Wasco County Commissioners approved a mass gathering permit for the 2016 SOAK Festival, otherwise known as Burning Man Portland, on Justesen Ranch property south of Tygh Valley. No one spoke in opposition to the permit during a hearing, and Commissioner Scott Hege says reports from last year’s festival were positive. The art festival is scheduled for May 26-30. An estimated 1,500-to-1,800 people are expected to attend.
Klickitat County is trying to generate interest for someone to develop an assisted living facility, most notably in the west end of the county. There is no assisted living facility in Klickitat County, and County Commissioner David Sauter says that puts families in a difficult position. Sauter says the hope is to entice a private sector party to build such a facility, similar to the Rock Cove facility in Skamania County. He noted that’s actually owned by the Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation and has been successful. The big obstacle is the high cost of property in the western end of Klickitat County.
The City of Hood River’s extension of the municipal wastewater plant’s outfall pipe farther into the Columbia River is wrapping up. The City was required to do the work by the Department of Environmental Quality after the 2006 rush of debris from the Hood River changed where the proper mixing zone in the Columbia River for treated wastewater is. City Manager Steve Wheeler says the other portion of the project extends the path to the Hook area. Asphalt for the path should be finished by the end of the week.
Sherman 5, Oakland 0
Sherman 15, Joseph 5
Sherman 13, Sheridan 1 : The Huskies sweep three games at the Grant Union Tournament
Stevenson 11, Fort Vancouver 7
Granger 3, Goldendale 2
Granger 4, Goldendale 1
Columbia 2, King’s Way Christian 0
During a groundbreaking ceremony for Google’s new 600 million dollar data center in the Columbia Gorge Industrial Center, Google Operations Manager Dave Karlson announced the company had purchased some of the former Northwest Aluminum site. Karlson did not have complete details on the purchase made last week, adding the company has not developed any immediate plans for use of the property, but they want a place for future expansion. The location is near where the Fort Dalles Rodeo Grounds were located, and Karlson said they are talking with rodeo officials about the potential for that land to be used for that event while the Fort Dalles Rodeo Association looks for a new permanent location. He added Google would provide funding to help pay for new arena equipment. The rodeo sold most of its components during the fall when they were informed they could no longer utilize the property where the former Milt Tumilson Arena stood. Fort Dalles Rodeo Association President Damon Hulit expressed cautious optimism. Hulit said he has been talking with Google for the past two months, adding there is still study to be done to see if it is feasible. Hulit said there will still be no rodeo this year, but the aim would be to restart the event in 2017. He added there has been no progress yet in the search for a permanent location for a rodeo arena.
Google formally broke ground Thursday on its new 600 million dollar data center in the Columbia Gorge Industrial Center, the third it has built in The Dalles in the past decade. Local governmental officials took part in the ceremony. Google Operations Manager Dave Karlson said the new building represents the company’s commitment to Wasco County. He said they are unsure about when the new center will be ready for business. When this data center is operational, combined Google payments to local governments under enterprise zone agreements for the three that have been constructed will reach nearly 2.2 million dollars annually. Wasco County Commissioner Scott Hege says the agreements have been beneficial to the area, adding it shows how The Dalles can accommodate growing companies. At the event, Google announced a $100,000 grant to The Dalles-Wasco County Library for STEM equipment and programs in its new children’s wing.
The Hood River County Commission has set a public hearing for April 18 to consider an emergency ordinance to prohibit the production and processing of marijuana on properties zoned rural residential. Administrator David Meriwether says the County has received inquiries about those kind of operations, and while a permanent ordinance would go through the usual planning process, this would be a placeholder to allow that process to move forward. The hearing will take place April 18 in the County Administration Building. In other business, Commissioners declared this coming Monday will be Minoru Yasui Day in Hood River County. Yasui received the Presidential Medal Of Freedom in November for his work protesting the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
The Dalles Main Street is developing a new program to help support downtown vitality. The non-profit program’s Business Retention and Expansion program will involve staff, volunteers, and many partner organizations sitting down one-on-one with businesses and property owners to better understand their challenges and opportunities, and work to connect businesses to support services. Visitation teams will contact 40 randomly selected downtown The Dalles business and property owners to setup meetings to gather information needed to identify top areas of concern and help prioritize efforts of Main Street and other agencies. The program has been developed by a team made up of the Small Business Development Center, Port of The Dalles, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, Main Street Business committee, and others. Detailed information on the program can be found on-line at thedallesmainstreet.org.
Washington Democrats hold their presidential nomination caucus on Saturday. In Klickitat County, caucus locations are Henkle Middle School in White Salmon for west end precincts and Goldendale Grange Hall for east end precincts. Sign in begins at 9:30 in the morning, with caucusing starting at 10 a.m. Pre-registration is available on-line at klickitatdemocrats.org. Voting is limited to registered votes, but registration will be available at the caucus location.
The Oregon and Washington transportation departments say they won’t extend the 2015-16 studded tire season past March 31. Studded tires are allowed in Oregon and Washington from November 1 through March 31 each year. Laws in both states allow studded tire season to be extended when necessary, but current weather forecasts do not support an extension this year. The Oregon Department of Transportation encourages drivers to consider other types of traction tires or chains to help minimize roadway damage caused by studded tires. Drivers with studded tires on their vehicles after the deadline in Oregon can be charged with a Class C traffic violation, and in Washington can receive an infraction with a $124 fine.