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Columbia River Weather
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Local News

North Wasco PUD Alerts Customers To Billing Issue

Northern Wasco PUD says a vendor’s machine malfunction has led to some customers not receiving bills, and others finding multiple bills in their envelopes.  The PUD says they were made aware of an issue with bills mailed last week.  The PUD adds if you have not received your bill yet, and should have, or if you received other customers’ bills with yours, contact them at 541-296-2226, or e-mail to billing@nwasco.com.  The PUD also says the vendor has assured them the machine in question has been repaired.

Klickitat County Sets Burn Ban To Begin July 1

Klickitat County Commissioners have approved a burn ban to take effect on July 1 and continue through the end of September.  The move will ban outdoor burning in unincorporated areas of Klickitat County, the jurisdiction of the Yakama Indian Nation, and Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.  It also prohibits the issuance of burning permits except for authorized agricultural burning.  County officials advise people to check with appropriate fire districts on burn restrictions within the limits of any city or town.

Gorge Commission Denies Union Pacific Appeal

The Columbia River Gorge Commission voted to uphold Wasco County’s decision to deny Union Pacific a permit to build a second track through the Mosier area.  In a series of motions, the Gorge Commission did not agree with Union Pacific contentions the County erred in a number of different ways, including finding the National Scenic Area ordinance was not pre-empted by the Federal Railroad Act, and that the project would violate tribal treaty rights and impact treaty fishing rights.  The treaty rights issue generated the most discussion among Gorge Commissioners, with some questioning whether the County had established in its findings that treaty rights would actually be impacted, but others saying the evidence showed it would. with Chairman Bowen Blair noting the record indicated eight lakes and wetlands would be disturbed by the rail expansion.  The vote on that particular topic was 9-3 to uphold the Wasco County decision with Dan Ericksen, Keith Chamberlain, and Damon Webster voting against the motion.  Commissioners voted 10-2 to rule a Friends of the Gorge appeal on conditions for the project had it been approved was moot with the denial of Union Pacific’s appeal, but also indicated Friends did have standing in the case should there be a remand in future appeals.  Chamberlain and Ericksen voted against that motion.  Blair indicated findings of the Gorge Commission decision would be finalized by September 1, and Union Pacific would have 60 days to appeal to the Oregon State Court of Appeals.

Harry Accepts Award

Hood River Valley High School drama teacher Rachel Harry received the Excellence in Theatre Education Award at the Tony Awards in New York City on Sunday evening.  The award is presented by the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University, recognizing a K-12 theatre educator in the U.S. who has demonstrated monumental impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession.  In her acceptance speech, Harry said by acknowledging her work all theater teachers are honored.  Harry thanked her students at HRV, where she has taught for 30 years, her family, the school, and her community, noting without their support she would not have been receiving the award.

Port And City of TD Start Talks On NW Aluminum Railroad Crossing

The Port of The Dalles and City officials have begun talks with Union Pacific to make the railroad crossing on the north side of the Northwest Aluminum site off Hostetler Street a public crossing rather than a private crossing.  In its current status, Union Pacific has the ability to close that crossing with 30 day notice to the property owner.  Port Executive Director Andrea Klaas says they approached the railroad a week ago about the subject.  Klaas says additional access into the property off River Road has been looked at, but that involves a number of challenges.

HR County To Hold Hearing On Construction Excise Tax

The Hood River County Commission will hold a public hearing June 19 on a proposed one percent construction excise tax to provide funds to assist in creating more affordable housing.  The tax would be on new residential, commercial, and industrial construction.  County Administrator Jeff Hecksel says he wants to make sure people realize the tax is being discussed.  The County developed the proposed excise tax after the Oregon Legislature approved a bill to make it possible.  A task force made up of County officials, housing advocates, and members of the construction industry developed the proposal.  The June 19 meeting will be at 6 p.m. in the County Administration Building.

Gorge Commission Hearing On UP Appeal Tuesday

The Columbia River Gorge Commission will hold its hearing on the Union Pacific’s appeal of the Wasco County Commission decision to deny an application to construct a second track through the Mosier area.  The County denied a permit for the project based on its National Scenic Area ordinance which calls for denial when area tribes do not concur with an application.  Union Pacific promptly appealed to the Gorge Commission, contending they have the right to proceed under federal interstate commerce laws.  Tuesday morning’s hearing begins at 9:10 in the Fort Dalles Readiness Center.  There will be no public testimony taken, but the public may attend the oral argument and deliberation.


City Councils Hold Monday Meetings

The Hood River and The Dalles City Councils hold meetings Monday night.  In Hood River the agenda includes adoption of the municipal budget for 2017-18 and an update on progress from the Children’s Park Playground committee.  The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in Hood River City Hall.  The Dalles City Council will discuss awarding a contract for repairs to the Sorosis and Columbia View water storage tanks, and an ordinance to address the storage of motor vehicles and personal property on streets.  Their meeting begins at 5:30 in The Dalles City Hall.

Graduation Ceremonies This Weekend

Graduation ceremonies are scheduled at a number of area high schools Friday evening and Saturday.  Hood River Valley High School will hold its graduation ceremony Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Henderson Stadium, with a live stream available for viewing at hrvtalon.com.  The Dalles High School’s graduation will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Amaton Field.  Columbia High School will hold its ceremonies in Miller Gym at 11 a.m. Saturday.  Both Klickitat and Horizon Christian will hold their graduations at 2 p.m. on Saturday, while Stevenson High School’s will take place at 4 p.m.  Dufur, Sherman, South Wasco, Lyle, and Wishram high schools all held graduation ceremonies last week, while Trout Lake High School will hold graduation on June 16.


Test Finds E-Coli Discharge At The Dalles Wastewater Plant

The City of The Dalles Wastewater Treatment Plant has experienced an upset which has resulted in discharge of effluent exceeding the plant’s limit for E. coli.  Public Works Department officials say that today one of the twice-weekly tests for E. coli in the plant’s effluent to the river exceeded 406 organisms per 100 milliliters, the limit for a single sample.  As required by the City’s federal permit for the plant, a series of five samples at 4-hour intervals was initiated, and that sampling is currently underway and will continue to be taken until E. Coli counts are back within permit limits.  Signs are being posted along the Columbia River as designated locations to notify the public about the potential contamination.  The cause of the upset is unknown at this time and under investigation.