Fire damaged a home in White Salmon Friday night. White Salmon Fire Department Chief Bill Hunsaker says they were called to the two-story home at 425 NW Loop Road at around 9 p.m. Friday. He estimated 50 percent of the structure was damaged by the fire. Hunsaker adds the fire started in the area of a bedroom, but no cause has been determined. He says no one was hurt, and all the occupants in the home got out safely. The American Red Cross says three adults and three children were impacted by the fire.
The Port of Hood River Commission will conduct the latest in a series of worksessions Tuesday afternoon on the process of replacing the Interstate Bridge. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says it’s intended to be an educational opportunity with people who have experience in developing large projects like replacing the bridge. The two expert panelists at this session will be Angela Findley from WSP, the engineering firm that will do the environmental impact statement for the bridge, and Lowell Clary of Clary Consulting. The worksession begins at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Port’s Marina Center conference room. The public is invited, but seating is limited.
The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce is putting together welcome bags for visitors attending two large-scale youth sports events in the next couple of weeks. The Ted Walker Swim Meet will take place this weekend, with the Oregon District 5 Little League tournament arriving in The Dalles on June 29. Chamber CEO Lisa Farquharson says they are inviting businesses in The Dalles to provide information and offers for the bags that will be distributed to the visiting athletes and their families. To take part in the welcome bags, call The Dalles Chamber at 541-296-2231. The deadline is Wednesday.
Advocates of restoring rail passenger service along the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge will be meeting in The Dalles on Wednesday. The Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates are seeking to begin the planning process for an eastern Oregon rail passenger summit, to be held at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande in March, 2019. The group hopes to generate Columbia Gorge support for restoring rail passenger service between Portland and Boise. Amtrak’s Pioneer last served The Dalles 20 years ago, when it fell victim to budget cuts. The group will be hosting presentations on rail advocacy and planning Wednesday at Casa el Mirador in The Dalles, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
The Cascade Locks Library will be closed for a couple of weeks as it moves from City Hall to Cascade Locks Elementary School. The branch will be closed beginning tomorrow…and reopen at its new location on Friday, July 6. The new space is almost three times larger and will feature a defined kids, teen and adult area. There is a large area to hold library programs, complete with a home theater system for showing movies and hosting presentations. In addition, there is new paint, furniture, carpet and shelving units. The Cascade Locks Library will host a grand opening party on Saturday, July 7 at 5:30 p.m.
The North Wasco County School District 21 board approved Wahtonka Community School’s charter school application. That sets up the next step to negotiate the charter agreement itself, and Superintendent Candy Armstrong says that will start immediately, with an aim to make the change over in September. In a related move Aaron Bowman, who is on the board for the new charter school, resigned his seat on the D-21 board representing zone 5, which involves much of the Colonel Wright Elementary area. The district is beginning to take applications for the vacancy, and those interested can call the district office at 541-506-3420, extension 1002. In other business, the board approved the D-21 budget for the 2018-19 academic year.
The expected final three days of the Hood River Children’s Park rebuild have been scheduled for June 21 through June 23. Around 400 volunteers helped get the park’s play structure to the point where it is estimated to be 85 percent complete. Three shift options are available between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. each day, and approximately 50 volunteers are needed for morning, afternoon or evening shifts. Sign-up is available online through the Children’s Park link at cityofhoodriver.com. Each shift is around four hours long. The build days will also require a sufficient number of loaned tools, and a tool check-in period will occur Wednesday evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District will use Saturday’s grand opening for Golden Eagle Park to kick-off a community engagement effort for a multi-jurisdictional parks plan. The City, County, and Port of Hood River along with the Hood River County School District will take part in the master planning effort. Parks and Rec District Director Mark Hickox says they will be asking residents basic questions on what they want to see in area parks. Hickox says they plan to do a lot of outreach at community events this summer with a goal of getting a plan put together by February of next year. The Golden Eagle Park grand opening will be on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Warm temperatures led to rapid snow melt in May, and that means lower than normal streamflows during the summer irrigation season in the Mid-Columbia. The Natural Resources Conservation Service recently issued its June water supply outlook report. May also brought much lower than normal precipitation, so NRCS Snow Survey Supervisor Scott Oviatt says irrigators should expect below average streamflows this summer. Oviatt says some cooler temperatures and precipitation in June would help, but forecasts show a warming trend next week.
The VeggieRX program from Gorge Grown Food Network is available to Women, Infants, and Children’s clients at the Hood River County Health Department, with an emphasis on pregnant women. The VeggieRX program’s goal is to get fresh local fruits and vegetables to families that couldn’t otherwise afford it through vouchers to take to farmers’ markets in the region. Kate Carlson of the Gorge Grown Food Network says they are expanding to the WIC program, targeting pregnant women. For information, call the Hood River County Health Department at 541-386-1115.