After dealing with a hard freeze in the early winter, and heat during an early harvest in a warmer than normal late spring, in the end the Wasco County cherry crop appears to have come out in good shape. OSU Extension Agent Lynn Long says even though his crop estimates of 25,000 tons would be around half of last year’s record haul, that would have been considered average just a decade ago, so he’s relatively pleased with it. He adds quality has varied, noting Chelans at the start of the harvest were very good, but Bings were impacted by high heat. Long adds mid- and late-season fruit quality has been excellent, with growers working to get them off the tree in a manner to prevent them from major heat impacts.
An air tanker has dumped three loads of retardant on a fire about three acres in size in the 9000 block area of Mill Creek near The Dalles. David Jacobs of the Oregon Department of Forestry in The Dalles says they have lined the fire with retardant, and now hand and bulldozer crews are working to reinforce those lines. Jacobs estimated containment at around 50 percent, adding the fire is not growing. He says crews will continue to work the fire all night and tomorrow. A 20 person hand crew was brought in by ODF, and one helicopter continues to drop water while a second copter is on order. Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue has a crew at that location as well. Smoke was reported coming from Mill Creek Ridge at about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. Jacobs noted it is fortunate there is no wind at the site, a ridgeline that was at the northern edge of the Government Flats Fire two years ago. He added even though there is rugged terrain to deal with, there is a road right to the fire location.
Klickitat County Commissioners have accepted a recommendation from the County’s planning commission to place a two-year ban on new marijuana production and process facilities in unincorporated areas of the County. Commissioner David Sauter says the constant changes in the state’s marijuana permitting process and potential growth of what could be permitted in the County was a key factor in the decision. Sauter says the County needs a couple of years to see how the marijuana industry evolves. He added the ban would not impact the eighteen already permitted marijuana facilities in unincorporated Klickitat County. Under the ban, the County Planning Commission is to report every six months on any new developments.
Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Chief Bob Palmer says they have been unable to determine an accurate cause of Tuesday’s 20-acre fire west of The Dalles between Highway 30 and Interstate 84 near Pinewood Mobile Manor. Palmer says there was a number of cigarette butts in the area, and it’s possible a smoker throwing one out from a car could have led to the fire, but it can’t be confirmed because there are so many of them. Palmer adds it is unlikely anyone would have intentionally started the fire at that location because of its visibility. The fire call came in at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. Dallesport, Hood River, Oregon Department of Forestry, and U.S. Forest Service crews along with Klickitat County EMS were all assisting MCFR crews.
Governor Jay Inslee signed the 2015-17 Washington state budget late Tuesday night, and it includes a commitment to drop tuitions at public colleges and universities in the state by five to twenty percent. Republican 14th District Senator Curtis King feels the high cost of tuition was deeply hurting the state’s middle class, and reducing the price of higher education had to be done. He says it’s like a tax cut for the middle class. The state budget backfills the loss in tuition revenue that will result from the cuts. Republicans agreed to close some tax loopholes to pay for the tuition cut.
Oregon District 5 Little League Tournament at The Dalles
Tuesday: Hood River Valley 4, The Dalles 2
Wednesday: Hood River Valley 21, Sisters 1
Thursday: Hood River Valley vs. TBA, 8 a.m.
Wednesday: Hood River Valley vs. Bend North, 9 a.m.
Tuesday: The Dalles 13, Crook County 5
Wednesday: The Dalles vs. Bend North, 10 a.m.
Fire crews are quickly mobilizing to prevent a two-acre fire from spreading in the 9000 block area of Mill Creek. David Jacobs of the Oregon Department of Forestry in The Dalles says smoke was reported coming from Mill Creek Ridge at about 8:45 a.m. Jacobs says a helicopter is dropping water on the fire, an air tanker with retardant is on the way, and multiple engines, a bulldozer, and a 20 person hand crew were being sent to the scene to keep the fire small. Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue has a crew at that location as well. Jacobs noted it is fortunate there is no wind at the site, a ridgeline that was at the northern edge of the Government Flats Fire two years ago. He adds even though there is rugged terrain to deal with, there is a road right to the fire location.
Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue crews Tuesday dealt with a 12-to-15 acre grass fire west of The Dalles between Highway 30 and Interstate 84 near Pinewood Mobile Manor. According to MCFR, crews during the late afternoon went into a mop-up phase with the fire still burning in hot spots and parts of some railroad ties are smoldering. The fire did jump to the north side of the freeway, so firefighters were working both east and westbound sides of I-84. The fire call came in at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. Dallesport, Hood River, Oregon Department of Forestry, and U.S. Forest Service crews along with Klickitat County EMS were all assisting MCFR crews.
Hood River City Planning Commissioners prepared for a hearing next week on the new housing needs analysis and strategy presented from a technical advisory committee. At the upcoming hearing the Commission will be looking at the findings and determining what strategies to have Planner Cindy Walbridge and her staff begin to pursue. The City Council has put an additional $70,000 in the planning budget for 2015-16 for this effort, and Walbridge says they will hire a consultant and probably take on five or six code changes at one time. The hearing will be held Monday at 5:30 p.m. in Hood River City Hall.
North Central Public Health District has issued an advisory about an on-going pertussis outbreak in The Dalles. Pertussis, often referred to as “whooping cough,” is an infection that affects the airways and is easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing, and can last for months. Anyone can get pertussis, but it can be very dangerous for infants and people with weakened immune systems. District officials say the best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. Keeping infants and those at high risk for pertussis complications away from infected people is also important for prevention.