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Local News

HR Council Moves Toward Lowering In-Lieu Of Parking Fee Downtown

The Hood River City Council has decided to lower the in-lieu of parking fee for residential development in the Central Business District to the same level as for commercial and industrial development.  Councilors are asking staff to bring back a resolution and develop a formula that would bring the residential fee down from the current $20,000 per unprovided parking space to the just over $1,000 that it is for other uses.  Key Development had made a request for a reduction to $100 as it considers a market rate apartment complex downtown.  Mayor Paul Blackburn says the Council isn’t taking the fee down that far, but he notes housing is a far bigger issue now than when the in-lieu of parking fee schedule was set up, and the current fee discourages apartment development downtown.  Blackburn says they don’t want a proliferation of construction without parking provided, so the intent is to structure a fee formula where it is expensive if a certain level of parking is not provided.

September 11 Prep Sports Roundup

Football

College Place 26, Goldendale 8

 

Girls Soccer

Franklin 9, The Dalles 0

 

Boys Soccer

Umpqua Valley Christian 5, Horizon Christian 0

 

Volleyball

Sherman def. Riverside 25-22, 25-12, 25-8

Columbia def. Fort Vancouver 3 sets to 1

Eagle Creek Fire Information Summary (as of 6:00 p.m. 9/12)

As winds shifted westerly today, areas east of the Eagle Crest Fire experienced increased smoke. Fire officials reported this evening that some of the smoke was generated by fire backing slowly southward into the Herman Creek drainage, though the fire has not crossed Herman Creek or created any new threats.

Further east, firefighters continued to construct line along I-84 from Cascade Locks to Shell Mountain and from Wahtum Lake to Mitchell Point. For the most part, these contingency lines follow existing powerline corridors and roads.

A fixed wing aircraft was used to conduct reconnaissance over some parts of the fire, but heavy smoke prevented the use of other aerial resources for water drops.

Work continued along the I-84 corridor, as firefighters strengthened lines between Bridal Veil and the Bonneville Dam. Crews from the Oregon Department of Transportation and Bonneville Power Administration also made progress falling hazard trees along transportation and power transmission corridors.

On the far west end of the fire, crews continued securing and mopping up around structures and other infrastructure. The night shift will remain active along the I-84 corridor strengthening containment line and patrolling around structures.

Currently, there are two Oregon State Fire Marshal task forces on both the day and night shifts. Crews supported burnout efforts in Bridal Veil, while continuing to monitor threats to structures. Toward the east in Warrendale, Dodson, Cascade Locks and the Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery, firefighters protected structures while assisting with burnout efforts.

Weather today has remained warmer and dry, with winds shifting to a westerly flow. Tomorrow, as a weak cold front passes, cooler temperatures and higher humidity is expected, though no appreciable precipitation is forecast for the fire area.

There have been no changes to Hood River County evacuation advisories since Friday.

There are 25 crews, 56 engines, 11 helicopters, 15 water tenders, and 905 personnel assigned to the fire.

Hood River County Emergency Management has set up an information hotline for the Eagle Creek Fire, that number is 541-387-6941.

The Hood River County Sheriff’s Department encourages County residents to sign up for the Citizen Alert automatic notification system that sends emergency alerts through home, mobile or business phones, email addresses, and text messages.  To sign up, go to the Hood River County website.

Interstate 84 between Hood River and Troutdale remains closed.  The Oregon Department of Transportation affirmed that the westbound lanes will open first. But the area of I-84 around Cascade Locks is still an active evacuation zone and the Eagle Creek Fire is still burning, so when it will open is still undetermined. ODOT needs another week to complete rock scaling and removal operations along eastbound I-84. But the lanes won’t reopen until fire no longer threatens the road.  The biggest impediment to re-opening the I-84 eastbound lanes is the threat of falling rocks, mostly around the Toothrock Tunnel. The work is slow in steep, difficult terrain and reaches high up the hillside.  ODOT has removed about 2,500 trees that were in danger of falling onto I-84; about 1,000 remain to be removed. Tree removal should be finished in the next few days.  The Historic Columbia River Highway remains closed with no schedule to reopen.

