One person is dead after barricading himself inside a house on the 1100 block of Mt. Hood Street in The Dalles for about four hours, and the house eventually was severely damaged by fire that produced thick black smoke Oregon State Police Lieutenant Pat Shortt said as fire crews worked throughout the structure a single fatality was discovered. The name of the deceased person is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Shortt said the incident began around 8:25 a.m. on Monday when deputies arrived at the house to serve civil papers on the resident living there, but had to back away when gunshots were heard. Officers set up a perimeter around the house and attempted to negotiate with the occupant when smoke began to come from inside the residence. Shortt says officers were never able to speak to the occupant at any time during the incident. The Oregon State Police Arson/Explosives Section arrived on scene, and just before 12:30 p.m. drove an armored car to the house and called for the occupant to come out. It was at that time the fire became intense. Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue crews used a ladder truck to drop water on the fire from above, and then crews were given the go-ahead to approach and attack the fire. The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office is the lead investigative agency. Colonel Wright Elementary School and St. Mary’s Academy were placed in a lockdown that was lifted in about two hours after it was determined there was no immediate threat to students or staff.
According to OSP Lieutenant Pat Shortt, at approximately 8:25 a.m., Wasco County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived at 1100 Mt. Hood St., in The Dalles, to serve civil papers on the resident living there. As deputies knocked on the door gunshots were heard from within and deputies fell back and requested additional police to respond. Officers arriving at the scene created a perimeter and attempted negotiations with the occupant. Shortly thereafter, smoke began to come from inside the residence. Lieutenant Shortt said deputies/officers do not have any information/evidence to indicate that more than a single person is present in the residence however, officers have not been able to speak with the occupant at any point during this incident. The Oregon State Police Arson/Explosives Section has arrived on scene to assist with the investigation. The Fire Department is standing by to assist with Fire Suppression when it is safe to do so.
The Oregon State Police (OSP), Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and The Dalles Police Department are asking residents in The Dalles to avoid streets in/around the 1100 Block of Mt. Hood Street for police activity there. OSP troopers responded to assist the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and The Dalles Police Department with a barricaded subject. Officers on-scene have reported gunshots from inside the residence and a fire is reported inside as well. Command personnel are advising streets in the area of 1100 Mt. Hood Street have been blocked, including W. 10th Street, and are asking the public to avoid the area and use alternate routes when traveling nearby. The Wasco County Sheriff’s Department is the lead investigative agency in this incident. No photographs are available for this release.
The Port of Hood River is advising Waterfront visitors to keep their dogs on a leash after a dog was reportedly sickened by animal poison after being at the Event Site beach. Port maintenance crews did find animal poison in an isolated area of the beach Wednesday afternoon and cleaned it up. Two subsequent sweeps of the entire waterfront area did not find anymore of the product. Warning signs have been posted at the Event Site beach. The Port is urging all waterfront visitors to keep their pets on a leash at all times, and to notify them immediately if they see any other poison pellets in the area by calling 541-386-1645.
Just one week left for potential candidates to file for May’s special district elections in Oregon. A number of positions in Hood River and Wasco counties remain without candidates. In Hood River County, no one has filed for two Port of Cascade Locks Commission spots, one Port of Hood River Commission seat, two Parkdale Sanitary District board positions, and director seats for the Hood River County Transportation District and the Parkdale Rural Fire District. In Wasco County, a number of positions on boards for the Columbia Gorge ESD, North Wasco County, South Wasco County, and Dufur school districts, the Northern Wasco County and Dufur Parks and Recreation Districts, and various fire and water districts are without candidates. The deadline to file is March 19.
Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation has received a $150,000 grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust as part of that group’s affordable housing initiative. The funds are to be used to develop a plan to invest in and maintain existing housing stock. Columbia Cascade Housing Executive Director Joel Madsen says over the next year the organization will assess its portfolio and develop a plan for it in conjunction with the Meyer Memorial Trust. Columbia Cascade Housing’s board, its asset manager, and the Housing Development Center of Portland will take the lead in that effort.
Three people were arrested at a home on West 20th in The Dalles as the result of a two month drug investigation. A Mid-Columbia Interagency Narcotics Task Force spokesman said Wednesday the search warrant was served on March 5 as a result of the probe into possession and delivery of heroin, methamphetamine, and heroin. One man and two women in the house at the time all were arrested on distribution and possession of a controlled substance charges, while one was also charged with frequenting a place where narcotics are sold. The investigation is on-going, and anyone with information is asked to call the MINT tip line at 541-296-1885.
Klickitat Public Utility District Commissioners gave conditional approval to proceeding with engineering and environmental work for the permitting of the John Day Hydroelectric Pumped Storage Project. PUD General Manager Jim Smith says cost of the work would be over one-point-eight million dollars, and the PUD is looking for partners to assist with those costs, and they could stop work toward the permit at any time if they can’t find funding. He added the Commissioners are willing to move forward with budgeted funds, but they won’t pay the full cost by themselves. A funding request to Klickitat County Commissioners for $500,000 for the project is in process. In addition, the PUD plans to advance discussion with the Washington Department of Ecology on site clean-up, with Smith adding the PUD board is not willing to enter into a situation where ratepayers would be liable for cleanup of the former aluminum shelter site adjacent to John Day Dam. The pumped storage project is estimated to cost over two billion dollars, and Smith emphasized someone else would build it, not the PUD.
The Hood River City Council has passed a resolution supporting a bill in the Oregon Legislature to remove the prohibition on local governments requiring inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning allows local governments to require proposed residential subdivisions to set aside a percentage of the development for low or moderate income housing. Hood River City Manager Steve Wheeler said removal of the prohibition could help with increasing affordable housing supply, but he points out most developments in Hood River are of a small size that would make it difficult to effectively use inclusionary zoning. Wheeler noted Oregon is one of only two states in the nation that prohibits inclusionary zoning.
Washington 14th District State Representative Norm Johnson has authored a bill to require financial impacts to the state budget be included with all voter initatives on the ballot. There is a similar bill in the Senate, which require a statement from the state’s Office of Financial Management. Johnson’s bill adds a requirement for a pro and con statement, and he says that would provide transparency. Impetus for the bills comes from last year’s passage of an initiative to decrease class sizes. Johnson says the latest estimates indicate it would cost the state seven billion dollars to implement it.