As Klickitat County Commissioners prepare their budget for 2017, a changing reality when it comes to federal and state grant is part of it. Commissioner Rex Johnston says they receive 25 to 35 million dollars in federal and state grants, mainly for capital construction projects. He says some of that is drying up, and also there are new rules to consider, most notably the requirement to finish a project by a designated date or having to give the money back. Johnston says that means they have to be very careful planning capital projects so there is sufficient time and money to finish a project.
There are intermittent closures of the Hood River/White Salmon Interstate Bridge taking place both Tuesday and Wednesday. The Port of Hood River says twenty minute closures will take place Tuesday until 4 p.m. and on Wednesday between 9 a.m. and noon. Bridge users are advised to plan ahead for potential traffic delays of twenty minutes or more in duration. The closures are to do maintenance work on the bridge’s lift span. For more information call the Port of Hood River at 541-386-1645.
For the first time ever, the Hood River Farmers Market will continue to operate during the winter. The Farmers Market will be open the second Saturday of every month from January through April. Hours will be 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Springhouse Cellars. The indoor market will feature a wide variety of local food, including local meats, eggs, cheese, baked goods, sauerkrauts, honey, kombucha, fresh and dried mushrooms and more. The market, operated by local non-profit Gorge Grown Food Network, will also include unique handmade gifts from local artisans.
The Hood River City Council is expected to pass over the next two nights the code amendments needed to implement short-term rental licensing requirements. The amendments to Title 5 of the municipal code have been worked on at both the planning commission and City Council level for a number of weeks. The Council is expected to pass a first reading Monday night and then hold a special meeting on Tuesday evening for final passage. City Manager Steve Wheeler explains they scheduled the special meeting because a moratorium on new applications for STRs ended last Wednesday. Monday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. in Hood River City Hall, while Tuesday’s special session will begin at the same time.
Klickitat County Commissioners are entering the final stages of work on the County’s 2017 budget. A preliminary budget document is ready, and perhaps most notably it includes a six percent pay increase for non-unionized employees. County Commissioner Rex Johnston says that came about after a recent employee survey found most liked working for the County but felt the pay was low, and a comparison with other rural counties in Washington found that was the case. He adds to keep good employees, the County must remain competitive with their compensation. The County Commission will be approving the budget in December.
Oregon Class 1-A Football Championships
Dufur 42, Crane 38: The Rangers scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes to come from behind and win the Oregon Class 1-A high school football championship for the second straight year. Asa Farrell caught a 45 yard pass from Bailey Keever to pull Dufur within four points. The Rangers then recovered an onside kick and went 48 yards in a little over three minutes, taking the lead of Keever’s three-yard run. Crane got one more chance with the football, but two sacks prevented any opportunity to generate a game-saving drive. Farrell provided Dufur with 269 combined rushing and receiving yards while scoring three touchdowns, and Keever ran for 79 yards and two scores while throwing for three touchdowns. Dufur won the title for the second straight year, beating Crane by four points in the final both times. The Rangers now have won eight state football championships.
When the Northern Wasco PUD board holds a budget worksession this Tuesday, a proposal to raise rates five percent in each of the next two years will be on the table. PUD General Manager Roger Kline says concern for aging infrastructure is driving the discussion. Kline points out the average pole age in their system is just over 40 years, which is going beyond its intended lifespan. He says they have an aggressive five year capital plan that includes construction of a brand new substation in the Columbia Gorge Industrial Center. Kline adds the Northern Wasco PUD currently has the third lowest power rates in Oregon. Tuesday’s meeting begins at 2:30 p.m. in the PUD board room on 2345 River Road in The Dalles.
The group seeking to construct a youth center in The Dalles says they have received an offer of 30-thousand dollars from a donor if the community will match the gift. Amie Baldy of the Gorge Youth Center said making this match would bring in $60,000 toward building the center. The deadline for donations toward these matching funds is December 31. A donor has provided 2.5 acres of land behind Motel 6 in The Dalles for the Center, and design ideas have begun. To donate toward the matching funds campaign, go on-line to depositagift.com and search with the word Gorge, or go to the Center’s website GorgeYouthCenter.org for a direct link. The center’s Facebook page also includes a link.
Bonneville Power Administration operators are prepared for the energy anomaly that they see every Thanksgiving Day. They have planned for an unusual bulge, or peak, in the morning as millions of people across the Pacific Northwest gather to cook meals, which rely heavily on the use of ovens and other appliances. After the big meal, system operators will be on hand to ramp power down during the tryptophan drop off. On a typical November weekday, BPA’s regional load sees two peaks — one in the morning and one in the evening. But on Thanksgiving a different pattern emerges, ramping up at 9 a.m. as people cook their turkeys and pies. Power consumption on Thanksgiving then tends to stay up higher throughout the morning compared to a normal day when loads drop off in the middle of the day. When Thanksgiving loads start to wane, they stay low for the rest of the day, as cooking is done and the tryptophan sets in, rather than increasing again to an evening peak as they would on normal weekdays.
Community Thanksgiving meals are being planned in both Hood River and The Dalles. In Hood River, it will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Thursday at Riverside Church, with all food donated and work done by community volunteers. In The Dalles, the Salvation Army is sponsoring the community Thanksgiving meal from noon to 3 p.m. at St. Mary’s Academy.