The Dalles City Council, acting in its capacity as the Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Agency, voted unanimously to put out a new request for proposals for redevelopment of the Granada block. Michael Leash of Rapoza Development had sought an extension of that company’s Disposition and Development Agreement with the URA, citing progress in acquiring a Hilton Gardens franchise and capital to construct a 139-thousand square foot hotel and conference center on the site. State Representative John Huffman also presented his plan to get one million dollars for in a state bonding package during the next Legislative session that would pay for the City for the property. But Mayor Steve Lawrence said after the panel came out of a lengthy executive session it was not legally possible to extend the agreement that expired at the end of September. Councilor Dan Spatz said he personally still believes in the hotel concept for the Granada Block, and noted he hopes seeking a new RFP will allow Huffman time to work on his proposal. The RFP will be ready for Council approval on November 9, and proposals will be accepted until February 29. Rapoza would be able to submit a proposal during that process.
Hood River County Administrator David Meriwether has told County Commissioners he intends to retire at the end of June 2016. Commission Chair Ron Rivers says Meriwether submitted his retirement plan to the Commission, with a date of June 30, 2016. Rivers has a close relationship with Meriwether, who has been in the job for 14 years, and said they had talked about this possibility for some time, but added he didn’t necessarily expect the retirement plan to come at this time. Rivers says the advance notice gives the Commission plenty of time to conduct a search for a new administrator, adding he hopes for applicants from this area. Meriwether is currently on vacation and was not available for comment.
The Port of The Dalles is closing in on officially completing work on the Columbia Gorge Industrial Center. Port Executive Director Andrea Klaas says the final walk through with contractors and City officials took place last week, and it appears everything is ready to go. Klaas says one last water sample needs to come back to confirm the water is clean, and then the Port will turn over operation of the water and sewer lines and road maintenance to the City, officially completing the construction project.
Hood River County Planning Commissioners are going to be discussing regulations on cell phone towers during a hearing at the end of the month. County Community Development Director John Roberts says an advisory committee has been preparing draft language for an ordinance to take to the planning panel. Roberts says the language is focused on having the applicant demonstrate the need for a new cell tower, then meet one of three options: co-location on an already existing tower, concealment, or a brand new tower, with each tier getting more challenging during review. Roberts noted technical representatives from the industry took part in development of the draft ordinance. The planning commission will hold a hearing on the subject on October 28 at 5:30 p.m. in the Hood River County Administrative Building.
Hood River Valley 49, McKay 14
Columbia 49, LaCenter 21
Kalama 41, Stevenson 9
Zillah 35, Goldendale 14
Dufur def. Arlington 27-25, 25-12, 26-24
Dufur def. Ione 27-25, 25-18, 17-25, 25-12
Ione def. Horizon Christian 25-16, 25-11, 25-19
Arlington def. Horizon Christian 25-11, 25-18, 25-14
South Wasco def. Mitchell-Spray 17-25, 25-17, 25-16, 20-25, 16-14
Condon-Wheeler def. South Wasco 20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 14-25, 16-14
Condon-Wheeler def. Sherman 25-20, 25-17, 25-15
Mitchell-Spray def. Sherman 25-8, 25-22, 25-22
Hood River Valley’s boys were fourth in the Varsity Gold Division at the George Fox Classic. Justin Crosswhite was the top Eagle finisher in 17th. The HRV girls were ninth in Varsity Gold, with Daisy Dolan in 24th. The Dalles girls were third in the Varsity Silver Division, as Emily Morin was the top Riverhawk finisher in 13th. The Dalles’ boys were 12th in Varsity Silver, paced by Jony Nelson in 22nd.
Granger 9, Goldendale 0
The Oregon Court of Appeals has affirmed the City of Hood River’s decision to deny Wal-Mart a permit to expand its Hood River store by 30,000 square feet. That decision might bring to an end a four-year exchange of City Council decisions and appeals on the issue. Wal-Mart’s current Hood River facility was approved by the city in 1991, along with the option to construct a 30,000-foot expansion. The land on which the store is built is zoned light industrial, but in 1997 the city changed its light industrial ordinance restricting commercial uses on light industrial land, making the Walmart store a non-conforming use, and not eligible for expansion. Wal-Mart claimed a “vested right” to expand based on its original 1991 land-use permit, but City Councilors ruled the retailer had lost it because it had discontinued construction of the expansion for longer than the 12-months allowed by the City’s non-conforming use code. Wal-Mart has a 30-day window to appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court.
Dufur 14, Arlington 6
Sherman 70, Mitchell-Spray 34
Lyle-Klickitat-Wishram 38, Washington State School for the Deaf 12
Ridgeview def. Hood River Valley 25-22, 25-11, 25-19
Kalama def. Columbia 25-13, 25-11, 25-16
King’s Way Christian def. Stevenson 25-14, 25-11, 25-10
Lyle-Wishram def. Sunnyside Christian 25-21, 14-25, 26-24, 13-23, 15-9
Horizon Christian 4, Umpqua Valley Christian 2: Makoa Whitaker and Cody Lingel each scored two goals in the first half for the Hawks.
Wasco County Commissioners have approved an agreement to donate the property the Home At Last Humane Society animal shelter sits on to that organization. Home At Last has sought to have control of the property to facilitate fundraising to make improvements to the building. In exchange for the property, Home At Last will continue to provide animal shelter services to the County. County Commissioner Scott Hege says the agreement had been in the works for some time, and the County wanted to support the organization’s efforts. The agreement contains a reversionary clause to give the land back to the County should Home At Last cease operations for any reason. Hege added the County retained the right to continue to hold leases to the cell phone towers on the property and potential place more of them in that location.
Two people were arrested after the Mid-Columbia Interagency Narcotics Task Force executed a search warrant at a home in Dufur this week. According to a MINT press release, 45-year-old Nicholas Mason and 35-year-old Mitzi Wickerham were both arrested on charges of possession and distribution of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a weapon. Both were lodged at NORCOR. The warrant was predicated on several months of investigation into the possession and delivery of methamphetamine. MINT is comprised of officers from The Dalles City Police and Hood River and Wasco County sheriff’s offices. Anyone with information or concerns regarding narcotics can call the MINT tip line at 541-296-1885.
Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley called on Congress to take action to stop gun violence, in remarks on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Thursday. They spoke one week after the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg that claimed nine lives and injured nine others. Wyden called the roll call of shootings in the U.S. far too long, and Congress needs to better to prevent more tragedies. Wyden and Merkley are calling for closure of background check loopholes, improvement in the background check database, and making “straw purchasing” — in which one person buys a gun for someone else who is not legally allowed to have one — and gun trafficking federal crimes to give law enforcement the tools it needs to stop the flood of illegal weapons across state lines.