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Local News

Hood River County Purchases Forestland From SDS

Hood River County Commissioners approved the purchase of just over 2,887 acres of forestland in the County from SDS Lumber.  It’s the County’s first major forest land purchase in a decade, using part of the proceeds from the sale of holdings in Grant and Umatilla counties to make the $4,620,000 purchase.  The sale includes seven different parcels, the largest involving 1,520 acres near Upper Pinemont Drive.  County Administrator David Meriwether says the lands include a good mix of timber, and are adjacent to other County holdings.  County Commission Chair Ron Rivers noted the purchase completes a circle, replacing a property exchange dating back nearly 15 years when the County exchanged over one-thousand acres of County-owned forestland to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, which led to the purchase of the Eastern Oregon properties.  Rivers adds they still intend to reinvest the remaining proceeds from the Eastern Oregon land sale in the County forest.

Wasco County Commissioners Hear Different Marijuana Message In Mosier

Wasco County Commissioners concluded their second town hall on the subject of whether the County should enact a moratorium on marijuana businesses with the intent of putting the question before voters next year, and the response at Monday night’s meeting in Mosier was far different than last week’s in Dufur.  After hearing from an audience split on the issue in Dufur, Commission Chair Scott Hege noted most at the Mosier event were against a moratorium.  Many who spoke emphasized the business opportunities that are available with the marijuana legalization.  Hege says Commissioners will now begin to mull over their options at their meeting on October 7.  If Commissioners were to place a moratorium on any aspect of marijuana business, it would go on the November 2016 ballot for voters to decide.

Lawrence Discusses “List” On MCT

The Dalles Mayor Steve Lawrence says the “Things to Accomplish List” referred to in an editorial in The Dalles Chronicle on Sunday was written some time ago…and his viewpoint on some of the items in it have changed over times.  Appearing on Bicoastal Media’s Mid-Columbia Today Show Tuesday morning (access the complete program by clicking here), Lawrence said the list was accidentally sent to the Chronicle in December, and he had asked them to delete it.  He termed it a list of what he might want to do as Mayor, said he no longer has it, and is unsure whether he developed it before or after he was elected as Mayor in November 2012.  He said the list was developed from input by citizens and past elected officials about things he may want to address, and had he wanted to produce it for the public he would have “put a question mark in front of each one of those.”  Lawrence added a number of the items on the list he is no longer thinking about, but he is still considering some of them.  The editorial was published in the aftermath of The Dalles City Council’s vote last Monday to terminate the contract of City Manager Nolan Young.  It indicated Lawrence’s list included language indicating he wanted to change the City Manager to get someone who could go through departments and make changes.  Lawrence, who as Mayor does not have a vote on Council matters unless there is a tie, said he felt he had a pretty good working relationship with Young.

Cemetery Tales This Weekend

The History Museum of Hood River County’s annual presentation of Cemetery Tales will take place this weekend in Idlewild Cemetery.  The museum’s Dottie Gilbertson says this year’s theme for the tour through the cemetery featuring actors depicting former County residents buried in the cemetery is “Choices and Decisions.”  Performances will take place Friday through Sunday.  Tickets are $17, or $15 for museum members, and are available at the Museum in Port Marina Park or on-line at cemeterytales.eventbrite.com and thehistorymuseum.com.

September 21 Prep Sports Roundup

Boys Soccer

Glencoe 5, The Dalles 0

Horizon Christian 4, Crosshill Christian 1:  The Hawks received first half goals from Makoa Whitaker and Salvador Ramirez on the way to their first victory of the season.


Girls Soccer

Glencoe 9, The Dalles 0



Stevenson def. Lyle 3 games to 1

NW Aluminum Specialties Purchased By SAPA, Growth Foreseen

Northwest Aluminum Specialties has been purchased by SAPA AS…an international company headquartered in Norway that has 110 locations worldwide, including 23 in the United States, and company officials say they plan to add to the workforce at the The Dalles plant next year.  Plant Manager Wade Ellertson says the company’s first order of business is to make equipment improvements that Northwest Aluminum Specialties had been unable to do due to financial challenges.  Ellertson added they see plenty of growth potential in The Dalles plant, which will now be known as SAPA Aluminum The Dalles Cast, and would like to double current output.  He said they are looking at adding 15 employees after the start of 2016.  Northwest Aluminum Specialties was worker owned, and President/CEO Bill Reid said they had been looking since the economic downturn of 2008 to find refinancing or a change in equity owners.  He noted Bank of the West worked with the company to keep the business going.  With the sale complete, Reid said he plans to retire, which he had intended to do two years ago but stayed on to help facilitate a sale.

Group Seeks County Measure To Ban Cascade Locks Bottled Water Plant

Critics of a plan to build a bottled water plant in Cascade Locks hope to take their case to the voters of Hood River County.  The group Local Water Alliance on Monday announced plans to put a measure on the County ballot.  Spokeswoman Aurora del Val says water shouldn’t be trucked out of state in a time of drought.  She says the group is going to county voters because city and state officials haven’t stopped the plant.  A county elections official says the group would need to collect just under 500 signatures from registered voters.  Their initial filing was turned down after the County ruled it dealt with two separate issues, prohibiting both transport of bottled water and the act of producing commercial bottled water, and the group is appealing in Circuit Court while also filing new measures separating the two.  Cascade Locks City Administrator Gordon Zimmerman says he can’t comment on the proposed ballot measure until lawyers have reviewed it.  But he says the city council views the facility proposed by Nestle as a critical economic boost for the town.

September 18-19 Prep Sports Roundup


Ridgeview 36, Hood River Valley 22

The Dalles 43, Mac-Hi 0

Columbia 32, Fort Vancouver 0

Estacada 40, Stevenson 0

Dufur 44, Hosanna Christian 14

Sherman 60, Ione 28

Arlington 60, South Wasco 0

Goldendale 20, White Swan 0


Boys Soccer

Hood River Valley 2, Summit 1


Girls Soccer

West Albany 3, Hood River Valley 0


Cross Country

The Dalles girls were fifth and the boys ninth at the Oregon City Invitational.  Jony Nelson had the top finish for the Riverhawk boys in 16th, while Emily Morin topped The Dalles in the girls’ run in 17th.



Horizon Christian def. Firm Foundation 15-25, 25-10, 25-8, 17-25, 15-9

Perrydale def. Dufur 25-27, 20-25, 25-16, 25-16, 15-10

St. Paul def. Dufur 25-10, 25-14, 25-7

South Wasco won two out of three matches in its Redside Tournament, while Sherman split two, Klickitat was 1-2, and Horizon Christian 0-3.

Port of HR Bridge Subject Of Engineering Work

The Port of Hood River has a lot of engineering work taking place on the Interstate Bridge at this time.  Core samples of the concrete piers to determine their condition, seismic analysis to determine points of vulnerability, a check of auxiliary truss connections, and an initial analysis of the impact of overweight trucks on the bridge have either just taken place or are on-going.  Port Executive Director Michael McElwee added there is some state legislation pending that could be helpful.  Repairs to the auxiliary truss connections are slated to take place in the next fiscal year, while the analysis on the impact of overweight trucks on the bridge is to be presented to the Port Commission at their next meeting.

Busy Times For The Dalles Tourism

The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Farquharson says tourism in the city seemed to be busier this year.  Farquharson says most of their indicators show an increase in activity, including visits to the Chamber for information and hits on the Chamber’s website.  She said much of the visitation came from the Western region.  Farquharson noted they are still getting large numbers of tourists now, primarily people who do not have children.  She added they are seeing an uptick in international visitors.



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