Activities at Former Defense Site

Lee O'Connor filed this request with the Adams County Sheriff's Office, Adams County, WA of Adams County, WA.
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From: Lee O'Connor


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Washington Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

Reports, documents, or photos held by the Adam's County Sheriff that cover activities at the abandoned Site "A" Batum/Odessa Titan I Missile Base in Adams County, Washington, formerly associated with Larson Air Force Base until 1967 when it was sold to private land owner, from the time of missile base construction from the late-1950s to the present.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Lee O'Connor

From: Adams County Sheriff's Office, Adams County, WA

Mr. O'Connor,

I have received your request for records related to the former Batum Missile site known to us as 1874 N Batum Rd, Odessa, WA 99159. I will be preparing your request in as timely a fashion as possible and expect to have everything to you within the next two weeks. Records from the 1950s through the late 1990s may be very difficult to locate for two reasons; first, unless it was a murder or a rape it has likely exceeded the retention period outlined by the State of Washington Archives, and second, prior to 1997 there is no way to search by address to identify incidents that occurred at this location. I strive to provide a complete a record as possible to all interested parties, so if you or the subject requesting records through your website are aware of any historical incidents, approximate dates of occurrence and parties that may have been involved, it would greatly increase my chances of finding the older records as they will have to be hand searched. I will attempt to provide all materials electronically by email which should not result in any charge for the preparation of these files. If there are complicating factors that may result in charges, we will address those individually as they come along. Please advise if you have any questions regarding this correspondence.

Thank you,

Kevin L. Swartz
Records Officer/911 Telecommunicator
Adams County Sheriff's Office
509.659.1122 phone
509.659.1724 fax

[Adams_County_Sheriff_Badge small]

From: Lee O'Connor

Dear Mr. Swartz,

Thank you for your message. I have been researching the history of the Titan missile bases in central Washington and I appreciate your help looking for records of any incidents that may have occurred at the base. I interviewed someone from the Moses Lake area who said that they remembered that there had been a deadly fall at the Site A Batum/Odessa Titan missile base sometime around 1988. The Eugene Register-Guard newspaper wrote a story about the missile bases in 1998 and reported that someone had recently fallen to their death in the Site A Batum/Odessa missile base. I don't know if these reports are rumors or describe one or two events. Anything you can turn up to help me learn about the history of the Titan missile bases from records of the Adams County Sheriff's Office would be appreciated.

Lee O'Connor

Lee O'Connor is author of Take Cover, Spokane: A History of Backyard Bunkers, Basement Hideaways, and Public Fallout Shelters of the Cold War available at Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane, and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. He graduated from Sammamish High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in documentary filmmaking and history at the Evergreen State College, and completed a master’s degree in history at Washington State University. During his tenure as a cultural resources specialist with the King County, Washington, Historic Preservation Program he surveyed barns in May Valley and mid-century modern houses in Kenmore. In 2015, he worked with pioneering Spokane-area documentarian Robert L. Pryor to help preserve Pryor's four films of the 1960s and 1970s and share them on YouTube with the expertise of Jeff Tillotson at Lightpress in Seattle who transferred the 16mm films to a digital format. O'Connor currently lives in Seattle where he is writing a book about abandoned underground missile silos in the Columbia Basin, and working on a documentary film based on his book Take Cover, Spokane. His films on YouTube include Colman Pool: From Segregation to Integration, 1941-44 (3:46), Seattle In Time Lapse (3:35), and Snoqualmie Tunnel: A Hike Through Railroad History (2:31). The Washington State Historical Society published a chapter from Take Cover, Spokane, in the spring 2016 issue of their magazine Columbia available at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma and the historical society website.

From: Adams County Sheriff's Office, Adams County, WA

Mr. O'Connor,

I have attached the files I have been able to identify as related to the location of the Batum Missile Silo. With regard to other case files possibly related to this location, I will reserve the ability to amend my response as these files come to my knowledge and I will forward them accordingly. Many of the files have been redacted to remove the Social Security numbers of the complainants pursuant to 42 USC ss. 405( c)(1)( C)(viii)(1). Law incidents 97-A03451, 97-A04118 and 98-A01427 have additionally been redacted to remove the identities of individuals that were juveniles at the time of contact pursuant to RCW 13.50. These records have been provided electronically and are therefore provided free of charge. Please advise if you have any questions regarding this correspondence.

Thank you,

Kevin L. Swartz
Records Officer/911 Telecommunicator
Adams County Sheriff's Office
509.659.1122 phone
509.659.1724 fax

[Adams_County_Sheriff_Badge small]

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From: Lee O'Connor

Dear Mr. Swartz,

Thank you for your help with my request. I appreciate all of the reports you were able to find related to the Batum missile site history since it was abandoned.

Sincerely,
Lee O'Connor

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