Hood River County emergency management personnel told County Commissioners they have a long way to go before they could be ready for Pacific Power to declare a Public Safety Power Shutoff, but they did say a recent meeting brought some progress and improved communication. County Emergency Services Director Barb Ayres said they need a year to be ready, adding they have requested but not seen written plans. Sheriff Matt English did say a Friday meeting went well, adding they will do a tabletop exercise with the utility in the near future and they’ve been told that they will receive a comprehensive plan in the next month, so he asked Commissioners to wait to send a formal letter to the utility. Later in the meeting, Pacific Power spokeperson Cheryl Carter told the Commission they foresee a positive outcome and that there will be ways to isolate outages for the smallest impact, adding the company believes it would be rare for a shutdown to actually happen. Commission Chair Mike Oates told her they were “a little concerned right now.”
Oregon Second District Congressman Greg Walden released a written statement Tuesday on President Donald Trump’s recent comments on Twitter about four progressive Democratic congresswomen, who are all women of color. The Hood River Republican said the tweets “do not reflect the values that we hold dear in America” and “should not be made about any American citizen regardless of who they are or where they work.” He said the President’s tweets and the comments of others accusing Customs and Border Protection agents of running concentration camps or that people who support Israel only do it money are disgusting and wrong, distracting from the nation’s real issues. Walden did also state voting on political resolutions condemning the President wastes time that should be spent on debating and voting on legislation.
The Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge will be closed on Wednesday morning from 5:30 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. and again on Monday morning from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Port of Hood River facilities crews will perform maintenance lifts of the bridge lift span during those times. Both lanes of the bridge will be closed to all traffic during those times, and users should plan for delays or seek alternate routes.
The Dalles Public Works will begin a street construction project Thursday at West 6th Street between Hostetler Street and Chenowith Loop Road. City officials say the eastbound lane of West 6th Street will be closed to all traffic in that area during working hours from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Thursday and continuing until next Thursday (July 25). Detours for eastbound traffic will be in place, and access to most businesses will be open on Hostetler Street and Chenowith Loop Road. The street will be reopened each evening. Crews will be rebuilding the roadway.
The Hood River County Public Works Department Tuesday started chip sealing approximately 20 miles of roads. Work is starting in the upper valley, will progress to the lower valley by next week, and continue into late August as roads will also need to be swept and re-striped. Roads being worked on include Fairview Drive and Post Canyon Drive and a complete list of roads being done can be viewed on the Hood River County Public Works website. Drivers are asked to be extra cautious around work zones and follow all traffic warning signs, and public works officials remind pedestrians and cyclists they are subject to the same laws as vehicles and may be cited for illegally entering a work zone or ignoring traffic signs.
The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce is planning to do three videos to promote tourism in the community. Chamber CEO Lisa Farquharson says the videos will be on YouTube, the Chamber website, and a Northwest fishing program that airs on Fox television stations in the region. Farquharson says the YouTube question is whether they are actually advertising with that vehicle or just increasing their presence. Farquharson says the Chamber is also working on increase web awareness of The Dalles in markets they are not it yet.
Hood River County Commissioners confirmed during a Monday worksession that they had consensus to not take a second run at a tax measure this November, preferring to do more work to make a request in 2020. Commissioners did indicate a desire to continue to work on keeping their message of a need for new revenue to maintain County services in the forefront. County Administrator Jeff Hecksel said the budget for public information was reduced for this fiscal year, but there is still money available for that purpose. Commissioner Rich McBride added he agreed with the need for continued messaging, but also felt the County should do more outreach to some groups. Fellow Commissioner Bob Benton said he was interested in moving with one of the consultants they have communicated with in recent weeks.
Columbia Gorge Community College has hired a project management firm to oversee the Treaty Oak Regional Skills Center and Student Housing project. CGCC’s Dan Spatz says PlanB Consultancy of Lake Oswego will act as the College’s representative throughout the development. Spatz adds the next step is to issue a request for proposals from three selected architectural and engineering firms. The state of Oregon’s bond sale that will help pay for about half of the project took place in June. The college has three years from that sale to finish construction of both the skills center and the housing facility by 2022.
Wasco County Commissioners will hold a public meeting late Wednesday afternoon on Second Amendment rights. County Commissioner Scott Hege says they had received citizen requests to consider a resolution reaffirming support of the right to bear arms, and says it will mainly a listening session for the panel. There is a draft resolution in the County Commission’s meeting packet posted on the Wasco County website. Wednesday’s meeting on the topic will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Wasco County Courthouse Courtroom 301.
Work is underway to construct a roundabout on Highway 14 at Wind River Road near Carson. The Washington State Department of Transportation says there will be intermittent single-lane closures on Highway 14 with flaggers directing traffic, and motorists should expect delays of up to 20 minutes. A full closure of Wind River Road will begin later in the month and continue for 30 days. Hot Springs Avenue will be the alternative route between Highway 14 and Carson during the project. During the Wind River Road closure, crews will also be working to stabilize the hillside adjacent to Highway 14. The project should be finished this fall.