A local group is holding an on-line discussion this month on the lower White Salmon River restoration effort. The Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group inviting people to share their goals and priorities as a fish habitat conservation strategy for the lower six miles of the White Salmon River is developed. People can take part in the on-line discussion through July 20 at the group’s website, midcolumbiarfeg.com. The lower White Salmon River became free-flowing after the breach and removal of Condit Dam.
North Wasco County School District 21 board members are beginning to discuss reducing the number of zones members represent and adding an at-large position. Currently each board member represents one of seven zones, but the group is now considering dropping to six zones and including an at-large seat. Superintendent Candy Armstrong says that is because they have had difficulty filling the zone three seat, which is in the western end of The Dalles and is currently vacant. She adds each zone must be divided equally by population. Armstrong says the board has just begun discussing the concept. If the D-21 board decides to make a change, it needs to be finalized by November to allow the at-large seat to be a part of school board elections in May.
Orchardists probably won’t know the impact of late night and early morning rains on the region’s cherry crop for about a day or so. Oregon State University Wasco County Extension Agent Lynn Long says the Cherry Heights area of The Dalles received less than two-tenths of an inch of rain overnight, while Dufur received a third of an inch. Long says a number of growers have been putting anti-cracking agents on their cherries recently developed by OSU and Washington State University. Long notes many orchardists are in the heart of Bing cherry harvests, with Skeena cherries to follow.
The Meyer Memorial Trust has awarded a $500,000 capital grant to help build a curved, raised walkway modeled after the tribal fishing platforms at Celilo Park near The Dalles as part of Maya Lin’s Confluence Project. This grant follows a gift of $150,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation in May, a $250,000 grant from the Ford Family Foundation in March, and a $250,000 gift from the Collins Foundation in December. Last year, the Oregon legislature allocated $1,500,000 to the Celilo Arc restoration project that is scheduled to be completed in 2016. Over the next three years, the project will invest more than eight-point-five million dollars to design on three acres of land, improve Celilo Park’s facilities, and improve access to both the park and the adjacent tribal treaty fishing access site. An estimated 500,000 visitors are expected at the park annually from local communities, the region and the world.
Applications for Columbia Gorge Community College’s Renewable Energy Technology program are being accepted. Program recruiter Lisa Cook says the application period will close next Thursday, but it could be reopened if full enrollment is not met. She says those who are interested should contact the college to learn more about the prerequisites. The RET program offers one and two year programs, along with transfer opportunities to Oregon Institute of Technology. Program information is available at cgcc.edu.
Wasco County Commissioners have set a public hearing on a proposed road district for July 16 in Maupin. Commissioners moved ahead with setting the date after the community of Shaniko opted into the district, following similar actions by Dufur, Maupin, and Antelope. The Dalles and Mosier have decided not to take part. Commissioner Scott Hege says now that all of the cities have made their decisions, they can compute a tax rate so citizens can give their opinion of the proposal. The July 16 hearing will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Maupin City Park Community Building.
The Dalles City Council and Planning Commission will conduct a worksession Monday on residential infill policies. How to pay for infrastructure improvements has been a long-running question for City officials. Mayor Steve Lawrence says this worksession will hear recommendations from two subcommittees made of City staff and volunteers looking at how to pay for the improvements, and when should property owners be assessed the costs. He noted the Council gave specific instructions after Oregon legislators approved a bill limiting the amount property owners can be charged for minor divisions. Monday evening’s worksession begins at 5:30 in The Dalles City Hall.
Officials say about 30 families in the Columbia Gorge have been helped by the Oregon Foreclosure Avoidance program passed by the 2013 Legislature, and they are hoping for more. Joel Madsen of the Columbia Cascade Housing Agency says the problem may not be as prevalent as in some areas of the state, but there are families at risk of losing their homes. He adds the counseling is available to almost any homeowner. Those who would like to receive foreclosure avoidance counseling can call Columbia Cascade Housing Agency at 541-296-5462.
The City of The Dalles is going to hire a business recruitment specialist for six months to test its effectiveness. Mayor Steve Lawrence says one thing The Dalles has lacked is someone who goes out and aggressively promotes The Dalles as a destination for businesses. Lawrence says the recruiter will be asked to target certain business sectors. He uses as an example South Wasco County, where recent work by recruiter Mike Davis has brought in businesses to Tygh Valley and Wamic. Lawrence isn’t sure if six months is enough of a test period to determine the effectiveness of a business recruiter, but he and City Manager Nolan Young will ask for more time if they feel like it can be successful.
A 61-year-old Toppenish woman died Monday night when the car she was driving went into the Columbia River near the boat launch at Lyle Point. According to the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office, Cheryl Moses was pronounced dead at the scene. The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office dive team located the vehicle in about 12 feet of water about 40 feet south of the shoreline. They used a tow cable to remove the vehicle from the water. Lyle First Responders and Klickitat County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the location just after 11 p.m. Monday, as friends and family of the driver were attempting to rescue Moses from the vehicle.