A fire that started when a pickup truck overheated burned 20 acres on Seven Mile Hill west of The Dalles on Tuesday. According to Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, the fire started around 3:30 p.m. It began with smoke and flame under the engine, but spread to a trailer containing hay, and then to the surrounding grassland. Crews from MCFR, Dallesport, Mosier, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area were involved in fighting the fire. The fire originated four miles from The Dalles on Seven Mile Hill Road, and eventually was stopped at Mountain View Road. Seven Mile Hill Road was shut down for about two-and-a-half hours as a result of the fire.
The Hood River City Council will be considering the topic of discouraging the use of single-use plastic bags in about six weeks. It comes out of a recent “plastic bag summit” conducted by Mayor Paul Blackburn last week involving citizens and business representatives. Blackburn says one option will be to consider an ordinance that has been adopted by Corvallis that would not allow the giveaway of single-use plastic bags, with a charge for paper bags. Blackburn says the paper bag charge is to encourage re-use. Other options that will get consideration will include doing nothing, and City Manager Steve Wheeler says Councilor Mark Zanmiller will be developing a third option to bring to the table.
By a 5-1 vote, the Hood River City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance to amend zoning requirements for vacation home rentals and hosted home shares. It includes a seven-year amortization period in which those renting homes that are not their primary residence can continue to do so to the same extent they are now, and must meet parking requirements within five years. Primary residents could rent their homes for a period of up to 90 days. Mayor Paul Blackburn says he feels good about what the Council developed, adding it will “help our town, and really manage this rapidly growing change that’s been pretty disruptive.” Public testimony taken before deliberations fell along similar lines as previous hearings, with supporters of the ordinance citing the need to preserve neighborhoods, and opponents saying it will hurt the local tourism and recreation sector and will not create more affordable housing. The ordinance comes back for final passage at the panel’s September 12 meeting.
The Dalles City Council is taking its usual August hiatus, but there will be plenty of issues waiting for them. One of those is what is called a “gap analysis” of the municipal public works department that is being done by an outside consultant. Mayor Steve Lawrence says the analysis reviews the department to find where efficiencies can be found, noting there are a lot questions he and the Council have. The report should be ready by November.
The Port of The Dalles is working out the details of a lease agreement with a new management firm to lease and operate the Port’s marina. The Dalles Marina LLC was approved by Port Commissioners earlier this month after a subcommittee reviewed proposals from three different groups. The Dalles Marina LLC is made up of current Port bookkeeper Angie McNabb and Lori Stirn, who is about to step away from her position as director of the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District. The Port’s Kathy Norton says both are boat house owners and have extensive marina backgrounds. Norton added they hope to have a lease agreement in place for the September 21 Port board meeting.
The Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office is conducting extra patrols through Labor Day to crackdown on intoxicated drivers. The efforts are part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign aimed at encouraging everyone to get a safe ride, especially if alcohol, prescription or overthecounter medicine, or other drug use might be causing any impairment. The Washington State Patrol is also participating in the campaign. Washington Traffic Safety Commission Director Darrin Grondel says they want drivers to be as aware of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs as they are of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol.
With another month of summer to go…the warning to be careful in regards to fire continues to be issued. Klickitat County Commissioner and rancher Jim Sizemore says extremely dry conditions will continue, and that means the need to be careful does as well. He points out that anyone working outdoors with equipment should have someone else watching to make sure a fire does not start. Contact your local fire prevention agency for details on restrictions currently in place. Nearly all fire districts in the region have some kind of burn ban restriction at this time that will continue until significant rainfall occurs during autumn.
The City of Hood River will be making repairs to the Ultraviolet light disinfection system in its wastewater treatment plant. City Manager Steve Wheeler says the lights in the nearly 20-year-old system have begun to go out, and they need to be fixed to maintain proper treatment of effluent that goes into the Columbia River. Cost of the repairs is just over $48,600. Wheeler noted while this repair was not anticipated in the current budget, there are several Sewer Capital Fund projects to make it possible savings on those efforts could pay for it, and if not there is over 51-thousand dollars of contingency funds in the sewer budget for this kind of situation.
The Dalles Public Works crews will be painting street lines Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Motorists are asked to watch for the crews and avoid driving on the wet paint. The paint truck will be preceded and followed by warning vehicles, with signs calling attention to the wet paint. The trucks will be spaced according to the necessary drying time of the paint. Attempting to pass or drive between the trucks will result in a messy striping job and paint damage to the motorist’s vehicle. On Tuesday Public Works crews will be paving Federal Street from 8th to 10th Street. No on street parking will be available on this section of Federal Street from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
A downed power pole as the result of a noon-time accident involving a camper will keep the lower part of 13th Street on Hospital Hill in Hood River closed for a few hours this afternoon. Hood River Fire Chief Devon Wells says 13th Street from Sherman to Oak and State Street from 9th to 13th will be closed while Pacific Power crews work on installing the new pole. The accident occurred around noon today. Wells says the driver of the camper did not realize his slider was out while driving, and while coming down 13th sheared the power pole at the State Street intersection, which also brought down a power line on the nearby van. Wells indicated the vehicles involved were removed safely, and no one was hurt.