The East Crater Fire has been burning in the wilderness since September 3 and fire size remains at 467-acres.  With Monday’s higher temperatures and light east winds some single tree torching was observed, while fire growth remained minimal. Fire crews and heavy equipment are continuing to prep roads along the east side of the Indian Heaven Wilderness for use as the fire line to minimize fire spread outside the wilderness.  Wednesday’s weather forecast is for much cooler temperatures and variable winds out of the west for the week, with potential rain over the weekend.

The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center says the Archer Mountain Fire above Skamania now has a 70 percent containment level.  It has burned 260 acres.

The Rim Fire now has a 40 percent containment level, and its size has been reduced to 237 acres. That fire is six miles east of Clear Lake in the Barlow Ranger District. The fire is expected to continue to creep, and the potential for grown is expected to be minimal. Crews will continue mop up along containment lines and mitigate snag hazards.  A cooling trend with possible rain showers is predicted towards the end of the week.  Trails, campgrounds, active timber sales, and the White River Watershed are in the area of the Rim Fire.

The U.S. Postal Service is advising that any residents of the Cascade Locks area who have been forced to evacuate their homes because of the Eagle Creek Fire may pick up their mail at the Stevenson Post Office on 90 SW Russell Avenue, which is open from 8:30 to 5 p.m. weekdays. and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.  Customers are asked to present photo identification to obtain their mail.

A full area closure is in effect for the Hood River Ranger District West of Highway 35 and North of the Mt. Hood Wilderness.  The expanded closure is a result of extreme fire danger and to provide for firefighter safety during fire operations for the Eagle Creek Fire.  All roads, trails and National Forest System lands within this area are closed.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is prohibiting fire use and smoking throughout the forest. Restrictions will remain in effect until there is significant moisture to lower the fire danger.

All campfires and target shooting are now prohibited across the Mount Hood National Forest.  The forest also issued a more stringent Industrial Fire Precaution Level that governs industrial uses on the forest. All spark emitting machinery use such as chainsaws, tractors, skidders, or mechanized loaders are now prohibited.

Eagle Creek Fire Information Summary (as of 7:00 p.m. 9/11)

Firefighters on the Eagle Creek Fire concentrated their efforts on the I-84 corridor today, burning out small pockets of fuel east toward Cascade Locks. These controlled burns sent up visible smoke, but the fire is not creating any new threats.

The evening update from fire officials indicates that south of Cascade Locks, crews secured and mopped-up around structures and other infrastructure. Containment line has been cleared along the powerline corridor to Shell Rock Mountain. Contingency lines have been established from Mitchell Point southwest to Wahtum Lake using a series of roads, trails, and dozer line. Along the southern portion of the fire, fire activity has been subdued over the last 48 hours due to moisture in those areas.

Very little heat has been observed in the spot fires on the west end of the fire.

Weather today has been warmer and drier than previous days and winds were light, out of the east. There is a shift predicted tomorrow with winds turning westerly. The change in winds may bring smoke into different areas, as firefighters continue to strengthen lines along the I-84 corridor. Temperatures will continue to increase but remain within seasonal averages.

Size and containment level for the Eagle Creek Fire were unchanged Monday morning…33,382 acres with seven percent containment.  Those numbers did not change all weekend.

There have been no changes to Hood River County evacuation advisories since Friday.

There are four hotshot crews, 13 Type 2 crews, seven Type 2 initial attack crews, 84 engines, 11 helicopters, 38 dozers, nine water tenders, and 979 personnel assigned to the fire.

Hood River County Emergency Management has set up an information hotline for the Eagle Creek Fire, that number is 541-387-6941.

The Hood River County Sheriff’s Department encourages County residents to sign up for the Citizen Alert automatic notification system that sends emergency alerts through home, mobile or business phones, email addresses, and text messages.  To sign up, go to the Hood River County website.

