North Wasco County School District 21 is preparing to turn to virtual learning next week for its students. D-21 Superintendent Candy Armstrong says they are prioritizing getting high school students going to meet credit requirements. She says they are still trying to reach out to a large number of students that either they did not have a good e-mail address for or there were other barriers to communicating with them. Armstrong says mailings are also being sent to students and their families. If a family with a student at The Dalles High School has not received any notification from D-21 on the virtual learning plan, Armstrong says they should call the high school at 541-506-3400.
A coalition of Oregon state agencies are asking Oregonians to voluntarily refrain from conducting outdoor burning. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office, Oregon Department of Agriculture, and Oregon Health Authority say they recognize that many Oregonians use fire as a necessary tool to manage their lands, but say possible effects on the wider community should be considered. Smoke inhalation can cause upper respiratory symptoms, which could be incorrectly attributed to COVID-19, leading to unnecessary testing or self-isolation. Exposure to smoke and other forms of air pollution can increase the risk of contracting infectious respiratory disease such as COVID-19, increase the severity of existing respiratory infections, and worsen underlying chronic respiratory conditions. The agencies note there is a severe shortage of personal protective equipment to reduce smoke exposure at this time, and first responders and other emergency services are operating at a reduced capacity and have limited resources to respond to out-of-control burns.
Mid-Columbia Medical Center will open its immediate care center on Tuesday at Water’s Edge in The Dalles. Immediate Care is designed expressly for patients with medical needs that are not life-threatening but cannot wait for a doctor’s visit. It also should reduce the need for emergency room visits so that department can focus on lifesaving care. The clinic will be staffed by healthcare professionals who are specially trained to treat a variety of illnesses and conditions. MCMC is still asking people to call their doctor and utilize telemedicine for routine medical needs. Those who have symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath should stay home and contact your medical provider. If you are having difficulty breathing, seek medical attention at your nearest emergency department. MCMC Immediate Care will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Most fishing and hunting seasons remain open in Oregon, but the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says participants should continue to comply with social distancing and other guidelines set forth in the Governor’s Stay Home, Save Lives order. The agency says while it does not enforce regulations such as the Governor’s Order, a significant number of ODFW staff who work in the field are also monitoring recreational use at many fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing locations in the course of their regular duties. While seasons are open, access to many areas are closed. State Parks are closed, national forests have closed established recreation areas and some counties and cities have closed access to boat ramps or other locations. Check the access restrictions where you are headed before going. Salmon and steelhead fishing in the Columbia River is also closed, as that fishery is managed concurrently with the state of Washington where all hunting and fishing is closed. Walleye and other fisheries remain open on the Columbia River.
The Hood River County Chamber of Commerce is trying to help local businesses find the resources they need to get assistance during a trying time. Chamber Executive Director Kate Schroeder says the pandemic has been a devastating blow for area businesses, but quickly adds the Gorge has a history of resiliency in the face of a disaster. Schroeder says the Chamber is working on the background for a strategy for tourism marketing once travel resumes, noting the Gorge will be competing with other areas as they have been in the past.
Hood River County website for COVID-19 Information: GetReadyGorge.com
Skamania County COVID-19 Website
Learning From Home resources: gorgestem.org/homelearning
Oregon Employment Department Resource Guide: Oregon.gov/employ
The Oregon Office of Emergency Management and the state Emergency Coordination Center webpage where Oregonians can submit requests to donate services or supplies, volunteer to support, or to engage in a business relationship with the state during the COVID-19 crisis: oregon-coronavirus-geo.hub.arcgis.com/
If you are an Oregon foster family or a youth in foster care, share your need at https://everychildoregon.org/need/
If you want to meet a need for foster families, visit https://everychildoregon.org/myneighbor/
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden Coronavirus Page:
A full summary and list available resources under the COVID-19 relief package:
A detailed “Frequently Asked Questions” document about the COVID-19 relief package:
The United Way of the Columbia Gorge and the Healthy Gorge Initiative have established a fund to address the immediate needs faced by nonprofit organizations and their clients resulting from the COVID-19 virus. The initial funds were made available through the generosity of PacificSource Community Solutions and the Columbia Gorge Health Council. Those who would like to donate can do so at unitedwaycolumbiagorge.org/give. To apply for funding, a simple grant application process to expedite funding to nonprofits providing essential services and experiencing the greatest impact. Application information is available at gorgeimpact.com.
