A recent court ruling has some area governmental agencies worried about being able to continue to offer free open areas for people to recreate, and asking the Oregon Legislature to do something about it. The ruling by the state Supreme Court held that recreational immunity from tort liability in the state’s Public Lands Act was intended to only immunize the actual landowner, but not employees or volunteers acting on behalf of the landowner. Port of The Dalles Executive Director Andrea Klaas is worried that would make it difficult for public and private landowners to offer their properties for recreational use, and to encourage volunteers to help maintain them. A number of groups, including the League of Oregon Cities, Association of Oregon Counties, and Special Districts Association of Oregon, are pushing legislators to amend the Public Lands Act to extend recreational immunity to a landowner’s officers, employees, agents, or volunteers.
A Washington State House committee is considering a bill by Goldendale Representative Gina McCabe that would require seatbelts on school buses. The bill would require every school bus in Washington be equipped with a shoulder-harness seat belt by September 2018, and McCabe told the House Education Committee kids are at risk if they’re on a bus with no seat belts. McCabe also proposes in the bill to require automated cameras be installed to detect drivers who blow through the stop arm when kids are getting on and off buses, and using the fines to pay for the seatbelts. The measure is awaiting action in the House Education Committee.
Reviewing the history of the Public Employees Retirement System has been the subject before the Oregon State Senate’s Workforce Committee, and one member of the panel feels there isn’t much that can be done with it in the short-term. 29th District Senator Bill Hansell says the courts have vetted the subject so thoroughly that there aren’t a whole lot of legislative options left to deal with the impact of PERS on the state budget at this time. Hansell says there are steps that can be taken to reign in PERS costs down the road, but it would be many years before the relief would be felt.
There are four different levy measures on the ballot in Klickitat and Skamania counties in Tuesday’s election in Washington. Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday to be counted. Three of the levies are maintenance and operations levies for schools. Voters in the White Salmon Valley, Lyle, and Trout Lake school districts are being asked to approve those. The other is in the Home Valley Water District, where a decision will be made on a maintenance and capital improvement fund levy.
Searchers early Monday morning found two hikers who became lost in the Eagle Creek Trail area. Hood River County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Pete Hughes said the pair, a man and a woman from the Portland area, went out on the Eagle Creek Trail Sunday and became lost when descending the Ruckel Creek Trail. The hikers made phone contact with the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office dispatch office around 6:30 p.m. Sunday. A team from Crag Rats Mountain Search and Rescue located the pair shortly after 1 a.m. Monday, and escorted them off the trail. Both were in good health.
The Dalles 76, Hood River Valley 60
Horizon Christian 60, Mitchell-Spray 29
Horizon Christian 56, Ione 36
South Wasco 56, Ione 50
South Wasco 74, Mitchell-Spray 31
Dufur 74, Condon-Wheeler 52
Dufur 55, Arlington 36
Sherman 84, Arlington 34
Sherman 81, Condon-Wheeler 34
Sunnyside Christian 76, Klickitat 16
Tri-Cities Prep 69, Lyle-Wishram 48
Southwest Washington Class 1A Boys Basketball Tournament
Forks 68, Stevenson 56
The Dalles 45, Hood River Valley 29
Pendleton 49, The Dalles 43
Horizon Christian 67, Mitchell-Spray 17
Horizon Christian 63, Ione 35
South Wasco 53, Ione 21
South Wasco 51, Mitchell-Spray 26
Condon-Wheeler 57, Dufur 41
Arlington 48, Dufur 21
Arlington 62, Sherman 27
Sherman 55, Condon-Wheeler 37
Walla Walla Valley Academy 73, Lyle-Wishram 13
Southwest Washington Class 1A Girls Basketball Tournament
Montesano 69, Stevenson 26
Hood River Valley won the girls portion of the Columbia River Conference swim meet at the Hood River Aquatic Center. Allison Burke and Sarah Gottschalk won two events each for HRV, while Courtney Castaneda and Yasmeen Ziada also scored first place finishes, along with the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams. Natalie Varland won the 100 breaststoke for The Dalles. Hermiston won the boys team title. Philip Hecksel won two events for Hood River, while David Hecksel grabbed one first place finish, and the Eagles’ 200 medley relay team was also a winner.
