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Feds Plan To Decrease Hours At Northeastern Washington Border Crossing

The Laurier-Cascade Border Crossing connects the town of Kettle Falls, Washington with Christina Lake, British Columbia.
The Laurier-Cascade Border Crossing connects the town of Kettle Falls, Washington with Christina Lake, British Columbia.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to reduce operating hours at a border crossing between Danville, Washington, and Grand Forks, British Columbia, and residents in Ferry County, Washington aren’t pleased.

Effective October 1, the U.S. border crossing at Danville will only be open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. A Customs and Border Protection spokesman said the port of entry won’t stay open until midnight anymore, because over the last five years, there’s been a 21 percent decrease in border crossings there.

“We’re guessing that it’s like probably a loss of about $50,000 a year in sales,” said Emily Burt, owner of Republic Brewing Company.

This summer, the brewery will host 16 concerts as part of their Summer Nights Music Series. Burt said 20 percent of the people who come to hear music, or take part in other evening events at the brewery are from Canada.

Other area residents live and work on both sides of the border and make the commute daily.

According to the Chewelah Independent, at least 75 of them attended a public meeting hosted by CBP more than 60 miles southeast of the border crossing in Colville, Washington.

Burt said things got emotional for some residents.

“Grand Forks, [British Columbia] and Ferry County communities are really connected,” Burt said. “So, a lot of the heated discussion came from people who had recently bought a house in Grand Forks, but work in the U.S.. There are a lot of emotions around the fact that they felt like their families were being split up, or basically they’re not going to be able to get to their jobs in a timely manner.”

Last month, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican who represents most of eastern Washington, sent a letter to the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection requesting further explanation for the change. According to her staff, she has yet to receive a response.

CBP recommends two other port of entry options for border crossings after hours. Laurier, Washington, is within 20 miles of Danville and Porthill, Idaho, is 55 miles to the east.

In an email, the Canadian Border Services Agency said the change hasn’t yet been finalized. It’s unclear if Canada will respond with changes of their own.

Copyright 2018 Northwest News Network

Emily Schwing
Emily Schwing comes to the Inland Northwest by way of Alaska, where she covered social and environmental issues with an Arctic spin as well as natural resource development, wildlife management and Alaska Native issues for nearly a decade. Her work has been heard on National Public Radio’s programs like “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” She has also filed for Public Radio International’s “The World,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and various programs produced by the BBC and the CBC. She has also filed stories for Scientific American, Al Jazeera America and Arctic Deeply.