Hood River Police are looking for a 27 year old woman who has been missing since early Thursday morning. Holly Kristen Lester was last seen near the Port of Hood River. Police say she was said to have been distraught and has a history of depression. Lester is approximately 5’6″ tall with curly brown hair and a nose piercing. She was last seen wearing a black Carhartt style jacket, black long sleeve dress, black pants and oversized boots. She was also wearing blue glasses. Lester has spent the last several months hitch hiking and may possibly be traveling to the Seattle area. If Holly Lester is seen or located please contact the Hood River Police Department at 541-387-5256.
Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, Washington Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and Oregon Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici have reintroduced legislation to enable the Bureau of Indian Affairs to make safety and sanitation improvements at the tribal treaty fishing access sites along the Columbia River. The Columbia River In-Lieu and Treaty Fishing Access Sites Improvement Act calls on the Bureau of Indian Affairs to conduct an assessment of current safety and sanitation conditions at the sites, and directs the Bureau to work on structural and safety improvements, electrical infrastructure to ensure safe electrical hookups, and basic sewer and septic infrastructure. The Army Corps designed the sites to be used primarily for daily, in-season fishing access and temporary camping, but in many cases tribal members now use the areas as longer-term or even permanent residences. The legislation is supported by the four Columbia River Treaty tribes abd the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.
Hood River County Commissioners have asked for a review of wording on an ordinance to establish a one percent construction excise tax that would be dedicated to a fund to help create affordable housing. A public hearing on the ordinance was held Monday evening, and Commission Chair Ron Rivers says they want to make sure the wording meets state requirements before proceeding, noting the rate proposed is under what the state would allow. The topic will return for another hearing before the Commission, probably in April.
A 26-year-old man accused in the stabbing death of a 71-year-old woman in The Dalles made a brief appearance in Wasco County Circuit Court on Monday by video from NORCOR. Garrett Brennan of The Dalles is charged with murder in the death of Charlene Caldwell on Thursday afternoon. Brennan’s lawyer, Peter Parnickis of Bend, waived the reading of a grand jury indictment. Judge Janet Stauffer scheduled Brennan’s next court appearance for April 25, but Parnickis indicated entry of plea by his client is 60 to 90 days out. Brennan is being held without bail at NORCOR.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers advises recreational boaters and commercial mariners that recent high water levels may be concealing some pile dikes on the Columbia River. Pile dikes are frequently just below the surface during high water events and can cause serious damage to vessels attempting to transit over them. Pile dikes, also called wing dams, are wooden structures that extend from the shore into the river. The structures have a variety of uses ranging from protecting the shore to managing the flow of the navigation channel. Commercial and recreational mariners should review the Corps’ channel conditions maps regularly for the locations of pile dikes and other obstacles. The maps are located at the Corps’ website.
The City of Bingen is planning to hold an open house in April on the progress toward a Highway 14 overpass at Bingen Point. Bingen Mayor Betty Barnes says the work toward making the overpass a reality involves a lot of moving parts. The Washington Legislature appropriated funding for the project in the transportation package approved in 2015. Barnes says at this point the hope is to begin construction in 2020, with completion a year later.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reopened the navigation lock at The Dalles Dam o river traffic Monday afternoon. The Corps of Engineers is nearing the scheduled end of an extended navigation lock maintenance outage, which began in December. The coordinated 14-week-long closure has affected all eight Corps navigation locks on the Columbia and Snake rivers, during which time repairs and maintenance is being completed. Bonneville Lock and Dam reopened in February as scheduled, McNary reopened Friday and John Day reopened Saturday. Lower Monumental and Lower Granite locks and dams returned to service late Monday night. Little Goose and Ice Harbor dam’s navigation locks, on Washington’s Snake River, cannot be returned to service yet because of on-site work complications. Ice Harbor is tentatively scheduled to return their lock to service on Thursday. Little Goose is currently estimated to reopen their lock on April 2.
The Port of Hood River’s request for funding to help with planning for replacement of the Hood River Interstate Bridge will be the subject of a hearing in the Oregon Legislature this week. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says they are hoping to be included in a transportation package in this legislative session, adding they are cautiously optimistic about receiving their five million dollar request. Planning work would take two to two-and-a-half years, but would also leave them in concept within 18 months of construction of a new bridge. In turn that would put the Port in a better position to receive a significant commitment of federal dollars.
The Northwest Cherry Festival is just about a month away. The event in The Dalles will be April 21st through the 23rd throughout the community, centered in the downtown area. The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Lisa Farquharson says they are taking entries for various parts of the Festival, including vendors, adding they are mixing in more artisan booths. Entries for the April 22 parade and the Cherry Idol singing contest are also being taken. For application forms go to thedalleschamber.com.
The navigation lock at John Day Dam near Rufus reopened to river traffic over the weekend, and The Dalles Dam lock should return to service late Monday night. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is nearing the scheduled end of an extended navigation lock maintenance outage, which began December 12. The 14-week-long closure has affected all eight Corps navigation locks on the Columbia and Snake rivers. Bonneville Lock and Dam reopened in February, and McNary reopened Friday. The Dalles, Lower Monumental, and Lower Granite locks and dams remain scheduled to return to service at 11:59 p.m. Monday. On the Snake River, the Ice Harbor Dam navigation lock is tentatively scheduled to return to service Thursday night, and the lock at Little Goose Dam is currently estimated to reopen on April 2.