The Hood River City Council will conduct interviews Monday evening with seven applicants to fill a vacancy on the panel. The spot on the Council became available when Laurent Picard resigned in May. The seven are Tim Counihan, Tina Lassen, Scott Skelton, Megan Saunders, Teresa Ocampo, Sean Corcoran, and Elizabeth Whelan. The interviews take place with the undercurrent of the discussions surrounding zoning changes to regulate short-term rentals in residential zones. The Council has been unable to reach the required four votes on any plan with Picard and Becky Brun having recused themselves earlier in the process. Monday’s Council meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. in Hood River City Hall.
Oregon Second District Congressman Greg Walden expressed his support for passage of major legislation to help combat the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act focuses on improving drug abuse treatments, addressing the underlying causes of addiction, and helping those most at risk. The plan is an agreement between the House and Senate and passed the House on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 407-5. Walden says the act provides state government and local law enforcement more tools to tackle this epidemic head on, including support for increased education, recovery, and treatment efforts. The Act will head to the Senate for final approval before being sent to the President’s desk for his signature.
The Dalles Public Works Department will be patching two service street cuts on East 12th Street just east of Dry Hollow Road on Tuesday. Flaggers will be present to guide traffic through the work areas as the patches are completed. Work is expected to take about a half day, beginning at 7:00 a.m. Motorists are encouraged to use East 11th Street as an alternate route to avoid the work area.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will temporarily prohibit public camping and alcohol use at Roosevelt Park between July 15 and July 17 during the Roosevelt Pow-Wow. Officials add that day-use areas will be congested during the annual Native American event. During the event, the park and the boat ramp will be restricted to day-use only between 6 a.m. July 14 and 6 a.m. July 18, meaning no public camping will be permitted. Alternative camping locations include Maryhill State Park, Peach Beach Campark on the Maryhill Highway, Crow Butte Campground in Paterson, and Plymouth Park. Boaters may use alternate boat ramps at Plymouth Park near McNary Dam, Umatilla Marina Park, and Crow Butte Park in Paterson during those times when the Roosevelt dock and boat ramps are congested.
The Mt. Adams Institute has received a $499,000 AmeriCorps grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support 58 AmeriCorps members in three career development programs: VetsWork Environment, VetsWork GreenCorps and Public Lands Stewards. The members support the efforts of public lands management agencies in a broad range of roles designed to improve access, use and conservation of our natural resources. The VetsWork programs directly assist veterans seeking a career transition from the military to the civilian work force. In addition to the grant funding, CNCS will make over $259,000 in education scholarships for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants to help pay for college, vocational training, or pay back student loans.
Paving has begun on US 97 in Klickitat County. A single lane in either direction of US 97 between the Biggs Rapids Bridge at mile post 0 and the bridge over the railroad at milepost .5 will close nightly from 9pm to 7am. A single lane in either direction of US 97 between the bridge over the railroad at milepost .5 and Prairie Road at milepost 7.5 may close around the clock. Flaggers and a pilot vehicle will direct traffic through the work zone. Motorists should be extra careful in construction zones. The work is weather dependent. The $2.7 million project is scheduled to be completed in early Fall.
The Wasson Pond Fire, east of The Dalles, is now 100% contained. Management of the fire reverted to Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue on Tuesday. MCFR said the size of the fire has been recalculated and it turned out to be 170 acres, instead of the 300 acres they thought previously. The fire was in rolling hills and valleys and that made it hard to figure. Mop-up operations have finished. There could still be a few hotspots, but there are patrols through the area every couple hours to take care of any flare-ups. No injuries were reported. Two pump houses were destroyed and a third was damaged.
After a productive night on the Wasson Pond Fire, crews mobilized under the conflagration Act are expected to be released this afternoon. Fire managers will meet with local fire officials to determine the need for the extra resources that were brought in Monday. The major concern yesterday was to keep the fire from spreading during the gusty winds in the afternoon and evening. As of this morning, the fire remains at 300 acres with 75% contained. Line construction will continue today to fully contain the fire. All of the evacuations were lowered to Level 1 last evening. But residents should be aware of the fire status and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice if necessary.
Officials at the Fifteen Mile Road Fire say the fire is now 80 percent contained…with the size now estimated at 3600 acres. Fire Public Information Officer Stan Hinatsu says strong winds again complicated firefighting efforts today with winds creating increased fire activity, but with the help of a single-engine air tanker firefighters were able to stop the forward progress of the blaze. Hinatsu says the fire is holding, even though there is still some open line at the northeast corner of the fire near Celilo Village, but the fire has quieted down substantially. Hinatsu added they hope to get to 100 percent containment in the next day, with the big challenge being to do enough mop-up for lines to hold in strong winds, but he also pointed out much of the line was wind tested today. All evacuation notices have been lifted at this point. Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Bureau of Land Management are operating as a unified command at the fire. MCFR Chief Bob Palmer says an investigation into the cause of the fire will be getting underway, with an investigator from the U.S. Forest Service being brought in to assist. No homes have been lost to the fire, but one tractor and two disc machines were destroyed. One firefighter suffered a bee sting, and a spotted deer fawn was rescued from the fire area and turned over to Rowena Wildlife of Mosier.
The annual burn ban for the The Dalles Unit of the Oregon Department of Forestry went into effect on Friday. The ban, done in conjunction with all local fire districts, affects all lands within Hood River and Wasco counties. All current burn permits will be void until the ban is lifted. ODF officials say the end of the ban will be determined at a later date when the region receives a significant amount of fall rain. Some exceptions may be granted for agricultural purposes, but permission must be obtained from your local fire agency. In addition ODF is in a Regulated Use Closure, which bans the use of all fireworks on ODF-protected lands.