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.
Concrete work on the approaches to the Hood River Interstate Bridge will take place beginning July 6, and that will bring the need for flaggers and one-way travel on weekdays for about a month. Port of Hood River Commissioner Rich McBride concedes this is not the ideal time to have bridge delays, but the project is one that is needed and Commissioners did not want to wait any longer to proceed, especially with harvest season coming. The majority of work will take place on the Washington side of the bridge. McBride noted the goal is to keep delays on the bridge down to 10 minutes.
Power was restored to the western portion of Klickitat County, most of Skamania County, and Camas and Washougal at 6:30 p.m. after a major outage lasted for about an hour-and-a-half. Klickitat PUD says the outage was on the Bonneville Power Administration transmission line, but no exact cause has been announced at this time . The outage began at 4:55 p.m. Klickitat PUD is asking anyone whose power has not yet been restored to call them at 1-800-548-8357.
It appears the Port of Hood River will receive a $450,000 grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for construction of a trail along the west edge of the Nichols Basin. Port Commissioner Rich McBride says an advisory committee put the project fourth on a statewide list to receive funding, noting it is still subject to approval from the full parks department commission. The Port already has a $125,000 grant for the project, and McBride says they are seeking another grant in the vicinity of $375,000 He adds the state parks grant will allow more grading work from the high water mark, some landscaping, and adding retaining walls.
Cherry harvest is underway in the Mid-Columbia, starting last week with Chelans, and the early bing cherries will start to be picked in a couple of days. Oregon State University extension agent Lynn Long says crop size appears to be very good, and he expects a 40,000-ton crop in Wasco County alone. What that means for market prices is always a concern, but Long thinks the crop should sell well. Cool temperatures in the past few days has slowed ripening, which Long says will create longer spacing between varieties. He added they have been fortunate to have no rain in the past few days, and clear skies are forecast in the middle part of the week.
A contingent from Hood River’s sister city, Tsuruta, Japan, arrives in Hood River on Tuesday afternoon. This visit will feature the Tsuruta Mayor Kenji Nakano, who is making his final visit as mayor. He is leaving that position after 40 years. Nakano and the Tsuruta contingent will arrive in Hood River Tuesday afternoon and will stay until Friday. A no-host cocktail hour will take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Columbia Gorge Hotel, followed by a dinner at 6:30 p.m. for which limited tickets remain available, e-mail email@example.com. Wednesday will feature a community ceremony at Children’s Park at 10:30 a.m., where a tree will be planted in Nakano’s honor in the cherry grove the Tsuruta group planted two years ago. They will fly home on Friday.
A 23-year-old Klickitat man was taken to Skyline Hospital in White Salmon Monday morning following a one-car accident on Highway 14 six miles east of Bingen. According to the Washington State Patrol, 23-year-old Jacob Williams was eastbound on Highway 14 at about 7:30 a.m. when the car he was driving drifted off the eastbound shoulder, struck rocks, rolled multiple times, and came to rest on its side against the guardrail. The WSP indicated Williams had fallen asleep behind the wheel, leading to the accident. Williams was taken to Skyline for treatment of unspecified injuries, and the vehicle was totaled.
When Columbia Gorge Community College holds its 2013-14 graduation Friday afternoon, it will mark a pair of milestones. This year’s class is the first to receive diplomas under the college’s recently awarded independent accreditation, and the ceremony will take place in the recently opened Fort Dalles Readiness and Workforce Center. Ceremonies begin at 3 p.m. Friday, and is open to the public. At the ceremony, graduates will be given diploma covers along with a personally signed note from CGCC President Frank Toda. Toda also plans to hand-sign the approximately 300 degrees and certificates, bearing the new, official CGCC seal. Official diplomas will be mailed to students a few weeks after graduation.
The Forest Service says a pair of Columbia River Gorge trails closed since Monday have reopened as crews battle a nearby wildfire. The Dog Mountain and Augspurger trails had been closed since Monday due to the nearby Dog Falls fire, burning above state Highway 14 about 50 miles east of Vancouver. Officials announced the trails’ reopening early today. The Forest Service says 3.5-acre fire is now 70 percent contained. Difficult terrain and high winds have made fighting the fire located west of Dog Creek a challenge.
The City of The Dalles will not take part in a road district in Wasco County. City Councilors decided instead to instruct municipal staff to bring back a resolution to put a gas tax increase on the November ballot. Councilors and Mayor Steve Lawrence all expressed concern that property tax compression from a road district would have a negative impact on other governmental entities, in particular Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue District. County Commissioner Steve Kramer says the county will proceed with its road district plans, awaiting answers from other municipalities and acknowledging without The Dalles the tax rate would be higher. Motions to opt in to the road district at the full rate and at a phased in rate were both defeated, and then the motion to have the gas tax resolution prepared was passed unanimously.