The Dalles City Council, acting in its capacity as the Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Agency Board, directed staff to give Rapoza Development a “notice of default” in its agreement to redevelop the Granada block into a hotel and conference center, giving Rapoza 60 days to provide information in two specific areas of the project. City Manager Nolan Young said the notice is a legal term to indicate work needs to take place to show the project’s viability, as Councilors want their representative Gary Rains to meet with representatives of Hilton Hotels about Rapoza’s branding application, and give Rains more information about their “capital stack” to fund the project. Rapoza’s Michael Leash said he understood why the City took its action, and they would get the information to Rains. Mayor Steve Lawrence says the action was a reminder that Rapoza has some significant requirements to meet by a September 30 deadline in the Disposition and Development Agreement. Leash says his confidence level to get the deal done is about 100 percent.
After a lengthy discussion, The Dalles City Council gave the Riverfront Trail Committee the go-ahead to explore if it is feasible to finish the eastern end of the trail on the south side of Interstate 84. The north side of the freeway has been ruled out due to tribal archaeological and cultural concerns. The decision came after a lengthy Council discussion. Councilor Russ Brown said he wasn’t very happy about going to the other side of the Interstate, but noted with one-point-seven million dollars of state grant money and donated matching funds in hand the Council really couldn’t justify telling the committee to stop its work. A tentative plan would take the path from the Port of The Dalles Marina over the freeway to the access road, follow the old levy road up to Three Mile Creek, build a bridge to go over the creek, then go under Highway 197 and follow I-84 to the railroad bridge underneath the freeway, and to the south side of Bret Clodfelter Way to connect to the trail to The Dalles Dam.
Two athletes who competed for Columbia Gorge high schools had top twenty finishes in the Pan-Am Games in Toronto over the weekend. Trout Lake’s Spencer Paxson was sixth in the men’s cross county mountain bike event. Paxson finished in a time of 1:36:37, 5:23 behind gold medalist Raphael Gagne of Canada. Hood River’s Erin Jones took 19th in the women’s triathlon in a time of 2:05:52. Barbara Riveros of Chile was the gold medalist in that event.
The Mt. Adams Complex of fires now has a listed containment level of 63 percent. Firefighters who have been batting the quartet of fires on the west flank of Mt. Adams found heat remaining in the larger Horseshoe and Riley fires. Crews Monday will evaluate the perimeter of the Horseshoe Fire and extinguish remaining heat sources. Three Hotshot crews are working to mop up the Riley Fire perimeter, with the remaining heat scattered through the northern portion of that fire. No heat was detected in the Canyon or 7 Lakes fires, so they have been converted to patrol status. In addition, the Spiral Fire was detected Sunday afternoon burning among lava beds west of the Mt. Adams Complex. One crew and a helicopter from the complex assisted with initial attack, and work continues today to suppress that fire.
NORCOR and federal Department of Justice officials are talking about bringing more of a mental health component to the four-county regional jail facility. Local stakeholders and federal representatives held an initial mapping session two months ago, with another planned for this month. Hood River County Commission Chair and NORCOR board member Ron Rivers says the goal is to change incarceration at the regional jail to help people get better. Rivers noted this kind of program could also bring in revenue for NORCOR by making it available to other counties. He did emphasize the four NORCOR counties don’t have the money to establish it, and the federal government would have to provide some kind of grant to make it happen.
Oregon 59th District State Representative John Huffman says the just-completed legislative session was in some respects successful, but in other areas disappointing. Huffman said he thought the rules that were established for the sale of recreational marijuana, including a 17 percent sales tax, were good. But he was disappointed a transportation package could not be worked out, even though he expects those talks will continue on before next year’s shorter session. Huffman also expressed disappointment that nothing was approved to help deal with seismic retrofit of the state capital.
Oregon’s county fair season is about to shift into high gear in the weeks to come. That means it’s time to emphasize good biosecurity to protect animals and people from disease. Oregon Department of Agriculture field veterinarian Ryan Scholz says biosecurity is the best way to keep animals healthy before, during, and after events. Scholz says exhibitioners need to monitor their animals closely before bringing them to a fair, show, or competition. Afterwards, livestock owners need to isolate their animals from other animals back home for up to four weeks in case they harbor a virus. Outbreaks this year of high path avian influenza in backyard birds and equine herpes virus in horses underscore the importance of biosecurity.
Veterans and others are meeting this week to make plans for a sustainable farming operation as part of the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch. The non-profit group has worked to create a combination of farm and ranch on land outside of Bend, with a four-bedroom home on the property being converted into a hospice for veterans needing end-of-life care, with a goal of staffing them with veterans. Founder Alison Perry says the group is using permaculture methods to work the land instead of changing it to create certain growing conditions. She notes for veterans recovering from trauma, the approach is a learning experience on several levels. Perry says they would like to put a “tiny house” on the property for a foreman as finances permit and the farm and ranch operations get up and running.
Weather conditions last night produced a localized lightning storm in the area of the Horseshoe Fire in the Mt. Adams Wilderness. Lightning strikes started two fires. The size of the fires is unknown, as the Incident Team managing the Horseshoe Fire is also investigating these new fires. 305 personnel are on the scene as mop-up work around the perimeter of the fire continues and some are working suppression on the new fires. The Horseshoe Fire is still 250 acres and now 15% contained. Full containment is still expected on Sunday. The lower temperatures and higher humidity this weekend should help, although gusty winds could mitigate some of that help. The cause of the Horseshoe Fire is still unknown.
Effective today (Friday), the Gifford Pinchot National Forest will increase the Industrial Fire Precaution Level from Level 2 to Level 3. There are restrictions on firewood cutting with personal use firewood cutting prohibited, and timber operations and other industrial operations on National Forest System land will be required to follow Level 3 rules. Some activities are allowed between the hours of 8pm to 1pm. These precautions are in addition to Public Use Restrictions that began July 1st. For more details, contact the Gifford Pinchot Forest Headquarters at fs.usda.gov/giffordpinchot .