IMG 7126


Our relationship with the City of Pateros, Washington began in 1997 with the Warren Avenue Lift Station project. 

Since then, Varela and Pateros have completed over two dozen planning and construction projects together. Varela has assisted Pateros in securing over $13.4 million for infrastructure projects. 

Pateros relies on us to offer insight and assistance to many aspects of local government. Our strong relationships with local elected officials deepens the value we provide the City.

Carlton Complex Fire

In 2014, everything changed for Pateros with Carlton Complex Fire, the largest single
wildfire in Washington history. It burned 256,108 acres, destroyed 353 homes, and caused an estimated $98 million in damage. Lightning sparked the fire on July 14, 2014, in four spots near the towns of Carlton, Twisp, and Winthrop in Okanogan County on the Methow River. The four fires spread uncontrollably and on July 17, hot winds turned them into a firestorm that raced 25 miles south to reach Pateros (Carlton Complex Fire, 2014). In less than 12 hours the fire had ravaged the Pateros community. In all, the fire destroyed 33 homes within the city limits, 55 more just outside of town, and 152 homes within the school district were lost (Recovery Room, 2015). The fire left destruction in its wake: charred homes – many with only the foundations left, husks of cars left abandoned in driveways, melted boats, and the smoking remains of fences.

The fire damage extended to the City’s infrastructure. The community’s two water tanks situated above Pateros were memorable for the murals displayed on them which could be seen over 2 miles away. The murals, called Reflections on the Columbia, were comprised of thousands of reflectors glued directly to the water tanks and the design was a stylized waveform and diamond forms, colorfully representing the Columbia River and surrounding hills and mountains and serving as a familiar landmark for Pateros (see attached pictures). The Carlton Complex Fire swept over the two water tanks, completely eradicating the once colorful murals and effectively destroying all controls in the water tanks, which shut down the water system and further hindered the firefighting efforts. The fire also disabled power to Pateros for several days. The water tank murals that had served as recognizable markers for decades, quickly melted away in a spectacular whoosh of 50-foot-high flames, according to witnesses to the fire (In Pateros: We Lost Everything, 2014).

Varela engineered a new system of wells and a reservoir to protect the City from wildfire and improve their drinking water delivery. We helped the City secure $7.5 million in funding, including state grants and appropriations. 

Click on the images below for a deep dive into one of the many projects we've completed in Pateros.