A public meeting is scheduled for Monday evening in Parkdale to start the planning process for rehabilitation of the Clear Branch Dam. The Natural Resources Conservation Service is teaming with the U.S. Forest Service and Middle Fork Irrigation District on the project. The dam was built in 1968 with an expected 50-year lifespan, supplying irrigation to 8,000 acres of land and creating Laurance Lake, a popular recreational spot. Bringing the dam up to current environmental, engineering, safety, and seismic standards is a big part of the project. The meeting will take place Monday evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Parkdale Fire Station.
It is Cruise The Gorge Weekend in The Dalles. Festivities begin Friday evening with the Neon Cruise downtown. The Show In The Shade will be Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Sorosis Park, with the Parade of Champions award ceremony beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday will see the return of the Dallesport Drags at the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport, with public racing beginning at 10 a.m. and eliminations at noon. There will also be a classic car show in Dufur City Park as part of Vintage Dufur Days on Sunday starting at 10 a.m.
Vintage Dufur Days makes its debut this weekend in Dufur. Numerous events are scheduled both Saturday and Sunday, including a parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday. There will be demonstrations of vintage equipment and field operations both Saturday and Sunday, artists booths and live music on Main Street, an all ages sock hop on Saturday evening at 6 p.m., and a chili cookoff on Sunday at noon. The Ramsey Park Grange will hold a country breakfast both mornings beginning at 6 a.m. in City Park. A complete schedule is available at dufurhistoricalsociety.org.
The Oregon Cultural Trust has awarded just over $84,000 to four different organizations in the Gorge as part of its grant program for the current fiscal year. The Dalles-Wasco County Library Foundation is receiving $40,000 to support creation of a teen programming room and digital media lab for students in middle and high school. The Confluence Oral History Project of Hood River was granted over $21,000 to use storytelling and art making to reconnect generations of Native people to place, each other, and the broader community. Arts in Education of the Gorge will receive just over $13,000 to support the creation of a bilingual art map and other activities to increase Hispanic access to the Art of Community public art project. And Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River will receive over $9,6000 to support and explore Japanese culture and art in Oregon in a month-long celebration.
Crews are mopping up a fire that started Wednesday south of Heritage Landing along the Deschutes River. Forest Service spokesperson Katie Santini says the fire, a part of which is on Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs land, has been turned over to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for mop up. The fire burned an estimated 900 acres, and is listed as 85 percent contained. It started late Wednesday morning, but multiple agencies responded and were able to get a line around the fire, which was down to hot spots by night time. An air attack with two planes and a helicopter was utilized to help bring the fire under control. The fire burned in steep ground along a canyon, and high winds caused issues for firefighters in the effort to bring it under control.
Three nights of Interstate 84 ramp closures in the Hood River area begin Thursday night, with more planned for Friday night and Sunday night. Westbound on- and off-ramps at the Hood River City Center exit 63 will be closed for paving from 8 p.m. Thursday night until 8 a.m. Friday morning. 2nd Street will be narrowed to one lane and the signal will be turned off as crews pave the 2nd Street interchange on north the north side of I-84, with flaggers directing traffic. The left lane of I-84 in the eastbound direction will be paved through Hood River from exit 62 to 64 during that time. Friday night beginning at 8 p.m. and continuing until Saturday morning at 9 a.m., westbound on- and off-ramps at exit 63 and on-ramp at exit 64 will be closed as crews pave the right lane of I-84 in the westbound direction with the exit 62 on-ramp available to access westbound I-84. Then starting Sunday night at 8 p.m. until Monday at 8 a.m. westbound on- and off-ramps at exit 62 will be closed, with exit 63 and 64 on-ramps open.
Work to place an aerial fiber optic line in downtown The Dalles will be taking place Friday starting at 8:30 a.m. Underground Specialties will have a crew placing an aerial fiber optic line starting in the alley way between 2nd and 3rd Streets in the block of Court and Union Streets. This will continue along west side of Union St south then head east crossing Union Street and end in the alley way between 3rd and 4th Streets in the block of Union and Court behind Washington Federal Bank. Drive through for Washington Federal Bank will remain open, but all other traffic is asked to take an alternate route. Duration of work should be no more than a day. Although traffic will be flagged around the construction site, alternative routes are advised.
Fire crews are dealing with a fire that started early this afternoon south of Heritage Landing along the Deschutes River. Forest Service spokesperson Katie Santini says the fire is estimated to be 300 acres in size. There are some structures in the area, but Santini indicated they are not immediately threatened by the fire. Multiple agencies have responded to the fire, and an air attack is underway with two planes and a helicopter involved. There are also four engines and a hand crew on scene. The fire is burning in steep ground along a canyon, and high winds are causing issues for firefighters in the effort to bring it under control.
The City of Hood River is progressing on some of its biggest capital improvement projects during this summer construction season. City Manager Steve Wheeler gave an update to the City Council at their Monday evening meeting. Wheeler says the Rand Road water system work has been done with road repair work to be finished later this month, and the sewer line between Second Street and Sherman is also finished. He noted 12th Street is now closed from State to May as water and sewer improvements continue. Wheeler added odor control work at the municipal wastewater treatment plant should wrap up by the end of the year.
Wasco County Commissioners have been discussing planning for the long-term future of the County Courthouse in recent weeks. Commissioner Scott Hege says they have looked at potential purchases of properties in the vicinity of the courthouse on Washington Street in The Dalles. The County already owns four pieces of property in the area that are used for offices and parking. Hege adds this is a discussion dealing with needs 20 to 50 years down the road. Hege notes there is still the space that used to house the County Jail in the courthouse, but past explorations of the cost of renovation have found a substantial expense.