A number of high school graduation ceremonies are planned for Friday and Saturday around the region. Hood River Valley High School’s graduation ceremony is at 6 p.m. Friday evening in Henderson Stadium, while Goldendale High School will hold its ceremonies at 7 p.m. The Dalles High School’s graduation procession will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Amaton Field. Other graduation ceremonies Saturday will take place at Columbia, Stevenson, Horizon Christian, South Wasco, Lyle, and Glenwood high schools. Trout Lake High School holds its graduation next Friday night, while ceremonies took place last weekend at Dufur, Sherman, and Klickitat high schools.
Both The Dalles and Hood River city councils meet on Monday night. The Dalles City Council meeting will be highlighted by a public hearing on the budget for fiscal year 2019-20. In addition, the Council will consider adoption of an Americans with Disabilities Act Transition plan to upgrade transportation systems to fully accommodate people with disabilities. The meeting begins Monday at 5:30 p.m. in The Dalles City Hall. The Hood River City Council’s meeting will discuss how to proceed with picking a new Mayor when Paul Blackburn steps down from the position in September. Their meeting will start at 6 p.m. Monday in Hood River City Hall.
The White Salmon Valley Education Foundation has been selected by the Southwest Washington Accountable Community of Health to receive funding for a Medicaid Transformation Project focused on bringing mental health and substance use services directly to students and families in the White Salmon Valley School District for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. A portion of the $75,000 that the Foundation will receive will support a coordinator position that will aid the integration of a new school-based Health and Wellness Center in the district. The Coordinator will develop and manage programs to educate school staff on care pathways and processes, and support other professional development opportunities related to mental health, substance use disorder risks and early intervention. The project will be conducted in collaboration with local partners including NorthShore Medical Group, Comprehensive Healthcare, Skyline Family Medicine, Klickitat County Public Health, and the White Salmon Valley School District.
House Bill 2020, dubbed the Clean Energy Jobs bill, cleared the Oregon Legislature’s Natural Resources subcommittee of the Joint Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday night and is headed to the full Ways and Means panel on Friday. The bill would cap and put a price on carbon emissions. Backers say the plan would allow Oregon to do its part to reduce climate pollution, while opponents argue it won’t make a significant difference in that regard, and would harm the state’s economy, particularly in rural areas. The bill passed the subcommittee with an amendment from Portland Democrat Senator Michael Dembrow. It says if the Oregon Supreme Court rules the proceeds are not bound by constitutional restrictions, the state can use some of the money generated by the program toward buying low to zero-emission fleets, upgrades to other diesel fleets, and creation of a program to trade in old agricultural equipment with a focus on improving engines most harmful to farmworker health.
The new Wasco County Building Codes Services will open its doors on Monday. The County is taking over building codes operations from the state, which has been handing the duty since February 2018, when Mid-Columbia Council of Governments was being dissolved. Permit services will begin on Monday with inspections still being handled by the state thorough the end of the month, with Wasco County taking over the inspections on July 1. Wasco County Building Codes Services will continue to be located at 2705 East Second Street in The Dalles and can be reached by calling (541) 506-2650. The office will be open to the public from 8:00 am – Noon and 1:00 – 4:00 pm Monday through Thursday, and 7:30 – 11:30 am on Fridays. All building codes services for Sherman, Gilliam, and Wheeler counties will be moved to the state’s Pendleton office at 800 SE Emigrant Avenue, Suite 360. That phone number is 541-276-7814.
There will be intermittent, single-lane closures of the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge next Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. They will take place to allow for semi-annual bridge deck welding. Port crews and crews from Bulldog Welding will be on the bridge performing weld repairs to the bridge deck, as well as replacing and repairing sections of guardrail. Flaggers will be on the bridge directing traffic. Motorists should expect delays of approximately 15 minutes during these hours. As the bridge’s narrow lanes create a very compact work zone, motorists are urged to drive slowly and with caution for worker safety.
The White Salmon City Council has approved spending up to $20,000 on passes for White Salmon residents to use the Hood River Aquatic Center. The town will not have its own swimming pool this summer, or in the near future, after the decision was made that it was no longer feasible to keep the aging pool in Rheingarten Park open while continued consideration of building a new pool took place. Mayor David Poucher says White Salmon residents can come in to City Hall to receive passes. The money comes from the budget the City had in place to operate the old pool in 2019. Poucher noted the City is still retaining $37,000 of that budget in case there are additional expenses as a result of the pool closure.
Oregon House District 52 Representative Anna Williams says she thinks some exemption for agricultural business from the 0.57 percent business tax passed two weeks ago will be adopted before the Legislature adjourns. The Hood River Democrat says it may not be the specific amendment currently sitting on House Speaker Tina Kotek’s desk, but she expects some kind of protection for agriculture to be adopted. Williams added she believes the language in the business tax bill that has passed would exempt ag, but the amendment would clarify all forms of agriculture are specifically exempted and clarify any ambiguities in the original language, which she supports to keep food costs down.
Insitu announced today it is cutting its workforce due to competitive pressures and a falloff in business. The Seattle Times is reporting that Chief Executive Officer Esina Alic told employees of the Boeing subsidiary today without providing a number on how many would be laid off, but the newspaper also indicated that a person familiar with the details said the workforce would be cut by about 15 percent. Insitu employs around 1,000 people in the Gorge and 500 elsewhere. The Times reported Insitu lost out this spring for a contract with the U.S. Army to provide a new drone scout dubbed the Future Tactical Unmanned Aerial System. Employees to be laid off will receive 60 days notice. The cutbacks at Insitu also have the potential to impact a number of small suppliers to the company located in the region.
The Hood River Urban Renewal Agency will host an informational meeting Tuesday on upcoming activities in the Heights area. The Oregon Department of Transportation will discuss scheduled crosswalk modifications, Greenworks PC, the firm recently selected to create an implementation plan for Heights redevelopment projects, will make a presentation, and the group Streets Alive! will outline their second year of Heights demonstration projects. City Manager Rachel Fuller says the public will have a chance to ask questions at the meeting. The meeting will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening in the Hood River Armory.