Hood River City Councilors approved a contract with the firms of EcoNorthwest and Berger Abam to do a buildable lands inventory and housing needs analysis. It’s part of the effort to craft a solution to the lack of affordable housing in the area. Hood River City Manager Steve Wheeler says the work will begin with an inventory of vacant land, filtering out some properties that are not realistic to build on. Wheeler added they intuitively know some of the issues surrounding housing, but there is a need for more factual data. The inventory and analysis should be done by the end of May.
A group of senators, including Oregon’s Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, have written a letter to President Barack Obama to award the Presidential Medal of Honor to Hood River native Minoru Yasui. Yasui is most famous for his legal challenge to the order authorizing restrictions on, and the eventual internment of, more than 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. He deliberately violated a curfew and after his arrest took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against him. An Oregon district court eventually overturned his conviction but did not rule on the constitutionality of wartime internment. He had tried nine times to join the U.S. Army, only to be denied due to his heritage. Yasui was born in Hood River, earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon, and became the first Japanese-American to graduate from the University of Oregon law school. After his internment Yasui eventually moved to Denver, where he had a long career as a lawyer and civil rights advocate. Eight senators signed the letter to the President.
Hood River County officials are temporarily closing both Riordan Hill Road and Post Canyon Road to vehicular traffic. It’s an effort to protect the County’s forest roads during a time of year when they are most vulnerable to damage. A new gate is being installed on Riordan Hill Road about a quarter-mile to the west of the Family Man Skills Complex. By the end of the week the new gate…the existing two gates on Riordan Hill Road near Binns Hill Road, and the existing gate on Post Canyon Road just north of the Post Flats Staging Area will be closed and locked. The gates will remain closed for the rest of the winter season.
The Dalles City Council gave the go ahead for municipal staff to draw up a resolution changing the requirements for an owner to construct a single family dwelling on a residential lot. The resolution will be based on recommendations from the City Planning Commission, and includes establishing a designation of key network streets that are major community connectors, cancellation of existing waivers of remonstrance and delayed improvement agreements, and to have the City pay for installation of stormwater and curbs and the engineering work for sidewalks when required. Planning Director Dick Gassman said the basic concept for the network streets system is to acknowledge public improvements are required on certain major streets intended to provide access to the entire community. Most of those streets are already fully improved. Councilor Taner Elliott noted if the City can take the burden of engineering and stormwater improvements, it will make more people willing to build, and that will help the municipal budget’s bottom line.
The Dalles City Council voted to approve a resolution expressing their concerns with rail transport of crude oil through the City and the Gorge. Under the resolution, the Council urges the Governor to encourage federal rules to encourage safe transport of crude oil on the state’s rail lines and require coordination among state agencies to be prepared for an accident, and calls for the federal government to implement regulations regarding train speeds and rail car designs. Councilors added a clause asking the state to require shippers take on the financial responsibility for emergency response to any accident involving an oil train. The resolution passed unanimously. Councilor Tim McGlothlin pointed out they are powerless to impact the amount of oil train traffic going through the area, but can offer support for the steps outlined in the resolution.
Columbia 83, Stevenson 30: Claire Anderson scored 19 points and Kayla McClain 17 as the Bruins solidified their hold on third place in the Trico League. Breanna Frohs led Stevenson with seven points.
Dufur 53, Echo 46
Trying to find a way to encourage the development of more affordable workforce housing in Hood River has been a goal of City officials for a long time, but new Mayor Paul Blackburn is hoping they can take some steps in the near future. Housing issues were at the forefront of a recent visioning session involving City officials, and Blackburn says they want to go beyond just talking about it. Blackburn says other goals to come out of the visioning session revolve around taking steps to make the City more sustainable while remaining fiscally responsible. He notes that includes looking at ways the City can make changes in their own operations, and keeping Hood River bicycle and pedestrian friendly. Councilors Monday night will discuss the affordable housing subject with County Commissioner Maui Meyer and Joel Madsen of the Mid-Columbia Housing Authority as part of their meeting beginning at 6 p.m. in Hood River City Hall.
Participating in a recent “Maker Space” tour in Portland has Klickitat County Commissioner Rex Johnston thinking about the need for a similar concept in his County. Johnston says a “Maker Space” involves a location where tools and people with expertise are available to help people make their ideas for a product a reality. Johnston says he would like to see a concept like that in Klickitat County. He thinks the new industrial park in Dallesport could be a good place to put a “Maker Space” in, and the County’s Economic Development Department is looking at it.
The Oregon Poison Control Center is seeing a big increase in the number of calls about children and electronic cigarettes, and it’s part of a national trend. The American Association of Poison Control Centers says e-cigarette incidents more than doubled from 2013 to 2014, with more than half involving children under the age of six. Oregon Poison Control Center medical director Zane Horowitz says the risk of ingesting a large amount of nicotine is significantly higher in liquid form than in cigarettes. He adds the flavored nicotine liquids increase their appeal to young children. The Oregon Poison Control Center fielded 84 calls about e-cigarettes last year, up from seven in 2011.
Hood River Valley 82, Pendleton 72: The Eagles scored 33 fourth quarter points to come back from a nine-point deficit and with the Columbia River Conference opener. Tyrone Stintzi led a group of four Eagles in double figures with 17 points, while Sonny Green topped the Buckaroos with 22.
Hermiston 54, The Dalles 42: Keegan Crafton’s 21 points led the Bulldogs to the win. Coby Conlee paced the Riverhawks with 16.
LaCenter 84, Stevenson 55
Dufur 62, Arlington 28
Country Christian 47, Dufur 38
South Wasco 63, Spray-Mitchell 35
Sherman 85, Condon-Wheeler 36
Horizon Christian 69, Ione 27
Bickleton 58, Klickitat 46
Sunnyside Christian 66, Klickitat 23
Sunnyside Christian 77, Glenwood 20
LaSalle 69, Goldendale 40
Highland 51, Goldendale 43
Hermiston 51, The Dalles 36: The Riverhawks kept it close for three quarters, but the Bulldogs dominated the fourth to grab the win. Abi Drotzmann and Tavin Headings scored 10 points apiece to lead Hermiston, while Katie Conklin scored 11 for The Dalles.
Pendleton 60, Hood River Valley 34: Marlene Bodnar’s 14 points led the Buckaroos to the win. Kelsey Wells scored 15 for Hood River.
Dufur 59, Arlington 44
Country Christian 62, Dufur 55
Spray-Mitchell 35, South Wasco 34
Condon-Wheeler 57, Sherman 35
Horizon Christian 47, Ione 38
Bickleton 75, Klickitat 39
Sunnyside Christian 68, Klickitat 17
LaSalle 37, Goldendale 18
Highland 28, Goldendale 27
Hood River Valley wrestlers won in four weight classes to take first place at the Columbia Gorge Invitational in Stevenson. Goldendale finished in sixth, while Stevenson was seventh and Columbia eighth.