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Local News

County Line 2 Fire Managers Send Structural Team Home

Containment of the County Line 2 Fire on the Warm Springs Reservation is up to 43 percent.  That fire has burned 62,000 acres.  Fire managers and Warm Springs tribal representatives have decided the threat to structures has been reduced to the point that a structural protection team was released from the fire scene Wednesday morning.  Fire managers say about 300 homes were saved from destruction in the fire storm that occurred at the beginning of the fire thanks to quick response and coordination between wildland and structural firefighters.  Crews are continuing to strengthen and construct containment lines.  The fire will receive two Type II initial attack crews Wednesday, with Red Flag Warning conditions anticipated through Friday.  That means the potential for critical fire behavior with possible erratic winds.  The cause of the fire reported last Wednesday afternoon remains under investigation.

White Salmon Schools Get Ready To Start

The White Salmon Valley School District is getting ready for the start of classes on September 1.  After experiencing a large enrollment bump two years ago, District Superintendent Jerry Lewis says they are anticipating fairly stable numbers this year.  Lewis notes they are watching the enrollment trends closely with a changing population base in the district.  He noted the growth of Insitu and other high-tech industry in the White Salmon area was a big factor in the numbers jump two years ago.  Lewis adds the district this year qualified for state funding of full-day kindergarten.

HR County To Participate In Suit Against Forest Service

Hood River County Commissioners have voted to participate as a plaintiff in the Hood River Valley Residents Committee’s lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service seeking to compel that agency to complete the Mt. Hood Meadows/Government Camp land exchange.  County Administrator David Meriwether says the County wants to see this settled, and Commissioners felt they would best served by having a seat at the table.  The land swap was negotiated by the Residents Committee, Mt. Hood Meadows, and others seven years ago to protect the forestland.  In exchange for 120 acres of developable national forest land near Government Camp on the mountain’s southwestern slope, Mt. Hood Meadows agreed to abort plans for a resort on Cooper Spur and turn its 770-acre land holdings over to the Forest Service.  Congress in 2009 gave the Forest Service 16 months to complete the trade, but numerous delays have held it up, most recently over some environmental protections.  A Mount Hood National Forest spokesperson said when the suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Portland last month that legal processes have kept progress slow.

HR Council Reaches Consensus On Affordable Housing Strategies

Hood River City Councilors reached consensus on approving strategies dealing with creating more affordable workforce housing, sending them on to municipal staff to begin to develop proposals for making them happen.  The Council dealt with three different areas, including increasing the efficiency of land use within the Urban Growth Boundary, developing affordable housing, and regulating and managing short-term rental housing.  A large part of the discussion centered on short-term housing, with one strategy calling for an evaluation of options to limit the number of short-term rentals.  Mayor Paul Blackburn says it was the hardest question to deal with, adding they don’t want to take away what already exists but they do want to retard future growth.  City staff will now work on studying options to implement the strategies, and will bring them to the municipal planning commission and the Council over the next few months.

Phase 1 Of East Scenic Drive Stabilization Done

Phase 1 of the East Scenic Drive Stabilization project in The Dalles has been completed.  It corrects a shallow embankment failure that was occurring in the area by constructing 550 lineal feet of retaining wall and installing a storm water drainage system along Scenic Drive.  The paving that was done in the project area is a thin temporary layer that will be replaced when Phase 2 takes place in three to five years.  It will provide for the construction of another 525 feet of retaining wall along with some associated underground utility system repairs.  At that time new curbs and sidewalks will be constructed throughout the entire project area and the street will be repaved to match the new curb elevations.  City officials note this embankment failure is not a reactivation of the historic Kelly Avenue landslide.

