East Scenic Drive in The Dalles between East 16th and Jefferson Streets will be closed for over three months beginning on Monday to allow for construction on the East Scenic Drive stabilization project to proceed. Motorists going to Sorosis Park and Columbia Gorge Community College are encouraged to take West Scenic Drive via Trevitt Street. Those who use East Scenic will be detoured on Dry Hollow to East 19th, then taking East 18th to Jefferson. Jefferson Street and Terrace Drive will also remain open. Residents within the work zone will have access to their homes with minor delays. The closure will be in effect until the end of the project, tentatively scheduled for the middle of June.
Internet activists are hailing Thursday’s Federal Communications Commission decision to impose “net neutrality” rules requiring companies providing broadband connections to act in the public interest, essentially making them a utility. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden hailed the decision, saying the rules will protect a free and open Internet. Oregon Second District Congressman Greg Walden disagreed, predicting that what he called the “Depression-era” rules will trigger lawsuits. Walden is the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which has oversight jurisdiction of the FCC. He has proposed draft legislation that would replace the FCC rules.
Oregon 52nd District State Representative Mark Johnson says there are efforts underway to try to get the current K-12 education budget figure for the 2015-17 biennium up to seven-point-five billion dollars. The Ways and Means Co-Chairs budget put the funding at seven-point-two-three-five billion, and school officials say that is not enough, especially after an Oregon Department of Education estimate of the number of students projected to take full-day kindergarten this coming year went up dramatically. Johnson, a Hood River Republican, did say Democrat co-chairs Peter Buckley and Richard Devlin updated the House GOP caucus on the budget picture, and there were some positive revenue developments that could help increase the K-12 allocation. But Johnson added he did not think it would be realistic to expect a number above seven-point-five billion dollars. Some education officials are seeking a total of eight billion dollars.
Those seeking to establish a food co-op in The Dalles are moving into a second phase of their efforts. Ten people have been named to serve on a Founding Team for the co-op. That group will oversee organizational efforts until the organization is established in a legal form with the state of Oregon, when an official board would be elected. The Founding Board will also work on solidifying a vision for the co-op, and build broader community support and a membership base. Their next meeting will be this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Northern Wasco PUD boardroom.
The Dalles City Council approved awarding the contract for design of phase one of renovation and expansion of the municipal wastewater treatment plant. Mayor Steve Lawrence noted they have very little flexibility on the first phase of the project, due to federal requirements. The Council approved having the team of Mortenson Construction and Kennedy-Jenks Engineers do the design at a cost of just over $132,000. The City has over four-point-seven million dollars budgeted for the project. A contract for construction of the project is expected to be submitted to the Council later this year.
Washington 14th District Representatives saw most of their policy bills get through committees before the cut-off deadline. Norm Johnson said almost all of the bills he sponsored have moved on to the Rules Committee, and Gina McCabe reports the same as well, including bills to encourage employment of veterans and criminalize the taking of upskirt photographs. Johnson did lose one bill, with a proposal to expand a program providing college credits to high schoolers not able to make it out of committee.
Columbia River Conference Regular Season
Hood River Valley 82, The Dalles 76: HRV scored the first 17 points of the fourth quarter, then hung on for the win that lifted them to a second place finish in the Columbia River Conference. Scottie Ziegner scored 15 points, Kayden Gibbs 14, and Dallas Buckley 12 for the Eagles. Coby Conlee tallied 28 points and Colin Noonan 25 for The Dalles. The Eagles’ win, combined with Hermiston’s 45-38 loss to Pendleton, gives Hood River a home game in the Class 5-A play-in round next Tuesday night.
Oregon Class 1A Tournament First Round
Dufur 63, Joseph 42: The Rangers will go to Siletz Valley for a second round game Friday night.
Sherman 79, Life Christian 53: The Huskies move on to visit Damascus Christian in round two Friday.
Horizon Christian had a first round bye, and will host Triangle Lake on Friday night.
Columbia River Conference Regular Season
The Dalles 53, Hood River Valley 27: Brooke McCall scored 14 points to lead the Riverhawks to a win in the final league game of the season. Kelsey Wells scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Eagles.
The Dalles City Council, acting in its capacity as the Columbia Gorge Urban Renewal Agency board, approved purchasing the Elks Building in the downtown area so it can be renovated to house a neon sign museum. The board approved having the agency purchase the building for $245-thousand dollars, then transfer the title to David Benko, the original curator of the American Sign Museum of Cincinnati. His group, Rock City Neon, would then bear the cost of remodeling the building, estimated at over one million dollars. Mayor Steve Lawrence says the quick two-year turnaround to complete the project was a major reason he supported it. The Portland Art Museum is going to be a primary fundraiser for the project. One condition for the sale outlines the right of Urban Renewal to recover the building if the museum is not open within two years.
Hood River City Councilors have decided the large lawn area at Waterfront Park should not be rented out for private events. The City is going through the process of establishing boundaries of private uses in the facility. Councilors decided renting out picnic shelters is allowable, and one-time special events that are private in nature but open to the public can be done. City Manager Steve Wheeler says there is a basic philosophy being developed centered around the park having been paid for with public dollars, so it should be open accessible to the public. Wheeler added the policy toward renting out space in Waterfront Park is a work in progress.
Two recreationalists died in separate incidents in Hood River County over the weekend. The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office says 43-year-old Erik Elton Schulz of Portland died Saturday afternoon after suffering an apparent medical emergency while motorcycling on a trail near the 640 Road on the east side of the Hood River Valley. Friends at the scene attempted lifesaving measures without success. On Sunday morning, deputies were called to the Surveyors Ridge area off of U.S. Forest Service Road 4410 when a man was found at the bottom of a cliff. The man, later identified as 24-year-old Peter William Clifford Bryner of Portland, was a member of a camping party staying in that area. Bryner was discovered by people in the group, who then made the call to the Sheriff’s Office. When responders arrived, it was determined that Bryner was deceased, likely a result of a fall. Both deaths are still under investigation and official cause of death in both instances has not been determined.