The Oregon Department of Transportation has launched an online public survey to help develop new transit options that will address congestion in Gorge. The online survey will be available through January 31 at gorgetransitstudy.org. The survey is seeking ways to improve access, reduce congestion and improve safety for all users. ODOT is working on this project with local, state and federal officials; Gorge-focused organizations; private sector groups; recreational outlets and transit providers. Popular destinations such as Multnomah Falls are often overwhelmed with traffic, forcing closure of the parking lot, parking at other sites cannot meet the public demand, and few public transit options connect recreational and tourist attractions with population centers.
The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce presented its Distinguished Citizens Award at its annual banquet. Andretta Schellinger was selected as Woman of the Year, Anthony Pereira was named Man of the Year, Patti Blagg was chosen as Volunteer of the Year, Outstanding First Responder went to Roger Howe, Wahtonka Community School administrator Brian Goodwin was tabbed as Educator of the Year, The Dalles High School senior Max McClennon received the Outstanding Youth Award, Crestline Construction was named Business of the Year, and Bob Durham received the Outstanding Ag Achievement Award. The recipients were chosen by a panel of community members, past winners and Chamber staff.
Pendleton 51, Hood River Valley 20
Goldendale 42, Highland 30
Naches Valley 51, Goldendale 30
LaCenter 75, Stevenson 57
The Dalles City Council spent one hour in executive session Thursday, but no announcement was made about the selection of a new City Manager. Mayor Steve Lawrence said after the meeting that no decision has been made, and the process toward hiring someone for the position continues. Lawrence added they are still reviewing candidates and possible people they may want to still interview. Lawrence said he does not feel they are in any kind of time crunch to fill the position, noting they had a total of eight months to fill the City Manager’s job that was vacated when Nolan Young’s contract was terminated in September. That includes the 60-day notice of contract termination before a six month requirement to fill the job under the City Charter kicked in. Four finalists for the job were interviewed last week.
The Bonneville Power Administrator put the modernized Celilo Converter Station into service Thursday. Construction on the 370 million dollar project began in the fall of 2014, and the station had been out of service since October for final installation and testing. Modernization of the converter station, including six massive new transformers, each weighing more than a Boeing 747 airliner, anchors a $498,000,000 package of BPA-funded grid upgrades to the northern leg of the Pacific Direct Current Intertie, which connects the Northwest with Los Angeles. When the final phase of the overall project is completed this fall, the BPA transmission-line upgrades will raise the capacity of the intertie from 3,100 to 3,220 megawatts. BPA, which funded the improvements, is also in the process of upgrading the 265-mile portion of intertie that it owns from the Columbia River to the Nevada-Oregon border.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is calling for immediate funding of a gun violence research agenda at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Joining a group of Democratic senators and national researchers, Wyden claimed a 1996 Republican appropriations rider prohibiting federal funds from being used to advocate or promote gun control has been misconstrued as a ban on funding scientific research into the causes of gun violence. The author of the original rider, former Arkansas Representative Jay Dickey, now supports funding CDC gun-violence research and has stated that the 20-year-old rider should not stand in the way.
Construction is about to start on a 1.3 mile section of the Historic Columbia Highway State Trail from Lindsey Creek to Starvation Creek trailhead. Work on the extension will also close a single lane of eastbound Interstate 84 near the Starvation Creek Trailhead at exit 55. Trail access from west of Starvation Creek rest area will be closed on weekdays along with the Mt. Defiance, Starvation Ridge, and Starvation Ridge Cutoff trails. They will be open on weekends and holidays. All trails leading into the construction area will be posted with signs indicating closure.
Stevenson 71, Columbia 50: The Bulldogs scored 41 first half points on the way to the win. Austin Brennan scored 20 points for the Bulldogs, while Alex Delarosa contributed 12 points and dished out 10 assists. Jabal Gilbert topped Columbia with 19 points.
Stevenson 43, Columbia 39: Madison Krog scored 18 points and Amya St. Martin chipped in 11 to pace the Bulldogs. Lauren Thiesies led the Bruins with 10.
The access road to the Spit recreational site in Hood River’s waterfront area is closed to vehicle traffic until further notice. Port of Hood River officials say it is a temporary closure for an undetermined period of time. The exceptionally wet winter has caused significant damage to the road, which provides the only vehicular access to the parking area for the Spit. The road will be closed to all but construction vehicles until it can be repaired. Pedestrian access is still allowed. Users of the Spit recreational area can park at the Marina Beach parking area and walk across the Hood River Pedestrian Bridge.
It may only be January, but many school administrators are thinking about recruiting teachers for next year. White Salmon Valley School District Superintendent Jerry Lewis has begun his recruitment work, saying at this point the lack of qualified teachers is a crisis in Washington, and the district wants to be out in front of the pack in recruitment. Lewis says districts can’t compete for teachers based on pay with the state salary schedule, so they have to differentiate themselves in large part by finding people who want to come to the Gorge. But he quickly adds the cost of housing in the region is as big a hurdle in hiring teachers as a shortage of candidates is.