With another month of summer to go…the warning to be careful in regards to fire continues to be issued. Klickitat County Commissioner and rancher Jim Sizemore says extremely dry conditions will continue, and that means the need to be careful does as well. He points out that anyone working outdoors with equipment should have someone else watching to make sure a fire does not start. Contact your local fire prevention agency for details on restrictions currently in place. Nearly all fire districts in the region have some kind of burn ban restriction at this time that will continue until significant rainfall occurs during autumn.
The City of Hood River will be making repairs to the Ultraviolet light disinfection system in its wastewater treatment plant. City Manager Steve Wheeler says the lights in the nearly 20-year-old system have begun to go out, and they need to be fixed to maintain proper treatment of effluent that goes into the Columbia River. Cost of the repairs is just over $48,600. Wheeler noted while this repair was not anticipated in the current budget, there are several Sewer Capital Fund projects to make it possible savings on those efforts could pay for it, and if not there is over 51-thousand dollars of contingency funds in the sewer budget for this kind of situation.
The Dalles Public Works crews will be painting street lines Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Motorists are asked to watch for the crews and avoid driving on the wet paint. The paint truck will be preceded and followed by warning vehicles, with signs calling attention to the wet paint. The trucks will be spaced according to the necessary drying time of the paint. Attempting to pass or drive between the trucks will result in a messy striping job and paint damage to the motorist’s vehicle. On Tuesday Public Works crews will be paving Federal Street from 8th to 10th Street. No on street parking will be available on this section of Federal Street from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
A downed power pole as the result of a noon-time accident involving a camper will keep the lower part of 13th Street on Hospital Hill in Hood River closed for a few hours this afternoon. Hood River Fire Chief Devon Wells says 13th Street from Sherman to Oak and State Street from 9th to 13th will be closed while Pacific Power crews work on installing the new pole. The accident occurred around noon today. Wells says the driver of the camper did not realize his slider was out while driving, and while coming down 13th sheared the power pole at the State Street intersection, which also brought down a power line on the nearby van. Wells indicated the vehicles involved were removed safely, and no one was hurt.
The White Salmon City Council has sent a feasibility study for a new swimming pool on property across from Whitson Elementary School on to designers. Mayor David Poucher says they are asking for a design that will include zero entry, which means the pool has an entry that gradually slopes into the water similar to a natural beach. He adds the design will also include a therapy pool and a splash pad. Poucher says the City plans to go to voters for a levy lid lift in February or March to pay for a portion of the project. The City has about $600,000 in donations on hand, and is seeking a $750,000 grant from the state.
Wasco County Commissioners approved a change to an agreement with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to provide law enforcement services in the Lower Deschutes River area, changing it from a deputy year-round to one on a seasonal basis between April and September. Commissioner Scott Hege says the contract has been in effect since 2014, but there has not been enough activity to justify a full-time deputy in that area. Hege noted the County was able to fund the balance of the deputy’s position to keep it full-time and available for other needs. Sheriff’s services will be provided in the Lower Deschutes area on an “on-call” basis in the off-season, with those activities billed directly to OPRD.
The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office says a Stevenson area resident missing for about a week has been found. Sheriff Dave Brown said this morning that 47-year-old Matt L’Hommedieu was located Wednesday in Pendleton. Brown indicated he was contacted by tribal police and it was determined that L’Hommedieu is fine. He is no longer considered a missing person. L’Hommedieu had been reported missing after he was last seen last Thursday night leaving his residence near mile post 2 on Loop Road.
North Wasco County School District 21 is now taking applications to fill the Zone 5 position on the district board. The appointment will run through June 30, 2017, with the position on the special districts election ballot in May. To qualify for this position applicants must live within the boundaries of Zone 5, which essentially is south of 7th Street in The Dalles from Trevitt to Madison. Complete zone descriptions and applications may be found on the D-21 website, nwasco.k12.or.us, under School Board Members and Zone Descriptions and Maps. For more information call 541-506-3420, extension 1002.
Port of Hood River Commissioners have given the go-ahead for preparing a formal application to the City for a preliminary subdivision plan of Lot 1 west of the Nichols Basin. It’s the largest remaining development site on the Hood River waterfront. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says the plan is a key step toward preparing the lot for development. It will locate rights of way and legal lots, creating the framework for placement of infrastructure. McElwee expects the application process will take several months to go through.
Officials are urging people across the Northwest to refrain from having any campfires or setting off fireworks as hot, breezy weather poses a severe risk of wildfires. Due to increasing fire danger, restrictions have been imposed on firewood cutting and other industrial activities on the eastern portions of the Mt. Hood National Forest. Known as Industrial Fire Precaution Levels Units 1 and 4 to industrial operators, the restricted area covers all of Barlow and most of Hood River Ranger Districts, which have high fire danger levels. For the average firewood cutter, the restrictions mean that they will only be allowed to operate power saws from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in those areas. A one-hour fire watch is required after shut down of power saws and other equipment within the affected area. All power saws and motor bikes are also required to have an approved spark arrestor installed while operating on the national forest. In Washington, Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark expanded a statewide fire ban to prohibit all outdoor burning, including campfires in fire pits and the use of charcoal briquettes, on state forests and parks protected by the Department of Natural Resources. Goldmark says the greatest fire danger right now comes from carelessness. The National Weather Service is issuing similar warnings, asking people not to burn anything outside, not to toss burning materials from vehicles and not to use fireworks.