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.
Hood River County Forester Doug Thiesies says last week’s Neal Creek Fire that burned on County forestland did not burn a substantial amount of harvestable timber. Thiesies says the County was fairly fortunate the fire did not cause more damage. He estimated about 100,000 board feet of timber was probably lost, but added it was not the County’s most productive land. The County’s annual timber harvest is about nine-and-a-half million board feet. Thiesies noted a quick response from Oregon Department of Forestry crews and other fire agencies helped prevent a larger amount of damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but is believed to be human caused. It was declared 100 percent contained over the weekend.
Two farms in the region will be honored as Century Farms in a ceremony at the Oregon State Fair later this month. Omeg Family Orchards in Wasco County and the Alley Ranch in Sherman County will receive the designation. Omeg Family Orchards was founded in 1905 by August & Edna Renken, and is currently owned by grandson Mel Omeg. Early crops included cattle, hay, apricots, cherries, peaches, & watermelon, and as the region became more oriented to apple, pear, & cherry production, the farm followed suit and went from raising a variety of crops and animals to a large-scale fruit production, with sweet cherries the main crop today. Alley Ranch was founded in Sherman County in 1915 by T.W. Alley, and the early crops were wheat, oats, barley, cattle and horses. Over the years, the farm has continued to grow wheat and barley utilizing conservation practices to keep the land in optimal condition. Dwight and Charmayn Alley now farm the land with many family members helping out throughout the seasons.
The Port of The Dalles is looking at how its properties might fit into the value-added agriculture sector. Port Executive Director Andrea Klaas says most of the leads they receive from the state in that area have been for very large projects this region’s land supply cannot provide. But she says it has sparked the idea of some kind of food hub that can emphasize the technology now used in the food industry. Another area of exploration is a tie-in between agriculture and the growing unmanned aerial vehicle industry.
Two people were injured in a one-car accident early Monday morning on Highway 141 about two miles north of Husum. According to the Washington State Patrol, the car was southbound near milepost nine when it swerved to miss a deer and went off the roadway, striking an embankment of a driveway, then continuing before coming to rest in the southbound ditch. The driver, a 24-year-old man from Vancouver, and the passenger, a 23-year-old man from White Salmon, were taken to Skyline Hospital for treatment of injuries. The accident occurred Monday at about 3:50 a.m.
There will be intermittent closures of both lanes of the Hood River/White Salmon Interstate Bridge Wednesday through Friday. The closures will take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Port crews and bridge engineers will be conducting live testing of the bridge’s lift span. Each closure is expected to last up to 20 minutes. For more information, call the Port of Hood River at (541) 386-1645.
Drivers who travel Washington State Route 141 in Trout Lake should plan for an around-the-clock closure of the Bonnie Creek culvert beginning Monday morning. Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews are closing both directions of SR 141 between Little Mountain Road and Church Street to replace an aging and failing culvert and to repave the roadway. During the closures, drivers will follow a signed detour on either side of the culvert, using Jennings Road and Wood Road. The closure will be in place until the work is complete in early September.