The 20-acre Owens Fire south of Hood River is listed by the Oregon Department of Forestry as 85 percent contained. Full mop-up operations are underway. Due to the large, felled timber on the site, full containment may be a few days off, but fire behavior is minimal and spread is not expected. The U.S. Forest Service assisted ODF with equipment and personnel in the firefighting effort. The Owens Fire occurred on forestland owned by Hood River County. Cause of the fire is under investigation.
The City of The Dalles has removed notices posted along Mill Creek warning of E. Coli contamination, but is also reminding people the water still contains E. Coli and other pathogens from various sources. Repairs to a sewer main last week drastically reduced the amount of E. Coli in Mill Creek, with tests Thursday finding 157 organisms per 100 milliliters of water, way down from the over 2400 prior to the repair, but still above the chronic water quality standard of 126. City officials say monitoring last year by the Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation District showed 30 percent of the samples collected from Mill Creek upstream from the “mystery pipe” that was dispensing large amounts of contaminated water into the creek contained E. Coli from sources outside the City at levels greater that acute water quality standard of 406 per 100 milliliters. Care should always be taken in contacting surface waters, and the water should never be consumed without treatment.
Seven people were arrested Friday as the Mid-Columbia Narcotics Task Force culminated a lengthy investigation into drug sales from two locations in The Dalles. The Dalles Police Department Captain Ed Goodman says at one location, 1630 East 14th, four adults were arrested: 35-year-old Tina Linville, 20-year-old Alonzo Gutierrez, 46-year-old Laraine Rogers, and 35-year-old Jason James. At the other location at 1627 Nevada Street three more people were arrested: 43-year-old Jeremy Otten, 31-year-old Maverick Mangold, and 30-year-old Cassi Lamas-Juhnke. Several children were taken into protective custody. Goodman says charges vary, but include various drug charges, warrants, probation violations, and child neglect allegations.
A Hood River father/daughter team will be racing a 27-foot sailboat in July from San Francisco to Hawaii to raise funds and awareness of an organization that prevents children in nine countries from being forced into the sex trade. Stan Perkins and Kerry Hallyburton have frequently sailed on the Columbia River, and now they will compete in the Pacific Cup to help Remember Nhu, an organization Hallyburton helped build safe homes for in Thailand in 2011. The race begins July 7 in San Francisco, and Hallyburton says they expect it will take two weeks to make the journey. Updates on their trek will be posted a Facebook page: sail for remember nhu..
The annual Relay For Life in The Dalles to benefit the American Cancer Society will take place this weekend at Sid White Field on the Wahtonka campus. Over 30 teams are signed up to take part in the 24-hour walk around the track that begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. Event organizer Marilyn Wong says they have a number of events planned throughout the Relay for the public to be involved with. The survivor lap will be at 9:30 a.m. and the luminaria at 10 p.m. Wong says they hope to raise $60,000 for the American Cancer Society.
The Owens Fire south of Hood River is now considered 65 percent contained, as firefighters work to get towards full containment by tonight. Fire public information officer Stan Hinatsu says the timber sale operator at the location the fire broke out is helping crews move the landing pile around to cool it off and get water on it. Hinatsu says the fire is 100 percent lined and plumbed, and crews are trying to do mop-up work 50 feet in from the line, and will go in 100 feet if it is safe to do so. Rolling debris has been a problem for firefighters. Hintasu noted crews will have to monitor the fire location all summer for possible flare-ups. Late Wednesday night the Oregon Department of Forestry decreased the amount of acreage burned by the fire from 50 to 12.
Test results of water from Mill Creek this week came back with substantially diminished levels of E. Coli. That’s after the City did a $40,000 emergency repair of a cracked sewer main on Wright Street that helped wind down a two-year search for the source of a pipe that was dumping E. Coli into the creek. The latest test showed 387 E. Coli organisms per 100 milliliters of water, way down from the over 2,400 over the last two years, and out of the federal designation of an acute level. City officials will do more testing, with the current reading still over the federal definition of a chronic level of E. Coli, which is 126. Dropping to zero is not realistic as Mill Creek has several sources of E. Coli, including wild animals. Also still unknown: the origin of the pipe itself.
A fire Tuesday night in The Dalles destroyed a two-story house that had been seriously damaged by fire in December 2010. Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue District Chief Bob Palmer says the nearly 150 year old house at 402 West 4th Street was unoccupied as a result. Law enforcement officers had initially arrived to find a small fire inside one of the rooms of the structure, but by the time fire crews arrived the blaze had grown substantially. Strong winds blew embers that ignited several spot fires in dry fuels, shrubbery, and the roof of a house a block away from the fire. Palmer says that fire was put out it before it spread into the structure itself. Dallesport, Wy’east, Dufur, and Hood River fire departments provided aid to MCFR. Palmer said an investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.
Hood River County Commissioners have decided to proceed with hiring a codes enforcement officer. It’s part of an effort by the County to be more pro-active in dealing with code violations, rather than waiting for citizen complaints. County Administrator David Meriwether says most of the initial focus will be on land-use issues, starting with a list of complaints the County has received and not yet addressed. Meriwether says there will be an emphasis on education on what the codes are, and helping people come into compliance.
Hood River attorney Karen Ostrye has been tabbed to fill the Seventh Judicial District’s Circuit Court Judge vacancy created by the retirement of Paul Crowley. Ostrye will take her seat on the bench July 1, and will have to run in the November election to retain the position. Ostrye has been in private practice her entire career, first as an associate and then becoming a partner in a Hood River law firm. With extensive litigation experience, Ostrye has handled cases in areas such as family law, juvenile delinquency and dependency, and employment law.