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District 3: Jim Detro

DeTro, 63, was elected in 2009. Born in the county, he owns an equipment brokerage and trucking firm that ships bio-solids. He started in business in 1975 by purchasing a logging truck but says the federal designation of the Northern spotted owl as an endangered species doomed the logging and sawmill industry.

His roots in the county go back to his grandparents, who with his parents established what is now called DeTro’s Western Store in Riverside; the family no longer owns the store.

He attended Wenatchee Community College and Eastern Washington State College and spent six years as a smokejumper stationed in Winthrop. A private pilot, he lives at Crumbacher in Tonasket with his wife Patty. The couple has two grown children and four grandchildren. He has not previously held public office.

“My one over-riding concern is wolves,” says DeTro. “I’ve taken a lot of flak over the wolf issue. I don’t want to eradicate them.” But, he adds, “I saw what the spotted owl did.” As he sees it, the agencies in that case “went blindly to the radical environmental side. We went through a period here when we were under siege from homeland terrorists,” he says, citing cases of vandalized logging equipment. “I think the true environmentalists are the ranchers and farmers.”

He describes urban environmental critics who don’t understand rural values and lifestyles as “asphalters” born and raised on asphalt and concrete who “have no common sense.” He complains that government agencies give taxpayer monies to environmental organizations that use it “to fight us,” citing as an example non-profit groups that monitor water quality issues at the Buckhorn Mountain gold mine. He supports present efforts to expand the mine’s operation.

DeTro says that when a county declares a state of emergency, the authority of state and federal agencies “goes away.” According to Okanogan County prosecutor Karl Sloan, however, that’s not correct.

While an emergency, such as a natural disaster, may expedite permitting by state and federal authorities for emergency actions taken by the county to protect the public, these agencies nevertheless must sign off on a county’s emergency actions, according to Sloan.

But DeTro argues that while it’s desirable to work with other agencies to sort out jurisdictional conflicts, in the final analysis the state’s constitution gives county commissioners primary responsibility for protecting “the health, safety and welfare” of county residents. Asked if, for example, this means he thinks Okanogan County commissioners could legally declare a state of emergency to over-ride state and federal laws that prohibit killing of wolves, De Tro answers: “I don’t think that has been legally argued or established.”



photo of comissioner lampe
Lampe says state and federal incursions onto the county’s land base affect its growth and development patterns.



photo of commissioner hover
He became motivated to run for office after the National Marine Fisheries Service decided to target Methow irrigators . . .



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