The Historic Columbia River Highway is closed below Rowena Loop between The Dalles and Hood River due to a rock slide that occurred on Sunday. Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Peter Murphy says crews are still assessing the situation, and there is no estimate on when Highway 30 will reopen. He said they are dealing with an overhang that leaves open the question of whether everything that could fall has done so. Murphy says crews called scalers will be brought in to move down from the top of the hillside and make sure anything that could fall is removed. The slide is also rather large, over 75 feet long. Another question is whether some of the bigger rocks in the slide can be moved out by ODOT equipment, or if they will have to be crushed first.
Ballots are being returned for next Tuesday’s special districts election at a very slow pace. Wasco County reported a return rate of just under 11 percent as of Monday morning, while Hood River County was at 7.4 percent. The low returns are in spite of a busier than usual special districts ballot. In Wasco County there are contested races for the Columbia Gorge Community College and Port of The Dalles boards, while in Hood River County there are plenty of candidates for seats on the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation, Port of Hood River, and Hood River County School District board. Ballots can be returned by mail, or at designated drop boxes. In Wasco County those are at the Courthouse on 511 Washington in The Dalles or at Maupin City Hall, while in Hood River County they are at the County Administration Building on 601 State in Hood River or at Cascade Locks City Hall.
If the Oregon Legislature doesn’t reinstate $40,000 per year to each Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area county to help administer Scenic Area land use ordinances, Hood River County may consider no longer offering the service. That would involve the County repeal from its land use code administration of the Scenic Area, which would send applicants to the Columbia River Gorge Commission. Commission Chair Ron Rivers says with the county’s ever-tightening budget situation, he’s not sure they can afford to do the work without state funding. The funding has not been in state budget proposals to this point, but passage of a fiscal plan for the upcoming biennium by the Legislature is still weeks from happening.
The Port of The Dalles has been working on the concept of a value-added food lab to utilize agricultural products produced in the region. Port Executive Director Andrea Klaas says Oregon State University Extension has worked on a lot of value-added concepts in the region, and the Port sees a role it can play. Klaas says the bottom line goal is to bring more financial return to are farmers and help them diversify their options.
Hermiston 5, Hood River Valley 4
Pendleton 5, The Dalles 1
Warden 15, Goldendale 2
Dufur sweeps Sherman 10-0 and 12-6: The Rangers clinch the Special District 6 title and runs its record to 19-0.
Hermiston 1, Hood River Valley 0
Pendleton 13, The Dalles 0
Track and Field
Lyle-Wishram’s Brandon Montoya won both the 100 and 200 meters and finished second in the long jump at the Spudder Classic in Ridgefield
Trout Lake took both the boys and girls team victories in a five-school meet at Bickleton. Kevin Bren won three events for the Glenwood boys, while Hannah Funkhouser and Sidney Becker won three each for Trout Lake.
Mykhail Lembke won two events to lead the Goldendale effort at the High Mountain Classic in Cle Elum.
Irrigon’s boys and Mitchell-Spray’s girls won team titles at the Arlington Invitational. Dufur’s Asa Farrell and Ezekiel Stelzer, and South Wasco’s Ana Popchock won two events apiece.
Sherman’s boys were second and the girls fourth at the Madras Invitational. Reese Blake won the boys’ 1500 meters and Desiree Winslow the girls’ pole vault for the Huskies.
Columbia 10, Castle Rock 0
The Dalles earned a berth in next week’s Oregon Class 5-A Championships with a third place finish at the Special District 2 Tournament at Eagle Crest. Chase Snodgrass was the top Riverhawk finisher, shooting 15-over-par for the two round tournament and finishing fifth, six shots behind medalist Issac Buerger of Ridgeview. The state tournament is next Tuesday at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks.
Summit 13, Hood River Valley 8
Hood River Valley 9, Mountain View 3
Bend 16, Hood River Valley 12
Hood River Valley 11, Tualatin 10
The Dalles Blue Zones Project will launch in The Dalles later this month with a series of focus group meetings to talk about what they love about the community and what they would like to see change. The Dalles was recently selected to host one of four Blue Zones Projects in Oregon, a community well-being initiative to make healthy choices easier. Five topics will be explored during the focus group meetings on May 22 and 23 at The Dalles Civic Auditorium: Community policy, worksites, schools, engaging individuals, and faith-based communities. Information from the focus groups, along with a community survey and other activities, will help put together a strategic plan to be created later this summer by volunteer leaders, local staff and national experts. Each focus group will be offered three times and will take up to 90 minutes, and schedules and sign-ups to take part are available at go.bluezonesproject.com/thedalles_rsvp.
White Salmon officials are looking into the possibility that building a new community swimming pool might not cost as much as has been estimated. Mayor David Poucher and City Councilors learned about an Ellensburg firm that constructed a single lap pool in Tonasket for about $760,000, with the total project coming out to $1.25 million. After receiving earlier estimates above $3 million, Poucher says they want to learn more about what Tonasket did, and thinks White Salmon can get its costs down to $1.25 million to $1.5 million. Poucher says some City officials will go to look at the Tonasket pool and visit with the contractor that built it to investigate the possibility further.
Oregon 29th District State Senator Bill Hansell says he wants to wait to see more details before taking a position on a House Democrat leadership plan to create a new business tax to help fill a budget shortfall or any other business tax overhaul proposal. The Athena Republican does say there needs to be more of an emphasis on containing state expenditures, otherwise it will be difficult to generate any GOP votes. House Speaker Tina Kotek and other leaders in that chamber are proposing a tax of 95-one-hundreths of a percentage point on a sales by companies with more than five million dollars in Oregon sales, while smaller businesses would pay just 250 dollars. The trio says it would raise $2.1 billion this biennium and commit a minimum 75 percent of revenue generated through business tax reform to education.
Columbia 9, Castle Rock 7
LaCenter 7, Stevenson 0
The Hood River County School District budget committee passed the budget presented by staff for the 2017-18 school year. District Superintendent Dan Goldman says they used an estimate of the state K-12 education funding number for the upcoming biennium of $8.02 billion dollars, and the budget includes $800,000 in program cuts and uses a little over $2 million dollars in reserve. He says they will have less staff, cut back on book buying, reduce teacher training, and plan less maintenance and repair. Goldman believes personnel reductions can be achieved through attrition. The budget will go the district board for approval in June.