It will be a busy summer for paving on Interstate 84 through the Gorge. The Oregon Department of Transportation will be repaving on three stretches from June to September: from Mosier to The Dalles, Cascade Locks to Hood River, and the Sandy River to Multnomah Falls. ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton says the work is being planned to keep traffic disruptions to a minimum, with most work at night and closures limited to single lanes. The sections of Interstate 84 have not been paved in a decade. In September, work will begin on rockfall repair at milepost 61 west of Hood River, site of a major slide in February 2014. More information on the projects are available at i84construction.org.
Officials in The Dalles are again reminding citizens of the importance of removing puncture vine on private and public properties as well as controlling vegetation growth during the hottest part of the season to reduce fire threats to all properties. Puncture vine, commonly known as goatheads, is a noxious weed that spreads incredibly fast and produces very sharp seeds. When stepped on, they are painful to both animals and people. They are sharp enough to puncture bicycle and wheel chair tires. The City is working to get the weed under control at targeted public properties with severe puncture vine, but is asking the home and business owners in our community to be proactive in removing puncture vine before it spreads, along with managing vegetation growth to reduce fire risks.
The 100th birthday of the Historic Columbia River Highway was marked with ceremonies on Tuesday at Vista House and Multnomah Falls. Kristen Stallman of the Oregon Department of Transportation says the route showed how roadbuilding could be done with nature and scenic beauty in mind. The two-lane highway is now divided into different segments, some of which are accessible only by foot and bicycle. Only 10 miles of the highway still need to be completed for the entire 73-mile stretch to be totally reconnected. Two additional miles of the State Trail, between Lindsey and Starvation Creeks, will open this September, and three more miles between Wyeth and Lindsey Creek will open in 2018. 32 to 35 million dollars in funding still needs to be raised to finish the final five miles.
Clean-up of Friday’s train derailment in Mosier continues. The Mosier Incident Command Center reported today that a significant amount of oil from derailed cars was removed overnight and crews could have all of the oil transloaded off-site by day’s end. Crews had transloaded more than 65 truckloads of recovered oil by this morning. It’s estimated that about 25 more truck loads remain. The oil is being transferred to tanker trucks and transported to The Dalles, where it is being staged until resuming its trip to Tacoma. Once all of the oil is transloaded, crews will begin removing the damaged rail cars. Interstate 84 Exit 69 at Mosier has been reopened.
North Wasco County School District 21 officials are calling the results of a survey of community attitudes around the perception and vision for schools and the district very positive. The survey by Patinkin Research Strategies of 300 likely D-21 voters found 62 percent had a positive opinion of the quality of education in the district, while 55 percent said they would be willing to pay more to repair or replace aging facilities. D-21 Superintendent Candy Armstrong says the results were much better than a similar survey conducted seven years ago, and believes the voting community wants to be a part of the district preparing for the future. Armstrong said messages from the survey also showed voters want the district to be transparent and accountable, and to take care of the basic needs when it comes to facilities, especially in regard to safety and overcrowding. She says the next task for the district is to continue the community conversation to shape the specifics of what should be included in a bond measure in the near future, and staff will need to refine those priorities into a detailed form.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service June Water Supply Outlook indicates June through September streamflow forecasts in the Hood, Sandy, and Lower Deschutes basins range from 69 to 71 percent of average. NRCS Snow Survey Supervisor Scott Oviatt says early snowmelt resulted in streamflows peaking sooner and beginning to recede to mid-summer levels up to four weeks early. However, he says water year precipitation has been at 111 percent of average in the basins, boosting reservoir levels that were at near record lows at the end of last summer and painting a much better picture for water supply this year. But Oviatt says if the summer is hot and increases demand, water users drawing from reservoir sources could still experience possible water shortages. As of June 1, only two monitored sites in the basins still have snow, which is not unusual for this time of year, but due to warm spring temperatures, most sites melted out 1 to 3 weeks earlier than normal.
Guardrail repair work on the Hood River/White Salmon Interstate Bridge has been completed ahead of schedule. Single lane closures planned for today and tomorrow have been cancelled. About 260 feet of guardrail was damaged by an unknown large vehicle on Thursday afternoon.
The Next Door has been awarded a one-year, $50,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation to support its work as the Parenting Education Hub for parents of children from birth to six-years-old in Wasco and Hood River counties. This funding will enable The Next Door to continue providing parenting education class series. In addition to their 12-week Incredible Years series, The Next Door will be offering a new six-week series, Attentive Parenting. The grant is part of the Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative, and a result of a multi-year initiative of The Oregon Community Foundation in partnership with the Meyer Memorial Trust, The Ford Family Foundation, The Collins Foundation and Oregon State University.
Blasting will occur during the next two weeks on property located at the end of River Trail Way in the Port of The Dalles Industrial area. The blasting will help to remove rock outcroppings that the contractor is not able to excavate with heavy equipment for site preparation prior to construction there. A blasting plan has been submitted and approved by the City of The Dalles. Pre-blast surveys will be performed on all structures within 200 feet of the blast zone as well as required signage and traffic control measures will be set-up along River Road and River Trail Way during the procedure. Those with questions can call The Dalles Planning Department at 541-296-5481, ext. 1129 or ext. 1131 or Crestline Construction at 541-506-4000.
The boil water order in Mosier has been lifted. Water sample tests showed that the water from a back-up well now being used is safe to drink. The city lifted the boil water advisory for all residents except for two homes on Rock Creek Road.