Quick response limited a Wednesday afternoon grass fire at the Exit 82 interchange of Interstate 84 to two acres. Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Chief Bob Palmer says the fire was reported just after 2 p.m. Wednesday between the area of eastbound I-84 and East 2nd Street. Palmer noted the fire jumped the freeway and the railroad tracks, but a road in the former Northwest Aluminum property kept it from spreading. Oregon State Forestry, Dallesport, Bureau of Land Management, and Forest Service crews were also involved in the firefighting effort. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Palmer reminded people once again to be careful with fire in the current dry and windy conditions.
A lightning-caused fire in the northeast corner of Klickitat County near Bickleton has burned an estimated 13-hundred acres. The state of Washington has authorized fire mobilization, allowing resources from throughout the state to come in and assist crews from Klickitat County Fire Districts 2 and 10 and Yakima Fire District 7, along with a strike team from Klickitat County Rural Fire Districts. The fire started late Tuesday afternoon near Sand Ridge Road northeast of Bickleton. Klickitat County Emergency Management says three residences and several outbuildings could be threatened by the fire, and are at a level one “be ready to leave” evacuation advisory.
Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation District interim director Karl Cozad told the district board he will have a resolution ready for a special meeting next Wednesday to approve a contract with Triplett Wellman for construction of the new swimming pool at Thompson Park. Cozad noted the pre-construction contract with the contractor did not have specific dates in them, but this deal will. Demolition bids for the old pool have come in higher than expected, but Cozad points out that’s less than 10 percent of the cost of the project, and he’s looking at the entire project and crunching the numbers to address it in the resources available. Cozad feels comfortable at this point in saying the pool can be open by the Memorial Day 2015 target date. The board took no action during the meeting on the status of Executive Director Scott Green, who has been on paid administrative leave since early August pending investigation of a personnel matter. The district board did spend over an hour in an executive session, but made no announcements afterwards.
Bingen City Councilors have approved a new two-year deal with the City of White Salmon for police services. The deal was about a year in the making, and Bingen Mayor Betty Barnes says that was due to transitioning to an arrangement where Bingen simply pays White Salmon to provide law enforcement. She added it would have been difficult to have a contract longer than two years. Wednesday night the White Salmon City Council will vote on the agreement. Barnes and White Salmon Mayor David Poucher both say citizens will notice no difference in police services under the new deal.
North Central Public Health District says it has been notified of two school-age residents from separate communities within the district that encompasses Wasco, Sherman, and Gilliam counties with lab confirmed pertussis, also known as whooping cough, over the past couple of weeks. District officials point out pertussis is a vaccine preventable disease, but can be very serious and deadly for young babies who do not have the protection of the vaccine. The Health District is strongly recommending the pertussis vaccination for those who are eligible for it. Vaccines are available for a fee through your healthcare provider or NCPHD. Children may qualify for reduced cost or free vaccines at NCPHD. Remember to cover your cough with a tissue or an elbow, wash your hands after coughing or sneezing, and stay home when sick.
The Klickitat County Fair gets underway Thursday in Goldendale. Opening day features the kickoff barbecue and wine tasting, featuring food and wines produced in Klickitat County, beginning at 5 p.m. Cost is $8 per plate. The fair continues through the weekend, with the rodeo scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. The annual fair parade through downtown Goldendale is on Saturday, with participants assembling at Goldendale Elementary School at 9 a.m. and the parade starting at 10 a.m. Complete event information is available at klickitatcountyfair.com.
Leaders for Tomorrow…a high school program designed to show students the various business and community sectors and do a service-learning project, will be coming to The Dalles High School. The program has been offered in Hood River for a number of years through The Next Door, Inc., and program coordinator Kristin Reese says they now have funding in place to offer it in The Dalles starting this fall. Reese says grants allowed the expansion. The program has usually been funded by business sponsors, which Reese says will still be a key part going forward. Reese says they will begin recruiting students in The Dalles for the program when school starts in September.
The Oregon Department of Transportation says the Interstate 84 off-ramp at milepost 82 west of The Dalles is closed due to a grass fire at that location. ODOT reports the fire may cause minimal delays on the freeway, so caution is advised. The fire started around 2:30 p.m. Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue crews are at the scene, but no other details are available at this time.
Both the Bingen and White Salmon City Councils will be voting on a new law enforcement agreement this week. Bingen Mayor Betty Barnes says she and White Salmon Mayor David Poucher believe they have worked out a good agreement on a two-year deal and can move forward with the option to renew after a review. Barnes noted negotiations took awhile as they ironed out a new system in which Bingen is simply paying White Salmon for police services. White Salmon will pay Bingen for the equipment share they own as part of the deal. Bingen councilors have the agreement on their agenda tonight, and White Salmon councilors will talk about it on Wednesday.
There is one week left for those interested in running for municipal offices in The Dalles and Hood River to file for the November election. In The Dalles there are currently two contested seats, with Carolyn Wood seeking re-election to the at-large position and opposed by Taner Elliott, while Bill Dick looks to retain Position 3 and is being challenged by Russ Brown. Mayor Steve Lawrence has filed for re-election, as has Position 1 Councilor Tim McGlothlin, but neither are opposed at this point. In Hood River, Paul Blackburn and Greg Colt are both running to succeed Arthur Babitz as Mayor, but there have been no filings for City Council positions. Filing deadlines are next Tuesday, August 26. For information in The Dalles contact the City Clerk’s office by calling 541-296-5481, and in Hood River call the County Elections office at 541-386-1442.