Firefighters are doing mop-up work today on a 45 acre wildfire that started Monday afternoon about five miles west of The Dalles. The Chenoweth Fire began around 5:20 p.m. on state-protected land and burned through the night before Oregon Department of Forestry and Steelhead Enterprises crews could extinguish all visible flames. The ODF’s Brian Ballou says firefighters today will continue to strengthen trails creating a containment buffer and work on hot spots. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
The City of Bingen is considering entering into a memorandum of understanding with BNSF Railway to have a mobile foam trailer placed in the town. Bingen Mayor Betty Barnes says she approached BNSF after the Mosier oil train derailment earlier this month about what could be learned from that incident, and one thing that stood out was the amount of time to get fire suppression foam to the area. Barnes noted under the memorandum of understanding the foam would be available for emergencies in the Mid-Columbia area on both sides of the Columbia River. City Councilors will consider the MOU at their meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Bingen City Hall.
Hood River County Commissioners have revealed the five candidates to be interviewed next week as they look to fill the County Administrator role being vacated by the retiring David Meriwether. The five are Jeffrey Hecksel, who has been a City Manager in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and Monmouth…Marinette County, Wisconsin Administrator Shawn Henessee…Salida, Colorado City Administrator Dara MacDonald…Coquille City Manager Benjamin Marchant…and Eddy, New Mexico County Manager Rick Rudometkin. The public will be invited to meet the candidates at a reception on June 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River, with interviews planned for the following day.
Hood River County Commissioners have formally approved moving ahead with signing the legal documents to transfer ownership of the Hood River library and the grounds around it to the Hood River County Library District. The County had retained ownership of the building when voters approved formation of the district to reopen the library five years ago, to allow the district to get firmly established. County Administrator David Meriwether says it’s time to convey the property over to the district as originally planned. In other business, the Commission approved the County budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year. It is unchanged from the document developed by the County’s budget committee, and continues current levels of funding in most areas.
With classes out for summer, for the Hood River County School District it’s now time for maintenance projects on district buildings to take place. Superintendent Dan Goldman says the biggest project is at Hood River Middle School, where the temporary boiler used in the past year has been replaced by another temporary boiler that could become permanent depending on how renovations of pipes in the building progress. Goldman noted bringing in the new temporary boiler is less expensive than what they have been doing since the original boiler went out before the just concluded school year.
Applicants are being sought to fill the vacancy on the Port of The Dalles Board with the upcoming retirement of Bob McFadden. McFadden is stepping aside at the end of June, leaving three years remaining on his term. Those interested in the position must have a primary residence within the Port of The Dalles district and have lived within the district for at least a year, be registered to vote in Wasco County, and not be a Port employee. Applications are available online at portofthedalles.com or in person at the Port office on 3636 Klindt Drive in The Dalles. For more information, contact Port of The Dalles Executive Director Andrea Klaas at 541-298-4148.
Construction on the east-side of the North Central Public Health District facility in The Dalles will cut off Americans with Disabilities Act access for the next one to two weeks. Clients needing services and requiring this access are encouraged to call ahead to the health district so it can make arrangements for services to be provided at an alternate location. The number to call is 541-506-2600. The purpose of this construction is to improve the building’s ADA access.
When the Oregon Transportation Commission met in Hood River last week, Port of Hood River Executive Director Michael McElwee spoke to them about the need for replacement of the Port’s Interstate Bridge. McElwee says he wanted to deliver a clear message, telling the panel the bridge is “old, seismically deficient, functionally obsolete, and needs to be replaced.” He added the Oregon Department of Transportation needs to engage more positively and actively in efforts underway to replace the bridge. McElwee also told the group he was not happy with communication with ODOT during the closure of Interstate 84 that resulted from the June 3 oil train derailment in Mosier, saying they didn’t hear from ODOT to ask for the Port to open up the toll bridge until 30 minutes after local law enforcement asked for it, and received no communication on the freeway being reopened.
As summer starts, The Dalles is seeing a change in its schedule of activities for the season with no Fort Dalles Rodeo this year. The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Farquharson says even though the rodeo will be missed, there will still be plenty of attractions in the coming weeks, starting with Fort Dalles Fourth during Independence Day weekend. Farquharson says she hopes the rodeo can return in 2017, adding she knows the impact the event can have for local businesses.
Two people were taken to hospitals after a two-car accident on Highway 197 about a half-mile east of Dallesport on Sunday evening. According to the Washington State Patrol, a van driven by 36-year-old Kate Alvarez of The Dalles was northbound on Highway 197 at about 7:25 p.m. Sunday when the van crossed the center dividing line. A southbound car driven by 51-year-old Ladana Wright of Lyle attempted to avoid the van by driving into the southbound ditch, but the two vehicles collided head-on in the ditch. The WSP says Alvarez was taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland and Wright to Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles for treatment of injuries. The WSP report indicates the cause of the accident remains under investigation.