The Senate Wednesday passed a bill addressing the Mt. Hood/Cooper Spur land exchange as part of a series of amendments added to a broad energy bill. Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced the Mt. Hood/Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act in September to help resolve a decades-long dispute over proposed land development on the northeast side of Mt. Hood. The bill would allow development of 107 acres of the mountain while protecting 770 acres – a land exchange that has been delayed for almost six years. Wyden believes the Senate vote will set in motion completion of the exchange. In 2009 Congress passed a broad public lands bill that included the Mt. Hood land exchange as part of the Mt. Hood Wilderness designation, directing the U.S. Forest Service to complete it within 16 months. Multiple delays over the past several years have led to uncertainty, frustration, and a lawsuit against the Forest Service. The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on a similar version of the bill at the end of February.
The Oregon State Police is seeking the public’s assistance in the investigation of the poaching of a bighorn sheep ten days ago in Gilliam County. The OSP received several reports on the evening of April 10 from passing motorists about a bighorn sheep in an unusual position near milepost 118 on Interstate 84 east of Rufus. OSP Fish and Wildlife troopers found the deceased ram in a rock slide near the freeway, and found the ram had been shot with a firearm and left to waste. There is no indication this incident has any connection to the killing of two rams the week before just east of this location. Anyone who may have information regarding this incident is asked to call the OSP Senior Trooper Mark Jubitz at 541-705-5330, or the Turn In Poachers phone line at 800-452-7888. A Turn In Poachers program reward of up to 500 dollars is available for information that leads to an arrest.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has temporarily limited access to the west portion of Avery Park near Wishram to day use and walk-in only. Vehicle access is restricted due to damage from a wildfire that burned shoreline vegetation, resulting in erosion and the potential for unsafe driving conditions. The east portion of the park remains open for camping and vehicle access. The Corps does not yet know when the western section of the park will reopen. Those with questions can call The Dalles Lock and Dam park ranger office at 541-506-7857.
The Northwest Cherry Festival is just a couple of days away, and The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Lisa Farquharson says the open air market is bigger than ever this year. Farquharson says the market on First Street has opened up another parking lot for vendors. It will include arts and crafts, food, games, home-based businesses, and kids’ activities. The open air market will be open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Cherry Festival guides are available online at Gorgeradio.com. The Bicoastal Media Guild Mortgage Home and Lifestyle Show will be in The Dalles Civic Auditorium throughout Cherry Festival weekend, open Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hood River Valley 11, Pendleton 5: Skyler Hunter drove in five runs with a homer and a double as the Eagles won their seventh straight game. Kellen Duffy also homered for the Eagles, who took a 9-0 lead after three innings on the way to a three-game sweep of the Buckaroos.
Hermiston 3, The Dalles 1: Colton Walker went four for four at the plate and drove in the lone Riverhawk run, but Chase Root struck out 11 on the way to the complete game win for Hermiston.
LaCenter sweeps Columbia 7-3 and 12-3
Dufur 8, Heppner 7
Weston-McEwen 18, Sherman 9
Kittitas sweeps Goldendale 13-6 and 8-1
The Dalles 9, Hermiston 3: The Riverhawks came from behind by tallying four runs in the fourth inning and plating another four in the sixth. It gave The Dalles its first Columbia River Conference win of the season after being swept by Hermiston in a doubleheader on Saturday.
Hood River Valley 3, Pendleton 2: A two-run single by Emily Curtis in the top of the sixth inning provided the winning margin for the Eagles on the road, salvaging a victory in the three-game series against the Buckaroos.
LaCenter sweeps Columbia 13-0 and 17-0
Columbia 1, LaCenter 0: Yvon Escoto scored the game’s only goal on an assist from Ivan Cortes. The Bruins are unbeaten on the season.
Seton Catholic 5, Stevenson 1
Hood River Valley 12, Grant 2: Abby Bortles scored four goals for the Eagles. HRV has won four straight and is 7-1 on the year.
Track and Field
Goldendale boys defeated Granger and LaSalle and lost to Zillah in an SCAC meet. Brian Golding won both hurdles races for the Timberwolves, while Logan Boardman won the 400 meters. The Timberwolf girls defeated Granger while falling to LaSalle and Zillah. Ocean Bryan took first in the 300 meter hurdles, while Sierra Clear did the same in the 200 meters.
A panel chaired by Oregon Second District Congressman Greg Walden approved the Kelsey Smith Act and Kari’s Law, two proposals in Congress that would help ensure law enforcement can help victims faster in an emergency. The Kelsey Smith Act, which is modeled after a 2014 law passed in Oregon, would require cellphone providers to give law enforcement timely access to location information that can help pinpoint a missing victim. Kari’s Law would make it easier to directly dial 9-1-1 from a hotel or business line. Both bills were unanimously approved by the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. The next step is a vote before the full Energy and Commerce Committee.
Hood River County Commissioners adopted an emergency ordinance to prohibit marijuana businesses in rural residential zones. The ordinance will be in place for six months while the County considers whether a permanent ordinance should be adopted. County Administrator David Meriwether says the County had received some inquiries about marijuana operations in the rural residential zones, and Commissioners decided they wanted to take a look at the issue before any were established. The County Commission will hold a meeting with the Planning Commission on the subject on May 16. In other business, County Commissioners approved an ordinance outlining regulation for cell phone towers with one clause removed from the Planning Commission version that included a “significant gap in service” as part of approval criteria, deciding other provisions in the ordinance were sufficient.
A provision to extend the life of the unmanned aircraft systems test site program through 2022 was approved Tuesday by the Senate. The inclusion in a larger FAA bill of Oregon Senator Ron Wyden’s legislation extends congressional authorization for the test sites in Pendleton, Tillamook and Warm Springs as well as three test sites outside Oregon. Wyden says the industry will continue to rise in the state. SOAR Oregon executive director Chuck Allen says the extension will allow the Oregon ranges to continue to develop business, grow jobs and attract customers from outside the state.
The Dalles Main Street and the Advanced Leadership class from The Dalles High School are partnering to cleanup downtown The Dalles this Friday. High school student volunteers as well as community members will clean up debris on the main and side streets of the downtown. A student from The Dalles High School applied for a grant with SOLVE, the non-profit organization that focuses on education and volunteering to restore communities across the state, to provide clean up supplies for the effort. Volunteers are still being sought to take part in the cleanup, just meet at 9 a.m. Friday at the corner of 2nd and Federal.
The registration deadline to take part in the May 17 primary election in Oregon is next Tuesday, April 26. Registration cards must be turned into or mailed to county election offices by April 26. Postmarks will be accepted for new registrations only. Changes in party affiliation can only be made up to April 26, and postmarks are not accepted for those. Ballots will be mailed on April 27.