An archived photo of the Colville Indian Precision Pine Mill in Omak. Date unknown.

NESPELEM - The Colville Business Council voted in Special Session June 17 to approve a contract with James G. Murphy Inc., a commercial and industrial auctioneer company, for inventory, advertisement and auction of the Colville Indian Precision Pine Mill in Omak.

Previously, the same company was contracted to auction off the Colville Indian Plywood and Veneer Mill, also in Omak, in April 2018. 

That auction resulted in a total of $3.1 million that was deposited in the Colville Tribes’ General Fund.

Also, in Sept. 2019, CBC approved liquidation of CIPP rolling stock, noting in resolution 2019-517 that proceeds from the liquidation would be deposited in the Colville Tribes’ General Fund.

But discussion in the CBC’s Natural Resource Committee, prior to Special Session June 17, focused heavily on clean up of the sites.

“They liquidated CIPV and they dismantled a bunch of it,” said CBC member Darnell Sam, chair of CBC Fisheries Committee. “The only concern I have is the fact there is still so much debris left out there. I don’t know what the process is to finish cleaning that place up, essentially they high-graded that whole area and took anything that was of value and it was just trash and rubbish that was left. It just doesn’t look good considering the fact that Omak Creek runs through there and the resources that we put to have steelhead come through. Even though it’s minimal effect, it just doesn’t look good. I hope we go through this auction and they start pulling CIPP apart, it’s not left in the same circumstance that CIPV is today.”

Colville Tribal Natural Resource Division Director Cody Desautel noted the original contract with the auctioneer company did not include clean up of the site but a discussions on a future contract had begun.

“The purchasers were allowed to go in and remove the equipment, which left kind of a mess in some places,” said Desautel. “There was conversation that after this auction … we would take some of the revenue and pay for a contract to clean up both the CIPV and CIPP sites. That would be a contract we would administer so we would have all the compliance responsibilities and obligations.”

The tribes first chartered CIPP, which is located north of Highway 155 on the Omak-Riverside Eastside Road near the city of Omak, in 1985. In 1997, Colville Tribal Enterprise Corporation took control of mill. 

When it closed in 2010, the mill employed 130. 

A 2016 resolution noted the financial crisis of 2008-2009 forced the closure of the facility. 

The total contract approved for the auction of CIPP through the resolution is “not to exceed $191,450.”

CBC members Jack Ferguson, Joel Boyd, Karen Condon, Margie Hutchinson, Roger Finley, Richard Moses, Joe Somday, Richard Swan, Marvin Kheel and Jarred-Michael Erickson voted in favor of the resolution, while CBC member Norma Sanchez voted against it.

No date was given for the auction.

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