The Columbia Gorge Pride Alliance will host its annual Pride in the Gorge event this weekend. A parade will take place in downtown Hood River Saturday at 9 a.m. It will be followed by a festival on the waterfront from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A number of other events are planned…go to columbiagorgepride.com.
Duckwall Fruit is celebrating in July its 100th year of operation. The Odell fruit packer started up in 1919 when the Duckwall brothers, John and William St. Clair, shipped apples from Hood River to Indianapolis, and returns were better than that of neighboring growers who asked to be included in the following year’s shipment. John Duckwall’s son and company CEO Fred Duckwall says the company established the first independent cold storage in 1935, and moved to a central location in Odell in 1958. Duckwall Fruit and Pooley Fruit Company merged in 1971, and Duckwall Fruit currently packages over 2.25 million cartons of pears that are grown by over 70 growers on 115 separate farms.
The 1620 Road Fire is now 75 percent contained with 50 percent control. Oregon Department of Forestry spokesperson Christie Shaw says firefighters were able to take advantage of increased humidity and wetting rain Wednesday to focus on line construction. Firefighters are continuing to construct and secure fireline around the perimeter. Fire size has been revised to 80 acres. A Type 3 organization from Central Oregon Fire Management Service is managing the fire. Resources on the fire include hand crews, fire engines, dozers, and excavators. A Type 2 helicopter is available as needed. Specific resources assigned to the fire have been pre-identified to support initial attack within the area if there are any new fire starts.
Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have introduced legislation that would provide federal emergency assistance to at-risk individuals suffering from unhealthy air quality caused by wildfire smoke. The pair says their Wildfire Smoke Relief Act of 2019 would help people most vulnerable to the health damages from wildfire smoke — children, elderly people, pregnant women, low-income families that may lack filtration protections at home, and those with chronic heart or lung conditions. The bill would authorize the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide low-cost home improvements and smoke inhalation prevention equipment to those at-risk when wildfire smoke causes unhealthy air quality levels for three consecutive days, or provide sheltering assistance when preventative measures are inadequate. Merkley and Wyden also have introduced four other bills intended to help the public, businesses and agricultural operations combat wildfire smoke’s effects, and recover from the damage it causes.
The Wasco County Commission approved budgets for the 2019-20 fiscal year on Wednesday. Commissioner Scott Hege says the most notable change in this year’s budget document is the County’s assumption of building codes services. Fees from those services will help pay for the move along with the still to be finalized distribution of reserves accumulated when the now-defunct Mid-Columbia Council of Governments handled them. The Commission also approved budgets for the Library Service District and the 4-H and Extension Service District.
With the Fourth of July nearing, fire officials are issuing their annual reminder about being safe with fireworks, and not using illegal fireworks. Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Chief Bob Palmer says in Oregon, anything that goes into the air or blows up is not allowed. The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office advises fireworks that come with the advisory “Shoots Flaming Balls” are illegal in the state. Use of illegal fireworks is a Class B misdemeanor under Oregon law.
Oregon Second District Congressman Greg Walden told the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology that Congress must stop bad robocalls from burdening Americans. The Hood River Congressman made his comments during markup for the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act. The bill would require phone carriers to implement call authentication technology so that consumers can trust their caller ID at no cost of their own. The bill also includes provisions that would help carriers in rural America implement this new technology and would ensure that consumers have safeguards to prevent important calls from being blocked.
Karen Schroyer has been named the new Deputy Forest Supervisor of the Mt. Hood National Forest. Schroyer is currently a district ranger on the White River National Forest in Colorado. Forest Supervisor Richard Periman says Schroyer has been with the Forest Service for close to 20 years, and has worked in numerous positions with the agency in that time. She has a bachelor’s degree in Geography. Schroyer will report to her new job on the Mt. Hood National Forest in early August 2019.
Washington 14th District State Representative Gina Mosbrucker has been elected as a Washington State Director for the national bipartisan organization Women In Government, which supports women legislators. Women In Government provides leadership opportunities, networking, expert forums, and educational resources for women state legislators. In the Washington Legislature, Mosbrucker serves as the vice-caucus chair for the House Republican Caucus. The Goldendale Republican also serves on the House Labor and Workplace Standards, Appropriations, and the State Government and Tribal Relations committees.
Firefighters continued to make progress Tuesday on the 1620 Road Fire located four miles west of Parkdale. The combined acreage for the fires remains at 85 acres, with 20% containment and 10% control. The fire was originally reported Monday morning burning in brush, timber, and young timber on privately owned land. An Oregon Department of Forestry update indicates Tuesday’s focus was to strengthen existing firelines and mop-up within the interior of the original fire. Firefighters continued to construct handline on the spot fire to the east of the original fire. A heavy air tanker, two fireboss scoopers, and a Type 2 helicopter, and a Type 1 helicopter provided support to the firefighters, cooling hot areas for direct line construction adjacent to the fire’s edge. Tuesday afternoon precipitation fell on the fire as thunderstorms moved through the area. Last night firefighters monitored fire behavior and patroled the fire for any movement outside the fireline.