County Line 2 Fire Up To 31 Percent Containment

Containment of the County Line 2 Fire on the Warm Springs Reservation is up to 31 percent.  That fire has burned 61,735 acres.  As of Tuesday morning, all Warm Springs Reservation evacuation advisories were reduced to Level 1 except for Tenino Road, which remains at Level 2 from mile post 1 to mile post 7.  Crews today will continue with structural protection and direct and indirect line construction, and strengthening containment lines.   Firefighters continue to look for opportunities to build containment lines in the steep, tough to access terrain in canyon bottoms and proceed with operations in those areas if possible.  Because of progress made on the northeast and east sides of the fire, crews will begin to concentrate on the southwest, which still has heavy fuels including timber.  On the northeast side of the fire, crews are patrolling burned areas in and around structures.  Three residences have been reported destroyed along with one other structure.  The cause of the fire reported Wednesday afternoon remains under investigation.

Cougar Creek Fire Now 20 Percent Contained

The Cougar Creek Fire north of Glenwood is now listed at 20 percent containment.  The fire grew by 100 acres on Monday to 22,600 acres.  Fire movement Tuesday was expected to be to the north along Mt. Adams’ east aspect, fueled mainly by bug-killed lodgepole pines.  Fire crews will be looking to strengthen lines along the west and south flanks, continue line construction and burnout along the east flank, and scout line locations to the north.  Scattered homes north of Glenwood remain under a Level 1 evacuation advisory, while all Washington State Department of Natural Resources lands and recreation sites within the Glenwood block and the south climb and all other trails on the south and east sides of Mt. Adams between Forest Road 23 at Williams Mine to the eastern boundary of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest are all closed.

 

Cougar Creek Fire 15 Percent Contained

Morning mist, cooler temperatures, and calmer winds helped slow the spread of the Cougar Creek Fire north of Glenwood and allowed firefighting crews to bring 15 percent of the line under containment.  The fire grew by 200 acres on Sunday to 22,500 acres.  Line building efforts Monday are focused on the southeast finger of the fire to pinch off the front that was advancing toward Glenwood.  Resources are also being directed to the north end of the fire to keep it from reaching Big Muddy Creek, while preservation of an irrigation flume off Bacon Creek on the east remains a priority.  Heavy use of air resources will continue.  Residents north of Ladiges Road remain under a Level 1 evacuation advisory, while all Washington State Department of Natural Resources lands and recreation sites within the Glenwood block and the south climb and all other trails on the south and east sides of Mt. Adams between Forest Road 23 at Williams Mine to the eastern boundary of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest are all closed.  A public meeting on the lightning-caused fire is set for Monday at 5 p.m. at Trout Lake School.

County Line 2 Fire 25 Percent Contained

Containment of the County Line 2 Fire on the Warm Springs Reservation is up to 25 percent.  That fire has burned 55,400 acres.  Crews are continuing to mop up hot spots throughout the fire, and scout and construct new fire line while improving existing line.  On the northeast side of the fire, crews are patrolling burned areas in and around structures.  Three residences have been reported destroyed along with one other structure.  The town of Warm Springs remains under a Level 1 evacuation advisory, while areas of the Warm Springs Reservation north of Dry Creek to Simnasho Cemetery and east to the Deschutes River along with Sidwalter Flats and the West Hills are under a Level 2 advisory.  The cause of the fire reported Wednesday afternoon remains under investigation.

Port of HR Bridge Shows Problem Exacerbated By Overweight Trucks

The Port of Hood River has received a report on the biennial fracture critical inspection of the Hood River Interstate Bridge, and it includes a problem exacerbated by overweight trucks using the bridge.  Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says they have known about the issue with the four connection points at the auxiliary trusses installed when the lift span of the bridge was installed in the late thirties.  McElwee notes the Port Commission will consider an engineering contract to develop the plans and specifications to make the repairs, adding bridge inspectors have indicated trucks weighing over the 80,000 pound bridge limit are accelerating problems with the structure.  McElwee says many of the trucks using the bridge are local, and said the Port needs to communicate better with those operators the impact overweight vehicles have on the bridge and its ability to be maintained over a long period of time.

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Columbia Gorge Weather

Special Statement

Issued:
12:16 PM PDT on September 01, 2015
Expires:
3:00 PM PDT on September 02, 2015
Clear
Currently
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Tuesday 20%
High 79° / Low 60°
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Wednesday 10%
High 72° / Low 51°
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Clear
Thursday 0%
High 73° / Low 51°
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