The search is continuing today for a 31-year-old Milwaukie man who has been missing in the Mount Hood area since the weekend. The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office is leading the search for Gerren Kirk, who was reported missing by his family over the weekend when he did not return home from a camping trip. Kirk’s car was found Monday in the Frog Lake Campground parking lot off of Highway 26. An aerial search was planned for today. The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, Crag Rats, and the U.S. Forest Service are assisting in the search for Kirk. Anyone who might have information should call the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office at 541-506-2580.
Health officials are still urging people to get a flu shot, even though a Centers for Disease Control report last week indicate the vaccine is less effective this year because of a mutated virus that doesn’t match the strains included in the vaccine. The Hood River County Health Department’s Ellen Larsen says it is still a good idea to get a flu shot, noting during some flu seasons the primary strain will change. Larsen notes flu shots remain available from health care providers and pharamcies. She adds the Hood River County Health Department does have flu vaccine available for those who are uninsured.
Hood River Valley 76, Putnam 71
Barlow 56, The Dalles 38
Kalama 44, Columbia 39
Dufur 65, Culver 26
Lyle-Wishram 52, South Wasco 46
Horizon Christian 62, Riverside 36
White Swan 45, Goldendale 43
Putnam 48, The Dalles 44
Ridgefield 60, Stevenson 37
Culver 42, Dufur 31
Lyle-Wishram 60, South Wasco 36
Riverside 53, Horizon Christian 17
Goldendale 43, White Swan 34
The Hood River City Council has approved a resolution opposing transporting crude oil through the Columbia River Gorge by rail or barge. In the resolution, City officials say they agree with concerns outlined earlier this year by the Columbia River Gorge Commission in regards to the potential hazards surrounding the oil trains. The City asks the Governors of Oregon and Washington to oppose crude oil transport through the Gorge, and urges the federal government to immediately implement safety regulations on train speeds and car designs which are not proven to safely transport crude oil. Councilors also want Union Pacific Railroad to submit an emergency environmental clean-up plan, and the state to do an environmental impact statement on the impacts of the crude oil transport on communities.
The Port of The Dalles is beginning to highlight some of the businesses on Port property in video vignettes on its website. Port Executive Director Andrea Klaas says it was the brainchild of Port Marketing Director Kathy Ursprung. She says part of the Port’s mission is not only to bring in new business to the community but support existing businesses. Klaas also notes that some of the Port’s best advertising is the current businesses who are having success, and this lets potential new tenants know the who their neighbors are. The videos are also available on a Port of The Dalles YouTube channel.
Wasco County Commissioner Rod Runyon says road issues played a large part in an Association of Oregon Counties Legislative Committee meeting in preparation for the upcoming legislative session in Salem. Runyon says there is a belief a state gas tax increase of around four cents a gallon is coming, but an Oregon Association of Surveyors and Engineers proposal of how to divide up that increase was of interest in particular to smaller counties. It would divide one-third of it equally among all counties regardless of size, one-third based on motor vehicle registrations, and the rest based on mileage. Runyon says under that plan with a four-cent gas tax increase, Wasco County could realize $500,000 to $600,000 in additional revenue. The current gas tax is divided by motor vehicle registration numbers, and that won’t change.
The Dalles City Council, acting in its capacity as the Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Board, voted to recommend a nine-month extension for Rapoza Development to purchase the Recreation Building and the Blue Building in the Granada Block for a hotel development, but placed more financial requirements on the extension than what was recommended by its advisory committee. The extension plan that was approved by a 4-2 vote was put forward by Councilor Dan Spatz, and was based on an original agreement developed by a working committee he was a part of. It calls for Rapoza to pay a $10,000 non-refundable deposit upon signing the agreement and another $40,000 by December 31, for the company to pick up carrying costs, and submit a hotel franchise application by April 30, with $40,000 of the $50,000 deposit going toward the franchise fee and the fees surrounding term sheets to generate capital through the federal EB-5 program. The advisory committee had put forward a recommendation that required Rapoza to only provide a $10,000 deposit, but that was defeated by the board on 4-2 vote with only Bill Dick and Carolyn Wood supporting. The extension includes a direction to staff to prepare a request for proposal for the property should Rapoza not be able to meet the timelines. Tim McGlothlin joined Spatz, Dick, and Wood in approving the extension, while Linda Miller and Mayor Steve Lawrence voted against both proposals.
The wintry weather of recent weeks pushed back planned work on the North Chenoweth Industrial Park. Port of The Dalles Executive Director Andrea Klaas says they hoped to have a first layer of paving down this fall, but the cold temperatures may extend the paving work into next year. The North Chenoweth site will be a part of the state of Oregon’s certified industrial site program. That means due diligence has been done to allow building on the site to begin without delay. Klaas noted the Port did that with the Google site in the early 2000s.
Governor John Kitzhaber’s proposed state budget for the 2015-17 biennium would provide a continuing level of funding for counties in Oregon. Hood River County Administrator David Meriwether sees some positives in the area of public safety, with some more funding for community and juvenile corrections. Meriwether says there are some tweaks in various budget areas, but overall it will be a continuing level of funding, which is welcome news after reductions the past few years. He adds if the Oregon Supreme Court reverses reforms to the Public Employees Retirement System adopt by the Legislature there would be impacts on future budgets, but he does not expect that would change the upcoming biennium.