A point person has been designated for Hood River County community members to make donations of personal protective equipment for those responding to the COVID-19 epidemic. County Emergency officials say Dr. Chris Swisher is the contact person…his number is 909-499-1062. Call Swisher to find out how and when you can donate. The Hood River County Administration Building will be used as a collection point…but people should not just drop off donations. They need to call Swisher and find out the time each day to donate. Personal protective equipment that is unused, unopened, and in original packaging will be accepted. At this time donations of made-at-home PPE are not being accepted.
Two food pantries in The Dalles remain open, while several other new pantries have opened throughout Wasco County. The Salvation Army food pantry at 623 East 3rd is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the Columbia Gorge Community College Chinook food pantry is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Windy River Gleaners and St. Vincent de Paul Society food pantries were closed because social distancing cannot be maintained at those locations. Distribution sites in Maupin, Wamic, Mosier and Dufur have been added, and more information on the location and time of those pantries is available at the “Columbia Gorge Food Bank” Facebook page, or call 541-370-2333. The food pantry in Rufus has open hours. Gilliam County has switched to a pre-packed food box which can be picked up curbside or delivered by Gilliam County Transportation. To request delivery in Condon, call 541-626-1038 or 541-993-7699. In Arlington, call 541-454-2885 or 541-454-5451. Those who would like to donate cash or gift cards to Columbia Gorge Food Bank can go to their website, and donations of peanut butter, cereal, and snacks for kids can be dropped off at Columbia Gorge Toyota on 1900 West 6th in The Dalles.
FISH Food Bank is temporarily discontinuing Saturday distributions at its Hood River location in order to properly clean and sanitize our building and equipment between food distributions, FISH Food Bank’s Tucker Road location will continue to be open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Those with questions can call 541-490-5109.
Hood River Valley Adult Center is closed until April 8. Staff will still be working to cook and deliver all Meals on Wheels to all clients. For those members of our community who come to the daily meal served at the center, you can still come and pick up a meal to take away and eat. They will be set up outside so that you can just drive up and pick up your meal.
Mid-Columbia Senior Center is closed. Meals on Wheels is delivering. Call 541-980-4645 for information.
AL-Anon Monday noon meeting at Riverside Church in Hood River is cancelled until further notice.
The Hood River County Chamber of Commerce suspended all meetings and official Chamber events for the next 30 days, and has postponed the Hood River Cider Fest from April 18 to May 30.
Hood River Alliance Church worship services are cancelled for the month of March.
Columbia Center for the Arts will suspend all public performances and events through April 10.
The History Museum of Hood River County will be closed until further notice. All special events scheduled through April will be rescheduled to later dates.
Maryhill Museum of Art is closed until further notice.
Hood River County Library District branches will be closed until at least April 28.
The Dalles Public Library is closed at least through April 17. Please do not return materials to the outside drop box. Library fines will be suspended during the closure. You can continue to access the library’s online resources.
The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce is suspending all networking events in person at this time until April 30th or until further notice.
AARP Tax-Aide sites are closed.
The Next Door’s offices in Hood River and The Dalles have been closed to the public. They are continuing to work with program participants and clients either remotely or one-on-one.
Tolls on the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge will be suspended until May 1.
The Oregon State Park system is closed.
The Multnomah Falls plaza, viewing areas and trail to the upper platform will be off limits to visitors indefinitely. The Oregon Department of Transportation has closed the Interstate 84 parking lot at Multnomah Falls.
Hood River County has closed all of its forestlands to recreational use until further notice.
Skamania County has closed recreational hiking in the County.
Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust has closed its Mosier Plateau and Lyle Cherry Orchards preserves.
Fish and wildlife departments in Oregon and Washington have closed recreational salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Columbia River.
The U.S. Forest Service is closing all National Forest System lands within the boundaries of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area to public access. That closure means that dispersed use and unofficial “user” trails are also off limits. Developed recreation sites on the Mt. Hood National Forest and Gifford Pinchot National Forest were also closed.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources announced the closure of all DNR managed lands.
Pacific Power is closing most of its recreation sites in Oregon and Washington. A complete list of closures can be found at pacificorp.com.
The Mid-Columbia Senior Center’s Quilters are asking the community to sew handmade face masks for people who come in frequent contact with the public, including our most vulnerable citizens, seniors and immune-compromised individuals. Drop them off at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center’s front door. If you are interested in becoming involved with this project, please send an email to email@example.com or contact the Center directly at (541) 296-4788. For more detailed information about how to make a face mask and where to drop them off, go to the Center’s website at www.midcolumbiaseniorcenter.com.
