The Hood River City Council approved a resolution in support of legislation to require comprehensive background checks for gun sales. Mayor Paul Blackburn had brought the topic to Councilors earlier this month, and the resolution was formally approved by the panel this week. Blackburn said even though such legislation falls under the jurisdiction of state and local officials, he felt the topic was worthy of the Council making its opinion known. The resolution will be given to all members of the Oregon congressional delegation, the state legislature, and the Governor’s office.
The Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River is getting ready to embark on its tenth anniversary. They are planning a celebration of the facility in downtown that was created through the work with various organizations. Events Manager Kristyn Fix says the Center has evolved as the community has changed in the last decade, looking to be more inclusive of arts in a bigger sense. A kickoff event for the Center’s poTENtial Program Series is planned for March 5. It will lead into ten special events throughout the year that will feature a different genre of the arts.
Hood River Valley 66, The Dalles 56: HRV used a 17-4 third quarter run to jump out to a big lead, and went on to the win that gave them the third Columbia River Conference 5-A play-in bid. Parker Kennedy scored 22 points and Tyrone Stintzi added 17 for the Eagles, who won the season series over the Riverhawks two games to one. Dakota Murr paced the Riverhawks with 21 points. Hood River Valley will visit Milwaukie, the number four team in the Northwest Oregon Conference, in a 5-A play-in game next Wednesday.
The Dalles 57, Hood River Valley 35: The Riverhawks finish the regular season in second place in the Columbia River Conference. They will host Wilsonville in a 5-A play-in game on Tuesday.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is calling for a new approach to dealing with the growing problem of opioid addiction. Wyden spoke Tuesday as a hearing on the subject began in the Senate Finance Committee he serves on. The Oregon Democrat said the current approach falls into two camps: either tough enforcement to crack down on pill mills, fraudulent billing of Medicaid and Medicare, and doctor shopping, or focusing on social services. Wyden said opioids are carving a path of destruction through communities all across the country, noting Oregon ranks fourth worst for abuse and misuse of opioids in the country.
Access to The Dalles City Center via the roundabout between East 2nd and East 3rd Streets will be closed last Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning for curb removal work. The closure will begin at 10 p.m., and it should reopen at 6 a.m. The roundabout itself will still be open to through traffic, and motorists needing to access the downtown area can use alternate freeway exits or detour via Dry Hollow to East 10th and then Kelley Avenue. Also, on Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, East Third will be closed from Taylor Street to the roundabout for curb and island repair.
Following some at times spirited discussion The Dalles City Council, acting in its capacity as the Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Agency Board, voted to authorize moving ahead with purchase of the former Tony’s Town and Country Building. That purchase will involve the agency paying $450,000 for the building and working with Tokola Development of Gresham as that company puts together a mixed use development with both retail space and apartments. Councilors Dan Spatz and Russ Brown both were vocal with their hesitance to move forward, with Spatz wanting more details in writing about how the development will take place, and Brown expressing his concern about the fiscal health of the agency itself. But Mayor Steve Lawrence led the arguments in favor of the purchase, noting the option the agency holds on the property ends March 1, and adding Tokola has a track record of making these projects a reality and was eager to move forward. In the end the vote was 5-1 to proceed, with Spatz the only no vote. Lawrence says Tokola wants 15 percent public involvement in the estimated ten million dollar project.
The Dalles City Council decided not to send a measure to voters to opt out of the state’s recreational marijuana sales and processing laws, electing instead to have municipal staff prepare a time, place, and manner ordinance for marijuana businesses and a ballot measure for the City to tax sales of marijuana. Councilor Dan Spatz did move to put an opt-out measure on the November ballot, which was seconded by Taner Elliott, but the other three councilors voted against the motion. Russ Brown said he felt the decision needed to be made at the Council level, noting marijuana possession would be legal regardless of what the City did with the other elements, and the panel should focus on dealing with the consequences of that instead. Spatz did express concern that the City could have some federal funding endangered, noting marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.
Reorganization of The Dalles City Manager’s office in the wake of Julie Krueger moving into the position is underway. Krueger announced that Izetta Grossman has been moved up to the City Clerk/Administrative Assistant position that Krueger formerly held. Krueger says she is reorganizing the City Manager’s office personnel to allow Grossman to take on City Clerk duties in addition to some of her former duties as Executive Secretary to the City Manager. Krueger adds that during the 2016-17 budget process the City will be proposing to add a Human Resources position which will take those duties out of the City Clerk’s office.
Klickitat County is embarking on a revision of its strategic plan for economic development. The plan was first put together in the mid-1990’s, and has not been reviewed since 2003. County Economic Development Director Dave McClure says so much has changed since those efforts, including the emergence of the high-tech industry and wineries in the region, that it makes the revision necessary. He notes the plan is to divide the County into three region…West, Central, and East…to go through the review. McClure says they would like to get the plan work finished in about six months.
Hood River Mayor Paul Blackburn has established a Latino Advisory Council for the City. Blackburn says he came up with the idea during his election campaign after receiving favorable response for making a couple of speeches in Spanish. He says the group will meet about once a month with a goal of providing him and other civic leaders a different perspective on various issues. The next meeting of the group will take place on Wednesday, March 2 at 4:30 p.m. in Hood River City Hall.