Klickitat County Commissioners heard from citizens concerned about the potential that a marijuana processor would be located near their neighborhood south of Goldendale. An application is before the Washington Liquor Control Board for the processing facility on Bailey Loop Road in a commercial zone adjacent to a residential location. Commissioner David Sauter says the location meets County zoning requirements, noting the final decision rests with the state agency, and they will include residents’ comments on the County’s response to the application. Commissioners also encouraged the residents to make comments directly to the Liquor Control Board.
A Goldendale woman accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter and wounding her teenage daughter at an Oregon coast motel last summer is tentatively set for trial next July 7. Jessica Smith’s defense lawyers sought a trial date in spring or early summer 2016 during a hearing Tuesday in Circuit Court in Astoria. Judge Cindee Matyas set the trial date for next July, but said she would allow defense lawyer William Falls a postponement if needed. The 40-year-old woman earlier pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder in the attacks. Cannon Beach police found the toddler dead and the 13-year-old girl in a hotel room on August 1. The teen has since recovered. Smith and her husband, Greg Smith, were divorcing after 17 years amid a custody dispute.
Law enforcement agencies in the Hood River area are investigating the death of a young woman discovered when officers did a welfare check. Hood River Police say 23-year-old Cecilia Campuzano Ortiz was found dead inside a residence on Montello Avenue. Friends and co-workers of Ortiz asked police to go to the residence after they had not seen or heard from her for several days. The cause of death will not be known until an autopsy is performed by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office. The Oregon State Police Forensics team responded and performed forensic evidence collection and documentation of the scene. The Hood River Police Department is asking anyone with information related to this case contact Detective Michael Martin at 541-387-5257.
A commercial truck rollover Tuesday morning along the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 about 12 miles west of Arlington resulted in the driver being taken to a hospital. According to the Oregon State Police, the accident occurred at about 5:10 a.m. A 1997 Peterbilt truck pulling a semi-trailer loaded with potatoes was traveling eastbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 126. According to the driver he swerved to miss several deer that were on the road and lost control. The truck and trailer crashed into the guardrail on the right shoulder and overturned, spilling the load onto the shoulder. The truck and trailer came to rest on the guardrail partially blocking the right eastbound lane. The driver appeared not injured but was taken to an area hospital for a medical evaluation. His name has not been released. About 230 feet of guardrail was damaged. No injured or dead deer were found in the area.
The Westside Fire District is asking its patrons for a five-year operating levy of 50 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value in the upcoming election. That would be on top of the current 78 cents per thousand, which is the lowest tax rate among fire districts in the Hood River Valley. District board member Mark Beam says they had considered the levy for a number of years, but have held off for economic reasons. Fire Marshal Jim Trammell adds the district is trying to maintain its current level of service, but in recent years have constantly been in a catch-up mode. District officials emphasized none of the levy funds would be used for personnel. The district employs two people, with the rest of the operation done by volunteers.
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area fire managers are taking advantage of the cooler weather to start fall prescribed fires. They will occur in the Seven Mile area in Oregon and Catherine Creek area in Washington over the next month as weather permits, part of an ongoing effort to reduce the potential of catastrophic wildfires and improve forest health. Prescribed fires and other mechanical fuels treatment conducted in the Rowena drainage over the past couple of years made a significant difference in battling this summer’s Rowena Fire. When the fire reached these treated areas fire intensity moderated which allowed firefighters to safely build fireline directly adjacent to the fire and stop the forward progression. Smoke will be visible generally in the Courtney Road to the Major Creek area in Washington and the Rowena Creek drainage in Oregon. The actual day of ignition for these prescribed burn projects will depend on several factors including appropriate temperature, fuel moisture, wind speed and direction.
A 55-year-old Hood River man seriously injured in an accident while riding a motorcycle near Wasco three weeks ago has died. The Oregon State Police confirmed Mark Peters died Wednesday reportedly from injuries related to the crash. Peters had returned to Hood River for post-hospital care in late September. On September 12 Peters was northbound on Highway 97 near Wasco when a van turning off Clark Road to the southbound lane of the highway was struck by the motorcycle operated by Peters, who was ejected from the motorcycle. An Oregon State Police investigation into the accident is continuing.
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Thursday that it is providing $400,000 in grants to improve transportation to health care facilities for veterans living in eight rural Oregon counties, including Sherman and Wheeler counties. Under the VA’s Highly Rural Transportation Grants program, 300-thousand dollars will be provided to the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs to improve and expand transportation options for veterans living in Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Morrow, Sherman and Wheeler counties. An estimated 2,200 veterans in those counties could benefit from the service. The Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs will receive another 100-thousand dollars to provide similar benefits to an estimated 1,350 veterans living in Malheur and Wallowa counties. Senator Ron Wyden applauded the announcement, saying the money will be put to good use ensuring that veterans living in these areas have access to VA health care.