The Oregon Department of Transportation affirmed today that Interstate 84 westbound will open first. But the area of I-84 around Cascade Locks is still an active evacuation zone and the Eagle Creek Fire is still burning, so when it will open is still undetermined. ODOT needs another week to complete rock scaling and removal operations along eastbound I-84. But the lanes won’t reopen until fire no longer threatens the road.  The biggest impediment to re-opening the I-84 eastbound lanes is the threat of falling rocks, mostly around the Toothrock Tunnel. The work is slow in steep, difficult terrain and reaches high up the hillside.  ODOT has removed about 2,500 trees that were in danger of falling onto I-84; about 1,000 remain to be removed. Tree removal should be finished in the next few days.  The Historic Columbia River Highway remains closed with no schedule to reopen.

A 20-person fire crew continues to prep roads along the east side of the Indian Heaven Wilderness for use as the fire line to minimize any spread of the East Crater Fire outside the wilderness.  Crews are removing brush and small trees from the roadside and installing hose lays. The East Crater Fire has been burning in the wilderness since September 3 and fire size remains at 467-acres.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources says the Archer Mountain Fire above Skamania has now burned 259 acres but moved the containment level up to 40 percent.  The Washington Department of Natural Resources says suppression tactics are meeting containment strategy.  There are 110 firefighters involved in that effort.

The 250-acre Rim Fire now has a 32 percent containment level.  That fire is six miles east of Clear Lake in the Barlow Ranger District.  The fire is expected to continue to creep with isolated tree torching.  Over the next 24 hours fire growth is expected to be minimal.  Crews will continue mop up along containment lines and begin to open closed roads as needed for contingency line.  Trails, campgrounds, active timber sales, and the White River Watershed are in the area of the Rim Fire.

The U.S. Postal Service is advising that any residents of the Cascade Locks area who have been forced to evacuate their homes because of the Eagle Creek Fire may pick up their mail at the Stevenson Post Office on 90 SW Russell Avenue, which is open from 8:30 to 5 p.m. weekdays. and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.  Customers are asked to present photo identification to obtain their mail.

A full area closure is in effect for the Hood River Ranger District West of Highway 35 and North of the Mt. Hood Wilderness.  The expanded closure is a result of extreme fire danger and to provide for firefighter safety during fire operations for the Eagle Creek Fire.  All roads, trails and National Forest System lands within this area are closed.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is prohibiting fire use and smoking throughout the forest. Restrictions will remain in effect until there is significant moisture to lower the fire danger.

All campfires and target shooting are now prohibited across the Mount Hood National Forest.  The forest also issued a more stringent Industrial Fire Precaution Level that governs industrial uses on the forest. All spark emitting machinery use such as chainsaws, tractors, skidders, or mechanized loaders are now prohibited.

 

Klaas Taking Input On Economic Impact Of Fire

Port of The Dalles Executive Director Andrea Klaas says she has been asked by the office of Oregon Governor Kate Brown to gather information on the impact of the Eagle Creek Fire to businesses throughout the Gorge.  She’s asking businesses and employees to send her their input on how they’ve been disrupted by the fire, along with people who live in the Gorge and work in the Portland area and have been cut off by the closure of Interstate 84.  Information will be used to help the Governor’s office prepare to ask the federal government for financial relief aid.  Send those stories to andrea@portofthedalles.com.

Blackburn Says Fire Creates Anxiety In The Community

Hood River Mayor Paul Blackburn told a group of reporters at an Eagle Creek Fire briefing in Troutdale over the weekend that the fire is creating a great deal of anxiety in the community.  Blackburn said while none of the City of Hood River is under any kind of evacuation advisory, the closeness to areas that are is creating nervousness, adding the closure of Interstate 84 is causing a huge disruption on the commerce and the economy of the area.  Blackburn added when he was driven through the Gorge he noted it was not destroyed, and those who love the area will be relieved when they see it.

