Wasco County emergency management officials reminded residents to be prepared for wildfire at a community briefing Wednesday evening. Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Chief Bob Palmer says we are about five weeks ahead of normal in regard to fire season, with several small fires in the region over the course of the last month. Palmer emphasized the need for homeowners in the urban-wildland interface to have good defensible space. Wasco County Emergency Manager Kristy Beachamp is reminding residents to sign up for the county’s Citizen Alert system, which distributes emergency notices to subscribers. Landline phones with listed numbers are automatically registered, but to sign up cell phones go to the Wasco County website.
The Oregon Small Business Development Center at Columbia Gorge Community College is offering a nine-month small business management program. Center director Rick Leibowitz says it is designed for the current small business owner with at least one year of experience with a curriculum of typical small business issues, including marketing, understanding financial reports, managing personnel, and customer service. It also includes one-on-one meetings with an SBDC counselor to confidentially discuss how to apply the program’s lessons to the particular business. Classes will be once a month in The Dalles, and three hours in length. Space will be limited, for sign-up information call 541-506-6120.
The Hood River County Fair continues in Odell. Thursday is Senior Day at the fair, with Hood River County seniors admitted for just five dollars. The 204th Army Band from Vancouver will perform Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on the Griffith Stage. Friday features the annual 4-H/F-F-A Livestock Auction, a core event of the fair that culminates a year of work for area youngsters. The buyers’ barbecue will begin Friday at 4 p.m., with the auction starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday brings headliner Gloriana to the Griffith Stage at 8:15 p.m.
A Clackamas County man died in a Tuesday evening motorcycle accident on Highway 216 near Maupin. According to the Oregon State Police, a 2008 motorcycle operated by 48-year-old Guy Medgin of Mulino was traveling westbound on Highway 216 near milepost 14 west of Maupin when he failed to negotiate a curve. Medgin was ejected from his motorcycle and was pronounced deceased upon arrival of emergency crews. According to a witness, Medgin had been traveling at a high rate of speed just prior to the crash. The OSP was assisted by the Wasco County District Attorney’s Office and the Wasco County Sheriff’s Department. The investigation is continuing.
Hood River County Commissioners and Planning Commissioners met this week to discuss the planning panel’s work on a comprehensive update on exclusive farm use and forest zones in the County’s land use plan. The two bodies got together to discuss where the planning group is at and get on common ground before a public hearing process. County Administrator David Meriwether says there is no large philosophical gap between the two bodies. There are some questions to be addressed on the level of non-specifically farm and forest activities would be allowed. A hearings process on the update is set to start at the Planning Commission level in August, and will eventually go to the County Commission.
The Hood River County Fair begins its four-day run Wednesday in Odell, and will continue through Saturday. Fair Manager Clara Rice says they have moved some things around, in particular creating an area in the fairgrounds park where most of the children’s activities will take place. In addition art, photography, handicraft, hobby, and ceramics exhibits have moved from the Gold Gym to the Blue Gym. That will make room for the 50-Plus Expo planned for Thursday during Senior Day, featuring speakers and exhibits geared to those 50 and older. The fair opens Wednesday at noon, with carnival rides operating at 1 p.m.
Wasco County Emergency Management, fire services, and law enforcement will host a pre-wildfire season community briefing Wednesday evening in The Dalles. There will be a discussion about the outlook for this year’s fire season, and FireWise Communities materials and general preparedness information will be shared. In addition, a computer will be set up to register people for the county’s Citizen Alert notifcation system if they would like to do so. There will also be discussion on topics related to law enforcement and evacuations. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue on 1400 West 8th in The Dalles.
The City of White Salmon is asking its citizens to say what they want in a swimming pool. The City is in the process of determining how to replace or renovate its aging pool. Mayor David Poucher says they are trying to find out what the public wants, noting they would be the ones paying for the facility. The survey is available on-line through the City’s website. They are also available at the pool and at City Hall.
With the Port of Hood River having closed on the purchase of the Lower Hanel Mill site earlier in the month, Port officials are moving quickly on water system issues, property subdivision options, and a marketing strategy. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says they are receiving significant interest from those interested in locating a business on the property. McElwee adds site development work that will have to take place includes removing some woody debris fill and replacing it with good structural soil. The hope is to have property ready for construction to take place on this coming spring.
Fire crews in the eastern part of the Gorge were kept busy over the weekend. On Saturday afternoon, two air tankers helped quickly stop a fire southwest of Dufur The Oregon Department of Forestry says the Winslow Road Fire was stopped at 10 to 12 acres. The fire’s cause remains under investigation. Also on Saturday, a motor home was destroyed in a fire on East 17th Place in The Dalles. According to Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, the owner of the motor home had just started driving it when he heard a loud backfire, and a neighbor started yelling that the vehicle was on fire. A nearby home suffered some paint blistering. On Sunday, during the afternoon Dallesport fire crews extinguished a grass fire near the Highway 197 bridge. And in the evening Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue responded to a grass fire east of Oregon Cherry Growers caused by someone throwing fireworks into the dry grass.