North Central Public Health District is now asking all of its clinic clients to call first before coming. Many services can be provided over the phone. The clinic is still open to provide some services, but clients are asked to call 541-506-2600 and ask to talk to a nurse, who can determine whether an in-person visit is needed. The “phone first” request applies to both the walk-in clinic and those with appointments.
The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office is asking business be conducted by phone when possible by calling 541-386-2098. The Sheriff’s business office has suspended fingerprinting and concealed handgun license processing, and adult and parole and probation has cancelled all groups. Deputies will attempt to resolve non-urgent calls for service by phone.
Northern Wasco County PUD closed its office in The Dalles to non-PUD personnel. PUD employees are available at 541-296-2226 by phone and email. Payments can be made via nwascopud.org, mobile app, and automated phone payment system. Disconnects and late fees are suspended at this time. The PUD says its billing system automatically applies late fees, but they are looking into how to change this and will correct bills later if necessary.
Klickitat PUD commissioners unanimously approved allowing for methods to help provide relief for those customers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The utility has suspended disconnection of services due to non-payment; and late payment fees are being waived. Customers are encouraged to maintain contact regarding their accounts and to call customer service if they become affected by this situation. Payment arrangements can be made to help mitigate the economic impacts. Customers are also encouraged to access additional assistance programs such as Operation Warm Heart and Washington Gorge Action Program. Account information is available 24/7 through SmartHub which can be accessed either through klickitatpud.com or through the SmartHub app on smart phones and devices. Customers can contact customer service representatives via telephone at 800.548.8357 or 800.548.8358.
Hood River Electric Co-op will be closed to walk in visitors and new internet installations are suspended until further notice. They will help customers by phone or email during office hours of 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Contact them at (541) 354-1233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Payments can be made online at www.hrec.coop. Cash or credit card payments can be made through their North entrance at their office on 3521 Davis Drive in Hood River.
Pacific Power is suspending late payment fees and disconnections for non-payment. If you have questions about your electric service or your account, call us 24/7 at 888-221-7070.
Skyline Health is implementing temporary visitation restrictions to help protect its patients and visitors, prohibiting visitation to its hospital in-patient floor.
Mid-Columbia Medical Center will no longer be allow visitors in any of their facilities. Patients and their loved ones are encouraged to communicate by phone or video calls. Staff members will communicate with caregivers to coordinate instructions and patient pick-up. Minimal exceptions are in place for end of life patients, laboring mothers, pediatric patients, and trauma and critically ill emergency room patients. Patients with respiratory symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath should call their primary care provider’s office, but as a precautionary measure people with those symptoms will be seen at MCMC Family Medicine on 1620 East 12 in The Dalles. All wellness visits are being moved to either MCMC Internal Medicine or Pediatrics. In addition, MCMC is postponing elective procedures, surgeries, and some diagnostic imaging procedures. Urgent and emergency surgeries and imaging will continue as needed.
Klickitat County Emergency Management, Washington Gorge Action Programs, and multiple volunteer groups have organized a delivery service for County residents in quarantine, isolation, or are in a high risk and vulnerable population in need of groceries and other necessary supplies. Those wishing to access the service can call the WAGAP call center at 509-493-2662 or 800-755-1192 for assistance in setting up delivery service. After the initial setup call, the customer then orders the groceries from a participating store, and then once again contacts WAGAP’s call center with the pick-up details. Goldendale Market Fresh and Holcomb’s Sentry in Goldendale are participating stores. Delivery personnel are First Responders from various local fire departments, the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Posse, and Klickitat County Search and Rescue.
Many boat access sites have been closed or will be closed soon on the Deschutes and John Day Rivers. The Oregon Marine Board will be temporarily closing stretches of the rivers to all boating beginning on Saturday. The restrictions are scheduled to be in place through April 30 and will protect boaters from entering a river system where the availability of access and take-out points is uncertain. All boating activities on the Deschutes River will be restricted from the Pelton Dam at River Mile 97 to its confluence with the Columbia River near Biggs Junction. The temporary closure on the John Day River extends from the mouth of the North Fork John Day River in Kimberly, downstream to Tumwater Falls, about 10 miles from the Columbia River.
Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital is implementing an “entry control point” process and limiting access to the hospital to three doors. Caregivers will take the temperature of every person who enters the facility to prevent individuals with temperatures over 100.4 degrees from entering. Please use the main lobby, ER or Cancer Center doors for entry. After the temperature scan, entrants will have a sticker with the date to wear throughout the day. All caregivers are asked to use one of our three entrances.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Portland District Bradford Island and Washington Shore Visitor Centers, and Robins Island and Bradford Island parks are all closed. The Great Electrifying Event scheduled for April 4 at Bonneville Dam is cancelled.
Hood River Adopt A Dog has set up a Community Pet Food Panty to assist those in the Hood River community suffering from economic hardship due to mandated measures to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Donations of unopened dog/cat food and litter may be dropped off at the Hukari Animal Shelter in Odell in the Dog House Drop Bin during regular business hours…Monday through Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Pick-up of food for those in need is Monday through Sunday between noon and 4 p.m. at the shelter. Please take only what you need for the short-term, Hood River Adopt-A-Dog will be refilling this daily to ensure everyone is able to get the food and support they need for the pets. If you would like to contribute to the Community Pet Food Pantry, you can donate online either at hoodriveradoptadog.org or at Hood River Adopt-A-Dog’s Facebook page.
The Port of Hood River is closing all of its waterfront parks until further notice. Port officials say that’s in accordance with Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s executive order, and in line with closures already made by City of Hood River and the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District. The Port closures affect the Hook access road, the Event Site beach, the Nichols Basin beach and docks, the Spit Access parking lot, the Marina Green, the Marina Park, and the Marina Swim Beach. The Waterfront Trail will remain open for walking, jogging, and dog walking but users are urged to comply with the Governor’s order to maintain a six-foot distance between people at all times and groups of more than 2 people are not allowed. Signs will be posted at the closed areas as soon as possible.
North Wasco County Parks and Recreation District parks and facilities are also closed until further notice. This closure includes all parks, playground structures, tennis courts, the disc golf course and the skate park. The Riverfront Trail will remain open, but please practice all social distancing guidelines.
Columbia Area Transit has suspended fixed route services and is only offering Dial-A-Ride services within Hood River County. Please call 541-386-4202 to book a ride or ask any questions. Staff will be available Monday-Friday 7am-5pm.
Play It Safe will offer a continuation of your favorite weekly local entertainment in The Dalles professionally streamed into your home on a daily basis! The program will begin each evening at 6:00 PM with the singing of our National Anthem, followed by a performance from the evening’s featured artist. It will be simulcast on various social media and web platforms including Nolan Hare Productions, The Dalles Civic Auditorium, several local groups and business pages and more.
The City of The Dalles has cancelled all non-essential meetings have been cancelled through April 17. All City of The Dalles Offices are closed as of Monday at 5:00pm until further notice. This includes walk in traffic to the Police Department. All essential services for the health and wellbeing of the public will continue. In case of a Water or Sewer Emergency please call 541-980-980-7703. City staff will be working remotely and responding to voicemails and email. Please check the City’s website for a list of emails and phone numbers by department at www.thedalles.org. Parking tickets and Municipal Court fines can be made online at https://www.thedalles.org/OnlinePayments. Anyone unable to make a payment due to the virus or office closures can defer through the end of the state of emergency with no penalty, interest or charges. All utilities and other services will continue regardless of a customer’s ability to make payment. During this time, there will be no Municipal Court appearances. Water & Sewer billing can be paid online at thedalles.org/OnlinePayments. If you need assistance please call 541-296-5481 ext 1111 and leave a message.
All Klickitat County and City of White Salmon, Goldendale, and Bingen offices are closed to the public. The offices will still be staffed and available by phone, email or by their website. County officials say there will be concessions made for business that is unable to be conducted via the phone regarding fees and penalties. The exceptions to this are Superior Court held in Goldendale and West District Court in White Salmon which will be open and business as usual. East District Court in Goldendale will be closed. The planned date to reopen will be April 27.
The City of White Salmon building inspections will not take place at this time to comply with Governor Jay Inslee’s executive order on Monday, so all city building permits are on a temporary hold, and construction should not be occurring in the White Salmon city limits. If there is an emergency such as a leaking roof or plumbing, the City will issue the necessary permits for repairs and make arrangements for inspections. Call 509-493-1133, extension 209 to make those arrangements. Garbage and recycling pickup are expected to continue on regularly scheduled days, but Republic Services will not pick up any items that are not in container or bagged. The next White Salmon City Council meeting on April 1 will take place by teleconference.
