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Local News

Washington Vote Counts Continue

Vote counting continued in Klickitat and Skamania counties with no dramatic changes from Tuesday night.  Skamania County Parks and Recreation District Proposition 2, which would establish a six-year tax levy for a proposed district that would operate the Underwood Community Center, is being approved by a 246-to-210 margin, but that’s under the 60 percent approval rate necessary for passage.  The accompanying measure to establish the district is passing with 65 percent of the vote.  There was no significant changes in the county commission races, with Rex Johnston in Klickitat County and Richard Mahar and Tom Lannen of Skamania County maintaining their advantages.  The three 14th District legislative incumbents all continued to hold around two-to-one advantages.  Two Skamania County Fire District 1 measures and a County proposition to temporarily increase the property tax limit were still being defeated.

Municipal Election Roundup

The Dalles Mayor Steve Lawrence retained his position, receiving 48 percent of the vote in a three-way race.  Susan Barr-Harris polled 40 percent, and Solea Kabakov had 12 percent.  It was the first time Lawrence had been opposed in an election, and he says he felt good about some of the younger candidates who ran for offices in The Dalles, and he would like to keep them involved.  Taner Elliott and Darcy Long-Curtiss won the contested City Council seats in The Dalles.  In Hood River, Kate McBride, Megan Saunders, and Mark Zanmiller won the three available Council seats on the ballot.  Tom Cramblett was voted Mayor of Cascade Locks, while Bobby Walker, Bruce Fitzpatrick, and Glenda Groves won Council positions.  The cities of Mosier, Hood River, and The Dalles all passed proposals to establish municipal taxes on the retail sale of recreational marijuana.

MCFR/County Commission Elections

Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue District’s bond measure passed by a little over 300 votes, with 52 percent of voters approving.  With still a large number of votes to be counted, Klickitat County Commissioner Rex Johnston has a lead of 521 votes over Pat Arnold, and in Skamania County Richard Mahar leads for Commission position one by 318 votes over Marie Perez-Gluesenkamp and Tom Lannen has a 790 vote lead for position two in front of Michael Johnson.  Roger Howe was elected to the Northern Wasco County PUD board.

Legislative Election Roundup

All four incumbents in contested Oregon Legislative races in the area were victorious.  The closest race was in the 52nd District, where Republican Mark Johnson received 54 percent of the vote to top Democrat Mark Reynolds, while 59th District Representative John Huffman and Senators Ted Ferrioli and Bill Hansell all cruised to victory.  Huffman says the defeat of Measure 97 changes the tenor of discussions in the upcoming legislative session, with a number of major fiscal issues to deal with.  In Washington’s 14th State Legislative District, incumbents Curtis King, Gina McCabe, and Norm Johnson all were winning by substantial margins with votes still to be counted.

Ballots Due In Oregon By 8 p.m. Tuesday

Time is ticking down for ballots to be returned in the state of Oregon.  Ballots must be in county election offices or in official drop boxes by Tuesday at 8 p.m.  In Hood River County, ballots can be taken to the County Admininstration Building on 601 State Street in Hood River or to the drop box at Cascade Locks City Hall.  In Wasco County, take ballots to the Courthouse on 511 Washington or the drop box at Maupin City Hall.  The local ballot in Wasco County is highlighted by a three-way race for Mayor and two contested City Council races in The Dalles, plus other local elections in smaller communities.  In Hood River County, there are four candidates running for three seats on the Hood River City Council, plus a crowded ballot for municipal positions in Cascade Locks.  The statewide ballot has a number of offices on it including the race for Governor, legislative seats, and Congressional seats, plus ballot measures, the most notable of which is Measure 97 calling for a tax on the sales of companies doing over $25 million worth of business in Oregon each year.

Ballots Must Be Postmarked By Tuesday In Washington

In Washington, ballots must only be postmarked by Tuesday to be counted.  Much like in Oregon, there are local offices populating the ballots in Klickitat and Skamania counties.  That includes a contested race for a seat on the Klickitat County Commission and two in Skamania County, along with 14th District legislative votes.  There are also statewide votes for Governor, U.S. Senate, and various Congressional positions.  Highlighting ballot measures:  Initiative 732 to impose a carbon emissions tax on fossil fuels, and Initiative 1433 to increase the state minimum wage over the next four years.

D21 Undertakes Geological Survey Of Administrative Office Property

North Wasco County School District 21 has undertaken a geotechnical survey of the current district administration office property across from and west of the Wahtonka campus.  It’s part of the district’s study of potential sites for new school construction in preparation for a future bond measure.  D-21 Chief Financial Officer Randy Anderson says the property is on a knoll, and the survey is to determine if that land would be useful for a new high school campus if the district opted to do that.  Test holes were dug last week, and results of the survey are expected later this week.

HR Council Meeting On STR Rules Cancelled

A special Hood River City Council meeting on Monday night to consider operating license requirements for short-term rentals was cancelled due to Council member absences.  City officials say there has been concern expressed about the timeline for existing non-conforming STRs to establish their grandfathered status within deadlines set by ordinance, but while release of final application documents and licensure requirements are pending City Council adoption of rules, to begin the process of grandfathering an application to verify and establish prior existing nonconforming short-term rental use has been developed.  The form is available on the City’s webpage and at City Hall.  Completion of the form by December 12 will validate a claim of pre-existing non-conforming short-term rental use, but would not exempt STR’s from future licensing requirements.

911 And Phone Services Restored

A CenturyLink spokesperson says services impacted by what the company had termed an “equipment issue” in the Gorge were restored late Monday afternoon.  Skamania and Klickitat counties both reported their 9-1-1 services were restored at around 1:30 p.m., while Hood River and Wasco counties did so just before 5 p.m.  Emergency phone communications at 9-1-1 centers in the region and phone service throughout the area was scrambled because of the issue that some law enforcement officials described as a failure of a major CenturyLink fiber terminal in the area.  CenturyLink spokesperson Rachel Montemayor said in an e-mail to Bicoastal Media shortly after 4 p.m. that “all services previously impacted have now been restored,” but did not elaborate on what caused the outage.  In a post on its website, Gorge Networks said the problem had impacted some wireless, wireline, and broadband carriers in the Gorge, and caused widespread telephone network/DSL outages for multiple carriers in the Gorge.

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