The City of Hood River, Hood River County, and the Oregon Department of Transportation are about to enter into an intergovernmental agreement to prepare a Westside Area Concept Plan. That plan would focus on land use and public infrastructure issues to facilitate development of workforce and affordable housing. City Manager Steve Wheeler says the Westside area is a key component to the housing strategy. The City will provide matching funds of just over $23,000 to augment an ODOT grant for the study. A Statement of Work for the study is being reviewed by the Oregon Department of Justice for state approval.
Crews contained a fire west of Dufur late Saturday afternoon at 31 acres. The Oregon Department of Forestry says the Jewel Road Fire was reported Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in grass and brush on ODF protected lands. The fire burned on rolling hills through grass and brush beneath an overstory of pine and oak trees, and was contained late Saturday night. The cause of the fire is under investigation. A single-engine air tanker with the Washington Department of Natural Resources flew in from Dallesport and dropped one load of retardant and three loads of water onto the fire. ODF responded with four engines and a bulldozer, and four additional engines were supplied by the U.S. Forest Service and a rural structural protection district.
Drivers will soon notice new speed limit signs on Washington Highway 14 west of White Salmon. On Wednesday the Washington State Department of Transportation will reduce the speed limit from 50 miles per hour to 40 miles per hour between Cook-Underwood Road and Dock Grade Road. The transportation department says the lowered speed limit will help improve safety for all users of the highway.
A pattern of flat revenues is becoming an increasing area of concern for Klickitat County officials. The reasons for the lack of revenue growth range from a flattening of regional landfill revenues to property taxes. Commissioner Jim Sizemore says the revenues have been flat for four to five years, while expenses continue to rise. Sizemore adds the situation increases the need to attract new business to the region, particularly in the eastern part of Klickitat County.
Helicopter activity will resume in the upper Catherine and Major Creek areas as part of a project to restore historic forest types in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Helicopter activity is expected to resume after July 4, and will continue in the area throughout the summer. The U.S. Forest Service is conducting the project as part of a larger landscape restoration strategy to improve forest health by creating a more open forest type, comprised of fewer, larger, more widely spaced trees that will resemble historic landscapes once found through the Gorge. The project’s benefits include an immediate reduction in the risk of wildfire, and an increase in native biodiversity over time. Residents and visitors to the area should expect to hear helicopter noise during daylight hours and may see helicopters carrying logs and other cargo. Access into the specific areas where operations are taking place may be limited.
The parents of a member of Hood River Valley High School’s state champion track and field team who was pierced in the eye by a javelin at a meet at Jesuit High School on Friday say their son’s vision is blurry but he can see out of the eye. Barry and Carrie Kennedy said in a statement released Sunday through Oregon Health and Science University in Portland that 18-year-old Parker Kennedy is in fair condition. The parents say his neurological status is good and he’s talking, moving and showing signs of progress. The Oregonian reported that Parker Kennedy was injured Friday night at a USA Track and Field junior meet where he was competing in the decathlon after he tripped while attempting to pick up a javelin during warmups, stubbed his toe, and fell face first into the back end of the javelin. A Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said the javelin was removed by someone before firefighters arrived. Kennedy recently graduated from Hood River Valley High School and won the 5A pole vault at the state championship in the spring. He will be attending the University of Washington and competing in the pole vault for the Huskies.
The Port of Hood River has reached a settlement agreement with its insurance company in which the Port releases its claims of damages for an alleged allision involving the Interstate Bridge in last September in exchange for the company paying the Port $106,000 and allows access to its specialized engineers. The Port has expended $148,000 at this point in costs related the suspected allision in which an unknown boat is believed to have hit a pier and may have cost to the bridge liftspan, but they have a $250,000 deductible, and Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says it was questionable on whether the Port could have proven the damages in court. The risk for the Port is what the future costs would be if more lift span repairs are needed. McElwee says it will be another three to four weeks before the bridge’s skew monitoring system is operational again, then live testing of the lift span will take place to determine if it can return to normal operations again.
A bill to rename The Dalles veterans’ clinic after Sergeant First Class Loren R. Kaufman, a native of The Dalles and one of Oregon’s 14 Medal of Honor recipients, has been signed into law by the President. The clinic named in his honor will be called the Loren R. Kaufman VA Clinic. Oregon Second District Congressman Greg Walden said the tribute is fitting. Sgt. Kaufman was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his bravery and selfless actions to save his company while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean War.
The Hood River County School District has received the results of tests on water quality in district buildings, and it shows all school facilities have clean water that falls within normal water quality limits. The results confirmed previous tests conducted in 2014. The only facility in the district with an elevated lab result was a sink at the District headquarters located in the Human Resources offices. The facility is not used for student instruction. Additional testing of all District Office fixtures will be conducted, while existing water coolers in place for many years will continue to be utilized for all district office staff and visitors while that takes place.
A public hearing before the Wasco County Planning Commission on Union Pacific’s request to expand the existing railroad siding on either side of Mosier for four miles of new second mainline track and realign the existing track has been pushed back to September. County Planning Director Angie Brewer says Union Pacific requested the postponement. The hearing had been set for July 5, and is now planned for September 6. It had already been moved from its originally scheduled date of June 7.