Klickitat County Commissioners are entering the final stages of work on the County’s 2017 budget. A preliminary budget document is ready, and perhaps most notably it includes a six percent pay increase for non-unionized employees. County Commissioner Rex Johnston says that came about after a recent employee survey found most liked working for the County but felt the pay was low, and a comparison with other rural counties in Washington found that was the case. He adds to keep good employees, the County must remain competitive with their compensation. The County Commission will be approving the budget in December.
Oregon Class 1-A Football Championships
Dufur 42, Crane 38: The Rangers scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes to come from behind and win the Oregon Class 1-A high school football championship for the second straight year. Asa Farrell caught a 45 yard pass from Bailey Keever to pull Dufur within four points. The Rangers then recovered an onside kick and went 48 yards in a little over three minutes, taking the lead of Keever’s three-yard run. Crane got one more chance with the football, but two sacks prevented any opportunity to generate a game-saving drive. Farrell provided Dufur with 269 combined rushing and receiving yards while scoring three touchdowns, and Keever ran for 79 yards and two scores while throwing for three touchdowns. Dufur won the title for the second straight year, beating Crane by four points in the final both times. The Rangers now have won eight state football championships.
When the Northern Wasco PUD board holds a budget worksession this Tuesday, a proposal to raise rates five percent in each of the next two years will be on the table. PUD General Manager Roger Kline says concern for aging infrastructure is driving the discussion. Kline points out the average pole age in their system is just over 40 years, which is going beyond its intended lifespan. He says they have an aggressive five year capital plan that includes construction of a brand new substation in the Columbia Gorge Industrial Center. Kline adds the Northern Wasco PUD currently has the third lowest power rates in Oregon. Tuesday’s meeting begins at 2:30 p.m. in the PUD board room on 2345 River Road in The Dalles.
The group seeking to construct a youth center in The Dalles says they have received an offer of 30-thousand dollars from a donor if the community will match the gift. Amie Baldy of the Gorge Youth Center said making this match would bring in $60,000 toward building the center. The deadline for donations toward these matching funds is December 31. A donor has provided 2.5 acres of land behind Motel 6 in The Dalles for the Center, and design ideas have begun. To donate toward the matching funds campaign, go on-line to depositagift.com and search with the word Gorge, or go to the Center’s website GorgeYouthCenter.org for a direct link. The center’s Facebook page also includes a link.
Bonneville Power Administration operators are prepared for the energy anomaly that they see every Thanksgiving Day. They have planned for an unusual bulge, or peak, in the morning as millions of people across the Pacific Northwest gather to cook meals, which rely heavily on the use of ovens and other appliances. After the big meal, system operators will be on hand to ramp power down during the tryptophan drop off. On a typical November weekday, BPA’s regional load sees two peaks — one in the morning and one in the evening. But on Thanksgiving a different pattern emerges, ramping up at 9 a.m. as people cook their turkeys and pies. Power consumption on Thanksgiving then tends to stay up higher throughout the morning compared to a normal day when loads drop off in the middle of the day. When Thanksgiving loads start to wane, they stay low for the rest of the day, as cooking is done and the tryptophan sets in, rather than increasing again to an evening peak as they would on normal weekdays.
Community Thanksgiving meals are being planned in both Hood River and The Dalles. In Hood River, it will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Thursday at Riverside Church, with all food donated and work done by community volunteers. In The Dalles, the Salvation Army is sponsoring the community Thanksgiving meal from noon to 3 p.m. at St. Mary’s Academy.
Mid-Columbia Medical Center’s Total Hip and Total Knee replacement programs were recently accredited by the Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization that accredits healthcare programs in the country. MCMC underwent an onsite review early this month, as Joint Commission experts evaluated MCMC’s compliance with advanced disease-specific care standards and total hip and total need replacement requirements, including orthopaedic consultation, and pre-operative, intraoperative and post-surgical orthopaedic surgeon follow-up care. MCMC is one of less than a dozen hospitals in the state with this accreditation. Both programs have been accredited since 2012, when MCMC became the second hospital in Oregon to have received this distinguish accolade.
A public hearing on the appeal by Apollo Land Holdings of the Hood River County Planning Commission’s denial of an application to construct a 50 room hotel on the former Dee Mill site as part of the DeeTour project has been continued to December 19. The County Commission hearing was scheduled for Monday evening, but with Commission Chair Ron Rivers on vacation and Bob Benton recusing himself due to a conflict of interest, there were only three remaining members of the Commission to hear testimony, and that’s the number of votes required by the County Charter to make any decision. County Counsel emeritus Will Carey said traditionally the Commission has allowed a request for a continuance if the appellant desired. And attorney Mike Robinson, representing Apollo, made the request, noting they had submitted an extension of the 150 day clock that would give the Commission until the end of the year to render a decision. Commissioners Les Perkins, Maui Meyer, and Karen Joplin voted unanimously to grant the continuance.
The Dalles City Council got an update on the wastewater treatment plant build out during a special worksession on Monday evening. Mayor Steve Lawrence says they will be receiving at a Council meeting on December 12 the completion of the design for a second phase that is enlarging capacity and find a way to use the methane gas the plant produces to power it. He adds it will cost about 11 million dollars, but they will be able to fund it without bonding or raising sewer rates. The plan is to have construction start in January, with work to be finished by the end of next year. Some changes are being made to the design to accommodate challenges that arose in the upgrade, including a new structure to house the headworks, additional piping work, and a second backup power generator to handle the electrical loads of an upgraded plant.
Hood River County Commissioners received a report on snow removal polices from the County Public Works Department as the winter season approaches. Priorities for road plowing remain essentially the same as they have in the past, starting with high traffic volume roads, then school bus routes, remaining county roads, and subdivision, cul-de-sac, and outlying dwellings on gravel roads. County Administrator Jeff Hecksel noted the department has lost several experienced plow operators in the last few years, and that could slow the process. Standard county policies call for snow removal operations to begin at four in the morning when sufficient accumulation is present.