All City of Hood River offices are now closed to the public, but operations continue and staff can be reached by phone, email, or online. Public Works, Police, and Fire and EMS personnel remain on normal hours and availability while taking necessary precautions interacting with the public. Water shut-offs and late payment fees, penalties, and interest is suspended. City departments can be reached by phone through the City’s main 541-386-1488 or by their direct lines, or via the live chat function at cityofhoodriver.gov. Utility payments, parking tickets, and municipal court fines can also be made on the City website. Municipal court appearances are delayed until at least May 19.
Circuit Courts in Hood River, Wasco, Gilliam, Sherman, and Wheeler counties have reduced their hours and operations as a precaution for coronavirus. Wasco County Circuit Court will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., while Hood River County Circuit Court will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays for the same hours. Sherman, Gilliam, and Wheeler County Circuit Courts will be open by appointment only. Contact the Wasco or Hood River County Circuit Courts for an appointment. More information is available at courts.oregon.gov.
The Friends of the Hood River County Library has postponed the Hood River Reads 2020 program due to COVID-19. The Friends encourage patrons to read their copy of The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch and discuss the book with members in their household or by phone or chat program with their friends and neighbors.
Lyle Lions Club Monday night meetings, First Saturday pancake breakfasts, and Tuesday senior lunches at the Lyle Lions Community Center are cancelled.
Hood River Lions Club has temporarily suspended its collection of deposit beverage containers in Hood River County.
Hood River Watershed Group meetings for March & April are cancelled.
Wasco County Planning Commission hearing cancelled.
The Great Electrifying Event at Bonneville Dam is cancelled.
Hood River City Planning Commission meeting cancelled.
Northern Wasco County PUD Board meeting is cancelled.
Wasco County Planning Commission hearing cancelled.
Hood River County Fairgrounds Blossom Craft Show and Quilt Sale is cancelled.
Hood River City Planning Commission meeting cancelled.
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation event at the Hood River County Fairgrounds.
The U.S. Forest Service and more than a dozen other federal, state and local agencies in and around the Columbia River Gorge are conducting a social media campaign encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to “do the right thing” and comply with public health directives to stay home and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Public lands and water access within the boundaries of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area are temporarily closed lands to adhere to state executive orders. Despite the closures, visitation to public lands has remained high, and last weekend, thousands of people converged again at parks, sites and trails. The social media campaign asks people to respect closures, and don’t circumvent them by “bushwhacking through the backcountry,” and taking unnecessary risks that may put a strain on local law enforcement and medical resources. The Oregon and Washington Departments of Transportation and Multnomah County Roads Department are supporting the effort by updating messaging signs for those entering the Gorge and temporarily placing barricades to limit access to highly visited areas. Local law enforcement agencies are increasing patrols in the area.
The North Wasco County School District 21 Board has decided not to hire one of the three finalists for the Superintendent’s position it interviewed in mid-March, deciding instead to choose from its current administrators to fill the role on an interim basis in 2020-21 and resume the external search next year. In a statement, board chair John Nelson indicated the three finalists were highly qualified and well-positioned to step into this type of role, but the board did not feel they were a fit for the district and its needs. A formal application process is underway to find an interim superintendent from the current ranks of D-21 administrators. The board suspended the search for a permanent replacement at this time, with the intent to reopen it next year. Current Superintendent Candy Armstrong retires at the end of the year.
Hood River Electric Cooperative is returning $367,915 to members this month as a result of a capital credit retirement authorized by its Board of Directors. The co-op typically retires capital credits in November, but the board authorized this special springtime retirement to assist members who may be facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This capital credit retirement pays out the remaining patronage capital allocations earned in 2008. These payments will be sent out in mid-April or applied to individual accounts. In addition to the capital credit retirement, the electric co-op has suspended disconnections for non-payment and is waiving late payment penalties for past-due bills.
The Washington State Department of Heatlh has started to be able to update its COVID-19 statistics after its system became overwhelmed by in particular the number of negative tests it was computing. In its latest numbers, as of the end of Wednesday there had been 6,585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington, with 262 fatalities. Out of over 79,000 tests done for COVID-19, 8.3% had tested positive. Klickitat County had eight confirmed cases of coronavirus, with one fatality that was reported last weekend, and 6.4% of the 125 COVID-19 tests done in the County had come back positive. Skamania County remains at one confirmed case of COVID-19 out of 31 tests that have been done. County officials say that patient is a male in his 40’s, and is symptomatic but not hospitalized. He has been self- quarantined, as has his immediate family members.