Three Hood River Valley wrestlers won championships at the OSAA Class 5A Special District 4 wrestling tournament in Hermiston, while two others earned invitations to the state tournament in two weeks at Portland Memorial Coliseum. Ryan Zeller, Jason Shaner, and Justin Wilson all won their weight classes, while Chad Muenzer advanced with a second place finish and Adrian Ramirez grabbed a state berth with a third place finish. HRV finished sixth as a team, while The Dalles was ninth. Steven Preston and Glenn Breckterfield topped the Riverhawk effort with sixth place finishes
Stevenson advanced five wrestlers and Columbia three to next week’s Mat Classic at the WIAA Class 1A Regional Tournament at Royal. For Stevenson, Cody Miller and Jesse Hoffberger won their weight classes while Georgi Schertaki, Braden Waymire, and Brandon Connell also move on to state. Columbia’s James Bell and Alex Medina grabbed first place finishes, with Fletcher Andrews also moving on to Tacoma.
Goldendale’s Cameron Read finished second at 195 pounds and Mykhail Lembke was fourth at the WIAA Class 1A Region 1 tournament in Cowiche to advance to the Mat Classic.
Columbia’s Colin Howe finished first and Hood River Valley’s Chris McElwee was second in a Mt. Hood League boys’ giant slalom at Mt. Hood Meadows. Martin Carter of The Dalles was fourth, while HRV claimed five of the top ten places. HRV dominated the girls’ race, with Josie Peterson, Chloe Kurahara, and Erin Sutherland finishing 1-2-3, and the Eagles claiming seven of the top eleven spots. Mattea Schwab of Horizon Christian was sixth,
The Dalles finished second to South Albany at the state Class 5A cheerleading competition in Portland.
The Dalles City Council kept its goals for the 2017-18 fiscal year fairly basic during a goal-setting session this week. Mayor Steve Lawrence says they focused the goals on three areas: finishing projects already underway, solidifying departments for the various new department heads the City has, and finish studies currently underway. Topping the goals list are repairs of the Dog River water pipeline and increasing the capacity of the Crow Creek Dam. Lawrence said the only new goal is to develop a plan for the homeless.
The Dalles Civic Auditorium Historic Preservation Committee says it will begin reconstruction of the building’s theater in March. Reconstruction will be done in phases, with the first phase focusing on ceiling repair, HVAC upgrades, and reinstallation of the original chandeliers. That will permit theater, storytelling, and live music performances by the end of this summer. When the initial phase is complete, seating for approximately 400 will be available. Work in the initial phase is being funded by a combination of local gifts, pledges, and Urban Renewal dollars committed in 2015. Costs are estimated to be $300,000.
Oregon 59th District State Representative John Huffman says he’s concerned the current legislative session could turn out to be the most partisan and controversial he’s been involved with. The Republican from The Dalles says statements from Oregon Governor Kate Brown and House Speaker Tina Kotek, both Democrats, have him concerned positions are solidifying too early in the process. Huffman notes that everyone in Salem wants a comprehensive transportation package to come out of this session, but early rancor could set that effort back.
A bipartisan group of Washington State Representatives led by Yakima Republican Norm Johnson and Tacoma Democrat Laurie Jinkins have introduced legislation to create a long-term care benefit for Washington state workers and seniors. The Long-Term Care Trust Act would establish a public trust, similar to unemployment insurance, which would fund a long-term care benefit open to all who pay into the program. If enacted, a small percentage would be deducted from Washington workers’ pay to fund the trust. People would pay while they’re working and be eligible to draw on the benefits of the trust after they’ve worked three of the past six years, or 10 years total. The legislation is intended to address a looming fiscal crisis faced by the state as the baby boom generation retires. Johnson says the state needs to prepare now, and believes this bill has “the right balance of personal and familial responsibility, consumer choice, and common sense.” The reform effort is broadly supported by a number of senior advocacy organizations. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for next Friday in the House Health Care and Wellness Committee.