Tooke Visits Eagle Creek Site; Calls For Forest Fire Funding Fix

New U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke visited the Eagle Creek Fire site over the weekend to get an assessment of the situation.  Tooke pointed out this has been a difficult fire season around the nation, with over eight million acres burned and no weather-ending event in site. He says the Forest Service has been at its highest fire planning level for 31 straight days with 80 fires of greater than 100 acres or more currently burning around the country when the average is usually 20, and that has resources stretched thin.  He says they’ve spent all of the Forest Service fire suppression funds in its budget, the ninth time since 2002 that has occurred, and that means they have to transfer funds from other accounts.  He says additional funding approved by Congress won’t be enough, and called for a fire funding fix that would see large scale fires eligible for disaster funds.  Tooke did have some good news, noting the number of structures burned nationally this year is half of normal.  Tooke also expressed a worry about firefighter fatigue.  Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Congressmen Greg Walden and Peter DeFazio, and Governor Kate Brown joined Tooke in touring the fire area.

September 8-9 Prep Sports Roundup

Football

The Dalles 34, Fort Vancouver 0

Elma 35, Columbia 34

 

Girls Soccer

West Albany 2, Hood River Valley 0

Ft. Vancouver 1, Stevenson 1

 

Cross Country

The Hood River Valley girls were sixth and boys eleventh at the Ash Creek Invitational at Western Oregon University.  Frances Dickenson topped the HRV girls with a 16th place finish, while Braxton Wilson was 38th for the Eagle boys.

The Dalles boys were fourth and the girls fifth at the Tualatin Invitational.  Gabe Lira had the best finish for the Riverhawk boys in 14th, while Emma Mullins was 25th for the girls.

Eagle Creek Fire Information Update (as of 10:30 a.m. 9/11/17)

Eagle Creek Fire managers said this morning that firefighters spent a good part of Sunday completing a successful burnout to protect Cascade Locks. The fire is holding at the lower edge of Herman Creek and light winds today are predicted to blow from the east pushing the fire back on itself.  Firefighters will finish mopping up along the northwestern perimeter today near Cascade Locks.

In a video briefing on Eagle Creek Fire operations this morning…Operations Chief Rick Miller says reported the most active part of the fire Sunday was in the Cascade Locks area…and there was very little activity to the east and south.

Firefighters are almost finished tying together roads and trails to put indirect line from Herman Creek southwest to the southernmost extent of the fire.
Heavy smoke obscured a large part of the southern fire perimeter for most of Sunday with preventing the use of aerial resources. With the change in winds today, fire managers should be able to get a clear look at the fire perimeter on the east and south side above the Bull Run Watershed. The change in the winds and sunnier skies will help firefighters find and extinguish any hotspots that may have been smoldering in the low-lying smoke and moist undergrowth for the last several days. Generally, the weather will allow for increased fire behavior but extreme fire behavior is not expected.

Size and containment level for the Eagle Creek Fire were unchanged Monday morning…33,382 acres with seven percent containment.  Those numbers did not change all weekend.

There are four hotshot crews, 13 Type 2 crews, seven Type 2 initial attack crews, 84 engines, 11 helicopters, 38 dozers, nine water tenders, and 979 personnel assigned to the fire.

A community meeting on the fire is scheduled for this evening at 7 p.m. at the Marine Park Pavilion in Cascade Locks.

There have been no changes to Hood River County evacuation advisories since Friday.

On Friday the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office is made two changes to evacuation advisories.

A new Level One advisory area runs from Collins Road in Dee at the south end to I-84 on the north end, and includes all areas west of the following lines: Country Club south to Reed Road, running due south to Hwy. 281, continuing along 281 to milepost 12.5, then following the Middle Fork of the Hood River until it comes parallel with the south end of Collins Road.  Level One means people should be ready for potential evacuation, and should plan for what they might need to take with them. The Sheriff’s Office says no structures are under immediate threat from the fire.

A map has been created and will be distributed for zones A4, A5, and A6.

The current Level Two evacuation notice area on the north-east half of Cascade Locks is being extended east to Viento State Park, staying along the I-84 corridor, and now includes the Lost Lake Resort area that had previously been under Level One. This includes the In-lieu site and the whole area of Wyeth. Level Two means that people should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

Click here for an extended map of the evacuation zones.

