Hood River County Commissioners have decided to wait until the state provides more clarity on policy issues before proceeding with the long-talked about unincorporated community plans for Odell and Parkdale. County Administrator David Meriwether says the plans, which were supposed to be done as part of periodic review of the County’s land use plan years ago, could end up with a fairly restrictive unincorporated community boundary, and Commissioners are worried that might not be in the best interest of the County. Meriwether noted the state Land Conservation and Development Commission is trying to figure out how to deal with problems in periodic review processes experienced by 40 to 50 different cities and counties. He added the County did receive grant funds for putting the unincorporated community plans together, which could complicate the matter.
Opportunity Connections, which provides services to people with intellectual disabilities to help them live independently, will hold two public sessions in Hood River and The Dalles on Thursday as the organization works on a five-year planning process. Executive Director Rita Rathkey says changes in state and federal regulations are changing the kind of services they can provide. Rathkey adds a recent Governor’s order in the wake of a pending lawsuit by a disability rights organization against the state of Oregon will shutdown referrals to sheltered workshops by next summer. Public meetings are set for Thursday, first at noon at the Opportunity Connections office in Hood River at 1102 12th Street, and at 5:30 p.m. in The Dalles at 506 East 2nd Street.
The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a robbery that took place at the Salmon Falls Park and Ride along Highway 14 near milepost 27. Undersheriff Dave Cox says 70-year-old Allen Ferrians had stopped to use the restroom at Salmon Falls on Saturday after a day of fishing, and was approached by one of two motorcycle riders who brandished a handgun and demanded money. Ferrians gave him about 250 dollars and the motorcyclists left the area. The pair is described as riding large cruiser type motorcycles, both wearing black leather and helmets, one with a black visor and the other with a mirrored visor. Cox says the investigation is continuing, and anyone with information is asked to call the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office at 509-427-9490.
The City of White Salmon is reporting a major break in a water line in the Cherry Street area that is causing water outages in about 80 percent of the City. They hope to have it fixed by 5 p.m.
Work on the approach ramps to the Port of Hood River Interstate Bridge is about to get underway. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says contractor Wildish Construction is staging today, and work should start on Tuesday, and there will be delays on weekdays for about three weeks between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. McElwee says repaving is being done on approach ramps on both the Oregon and Washington sides of the Columbia River. Work is expected to continue through August 8. McElwee indicated there would be about four overnight closures of the bridge during this construction period, to be scheduled at a later date.
Looking to build on “Hospitality University” training sessions, The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce is introducing a monthly Hospitality Industry Night. Chamber CEO Lisa Farquharson says the events will be hosted at a hospitality industry location, and will be a place for those involved in the industry to exchange information. The first Hospitality Industry Night will take place this coming Wednesday evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Sunshine Mill.
A Parkdale man has been lodged at NORCOR in The Dalles on charges stemming from the stabbing of an Ocean Park, Washington man. According to the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, 66-year-old Dale Allen Bush is charged with attempted murder and first degree assault. The sheriff’s office says officers arrived at a home on the 3800 block of Paul Partlow Drive west of the Dee Highway late Thursday night to find 54-year-old Richard Wilson suffering from life threatening knife wounds. Bush is being held at NORCOR on 125-thousand dollars cash bail. Wilson was flown to Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital in Portland.
The Jack Knife Fire southeast of Grass Valley is now listed as 80 percent contained. It has burned 13,263 acres…and additional fire growth is not expected…even though is potential growth to the east based on expected winds. The Pine Creek Fire south of Fossil is at a 15 percent containment level…and is 29,940 acres in size. Objectives for the 595 firefighters there include keeping the fire east and north of John Day River, south of Highway 218 and west of Rowe Creek Road. The Black Rock fire east of Antelope is at 15 percent containment as well…having burned 29,058 acres…and the potential still exists for it to jump the John Day River. The Logging Unit complex of fires northwest of Warm Springs is 7,328 acres in size and five percent contained. And the Waterman Complex of fires near Mitchell is 60 percent contained at 11,334 acres.
The Shaniko Butte Fire is now 50 percent contained. The fire 15 miles north of Warm Springs has burned 42,500 acres. Firefighters were not able to complete their planned burnout operation Sunday because the relative humidity was too high and horses had grazed the grass too short. The grass was cropped low and would not carry fire because it was just a little too damp, so the firefighters finally had to stop trying to ignite it. Crews used the extra time to further improve the line in preparation for later ignition, and also to more thoroughly patrol the river area and extinguish any hot spots that were discovered. Fire behavior has moderated with higher humidities and lower temperatures with moderate winds. The Deschutes River was reopened to recreationalists on Sunday.
Most of the firefighters who have been mopping up the 652-acre White River Fire west of Maupin are hitting the road today. The Oregon Department of Forestry incident management team declared the fire 100 percent contained this morning, and turned direction of continued mop-up operations to The Dalles Unit of State Forestry. Several crews, engines, and other equipment remain to ensure the fire stays inside its containment lines. Crews completed a fire line around the perimeter of the blaze, then fully extinguished all hot spots within 300 to 500 feet of the fire line. Many of those who helped contain the White River Fire are now on their way to other wildfires.