Oregon Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli says he isn’t sure all Democrats in that chamber will vote for to implement the low-carbon fuel standard. Ferrioli says Republicans have attached a minority report to what came out of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee this week that calls for the issue to be referred to voters. The John Day Republican assumes all the members of his party will vote against the standard, but he isn’t sure majority Democrats will vote for it. Critics of the standard say it would raise fuel prices without bringing a noticeable reduction in global carbon emissions. Proponents say price increases would be minimal, and it would spur investments in new technology.
Hood River Valley 66, The Dalles 12
Columbia 51, Seton Catholic 27: CHS finishes third in the Trico League, and will begin play in the Southwest Washington 1A District tourney next Friday on the road.
Castle Rock 42, Stevenson 24
Oregon 52nd District State Representative Mark Johnson says the on-going controversy swirling around Governor John Kitzhaber and fiancée Cylvia Hayes is becoming a major distraction in the Legislature. Johnson, a Hood River Republican who has worked closely with the Democrat Governor on education issues, says without an effective chief executive to help manage and direct the legislative process it can become chaotic. Johnson said on Mid-Columbia Today Thursday morning he doesn’t think Kitzhaber can still draw people to the middle in the manner he did to get the “Grand Bargain” for PERS reform passed in 2013. The Oregonian called for Kitzhaber’s resignation in an editorial on Wednesday. Johnson thinks the only thing that would spur a resignation would be findings that would clearly point to the Governor acting outside the law.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden joined Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski to introduce a bill encouraging continued research and development of the potential uses of commercial unmanned aerial systems. The bill would lift restrictions on unmanned aerial systems research that make it harder for universities and other research institutions to partner with private companies. It would also expand aeronautical research as defined by the Federal Aviation Administration to include natural resources and meteorological research. The bill also directs the FAA to implement procedures to allow for safe, beyond-line-of-sight flights to conduct this research. Oregon is home to three UAS test ranges, including on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and airspace outside Pendleton and Tillamook. Congressman Don Young of Alaska introduced a similar version of the bill in the House of Representatives.
Former Oregon Second District Congressman Wes Cooley has died in Bend. He was 82 years old. Cooley was elected to Congress in 1994, but served only one term as he became embroiled in allegations that he lied about his military service in the state voters’ pamphlet, withdrawing from a re-election bid in 1996 under pressure from fellow Republicans and eventually accepting a plea agreement and sentenced to probation for lying in an official document. In December 2012 he was sentenced in California to a year and a day in prison for hiding income from the Internal Revenue Service, and had to pay back three-point-five million dollars to victims for his role in an alleged investment scheme involving the sale of stock in an Internet startup company.
Hood River Police arrested a juvenile male early Wednesday morning on charges resulting from 22 people reporting having their vehicles and property vandalized by graffiti. Police Chief Neal Holste says gold spray paint was used on both vehicles and homes. Holste says Safeway employees were the first to report vandalism to their vehicles, and officers later found several more vehicles with similar vandalism in the neighborhood south of the supermarket, while other victims contacted police later that morning with similar damage to their homes and cars. Police estimate total damage at between $7,000 and $8,000. The suspect was lodged at NORCOR’s juvenile facility in The Dalles where he is awaiting arraignment. Holste says anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of this vandalism spree and has not yet reported it should call Hood River Police at 541-386-2121.
The White Salmon City Council approved installing surveillance cameras at the City’s Park and Ride lot adjacent to the Hood River Interstate Bridge. Mayor David Poucher says they have had some vandalism problems in the lot over the years, and felt cameras could be useful to help solve problems. Cost of the cameras is estimated at around $6,000.
Wasco County Commissioners are retaining an outside accounting firm to investigate procedural deficiencies found in a recently released financial audit. Reading from a prepared statement, Commission Chair Scott Hege says the audit report issued last week identified various deficiencies in the policies and practices within the County Treasurer’s office. He said “while the audit report does not evidence wrongdoing, it underscores weaknesses in procedures involving petty cash, bank reconciliations, and the reconciliation of tax deposits.” The County has contracted with the accounting firm of Pauly, Rogers, and Co. of Tigard to conduct the investigation, with a report expected by the end of February. Hege says the firm will assist the County in devising policies and procedures to resolve the weaknesses. He added County officials will not comment further until the accounting firm issues its report.
The Port of Hood River Commission awarded a $642,785 contract to Crestline Construction for construction of the Nichols Basin West Edge Trail Project. The bid includes four alternate items identified in the bid document. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says the project is on a fairly tight timeline to meet grant requirements, with construction to start around March 1 and substantial completion by the end of June. McElwee noted Crestline was the low bidder for the nearby pedestrian bridge trail project administered by the Oregon Department of Transportation, and they are working on the Port’s Hook Launch project.
The Dalles City Council wants an assessment of the Dog River pipeline. The aging wooden pipe through the Mount Hood National Forest is an important component of the City’s drinking water supply. Councilors discussed it during their goal setting session this week, and Mayor Steve Lawrence says it has been high on the priority list for a number of years. Lawrence says the Council is planning to take a trip into the watershed to get a complete briefing on the condition of the pipe.