The National Weather Service says a wet and mild series of storms will move into the Northwest early next week, bringing heavy rains and heightening flood potential. A hydrologic outlook today by the Weather Service office in Portland indicates snow levels will begin to rise on Monday night, reaching near 7,000 feet Tuesday morning and 8,000 feet Tuesday evening, and combined with the expected heavy precipitation that could bring in around five inches of rain will lead to rapid snowmelt. The outlook says with above normal snow depths and the lack of a thawing cycle this season, the snowpack in the Cascades will likely will be able to absorb a lot of the rainfall, especially above 3,500 feet. But it does add the amount of heavy rain will remain the most significant factor in flood potential for area waterways. The Weather Service says details of the rainfall totals and expected flooding will be refined as the storms approach the Pacific Northwest.
The Hood River County School Board approved a resolution reaffirming their existing educational equity policy that requires immigration officials to have a warrant before going on to school property or accessing students. Board Chair Mark Johnson says the resolution does not create any new policies, but the board wanted to publicly reaffirm what is already in place. He said it reaffirms the board’s feelings on the “need to support all students regardless of point of origin or documentation status.” School districts are required by federal law to provide all children within its boundaries equal access to a public education regardless of citizenship or immigration status, and cannot collect information about a student’s immigration status or that of the student’s family members.
Public Works officials are asking property owners to help clear storm water catch basin grates in front of their property to help prevent flooding and freezing hazards, with temperatures forecast to increase next week and significant melting expected. If catch basins are not cleared of snow, ice, and other debris, water is prevented from draining from streets. As the snow melts, water pools along streets and can cause localized flooding or re-freezing if the catch basins aren’t clear. To clear a catch basin, remove snow and ice or any other debris after a storm to maintain the openings in the grate. Do not attempt to remove the grid, only clear the debris on top of the grate. Also, do not allow children to play on or around open streets during or after a storm, and ensure children know to stay at least 50 feet away from operating equipment. Make sure children do not build snow forts or tunnels in the snow piled along roadways. They can collapse without warning and children can be trapped or injured by the weight of the collapsing snow.
Hood River Rotary Club’s annual Ski Night at Mount Hood Meadows is set for Monday. Funds raised from tickets sold for the event go toward Rotary Club projects, including local scholarships, civic requests, and their dictionary distribution project. Michael Schock of the Rotary Club says you don’t necessarily have to a skier to enjoy Ski Night, with entertainment in the lodge from Joe Stoddard. Hood River Rotary Ski Night runs from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday at Mount Hood Meadows. Tickets are $15 online at skihood.com or $20 at the mountain.
North Wasco County School District 21’s Long Range Facilities Planning Committee held the first of five scheduled workshops this week, focusing on an assessment of existing building conditions and developing guiding principles. In the assessment, D-21 Superintendent Candy Armstrong said the committee was told it would take 22 million dollars over the next five years to keep their facilities in the “poor” condition they are considered to be in, and 65 million to bring them up to a good level. D-21 Chief Financial Officer Randy Anderson says those figures focus mainly on mechanical systems, and it drives the conversation in exploring choices of renovation or building new. The committee meets again January 31, when they will be examining teaching and learning environments.
The snowfall has ceased for the time being in the region, but city and county road crews are continuing to deal with the record amounts of snow that has fallen in the area. Hood River County Public Works Director Mikel Diwan says they were fortunate to be able to make at least one pass of every road in the County every day, and now the goal is to try to widen out the available driving area. But where to put more snow is problem, as there aren’t many more places to push the snow into. Diwan added crews have put in long hours to keep roads passable in the region.
An exhibit by Hood River photographer Peter Marbach showing the Columbia River from its source in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia to the sea will open Wednesday at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland. The exhibit features 25 of Marbach’s photographs showing both the river and the people along it. Marbach is hoping to spark awareness of the on-going Columbia River Treaty discussions between the United States and Canada, and the opportunity that brings to restore fish runs to the upper reaches of the river in Canada. The exhibit will be at the Oregon Historical Society in downtown Portland through April 1, and Marbach hopes to take it to other locations after that. The exhibit had been scheduled to open this weekend, but was delayed by snow and ice this week in the Portland area.
Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue is asking for the public’s help to keep fire hydrants visible. Hydrants have been buried in snow, and fire department officials are asking residents to remove snow around them so in the event of a fire, firefighters can locate the hydrants for water supply. Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue asks for a three-foot clearance around the hydrant, with clear access from the street to the hydrant. Those with questions on how to clear a hydrant appropriately can call Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue at 541-296-9445.
Washington 14th District State Representative Gina McCabe delivered the Republican response to Governor Jay Inslee’s state of the state address, emphasizing education, job creation, and government accountability. McCabe said citizens in many areas of the state are still struggling with the economy, and they need jobs rather than tax increases. The Goldendale representative acknowledged while investments have been made in K-12 education in the past four years, work to address the McCleary decision is not done. However, she added success in public schools shouldn’t be measured in dollars.
The Oregon Department of Transportation announced on its Twitter feed that Interstate 84 between Hood River and Troutdale has reopened.