Klickitat County Commissioners have decided to extend their moratorium on the establishment of new marijuana-related businesses in unincorporated areas of the county while the County Planning Commission looks at zoning issues surrounding those operations. County Commissioner David Sauter says they are asking the planning panel to look at the marijuana businesses just like any other land use question. The current moratorium will now sunset on April 30. The 18 marijuana production, processing, and retail facilities currently operating in unincorporated areas of Klickitat County are not impacted by the moratorium. Sauter noted the issue is contentious, with County residents seemingly split on the issue.
Area Oregon House members John Huffman and Mark Johnson have received their committee assignments for the upcoming legislative session. Huffman, from The Dalles and representing the 59th District, will help craft the state budget for the upcoming biennium as a part of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, and will also be a part of the Joint Education Committee, Joint Capital Construction Subcommittee, Joint Legislative Administration Committee, and the Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee. Johnson, the 52nd District rep from Hood River, will be the Vice Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, and will take part on the Revenue and Higher Education, Innovation, and Workforce Development panels, along with membership of the Joint Committee on Tax Credits.
Maryhill Museum of Art has announced its special exhibition lineup for its 75th anniversary season in 2015. American Indian Painting: 20th Century Masters will open the season and be on display through July 5, featuring some of the most important American Indian artists of the century. That will be followed by An Abundance of Riches: Woodcuts of Andrea Rich, featuring 40 prints by the internationally recognized printmaker. Other exhibits planned for next year to be on display throughout the season include the glass art of Raven Skyriver, an exhibition of Wasco County photographers from the late 19th and early 20th century, the paintings of R.H. Gammell and his students, and prints from the construction of the Historic Columbia River Highway. Maryhill’s season opens on March 15.
The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office says the body of a Portland man missing since early September was found Monday afternoon in a ravine near Mosier. Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Lane Magill says there is no evidence of foul play in the death of Joseph Sizemore. Sizemore was last seen on September 7 by Skamania County Sheriff’s Officers during a contact on Washougal River Road. Magill says Sizemore’s vehicle was found Sunday on Carroll Road, and during a subsequent search his body was found about a mile away. Sizemore’s body has been turned over to the local Oregon State Medical Examiner in The Dalles. Anyone who might have information related to this case is encouraged to call Magill at the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office at 541-506-2580.
Two teenagers have been arrested and charged in a string of graffiti-related vandalism throughout The Dalles in the last two to three days. The Dalles Police Chief Jay Waterbury says they are currently processing 24 cases related to the two suspects, a 14-year-old male and a 15-year-old male, and he says officers are still working on reports. The vandalism, mainly graffiti, ranged from near The Dalles Middle School all the way to the Chenowith area. Waterbury says both boys face multiple counts of criminal mischief and unlawful application of graffiti, plus one count of burglary for getting into a house and vandalizing it. Waterbury notes police are still receiving reports of vandalism that may be connected to this case, and people with property that has been vandalized but have not yet reported it to police are asked to do so. The Dalles Police Department number is 541-296-2233.
After four-and-a-half hours of discussion, the Hood River City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to codify the Waterfront Refinement Plan. Councilors discussed a host of elements of the plan, and made a few fine-tuning changes involving language and clarifications to the City Planning Commission recommendations, and then all six in attendance voted in favor of adoption. Mayor Arthur Babitz felt with an initial committee of nine to develop it and then going through the Planning Commission, the Refinement Plan received a thorough review. There had been some who suggested the City take more time on the plan, but Councilors decided to move forward. With one councilor absent, the Council will have to conduct a second vote to approve the ordinance, which will take place at a special meeting Monday at 6 p.m.
The Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue District has approved a bid to prepare Fire Station 2 on Columbia View Heights to be manned. The bid was awarded to 2KG Contractors of Portland for $536,000, with $484.000 of that coming from enterprise zone funds generated by the latest construction at the Google site approved by the City of The Dalles and Wasco County, and most of the rest in the form of a no-interest loan from the City to be paid back through enterprise zone funds received in the next couple of years. District Chief Bob Palmer says construction will begin next month, and should take about 150 days. City, County, and fire officials hope putting the station on-line will result in an improvement in the district’s fire insurance rating.
Hood River County School District Superintendent Dan Goldman is calling the Governor John Kitzhaber’s K-12 education budget for the 2015-17 biennium “woefully inadequate.” Goldman says while the roll-up of the K-12 budget in Kitzhaber’s proposal is about three-and-a-half percent, some of that money gets carved out before districts receive their funds, dropping that figure down to about a half-percent. Goldman says on average, the district’s basic operating costs go up at least two-and-a-half to three percent a year. He adds he doesn’t believe Kitzhaber’s budget figure will be approved by the Legislature, but if it is there will be reductions in the Hood River County School District.