosk in the Riverview NAPA hardware store.
In addition to the town’s annual Cheese Days celebration in July, upcoming community events include art shows in April and September, fishing derbies in May and July, a wine tour in May, a community clean-up day in June, a bluegrass festival and a threshing bee in August and a pow-wow and a fundraiser for the city park in September.
Vision:Toledo organizer and volunteer Mike Morgan said Toledo’s events and clubs make him proud to be part of the Toledo community.
Volunteers shared stories of successful events at the community library, growth with the new garden club and school gardens, an “honorable society” network of artists and crafters, progress on a new trail system and several new mural projects already underway, among other things.
“We wouldn’t be where we’re at and we couldn’t do it without these volunteers,” Whitten said. “They all need to be patted on the back.”
In other Toledo news, police chief John Brockmueller told the city council March 20 that the top candidate for a lateral police officer position has been selected by the civil service commission and is moving forward with the required psychological evaluation and polygraph testing. He said a new patrol car is on order and should be ready in a few months.
Public works superintendent Steve Blahut said the city is working to keep its public restrooms clean and free from vandalism. The council voted to approve the renewal of a liquor license for Toledo Market Fresh IGA.
The Toledo City Council meets at 6 p.m. on the first and third Mondays (or on Tuesday in the event of a holiday closure) at City Hall. Contact Toledo City Hall for special accommodations at (360)864-4564.
For more Toledo community news and to stay updated or to get involved, follow Vision:Toledo on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/visiontoledo/ or read Marlea Hanson’s daily Toledo news column at http://www.theothertoledo.com/daily-column.
Toledo Gets Cool and Connected
By Jake Morgan, staff writer
TOLEDO — Community volunteers, business owners and city leaders were thrilled with last week’s Cool and Connected urban broadband planning sessions and are optimistic for Toledo’s high-tech future.
The Nov. 10 workshop and community meeting brainstormed ways to better use Toledo’s gigabit Internet, including infrastructure planning, economic development, creating a connected identity and harnessing pedestrian connections via Wi-Fi to encourage existing high-tech businesses and start-ups to locate in the downtown area.
ToledoTel’s broadband coverage area extends for 386 square miles, with fiber connections to every home and business. The area’s unusually high adoption rate for high-speed Internet access is due in part to multiple federal grants that offered free connections and a free trial period.
Toledo was one of five cities in the county selected to receive expert assistance from the federal Cool and Connected Communities Initiative. The team included facilitators from Vita Nuova LLC, the EPA and USDA, as well as representatives from other federal and community agencies.
Photos by Marlea Hanson
Ceremony celebrates Oregon Trail history
By Marlea Hanson, staff writer
TOLEDO — More than a hundred visitors of all ages attended the re-dedication ceremony of the historic Oregon Trail marker in Toledo last September, including at least a dozen people in period costumes.
Speakers included representatives from the Sacajawea Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, the Northwest Oregon California Trails Association, historical memorial preservationist Marion Hersey, Pacific Northwest historian and author Dennis Larsen and Toledo Mayor Steve Dobosh.
Honored guests included state representative Ed Orcutt, Lewis County Commissioners Edna Fund and Gary Stamper, Toledo volunteer organizer Johanna Jones, and Kathryn Templeton Israelson, the great-great granddaughter of Ezra Meeker.
Historic accounts from journals, letters and diaries recounted Meeker’s tireless efforts to generate support for his venture and realization of that dream in 1916. Toledo’s early and recent roles were highlighted for those gathered. A replica of Meeker’s 1905 wagon was brought to Toledo for the occasion.
Fourth grade students from Toledo Elementary School added their names on flat stones to the symbolic rock riverbed garden surrounding the monument and sang the National Anthem, recreating the activities of Toledo schoolchildren involved in the original installation of these fixtures 100 years ago.
Toledo was a major stop on the Oregon Trail in 1844, connecting travelers coming up the Cowlitz River from Portland, with the main overland route to Olympia and Puget Sound.
Read Marlea's daily Toledo news blog at TheOtherToledo.com.
City of Toledo
The City of Toledo is located on the Cowlitz River and was once a critical junction for early travelers. The city is located approximately three miles east of I-5 at exits 57-63. Toledo was incorporated in 1892 and has a population of about 725.
The Toledo City Council meets on the first and third Mondays of each month at 6 p.m. Council chambers are located at Toledo City Hall, 130 N. Second Street, Toledo, Washington 98591.
Jake Morgan / Lewis County Tribune