In a split vote, the Port of Hood River Commission has decided to wait until next year to submit an application for federal funds to begin work towards a new Interstate Bridge rather than getting one in by this week’s deadline. Commissioners Rich McBride and Hoby Streich voted to wait, while Jon Davies and Brian Shortt voted to put in the application now. Fred Duckwall could not attend the meeting. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says regardless of the timing of an application, the panel is united in their efforts to move forward to get plans for a new bridge in place as part of the federal government’s five-year Fastlane program which specifically mentions National Scenic Areas as part of the criteria. Waiting until next year does allow more time to identify the exact source of a required 40 percent local match for funding.
The Hood River County Planning Commission has upheld an administrative decision to approve a cell phone tower near Windmaster Corner. The vote was 7-0 to allow the 100-foot-tall tower on the cold storage property behind the batting facility at Traner Field. Community Development Department Director John Roberts notes the tower would only be 25 feet taller than the light poles at Traner. The Planning Commission decision can be appealed to the County Commission.
Hood River Valley 13, Redmond 3: The Eagles jumped out to a 7-0 lead after three innings and never looked back on the way to their fourth straight win. HRV scored at least two runs in five of seven innings, using 12 hits to augment seven Redmond errors.
Hood River Valley 6, Redmond 5 (8 innings): The Eagles scored two runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning on run-scoring doubles by Kaylin Winans and Hannah McNerney to tie the game before Made Vallejo’s infield grounder in the eighth brought home the game winner. Redmond had taken the lead in the top of the seventh by scoring three runs with two outs in the top of the seventh. HRV is now 7-6 on the season.
Track and Field
The Columbia girls nipped Raymond by two points to win a five-school meet at Castle Rock. CHS won the 1600 meter relay to grab the winning margin. Lauren Thiesies, Rachel Luther, and Haley Blair also won events for the Bruins. The Columbia boys were second in their portion of the meet, as James Bell took first in the 300 meter hurdles.
Both the Stevenson boys and girls finished third in a five-school meet at Kalama. Zion Cole-England, Lincoln King, and Luke Nichols won events for the Bulldog boys, while Amya St. Martin, Rachel Zolp, and the 800 meter relay team had first place finishes for the Stevenson girls.
Stevenson 2, King’s Way Christian 0
The Columbia Gorge Community College Board of Education approved a hike in tuition at the college for the 2016-17 academic year. Tuition will jump from $91 per credit hour to $97, and credit fees go up from $15 to $16. CGCC President Dr. Frank Toda says no one wants to raise tuition, but the school has very little choice at the current level of state funding for community colleges. A lengthy discussion included consideration of a proposal to establish a $150 small class size fee in an effort to avoid cancellation of classes due to low numbers and provide predictability for students in class availability. That was not adopted, but the board did direct staff to find a way to provide that predictability to students.
North Wasco County School District 21 may not be able to issue zone waivers for elementary schools next year. D-21 Superintendent Candy Armstrong says growing capacity issues have gotten to the point where they may no longer be able to accommodate requests from parents to allow their children to attend schools outside of their neighborhood. She adds the problem could be exacerbated by the establishment of farm worker housing in the Colonel Wright attendance area, where space is already limited. Armstrong estimates over 100 D-21 elementary students currently receive zone waivers. Elementary school principals are currently studying the issue, and the district will make a decision sometime in May.
Hood River County Commissioners on Tuesday met in executive session to examine applicants seeking to be the County’s next Administrator, but no announcement in regards to finalists was made. County Administrator David Meriwether, who will be retiring at the end of June, did say they will be making public announcements in regards to the number of finalists to be brought in for interviews within the next few days. He added a public reception for the finalists is scheduled for April 26, and interviews will take place the next day.
Columbia splits with Castle Rock, winning game one 6-5 and losing the nightcap 10-0
Kalama sweeps Stevenson 9-1 and 4-1
Irrigon 16, Dufur 0
Goldendale sweeps River View 9-1 and 12-7
River View sweeps Goldendale 21-0 and 21-0
Columbia 12, Castle Rock 0: The Bruins are now 5-0 in the Trico League season.
Hood River Valley 17, Liberty 5: Cole Brown and Henry Barton scored four goals apiece to lead the Eagles to the win.
Goldendale 3, Cle Elum-Roslyn 1
King’s Way Christian 5, Stevenson 0
Goldendale 3, Cle Elum-Roslyn 2
By a six-to-one vote, the Cascade Locks City Council approved a resolution opposing Measure 14-55 on the May ballot in Hood River County that would block Nestle from establishing in a water bottling facility in the town. The strongly worded resolution alludes to a depressed economy in Cascade Locks, calling the measure a “direct threat to the City’s home rule, local control, right to self-sufficiency, and its economic future.” Deanna Busdieker cast the lone vote against the resolution. The vote came after testimony that included substantial input from tribal members opposed to the Nestle plant. Measure 14-55 would prohibit the commercial production of bottled water in Hood River County, prohibit the transport of commercially-produced bottled water collected from any water source within the county, and prohibit the transport of water for the purpose of commercially producing bottled water.
Hood River City Councilors opened up the hearings process on amendments to the municipal zoning code to deal with short-term rentals, and two members have recused themselves from the panel for this issue. Both Laurent Picard and Becky Brun stepped aside, noting they have both rented out their homes on a short-term basis in the past. Mayor Paul Blackburn points out that it will still take four votes from the five remaining councilors to approve amendments. Councilors took two hours of testimony from all sides of the issue Monday evening, and will do so again on April 25. The Council had planned to begin testimony on what are called Title 5 regulations for short-term rentals, which deals with things like permit costs, but based on what the City Planning Commission returned to the Council on zoning, Blackburn said they decided it would be better to wait on that until the zoning decisions are made.
The Dalles City Council has approved a plan to use $250,000 of the initial $1,450,000 fee paid by Google as part of the enterprise zone agreement for the company’s third data center to be built in the community, and then divide the rest between the City and Wasco County. The payment became due when construction began on the facility. Annual fees will come in when the data center is operating. The division of the initial payment must also be approved by the Wasco County Commission.