Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed the 16 billion dollar transportation package that includes funding for a new overpass on Highway 14 in Bingen to the Port of Klickitat. The package allocates 22 million dollars for the project, and 14th District Representative Norm Johnson says it’s a necessary project for a growing Port of Klickitat. The package does include an 11-point-nine cent increase in the Washington gas tax over the next two years. Johnson says he doesn’t like to vote to increase taxes, but the state’s transportation needs are at point where they must be addressed.
Searchers are continuing Wednesday to look in the Reservoir Road area of The Dalles for a 63-year-old woman who apparently never returned home for from a long walk on Monday. The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office says the granddaughter of Lucia Flores reported her missing, noting Flores sometimes goes on long walks but always returns home. Wasco County Road Department employees reported they observed Flores walking Mt. Hood Street and later in the 5800 block of Mill Creek Road. The Sheriff’s Office says additional information received Tuesday morning indicates Flores was seen walking southbound on Reservoir Road. Wasco and Klickitat County Search and Rescue members continue to search the Reservoir Road and Wicks Reservoir areas. Flores was last seen wearing dark pants, neon pink and black tennis shoes, and a pink shirt, and carrying a purse and a grocery bag. Anyone who may have seen Flores or have any other information is asked to call the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office at 541-296-5454. (Photo courtesy of the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office)
It’s Fort Dalles Rodeo time. The rodeo slack for excess entries for timed events will take place Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Milt Tumilson Arena. The regular performances take place Thursday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. This is the 50th Anniversary of the rodeo, and Rodeo President Damon Hulit says they have put together a big show this year to mark the occasion. Zac Grooms and Brewer’s Grade will perform after the rodeo on Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets are available at The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce.
It’s going to take a couple of more days than originally expected to do mop up of one of the fires in the Mt. Adams Complex. The 65-acre Riley Fire is on very steep ground on the west flank of Mt. Adams with green, fine fuels, and its perimeter is thick with snags. Hazard trees must be removed before firefighters can mop up, so rehabilitation of the Riley Fire has been pushed back to Friday. It’s listed as 15 percent contained. The nearby 340-acre Horseshoe Fire continues to experience flare-ups in unburned internal fuels, with mop-up expected to be finished Wednesday night. Both fires still contain hot spots, leaving fire managers concerned about upcoming drying through next week, potential increased fire activity, and low fuel moisture recoveries during the night. Containment for the entire complex is 70 percent.
The Port of Hood River Commission approved a $285,200 dollar contract with a New Jersey company to create a support system for the existing software in use for tolling on the Interstate Bridge, and put in place a new package in use at other toll facilities to streamline the operation. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says the original designers of the current automated tolling system have retired, so they need the support system for its maintenance while a new streamlined operation is installed. McElwee says the new package will be more reliable than what they currently have, with a less expensive transponder and allow customers to have the ability to manage their own account. McElwee expects it will take over a year to get the new system ready…and the Port plans to run both systems during a transition period.
Hood River County is closing in on becoming eligible for a federal Livestock Feed Program for cattle producers. The County was listed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture seven weeks ago as a D-2, or severe drought, area. Wasco and Hood River County Farm Service Agency Executive Director Kevin MacIntyre says if the designation reaches an eighth week, Hood River County cattle owners will become eligible for the program, which covers animal death from extreme heat, or loss of feed from a native range or improved pasture. The designation is determined by an on-line nationwide drought monitor system. McIntyre says the FSA will publically announce when the eight-week point is reached. Wasco County has already passed the eight-week threshold, and FSA is taking cattle producer applications for the Livestock Feed Program.
Wasco County authorities are searching for a 63-year-old woman who has not been seen since Monday afternoon. Kristy Beachamp of Wasco County Emergency Management says Lucia Flores was last seen about 4 p.m. on Monday in the area of Reservoir Road in The Dalles. Flores is described as Hispanic, and was wearing a pink shirt, black pants, and pink shoes, carrying a black bag and a blue Walmart bag. Residents living in the area of Reservoir Road are asked to check their property, including yards and outbuildings. Please call Wasco County Sheriff’s Office at 541-296-5454 if you have any information. (Photo courtesy of the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office).
Fire crews were getting the upper hand on a series of fires along Highway 197 from The Dalles to Dufur. The initial fire Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue crews responded to was a ten to fifteen acre field fire on Highway 197 between mileposts three and four near the Auction Yard. But then another four to fires were reported in a north to south pattern down to Eight Mile Road off of 197. MCFR’s Dave Lapof said crews were getting the fires controlled with one division coming from the north and the other working from the south and moving toward the middle. There is no estimate on the total acreage burned at this time. Crews from Dallesport, Dufur, Hood River, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the U.S. Forest Service were assisting MCFR. MCFR, the Forest Service, and ODF will be investigating the cause of the fires. The Oregon Department of Transportation closed Highway 197 six miles south of its intersection with Interstate 84 for a brief time as a result of the fires, but it has been reopened.
The two brothers facing murder charges in the 2014 disappearance of a Parkdale man have had their trials scheduled for mid-February of next year. Hood River County Circuit Judge Karen Ostrye set bail at $1,000,000 for both 22-year-old Donald Matthew Schneider and 27-year-old Michael David Schneider during a brief court proceeding Tuesday. Both men face murder, burglary, and theft charges along with other accusations in the disappearance of Jason Muschawek. Ostrye set the trial for both men to begin on February 16, with the expectation of a three-week trial. A status hearing has been scheduled for September 15. A third brother facing theft and burglary charges in the case, 23-year-old Peter Damian Schneider, will appear in court on Wednesday.
Oregon Second District Congressman Greg Walden says while Congress must carefully review details of the agreement restricting Iran’s nuclear development in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against Tehran, he will do all he can to stop a bad deal that threatens the safety of American troops, allies, and citizens. The Hood River Republican thinks the Obama Administration is rewarding bad behavior with permanent benefits in exchange for a temporary delay in their nuclear program. Congressional Republicans are openly hostile to the deal, while some Democrats are also skeptical. After receiving a copy of the agreement…Congress will have 60 days to study it before voting it up or down or taking no action, and President Obama says he will use his veto to overturn an outright rejection by Congress.