Hood River County Sheriff Matt English says the decision to increase the evacuation level in the County was made after evaluation of imaging received from a flight over the fire Friday morning.  Active fire at that time was observed across the top of Wooly Horn Ridge, east of the last reported location of the fire.  There were also spot fires noted around Hicks Lake, which is east of Chinidare Mountain.  This information was evaluated by the Sheriff’s Office, who then made the call to initiate the warning.  English says safety is the number one priority, so they wanted to give people plenty of time to start thinking about it, and the new Level 1 areas in the valley are precautionary, but there is no imminent threat.

English did say the new Level 2 areas are based on the west winds that were strong Friday, and is a more immediate call to be ready to go if necessary.

Cascade Locks south of Wa-Na-Pa Street remains under a Level 3 “must go” evacuation.

Hood River County Emergency Management has set up an information hotline for the Eagle Creek Fire, that number is 541-387-6941.

The Hood River County Sheriff’s Department encourages County residents to sign up for the Citizen Alert automatic notification system that sends emergency alerts through home, mobile or business phones, email addresses, and text messages.  To sign up, go to the Hood River County website.

The Oregon Department of Transportation says it is working closely with fire officials to determine when westbound lanes of Interstate 84 between Hood River and Troutdale can reopen, but eastbound I-84 will remain closed at least another week, the minimum time required to complete rock removal.  ODOT says it has removed about 2,000 trees that were in danger of falling onto I-84 with about 1,500 remaining to be removed, and that should be finished early this week.  The biggest impediment to reopening the freeway is the threat of falling rocks, most of them around Toothrock Tunnel.  Work is slow in steep and difficult terrain extending up the hillside.  ODOT has found minimal damage to bridges and culverts.  The Historic Columbia River Highway remains closed with no schedule to reopen. ODOT reports rocks and trees continue to fall.  ODOT officals also said that in the weeks ahead they will be assessing the danger of winter slides in areas where the underbrush has burned away.

The Coast Guard opened the Columbia River to all marine traffic Sunday evening.  All mariners going through the area are encouraged to exercise caution and maintain a sharp lookout.

A 20-person fire crew continues to prep roads along the east side of the Indian Heaven Wilderness for use as the fire line to minimize any spread of the East Crater Fire outside the wilderness.  Crews are removing brush and small trees from the roadside and installing hose lays. The East Crater Fire has been burning in the wilderness since September 3 and fire size remains at 467-acres.

The Bear Creek Fire was declared contained on Sunday after crews completed mop-up within the fire interior.  Hose lays will be left in place and fire personnel will check on the fire daily.  The 36 acre fire is three miles northeast of Carson.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources says the Archer Mountain Fire above Skamania has now burned 253 acres and has a 30 percent containment level.  The Washington Department of Natural Resources says suppression tactics are meeting containment strategy.  There are 110 firefighters involved in that effort.

The 250-acre Rim Fire now has a 32 percent containment level.  That fire is six miles east of Clear Lake in the Barlow Ranger District.  The fire is expected to continue to creep with isolated tree torching.  Over the next 24 hours fire growth is expected to be minimal.  Crews will continue mop up along containment lines and begin to open closed roads as needed for contingency line.  Trails, campgrounds, active timber sales, and the White River Watershed are in the area of the Rim Fire.

The U.S. Postal Service is advising that any residents of the Cascade Locks area who have been forced to evacuate their homes because of the Eagle Creek Fire may pick up their mail at the Stevenson Post Office on 90 SW Russell Avenue, which is open from 8:30 to 5 p.m. weekdays. and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.  Customers are asked to present photo identification to obtain their mail.

The Office of Oregon State Fire Marshal on Friday updated the number of structures destroyed by the Eagle Creek Fire to four. One structure was a full time occupied residence.  The additional three structures were non-full time residences that were unoccupied.

An information board has been placed at the intersection of Wa-Na-Pa and Regulator in Cascade Locks, and an Oregon State Fire Marshal’s information officer is posted at the Bridge of the Gods side park lot. A Red Cross Shelter is set up at the Skamania County Fairgrounds.

 

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