An outdoor burn ban in unincorporated areas of Klickitat County will go into effect on Monday. County Commissioners this week approved a resolution establishing the ban. Commissioner Jim Sizemore says local fire districts are bracing for a difficult fire season, noting there have already been some lightning-caused fires. Attended camp fires will be allowed in the Mt. Adams Guler County Park in Trout Lake within the designated eight-foot cleared area with steel fire rings.
Gina Owens has been named the new supervisor of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Regional forester Jim Pena made the announcement this week. Owens is currently deputy supervisor of the Umpqua National Forest in Oregon, and has worked in four different Forest Service regions. She began her Forest Service career as a seasonal worker in the Pinchot’s Packwood Ranger District. Owens starts on the job July 6, taking over for the retiring Janine Clayton.
Hood River has been named by Sunset Magazine as its Best Adventure Town. Hood River is one of 30 winners of Sunset’s first ever travel awards, which honor the West’s top destinations in lodging, dining, cultural tourism, outdoor adventure, environmental stewardship, and more. In its June issue the magazine cited Hood River’s scenic setting in the shadow of snow-capped Mt. Hood and at the meeting of the Columbia and Hood Rivers, along with a “startling breadth of experiences” inlcuding hiking, biking, fishing, rafting, skiing, paddle-boarding, and windsurfing. Sunset says a panel of noted travel experts from 13 Western states and British Columbia chose the award winners.
Oregon Class 5-A Baseball First Round
Hood River Valley 5, Dallas 0: Ryan Ward pitched the third no-hitter of his high school career, striking out 17 on the way to the win. Ward retired the first 15 batters he faced, issued a walk to Dragon pinch-hitter Matt Hofenbredl, then set down six more hitters to finish the game. HRV scored two runs in the first on a Ward triple and Kellen Duffy sacrifice fly, and added three in the third with Patrick Harvey contributing a two-run single. The Eagles will host Putnam, a 7-6 winner over Churchill, in a quarter-final game on Friday at Traner Field.
Oregon Class 2-A/1-A Baseball First Round
Dufur 16, Toledo 3: The Rangers jumped on top early and never looked back on the way to the win. Dufur advances to the quarterfinals, and will visit Knappa on Friday.
Washington Class 1-A Boys Golf Tournament at Sun Rivers Golf Course in Pasco.
Goldendale’s Andrew Gerchuk shot a 78 to finish the first round in a tie for eleventh, eight shots behind leader Ryan Maine of Freeman. The second and final round is today.
Klickitat County Commissioners have decided to rescind the Husum/BZ Plan and Zoning Update in effect the last three years. Commissioner Jim Sizemore says testimony they received at a recent hearing saw nearly everyone was unhappy with the update, regardless of point of view. Sizemore says it will be up to the community to develop a new plan. Once the Commission formally passes an ordinance to repeal the update, regulations will revert back to the old plan developed in the mid 80’s. Sizemore pointed out whatever form the new plan takes will have to consider salmon habitat with the removal of Condit Dam. He also noted the Yakama Nation will still have the ability to protect its cultural sites even without the zoning update.
Both the City and County of Hood River are applying for a Transportation and Growth Management grant from the state to do a plan for the west side of Hood River and its urban growth area. City Manager Steve Wheeler says the plan would seek to link the growth patters of an area with transportation needs. Wheeler notes there is a transportation systems plan in place, and it would be used as a building block for this effort. He added primary landowners in the west side area have indicated they are willing to wait on some development for this kind of plan to be put together.
The City of Hood River is working on a 20-year capital improvement plan to deal with renovation and repair of municipal infrastructure. Most notable is work to plan for wastewater system improvements. City Manager Steve Wheeler says they have to deal with both the plant and collection systems. Perhaps the most pressing need is to build a new outfall from the wastewater treatment plant into the Columbia River. When the storms of 2006 sent debris down the Hood River to its mouth into the Columbia, it changed the flowage pattern and made the current outfall obsolete. Wheeler adds the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Environmental Protection Agency both are beginning to pressure the City to do the project. Wheeler estimates the project will cost a little over two million dollars.
Downtown revitalization will be one topic at a town hall meeting planned for The Dalles in June. Mayor Steve Lawrence says as the City and other groups conduct efforts to help fill empty downtown building space, it’s important to get a number of viewpoints rather than just those of a few people sitting around a table. Lawrence thinks what currently is being looked at it could be described as a community activity center to bring more people downtown, including more food outlets and entertainment opportunities. Lawrence noted in talking with tourists who come to The Dalles they don’t see the empty storefronts he worries about, but say they love the architecture, murals, and history of the town.
Paleontologists say they have discovered ten new prehistoric rodent species found at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and on nearby lands. The current issue of the Annals of Carnegie Museum reports Dr. Joshua Samuels of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and Dr. William Korth of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History examined newly discovered and previously undocumented fossil specimens from the John Day Formation. Their study describes 21 species of rodents in all. The new species include: an early beaver which may be the distant ancestor of living beavers, a dwarf tree squirrel smaller than any living in North America today, a primitive pocket mouse, and a birch mouse. Some of the new rodents are closely related to species from the fossil record of Asia, and help document the dispersal of species across the Bering Land Bridge.
Hood River County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating why a 40-year-old man fell out of a moving car on Highway 281 near Airport Road, leaving him with severe injuries. The Sheriff’s Department says Steven Ray Ram of Hood River was found by passers-by laying face down in a ditch. Sheriff’s deputies say Ram had been a passenger in a northbound vehicle driven by 25 year old Audrey Josephine Muehlhausen of Hood River, and that he had fallen out of the car while the vehicle was moving. The cause of Ram’s exit from the moving vehicle is still undetermined and is under investigation. Ram was taken first to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital and later to Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Hospital, where he remained in critical condition over the weekend. Muehlhausen was later arrested at Providence and lodged at NORCOR on charges of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants – Alcohol and Reckless Driving.