The Hood River County School District board formally approved a resolution to put a 20-year, 57-million dollar bond measure on the May ballot that will not raise the current tax rate, address major maintenance needs at all of the district’s facilities, and construct a new May Street Elementary School on the same property as it is located now. Long-time board member Jan Veldhuisen-Virk said the decision to commit the tax rate for the 20-year term was difficult, but added the district’s facility needs were too numerous not to take the step. The bond measure was developed over a number of months involving a number of different school district personnel and community members. The district has a bond expiring this year, so this measure would not raise the current tax rate. Another district bond comes off the books in 2023.
The Gorge Community Foundation has received an anonymous one million dollar contribution to promote charitable giving in the region. The Gorge Community Foundation manages more than 70 permanent charitable endowments in the region. Foundation executive director Dan Spatz says the donation will significantly grow what had been a total combined endowment of four million dollars. Spatz also hopes the donation will make the community more aware of what the foundation does. It has awarded more than one million dollars in grants since 2003, including $112,000 in 2015.
Oregon State Representative John Huffman’s bill to create regulations for the use of drones has passed out of a House committee unanimously, and will probably go to the full chamber on Monday. Huffman says he expects the bill to pass with very little trouble. The bill expands the prohibition of weaponizing a drone, and creates penalties for flying a drone that interferes with firefighting operations. Huffman encourages those who are interested in flying a drone to go to knowbeforeyoufly.com to learn what all the rules and regulations are.
Hood River City Councilors have given Mayor Paul Blackburn the go-ahead to prepare a resolution calling for Congress and the Oregon Legislature to require comprehensive background checks for firearm sales. Blackburn presented a boilerplate version to Councilors to gauge interest, and says he will prepare a resolution for a vote at the panel’s February 24 meeting. Blackburn says gun violence is an issue that needs to be addressed, adding he feels local officials should weigh in on issues like this on behalf of their constituents, even if they aren’t the eventual decision makers in the matter.
A public meeting on the process updating the Transportation System Plan for The Dalles was set for Wednesday evening. It will be the first public meeting on the TSP, while technical advisory and public advisory committees have been formed and have met. The Dalles Public Works Director Dave Anderson says the plan will cover the next 20 years and identify transportation needs of all kinds for all, from pedestrians to bicyclists to motor vehicles. Anderson notes the TSP is necessary to help the City acquire state and federal funding for transportation projects. Anderson says to this point the process has involved reviewing existing conditions, with the evaluation of future options coming later. The goal is to finish the TSP by the end of the year, and information is available on-line at thedallestsp.com.
The Hood River County Chamber of Commerce has unveiled its new website. Chamber Executive Director Mike Glover says a big reason to update the site was to make it more mobile friendly. Glover added the new site was designed with an eye toward making navigation easier. In addition the site attempts to create more of a balance between community and tourism information. It is being rolled out as the Chamber emphasizes its “This Winter Find Yourself In Hood River” tourism campaign.
A Goldendale School District bond measure was going down to defeat while three maintenance and operations levies in Klickitat County were being approved by voters after ballot counts in Washington last night. The Goldendale district was asking voters to approve a bond measure to generate nine-point-two million dollars, but it was being rejected by 51-point-four percent of voters, 1,112 saying no to 1,050 saying yes. In Glenwood, the school district’s maintenance and operations levy was being approved 84-to-60, the Klickitat School District M and O was passing 80-to-34, and the Centerville district measure had a count of 118 yes and 60 no. Under Washington state law ballots only had to be postmarked by Tuesday, so ballots will continue to come in over the next few days.
Pendleton 81, The Dalles 44
Hermiston 84, Hood River Valley 44
South Wasco 62, Horizon Christian 51
Columbia Christian 64, Dufur 52
Southwest Christian 59, Trout Lake 37
Pendleton 48, The Dalles 43
Hermiston 62, Hood River Valley 39
Horizon Christian 42, South Wasco 29
Columbia Christian 37, Dufur 31
Southwest Christian 45, Trout Lake 31
The Dalles City Council has formally approved a contract for Julie Krueger to take on the City Manager’s job. Krueger’s appointment was announced last week, after she had been in the position in an interim capacity following the termination of former City Manager Nolan Young’s contract. Krueger has been with the City since 1989, serving as City Clerk before taking on the City Manager’s position. Mayor Steve Lawrence says Krueger’s ascension to the job is triggering a bit of a reorganization within City administration as they are looking to fill a human resources position and Izetta Grossman moves from administrative secretary to City Clerk. Lawrence did confirm Krueger’s contract does contain a clause allowing her to return to the City Clerk position if at any time the Council wants to make a change in the City Manager job.
Wasco County Commissioner Rod Runyon has spent a lot of time in Salem since the Oregon Legislative session got underway, testifying for the Association of Oregon Counties on various bills under consideration. Runyon says a big concern for the counties is how much is being considered during the short session, and how little communication there has been between the state level and the county level. Runyon uses the minimum wage proposals as an example, pointing out no formulas have been provided to help counties determine potential costs they could face. Runyon noted Linn County believes if the minimum wage went up to 11 dollars an hour, the impact to their annual budget would be an increase of two million dollars.