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The Dalles Council Approves Moving Ahead With Shelters

The Dalles City Council approved a resolution authorizing City Manager Julie Krueger to proceed with efforts to construct pallet-style shelters for the homeless this winter on the right-of-way on Bargeway Road where it turns behind the City Public Works Department next to NW Natural.  Krueger told Councilors the City will be providing the infrastructure for six eight-by-eight units that can accommodate two people each, but won’t be operating them.  The City will provide the site, portable toilets, a trash dumpster, and electricity.  Krueger said it was her understanding shower and laundry facilities at St. Vincent dePaul will still be available for those who stay in the shelters.  Councilor Darcy Long-Curtiss says now that a location for the shelters has been found, assembling operational plans can move forward.  Tonya Brumley of NW Natural did express concern for the lack of lighting in the area, and The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Lisa Farquharson noted the site’s closeness to the Riverfront Trail.  Krueger said those issues will be monitored and addressed.

HR Schools K-3 Opening Pushed Back

The Hood River County School District’s hope to return to in-person instruction for K-3 students has been pushed back at least two weeks, and probably three.  Hood River County did not meet COVID-19 health metrics for the week of October 18 to make that move, which the district hoped would happen on November 3.  The County reported a COVID case rate of 35.3 cases per 100,000 people, which exceeds the state metric of 30 per 100,000.  It must meet that standard for three straight weeks for in-person classes to resume at the K-3 level.  The earliest possible return to in-person instruction for Hood River County’s K-3 students is Monday, November 23, but District Superintendent Rich Polkinghorn says it would probably be at least a week after that, due to the week of November 23 being Thanksgiving week, with only two instructional days planned.  The district had previously announced that students in grades 4-12 will remain in comprehensive distance learning until February 2, which coincides with the end of the first semester for middle and high school students.

The Ballots Keep Coming In

Ballots have been coming into county election offices throughout the region over the past week at a record pace.  As of Wednesday morning, 56.8% of ballots have been returned in Hood River County, and in Wasco County the return rate is 50.3%.  Wasco County Clerk Lisa Gambee says when a ballot arrives in her office, it is scanned so they know which voter ballot has been returned, followed by staff doing signature verification.  And she says Wednesday is the first day ballots are opened, processed, and scanned to begin preparing to release after 8 p.m. on election night.  Election results are not certified until 20 days after the vote, as those whose signatures are challenged or forgot to sign the return envelope have 14 days after the election to go to their County election office and correct that situation.  

13th Flagstone Outbreak Death Confirmed

The Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday confirmed a 79-year-old woman in Wasco County died from COVID-19 on Saturday, the 16th death in the County attributed to the virus and 13th in connection with the outbreak at Flagstone Senior Living’s memory care unit.  The OHA reported one new COVID-19 case in Wasco County in its Tuesday report.  In Washington, both Klickitat and Skamania counties each reported one new COVID case on Tuesday.

Crews Seek To Finish Jewett Boulevard Project

The race is on to finish the Jewett Boulevard project in White Salmon.  Mayor Marla Keethler says they are in the home stretch, but weather is a concern in that effort.  They need mild temperatures to finish.  Keethler says this week is critical in that effort.  Last week saw a flurry of work on Jewett, with both paving and power pole installation taking place.

City of HR Looks At Revising Regulations For Pandemic

With the City of Hood River’s COVID-19 emergency declaration having expired at the end of September, the focus is now on adaptions the City may need to make to its regulations until the pandemic is substantially resolved.  Assistant City Manager Will Norris and Planning Director Dustin Nilson presented to Councilors a long list of items they will be working on. from forming work groups to address the needs of the restaurant industry, evaluating the parklet program, and making City parks available for activities like exercise classes and youth activities to modifying the ordinance which requires disconnection of water service after two months of non-payment.  Norris says they are looking at changing the water service ordinance to give the staff more discretion.  Councilors gave their approval for staff to continue working on those subjects.  

HR Council Votes To Change In-Lieu Parking Fee

Hood River City Councilors voted to change the in-lieu parking fee for residential and commercial development in the central downtown business, Heights, and Waterfront districts to a flat $3,000.  That’s as opposed to the current formula that many felt was discouraging opportunities to develop housing in the downtown area.  A first motion to make the change only in the downtown area failed, with Mayor Kate McBride saying the proposal that came out of a recent downtown parking study should make the fee the same all over the City.  Councilor Erick Haynie voted against it, pointing out the fee is significantly below the estimated cost of creating a parking space in Hood River.  The Council also approved a zone change from R-1 to R-2 for a 3.14 acre 18-lot subdivision in the area of 30th and Prospect.

TD Council To Consider Pallet Shelters Wednesday

The Dalles City Council will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to deal with a resolution to pave the way for construction of pallet shelters for the homeless before the winter season arrives.  City Manager Julie Krueger told the Council on Monday evening the resolution will allow staff to move forward on putting the temporary shelter plan in place.  The site being considered for them is owned by the City and is near the municipal public works facility.  The Council will hold its special meeting Wednesday at noon via Zoom.  Log-in information will be available on the City of The Dalles’ website.

WS Planning Commission To Hold Hearing On Tower Ordinance Amendments

The White Salmon Planning Commission will conduct a hearing Wednesday on proposed amendments to City ordinances for wireless telecommunication towers and facilities.  Mayor Marla Keethler says the changes came about from citizen input while the City considered a lease option for a private company that wanted to put a cell tower on municipal land.  The public hearing will be held via Zoom, and begins at 5:30 p.m.  For log-in information, go to white-salmon.net.    

Time To Personally Deliver Ballots In Oregon

With one week to go before Election Day, Oregon election officials recommend that if you haven’t put your ballot in the mail by Tuesday, then you should deliver it to county election offices or a designated drop box.  Wasco County Clerk Lisa Gambee points out that is the recommendation they have made for all elections entering the final week.  She adds Oregonians can track their ballots through oregonvotes.org.  Gambee said every ballot return envelope has a bar code that is scanned as soon as County officials receive them.  Signature verifications are done, and if there is an issue a notice is sent the same day.  Starting on Wednesday officials begin to opening ballots and start processing and scanning them so they can have much data as possible ready for 8 p.m. on election night.  Gambee says they don’t have access to the tabulation numbers until 8 p.m. on Tuesday.  Election results are not certified for 20 days.

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