An operational failure at the The Dalles Wastewater Treatment Plant combined with rain resulted in the discharge of 416,000 gallons of treated but non-disinfected wastewater Wednesday evening through early Thursday morning into the Columbia River, likely exceeding the plant’s limit for E.coli. One of the plant’s ultraviolet light disinfection channels was brought online Wednesday evening, but the UV disinfection system was not fully enabled for that channel. Plant staff brought the system back online this morning. Samples are being taken at pre-arranged locations in the river to provide data on the effect of the discharge on water quality in the river. Warning signs advising no water contact have been placed along both sides of the river from The Dalles Riverfront Park to West Mayer Park boat launch on the Oregon side and from the Dallesport Boat Launch to the Klickitat Sandbar on the Washington side, and will be removed once sample results indicate the river water is safe for contact and public use. Questions can be directed to the Public Works Department office at (541)296-5401.
The capital campaign to renovate the theatre in The Dalles Civic Auditorium is underway. The Civic’s Trish Neal says they are beginning by launching their $1,000 Club, seeking donations of that amount with a goal of reaching $250,000 to show community support for the effort as they apply for grants to help pay for the estimated $6,400,000 project. Neal notes the Civic is going ahead with repair of the theatre ceiling while the campaign is on-going. Information on the renovation project and how to donate is available at TheDallesCivic.org.
The summer irrigation outlook for the Hood River Valley is much better than it was last year at this time. Oregon State University Extension Service Agent Steve Castagnoli says the current water content in the snowpack is about double from last year, even with recent unseasonably warm weather leading to some early melt and dropped snow-water content about 20 percent below average. But even with that, he notes the valley is in pretty good shape. Castagnoli is emphasizing the need for all irrigators to be efficient in their use of water. He is going to be teaching a class on drip irrigation on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. during the Central Gorge Master Gardeners Plant Sale at the OSU Extension Learning Garden on 2990 Experiment Station Drive in Hood River.
Hood River Police have made no further sightings of a cougar that was reported to have killed a deer near a residence on Tuesday night. Police say it occurred in a wooded area on the west edge of Hood River, and the cougar returned to the woods afterwards. Police monitoring the area Wednesday made no further sightings of the cougar. There are no reports of a cougar killing pets or being seen during daylight hours in the area, so the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife does not characterize this cougar as a public safety issue. However, ODFW recommends people concerned about the presence of cougars familiarize themselves with actions they can take to reduce possible conflicts with these animals. They include keeping pets indoors at night, teaching children and other family members how to react if they see a cougar including making themselves look as big as possible and yelling and throwing rocks to ensure the cougar does not feel welcome, avoiding running in areas of thick brush or poor visibility between dusk and dawn, and considering installing motion-activated lights to exclude prey species like turkey and deer. If you see a live cougar or a dead animal, particularly one that has been covered with ground debris, report it to the Oregon Deparment of Fish and Wildlife or law enforcement immediately.
The 29th Annual The Dalles Community Clean-Up takes place on Saturday, headquartered at the Wasco County yard on the corner of West 10th and Walnut. Residents of The Dalles can dispose of yard debris and other unwanted items by taking them to the collection site from nine to three on Saturday, with a limit of two standard-sized pickup loads per household. Items no longer needed, but too good to throw away, may be donated to the Re-Use area. Household garbage, tires, and hazardous waste will not be accepted at the collection site. For more information and a full list of exceptions call The Dalles Public Works at 541-506-2004.
The 94th Annual Gathering of the Wasco County Pioneer Association will take place on Saturday at Calvary Baptist Church in The Dalles. The association carries on the tradition of holding an event to bring people together and share stories about the history of the County. The group’s Myron Egbert says anyone can be part of the event, which also acts as a reunion for many people. The Pioneer Association meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, with lunch available for $14 at 11:30 a.m., and a program on the history of farming in Wasco County at 1 p.m. Annual dues for the association are $12.50 for an individual or $15 for a family.
Elections offices in both Hood River and Wasco counties are advising voters planning to mail their ballots for the primary election to do so by this coming Tuesday, May 10. Election officials say with changes in post office operations they cannot guarantee delivery of ballots to us past the 5 to 7 day mark prior to the election date, which is May 17. Ballots can be dropped off at the Hood River County Administration Building on 601 State in Hood River, Cascade Locks City Hall, the Wasco County Courthouse on 511 Washington Street in The Dalles, and Maupin City Hall. The deadline to get ballots into election offices is May 17 at 8 p.m. Hood River County voters can track delivery and receipt of their ballot by using BallotTrax, a system being offered through the Oregon Secretary of State’s office allowing voters to sign up online to receive alert messages via text, phone or email. Voters will receive messages when their ballot is mailed out and when it is accepted for counting. Sign up for the service online at hoodriverelections.ballottrax.net.
Salmon fishermen will get an additional two days of spring Chinook fishing in the Columbia River upstream of Bonneville Dam. Fishery managers Thursday extended the current spring Chinook season through Sunday after reviewing catch to-date indicating an estimated 300 upriver fish remain on the harvest guideline for the Columbia above Bonneville. The extension applies to both bank and boat fishing from the Tower Island power lines about six miles below The Dalles Dam upstream to the Oregon/Washington border, plus bank fishing only between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines. The daily bag limit remains two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination, of which no more than one may be a Chinook. All other permanent regulations apply.
Northern Wasco County PUD will be accepting applications for its annual Economic Development grants until Monday at 5 p.m. Applications may be obtained at the Northern Wasco County PUD Office located at 2345 River Road in The Dalles, online at nwasco.com, or by calling (541) 298-3302. The Northern Wasco PUD Board of Directors will consider all requests received at their May 24 meeting. Applicants must document non-profit status, not be a religious affiliated entity, and have not been funded more than twice in any five year period. Projects must be for infrastructure or property with a life expectancy of at least five years and located within the Northern Wasco County PUD service area.
Hood River County Library District Director Buzzy Nielsen announced he is resigning effective in late summer or early fall of this year. His family is relocating to Central Oregon. Nielsen was hired in June 2011 as the first employee of the new library district created after the previously County-operated library closed due to lack of funding, and oversaw the reopening of Hood River County’s three public libraries in Cascade Locks, Hood River, and Parkdale following a year of closure. The Library District Board of Directors already has begun a nationwide search process for a new leader, which Nielsen will assist. Nielsen’s departure comes on the heels of the library district completing its new 2016-21 strategic plan.