The state Senate has approved raising Oregon’s minimum age for tobacco use to 21. The bill approved 19-8 on Thursday now heads to the House. If the proposal is eventually signed by Gov. Kate Brown, Oregon would be the third state to increase the legal age for buying and possessing cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21. Republican 29th District Senator Bill Hansell voted for the bill, noting his background as a cancer survivor, and a desire to fight that disease in every way possible. 26th District Senator Chuck Thomsen and 30th District Senator Ted Ferrioli both voted against it. The proposal would reduce Oregon’s tax revenue from tobacco by $1.76 million in the upcoming two-year budget, adding slightly to the state’s projected $1.6 billion budget shortfall. The losses, however, could be covered from proposals to increase tax rates on tobacco.
White Salmon Fire Department and Klickitat County Fire District #3 are planning to conduct a live fire training burn on Saturday at 435 Strawberry Mountain Lane inside the city limits of White Salmon. The property is located at the top of Strawberry Mountain, and visible from much of the region, including communities surrounding White Salmon and Hood River. The training is planned for Saturday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but is subject to cancellation due to weather or other issues. Smoke dissipation is expected to occur depending on the weather patterns when the burn occurs. If there is anyone in the immediate vicinity who experience respiratory issues, fire officials recommend that all windows and doors remain closed during the training period.
Drivers in Oregon and Washington are reminded to remove studded tires by Friday, March 31. Studded tires are allowed in the two states from November 1 through March 31. While the law allows the states to extend the studded tire season when necessary, both transportation departments say current weather forecasts do not support and extension this year. Drivers with studded tires on their vehicles in Oregon after the deadline can be charged by law enforcement with a Class C traffic violation. In Washington, drivers with studded tires after April 1 face a $136 traffic infraction.
Hood River Valley 7, Reynolds 0: Connor Coerper and Greyson Losee combined on a no-hitter for HRV. Coerper pitched six innings, striking out eight, and Losee finished it off in the seventh. Caden Leiblien, Coerper, and Adam Cameron all homered as the Eagles won their second straight game. Cameron drove in four runs in the game.
Forest Grove 10, The Dalles 8: The Vikings generated plenty of offense in the middle innings, scoring six runs in the fourth inning and five in the fifth to come back from a 5-0 deficit.
Washougal 9, Columbia 2
Goldendale 10, River View 6
Hood River Valley 10, Reynolds 1: Mackenzie Chambers went four for four and drove in three runs in her first varsity start as the Eagles won their second straight game.
Ridgeview 10, The Dalles 9: The Riverhawks scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning to take the lead, but the Ravens scored two in the bottom half of the frame to pull out the win.
Track and Field
Trout Lake was second, Stevenson fourth, and Columbia sixth in a seven-school girls’ track and field meet at Stevenson. Liz Fink won three events for Trout Lake, sweeping the shot put, discus, and javelin. Seton Catholic finished atop the team standings. In the boys’ portion of the meet, Columbia was second, Stevenson third, and Trout Lake sixth, as LaCenter came out on top. Columbia won three events and Stevenson two.
Sherman’s Isaiah Coles finished second in the long jump and triple jump at the Buck Track Classic in Pendleton.
Columbia 3, Stevenson 1: The Bruins won their second straight game to start the Trico League season.
Hood River Valley 4, Hillsboro 4
Goldendale 2, LaSalle 2
LaSalle 5, Goldendale 0
Oregon 59th District State Representative John Huffman has been working on a number of bills involving access to public records. Huffman sat on the attorney general’s public records task force over the last year. The Dalles Republican says his goal is to set up a system of management for public records that has not existed in the past, noting there have been over 550 exemptions to public records law established since the 1970’s. Huffman notes the bills would also set up a fee normalization schedule for executive branch agencies to provide consistency in what is charged to do public records retrieval tasks.
Columbia Gorge Community College, the Oregon Employment Department, and the East Cascades Workforce Investment Board will host the Columbia Gorge Job Fair on Saturday at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center. CGCC’s Sara Viemeister says there will be a number of employers and education representatives will be there. Companies registered to attend include members of the Gorge Technology Alliance, Flagstone Senior Living, Great Clips, McDonald’s, and Hood River WaterPlay. Advisors from Columbia Gorge Community College and Oregon State University will be on hand to answer questions about career education and financial aid. The job fair is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center.
The City of The Dalles will be continuing the removal and replacement of oversized or diseased trees on East Second Street Monday through Wednesday. Twenty trees have been identified for removal. The trees are on the north side of East Second Street from Madison to Court, and work will take place from 6 a.m. to noon all three days. Replanting of the trees is scheduled for the following week. The parking strip will be clearly marked no parking where the removal and replanting will occur.
The board of the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility has decided to ask voters to approve an operations bond during the May 16 election. The tax rate would be 26 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value, which mirrors the amount of the bond that paid for construction of the regional jail in The Dalles and came off the tax rolls this past year. NORCOR Board Chair and Wasco County Commissioner Rod Runyon says to keep their operations solvent, they need the funds to allow the adult and juvenile operations to continue at their current level. NORCOR serves Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, and Gilliam counties.
Klickitat County officials and the Yakama Nation Housing Authority are in the beginning stages of pre-application talks surrounding a proposal by the authority to construct a housing project in Dallesport that could eventually involve 70 units. County Commissioners discussed the issue at their meeting Tuesday afternoon. Commissioner David Sauter says the size of the project creates concerns about how well the town can handle the increased demand on infrastructure and other services. The development would be at the south end of Dallesport east of the Sunridge development and south of the proposed Maley subdivision. Sauter says the housing authority has indicated they will submit a formal application in late spring, adding the pre-application discussions are no different than what would take place with a private developer.
The Union Street Undercrossing in The Dalles will be closed to all traffic at times during the next few weeks due to a high Columbia River level, which is causing water at the undercrossing to be deep enough to be hazardous to vehicles. A combination of snow melt and rain has elevated the Columbia River level and the river has overtopped the banks in some locations. When necessary, Union Street northbound will be closed to thru traffic at the railroad tracks, and will be completely closed north of the Hattenhauer access road. Approaching the undercrossing from the west side, West 1st Street will be closed to thru traffic at Terminal Street and will be completely closed beyond the Oregon Cherry Growers. Motorists are encouraged to use Webber Street as an alternate route to access West 1st Street during times the underpass is closed. The closure may be periodic and sometimes sustained for several days during water runoff times.