D-1 employees scour old records to help family define water rights

Yvonne Dingman and Terry Troutman

A question related to a family's water rights put two District 1 employees on the hunt for old documents pertaining to a waterline crossing in north Idaho.

Terry Troutman, D1 transportation technician principal, and district Property Manager Yvonne Dingman culled through documents more than 40 years old searching for information on behalf of the Jutila family.

"I do quite a few of these searches," Troutman said. "We have electronic files and hard files. A typical search can go from half-a-day to a couple of days."

Occasionally, a search requires a more in-depth effort. That can mean a trip to the "vault."

"Every once in a while, we have to go to our archives," Troutman said. "We call it the vault. It's where the stuff is that we have to keep forever."

A search can turn up interesting information that is sometimesmore than 100 years old.

"Down in the vault, I ran across a set of plans from the 1800s," Dingman said. "It's interesting. You never know what you might find."

For Dingman, a search in the vault can be an opportunity to learn about local highway history.

"In doing some research for our legal counsel on the Chocolalla section of U.S. 95, I looked into the old, old (U.S.) 95 road," Dingman said. "It started out at Larson Road, then was named Spokane Boulevard, then changed to U.S. 95 or Old 95 Road."

For the Jutila family, the two found an "As Constructed" plan sheet showing the location of a waterline replacement and an old agreement between ITD, then known as the Idaho Department of Highways until 1974, and Ellen Jutila. A diary kept by the right-of-way agent at that time chronicled discussions between ITD and Jutila prior to her signing the agreement.

The information found was sent to John W. Jutila of Bozeman, Mont., who made his appreciation known to Troutman for he and Dingman's diligence.

"A big Montana-sized thank you for the efforts of you and your colleague, Yvonne Dingman, to find and send the below-mentioned documents. I will forward your information to family members in Mullan and Coeur d'Alene. The documents will be invaluable for defining family water rights," Jutila wrote. "Both of you are to be commended for such excellent service to the public."

Published 3-14-14