The North Wasco County School District 21 board appointed Lori McCanna to fill the long-vacant Zone 3 seat on the panel. McCanna is in management with the Oregon Department of Human Services. D-21 Superintendent Candy Armstrong says McCanna works in a profession that uses the Sancutary model the district uses. McCanna’s seat will be up for election this coming spring. Armstrong noted they had two outstanding candidates for the seat, with D-21 budget committee member Aaron Bowman also considered.
The Washington Department of Transportation says repainting and other work starting next week on the White Salmon Bridge along Highway 141 in Husum will cause delays for about two months. Temporary stoplights at each end of the bridge and at Oak Ridge Road will guide alternating one-way traffic during the work, leading to delays of up to ten minutes. Crews will replace expansion joints on the bridge deck, then begin painting. The 74-year-old bridge was last painted in 1988, and the transportation department says its protective coating is deteriorating. Crews won’t work below the deck of the bridge before September 22, allowing rafters to float under the bridge until the first day of autumn.
A hiker who fell and injured himself on Mt. Adams on Sunday was rescued. The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office says the 39-year-old hiker was taken to Skyline Hospital in White Salmon early Monday. The man had called for help at about 1 p.m. on Sunday after falling in boulders on Mt. Adams and possibly breaking his leg and ribs. The rescue took more than 15 hours, as a storm system prevented a helicopter rescue. Several wilderness rangers went in on foot to bring the man down the mountain.
The Columbia River Gorge Commission approved its budget request to the state of Oregon for the 2015-17 biennium, and it includes a proposal to increase staff from the current six full-time positions to 11. Most of the proposed new positions would be in planning, including a Principal Planner, two full-time development review specialists, and a resource specialist. It would require Oregon to up its two-year budget commitment by just over $768,000, a figure Washington would have to match. Under the compact that created the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and the Gorge Commission, the two states must provide the same amount of funding. The Commission proposal says the staffing increase would significantly reduce its growing backlog of development review permits, pursue a recreational planning assessment and an urban area boundaries policy, give technical assistance to Gorge counties implementing the Scenic Area Act, and facilitate a discussion on the risks of increased rail transport through the Gorge.
Work will start after Labor Day on the final tasks of the State Street project in downtown Hood River. City Manager Steve Wheeler says the goal is to finish during this calendar year. State Street will be closed to traffic during work hours the week of September 15 to remove overhead wires and power poles. The following week, Oak Street from First to Front and Front Street from Oak to State will be closed to complete sidewalks. Final paving of State Street is set for the last week of October. There will be other partial closures at times. Restroom construction on Third and State will start in two to three weeks.
Testing is continuing on Klickitat County’s new emergency communications system. County Commissioner Jim Sizemore says while construction on the system is done, there is some fine-tuning that still needs to be done. Some of it involves the mountain top tower sites that give the county the best coverage, but also are susceptible to interference. Sizemore says the interference has not caused any issues for emergency response. He noted some of the testing found some improper wiring connections.
A 52-year-old Mosier woman was killed Sunday morning when she was hit by a pickup truck while riding a bicycle along Interstate 84. The Oregon State Police says Ellen Dittebrandt was westbound and approaching the Viento State Park off ramp when the pickup driven by 55-year-old John Allman of Portland traveled onto the shoulder and struck the bicycle from behind. Dittebrandt…who was wearing a helmet…was pronounced deceased at the scene. She was a local artist and Mosier firefighter and emergency medical technician…having been named Mosier’s firefighter of the year in 2010. Allman was not injured and is cooperating with the Oregon State Police in the investigation. The OSP indicated driver fatigue has been identified as a contributing factor. The completed investigation will be forwarded to the Hood River County District Attorney’s Office for review. The westbound lanes of I-84 were closed for about 90 minutes Sunday morning due to the accident.
The Rowena Fire has been lined and turned over to local fire agencies for monitoring. Oregon Department of Forestry officials say the size of the fire and variety of terrain makes it impossible to completely extinguish until there is significant precipitation. Local crews will be checking the fire daily until it is declared out. Interior burns and smokes will be visible until winter when there is an increase in moisture. Fire agencies are asking people take the time to observe the location of the smoke in relationship to the exterior fire perimeter. Those who have a concern about observed smoke inside of the fire perimeter should contact either the Oregon Department of Forestry at 541-296-4626 or Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue at 541-296-9445. If smoke or fire is observed outside of the fire perimeter, call 9-1-1. The Tom McCall Trail was used as a portion of the fire line and for public safety will remain closed until sometime this winter.
Three people were injured Thursday afternoon in a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Highway 35 and Booth Hill Road south of Hood River. According to Oregon State Police Lieutenant Patrick Shortt, a pick-up driven by 36-year-old Wesley Baker of Parkdale was southbound on Highway 35 when a car driven by 33-year-old Sharye Struiksma of Lynden, Washington turned from eastbound Booth Hill Road into the highway, and the two vehicles collided. Struiksma was taken by LifeFlight to Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Medical Center for treatment of what were termed critical injurieswhile her passengers, 63-year-old Judith Struiksma and 10-year-old Luke Struiksma of Lynden, were both transported to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital. Baker was not transported for treatment. Highway 35 was partially blocked for about two-and-a-half hours because of the accident. The investigation of the accident is continuing.
Hood River Police continue to investigate a Wednesday armed robbery at a downtown gas station. The robbery occurred at about 7 a.m. Wednesday at the Astro station on 214 Front Street. Police reports indicate an attendant said a man was standing near the Astro office building and got the attendant’s attention as he walked by. When the attendant walked over to him, the man brandished what was reported as a large caliber gun and demanded money. The attendant complied, and the suspect then fled down First Street. Police describe the suspect as Hispanic in his early 20’s, about five-feet-seven to five-feet-ten inches tall, weighing 140 to 150 pounds, with light complexion, a thin mustache, and speaking broken English. Anyone who may have information about the case is asked to contact Hood River Police Detective Mike Martin at 541-387-5257.