Clallam County considers van for syringe program

PORT ANGELES — The Clallam County commissioners will consider the purchase of a cargo van for the Health and Human Services Department’s Syringe Services program at a work session today.

The meeting is set for 9 a.m. at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St. They will consider approval of the purchase at their regular Tuesday session, set for 10 a.m.

Meetings also can viewed online at http://www.clallam.net/features/meetings.html. To participate via Zoom video, visit https://zoom.us/j/875561784. To listen only, call 253-2125-8782 then enter meeting ID 875 561 7844 and passcode 12345.

The department received four quotes plus one response from the state:

• A 2022 Ford Transit Connect for $38,521 from Price Ford of Port Angeles.

• A 2022 Ram Promaster City for $36,442.29 from Wilder Auto of Port Angeles.

• A 2022 Ram Promaster City for $48,687.45 from Dwayne’s Lane of Everett.

• A 2022 Ram Promaster City for $43,362.13 from Seattle Jeep.

• The state Department of Enterprise Services had two small cargo vans available out of 28 vehicles in its inventory listed, but none were in stock.

Kevin LoPiccolo, Health and Human Services Department director, recommended the Price Ford van despite the fact it was not the low bid.

“Based on the above quotes, Wilder Automotive is $2,078 less expensive than Price Ford, but due to lack of inventory and the fact that Wilder Automotive does not know when the Ram Promaster City will arrive, Price Ford appears to be the only viable choice,” he said in an agenda memo.

State law allows counties to forego seeking bids and engage in direct negotiation when “the purchases are clearly and legitimately limited to a single source of supply or which involves special facilities or market conditions.”

LoPiccolo told the commissioners at their Aug. 15 work session he would use money left over from the department’s federal “Overdose to Action” grant. It must be spent by Aug. 31.

The van “will be used to expand our capacity to reach people at risk for overdose throughout the county in areas we don’t adequately serve right now, for example, the Sequim area as well as Clallam Bay and other outlying areas where a fixed location to provide this service has been impossible to secure,” he wrote in a memo to the commissioners.

Clallam County Commissioner Bill Peach said during the Aug. 15 work session that it was important to serve Clallam Bay because of its low-income residents and its geographic isolation.

LoPiccolo said they aren’t serving Sequim and Clallam Bay, so the vehicle would allow them to expand to unserved areas on a regular schedule.

Clallam County Commissioner Randy Johnson asked how the vehicle would be used and how beneficial it would be versus just a car.

Deputy Director Jennifer Oppelt said when they conduct their syringe distribution program, there’s very little space in their current vehicles. The long distances involved mean you have to have everything you need and also visiting multiple locations requires more space for supplies, she said.

Clallam County’s Syringe Services Program is a prevention and risk-reduction program designed to provide access to sterile needles and syringes, facilitate safe disposal of used syringes, and provide and link community members to other important services and programs.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at brian.gawley@soundpublishing.com.

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