A commercial truck rollover Tuesday morning along the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 about 12 miles west of Arlington resulted in the driver being taken to a hospital. According to the Oregon State Police, the accident occurred at about 5:10 a.m. A 1997 Peterbilt truck pulling a semi-trailer loaded with potatoes was traveling eastbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 126. According to the driver he swerved to miss several deer that were on the road and lost control. The truck and trailer crashed into the guardrail on the right shoulder and overturned, spilling the load onto the shoulder. The truck and trailer came to rest on the guardrail partially blocking the right eastbound lane. The driver appeared not injured but was taken to an area hospital for a medical evaluation. His name has not been released. About 230 feet of guardrail was damaged. No injured or dead deer were found in the area.
The Westside Fire District is asking its patrons for a five-year operating levy of 50 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value in the upcoming election. That would be on top of the current 78 cents per thousand, which is the lowest tax rate among fire districts in the Hood River Valley. District board member Mark Beam says they had considered the levy for a number of years, but have held off for economic reasons. Fire Marshal Jim Trammell adds the district is trying to maintain its current level of service, but in recent years have constantly been in a catch-up mode. District officials emphasized none of the levy funds would be used for personnel. The district employs two people, with the rest of the operation done by volunteers.
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area fire managers are taking advantage of the cooler weather to start fall prescribed fires. They will occur in the Seven Mile area in Oregon and Catherine Creek area in Washington over the next month as weather permits, part of an ongoing effort to reduce the potential of catastrophic wildfires and improve forest health. Prescribed fires and other mechanical fuels treatment conducted in the Rowena drainage over the past couple of years made a significant difference in battling this summer’s Rowena Fire. When the fire reached these treated areas fire intensity moderated which allowed firefighters to safely build fireline directly adjacent to the fire and stop the forward progression. Smoke will be visible generally in the Courtney Road to the Major Creek area in Washington and the Rowena Creek drainage in Oregon. The actual day of ignition for these prescribed burn projects will depend on several factors including appropriate temperature, fuel moisture, wind speed and direction.
A 55-year-old Hood River man seriously injured in an accident while riding a motorcycle near Wasco three weeks ago has died. The Oregon State Police confirmed Mark Peters died Wednesday reportedly from injuries related to the crash. Peters had returned to Hood River for post-hospital care in late September. On September 12 Peters was northbound on Highway 97 near Wasco when a van turning off Clark Road to the southbound lane of the highway was struck by the motorcycle operated by Peters, who was ejected from the motorcycle. An Oregon State Police investigation into the accident is continuing.
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Thursday that it is providing $400,000 in grants to improve transportation to health care facilities for veterans living in eight rural Oregon counties, including Sherman and Wheeler counties. Under the VA’s Highly Rural Transportation Grants program, 300-thousand dollars will be provided to the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs to improve and expand transportation options for veterans living in Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Morrow, Sherman and Wheeler counties. An estimated 2,200 veterans in those counties could benefit from the service. The Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs will receive another 100-thousand dollars to provide similar benefits to an estimated 1,350 veterans living in Malheur and Wallowa counties. Senator Ron Wyden applauded the announcement, saying the money will be put to good use ensuring that veterans living in these areas have access to VA health care.
Salmon returned to the Columbia River Basin this year in the highest numbers since fish counting began at Bonneville Dam more than 75 years ago. Fish Passage Center officials say this year’s run of about 2.3 million salmon and steelhead exceeds the previous record of 2.1 million set in 2011. This year also brought a new single-day record, when 67,521 adult fall Chinook passed by Bonneville Dam on September 8, 2014 – the highest one-day total in more than seven decades. Biologists are particularly excited about the increasing number of natural origin fall Chinook returning to spawning grounds throughout the Columbia River Basin. For Snake River fall Chinook specifically, returns of natural origin fish are setting modern-day records—returning in recent years in the highest numbers since Snake River dam construction began. This year’s run should be close to last year’s record return.
Hood River Valley High School has installed solar panels to producing renewable energy in part through a $37,000 grant from Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Program. The school received the grant for the installation of a 20-kilowatt solar array that has been installed on the roof of the science classroom wing and is anticipated to produce enough clean, renewable energy to power the entire seven-classroom science wing with solar-generated electricity. An educational reader board will be installed on the inside of the science wing, which will provide information to students, staff and visitors about the amount of energy produced in real-time and over the lifespan of the array. Students in the school’s Alternative Energy Resources class will be able to monitor the output of the panels and make comparisons to the energy used in different portions of the building for educational purposes. Additional funding came from an Energy Trust of Oregon incentive of $29,500. Local contractor Scott Sorenson of Common Energy handled installation.
The Oregon Department of Human Services Aging and People with Disabilities division will host two sessions in The Dalles on Monday to discuss the future of Oregon’s services for seniors and people with disabilities. There will be a short presentation followed by a group discussion. The meetings will take place on Monday at 12:30 p.m. at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center, and at 5:30 p.m. at Spooky’s. Interpreters for people who are non-English speakers, who are deaf or hard of hearing or other accommodations for persons with disabilities are available.