A large crowd witnessed the dedication of the new Fort Dalles Readiness Center inside its large assembly hall on Thursday. The Center adjacent to the campus of Columbia Gorge Community College will also serve as the school’s Workforce Training Center. Continue reading
Wasco County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on a draft ordinance to impose a one-year moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries at a meeting on April 29. Continue reading
The traditional Hood River Valley Blossom Festival weekend is this weekend. Continue reading
Hood River City Councilors decided during a worksession against having municipal staff draw up an ordinance for a medical marijuana dispensary moratorium. Mayor Arthur Babitz said in the end they didn’t see any solid reasons to delay implementation of the dispensary program approved by the Legislature in 2013, noting Oregon voters themselves approved medical marijuana in 1997. Councilors decided the mechanism the Legislature put in place were adequate and preferable to the alternatives. Babitz also noted they didn’t see enough benefit to a moratorium to delay giving patients safe access to a legal medication. The Oregon Health Authority has approved an application for establishment of a medical marijuana dispensary in Hood River.
The Dalles City Council voted to enact a moratorium against medical marijuana dispensaries through May 1, 2015 so it can further study issues surrounding the establishments. The Oregon Legislature directed the Oregon Health Authority to develop rules for he dispensaries in 2013, but during the recent session this past winter authorized cities and counties to establish the one-year moratoriums provided they were enacted by May 1. Councilors said they felt the City needed more time to potentially develop rules to establish “time and place” for the dispensaries, with Councilor Dan Spatz adding direction to staff that they need to take the initiative to address those issues so the moratorium could be rescinded before next May. Most who testified during the Council hearing were against the moratorium, including the ownership of Mountain View Naturals, which has applied to the City to establish a dispensary in the central business district. Those against the moratorium said those who use medical marijuana want a simple and safe way to be able to acquire it. All four Councilors in attendance voted for the moratorium, with Carolyn Wood absent.
The Dalles City Council authorized allocating 20-thousand dollars to the Fort Dalles Fourth committee as that group continues to organize a Fourth of July celebration that would include a large fireworks show on the Columbia River, parade, and music festival. Committee member Doug Kirchhofer said the money will allow them to focus on promotion targeting the entire Northwest. The Council vote was 3-1 with Tim McGlothlin dissenting, even though he said he would personally donate time and money to the event. McGlothlin questioned providing the funding when constituents told him it would be better spent holding the line on other increases, adding he felt the funds should come from the transient room tax rather than general fund. City Manager Nolan Young noted TRT revenues end up in the general fund, and Mayor Steve Lawrence pointed out those revenues were going up by about $50,000 this year.
Hood River County and the Hood River County School District are moving forward with determining the feasibility of putting in a long-discussed biomass boiler at Parkdale Elementary School. The school currently uses oil for heat. County Administrator David Meriwether says some preliminary analysis has already done, and more is in progress. A wood chip or pellet boiler would be able to use biomass from Hood River County forests. Parkdale Elementary has been considered for the boiler because it does not have access to natural gas, and there are no plans to bring that service there in the foreseeable future. Meriwether expects the feasibility to be determined in a few months.
A study of wetlands in The Dalles is underway. The Governor’s Regional Solutions team is involved in putting together a regional general permit. Port of The Dalles Executive Director Andrea Klaas says the concept is to look at all of the remaining undeveloped industrial land in The Dalles, and catalog where wetlands are. Those results will be submitted to the state which will verify them, and this fall state and federal agencies will be brought together along with local stakeholders to see how development and mitigation can occur, with an end goal of allowing maximum developable land in the urban growth boundary and gives developers a clear picture of what they are dealing with.
The Port of Hood River will hold a hearing Tuesday evening on an ordinance outlining waterfront usage. Ordinance 24 actually revises the current Ordinance 22, and looks to build in flexibility to allow changes to time and place of activities on Port property. Language regarding boat maintenance and repairs being prohibited is being removed to reflect allowing owners to do routine light maintenance, and language that did not allow for riding a bicycle over the pedestrian bridge would also be deleted. Clauses that would be added include no launching of boats except at the Marina Boat Basin and Nichols Basin and no launching of a kiteboard or training kite other than locations designated by an official sings. Tuesday’s meeting begins at 5 p.m. at the Port’s Marina Center boardroom.
Both The Dalles and Hood River City Councils will be discussing medical marijuana dispensary moratoriums this evening. Cities and counties were given until May 1 by the Oregon Legislature to adopt a one-year moratorium on the dispensaries legalized by the Legislature in 2013. That means they would have to pass emergency ordinances. A special ordinance is the subject of a hearing in The Dalles, while it is a discussion item in Hood River. The meeting in The Dalles starts at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall, while the Hood River Council meets in its chambers at 6 p.m.