Bids for Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue’s plan to build living quarters at its Columbia View Heights station so it can be manned came in over budget. Bids were opened on Wednesday. District Chief Bob Palmer says the low bid was about $75,000 over the estimated $450,000 cost, but he added the district will look at options to cover that cost, either through savings in the project or additional funding. The district has $484,000 for the project provided by the City of The Dalles and Wasco County from enterprise zone funds being paid by Google for its new facility that is under construction. Palmer says they hope to find a solution to take to the City and County by the end of November. They must approve the district’s plans under the enterprise zone agreement.
The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum has unveiled a new logo and updated its website. Center officials say the new logo, a hand-drawn spiral with compass points, represents the journey of discovery historically associated with Lewis and Clark and expressed through the Center’s programs and exhibits. The logo features an earth-toned palette that reflects Oregon’s various climates, from high desert to verdant forest. Center Visitor Services Manager Kristen May says the rebranding effort intends to deliver a message that reflects the Center’s mission. Marketing materials will be updated in coming months. A Paul Allen Family Foundation grant funded the project.
A trio of environmental groups filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court Thursday looking to overturn a Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council decision to issue a water pollution permit for Energy Northwest’s Columbia Generating Station at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Northwest Environmental Advocates, and Columbia Riverkeeper claim EFSEC issued the permit over strong objections from fisheries experts at the National Marine Fisheries Service. The lawsuit also alleges that EFSEC’s permit allows water pollution at levels that violate state standards designed to protect public health, fish, and other aquatic species. The Columbia Generating Station uses 20 million gallons of water from the Columbia River every day to cool the nuclear reactor.
There are a number of Halloween activities planned for tomorrow afternoon and evening. Downtown The Dalles will be welcoming trick-or-treaters between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., look for pumpkin stickers from The Dalles Main Street to locate participating businesses. Afterwards, Northern Wasco County Park and Recreation District will hold Monsters in the Park After Dark with activities for all ages from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Dalles City Park. There will also be indoor trick-or-treating at Flagstone Senior Living from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for children age 12 or younger. Downtown Hood River holds its Safe Halloween event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m, with Oak Street and connecting side streets closed between First and Sixth from 4:30 to 7:15. Free parking will be available at the Mt. Hood Railroad parking lot. There will also be trick-or-treating at Providence Down Manor and Providence Brookside from 4:30 to 6:30.
A California man was seriously injured Tuesday evening when he lost control of the commercial truck he was driving and rolled off Highway 35 near Mt. Hood Meadows north of Highway 26. The Oregon State Police says a Freightliner truck pulling a trailed loaded with apples driven by 41-year-old Paritpal Singh was southbound on Highway 35 near milepost 64 negotiating a right curve when it rolled onto its left side and slid off the northbound shoulder where truck and trailer came to rest. Singh was seriously injured and trapped inside the truck, extricated by emergency responders, and transported by Lifeflight to Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. A male co-driver/passenger was in the truck’s sleeper berth and not injured.
The Hood River City Council this week discussed procedure for the upcoming hearing on a the latest state Land Use Board of Appeals remand on whether Wal-Mart still has the right to expand its Hood River location based on the original site plan approval 22 years ago. Mayor Arthur Babitz says the December 2 hearing will be on the record and focused on that narrow question, and there will be no open public testimony. Each party will be limited to ten minutes to speak, and are also being asked by the Council to submit their documents by November 18. The latest remand came in the wake of the Council invoking the “rule of necessity” to compel Councilor Kate McBride to vote after she recused herself due to past work with groups opposing a Wal-Mart Superstore in Hood River County in order to break a tie. LUBA found the Council did not make enough of an effort to arrive at a decision before bringing in McBride, and should have required a full disclosure of relevant ex-parte communications.
In making a request to The Dalles City Council asking for assistance in funding marketing for the 50th anniversary of the Fort Dalles Rodeo, Rodeo Association President Damon Hulit mentioned the possibility the 2015 event could be the final one. The rodeo’s Milt Tumilson Arena is on land formally owned by Northwest Aluminum that is currently on the market, and is leased to the rodeo on a year-to-year basis. Hulit says the possibility the rodeo could soon have no home continues to linger, adding a search for other locations has not been fruitful. Hulit does say rodeo organizers are concentrating on making their 50th anniversary event in 2015 a celebration of its history.
The Hood River County Christmas Project is getting underway. The project helps about 500 families a year with holiday food and gifts. Organizer Bruce Holmson says they will begin sign-ups for the boxes on November 7 continuing through December 6. Signups will be taken Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Department of Human Services office on 1610 Ninth Court beginning the weekend of November 7 and continuing through the first weekend of December, except Thanksgiving weekend. They are also planned for Cascade Locks City Hall on November 19 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Odell Food Bank November 13 and December 4 from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the Parkdale Community Church November 10 and 24 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Applicants must live in Hood River County and meet state low income guidelines.
The Mt. Adams Parks and Recreation District is asking voters to approve a 19-cent per thousand dollars property tax levy on the November 4 ballot. The district was formed four years ago but a tax rate to fund it was rejected. District board member Dana Scheffler says they are seeking basic funding to operate, and meet the requests they have received from the public. The request is a six-year levy. The district runs from Dallesport westward, including most of western Klickitat County.