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Jesse Burkhardt

Stories by Jesse

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Reaching for sky by digging in dirt

Company hopes to fill key niche as Gorge grows

When construction companies around the Columbia River Gorge started getting too busy to take on new jobs, Tim Brown knew it was the right time for him to step up. “With the economy turning up, there is a need for a lot more work happening,” said Brown, who co-owns Skycam Construction with his wife, Rachel.

Preparing for the big quake

Experts will discuss local threat

Based on historical geological patterns and physical scientific evidence, it’s widely believed that the Pacific Northwest is long overdue for a major earthquake originating off the Oregon or Washington coast. To help residents of the Gorge region prepare for this possible calamity —the predicted earthquake is routinely referred to as “The Big One”— Columbia Gorge Community College will host an emergency preparedness fair in The Dalles next week.

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A celebration in music

Playing music has a rejuvenating impact on many people, and members of the Gorge Winds Concert Band say their experiences have been especially rewarding.

Phone scam targets local businesses

On Thursday, Detective Steve Rue of The Dalles Police Department warned residents of the area that a telephone scam has been targeting local small businesses. “We’ve had at least three or four cases in The Dalles,” said Rue.

Judge: No thank you

The search for a new Municipal Court Judge is back to “square one” after the judge selected by The Dalles City Council declined to accept the position.

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Main Street working on ‘historic’ grant

The Dalles Main Street will soon learn whether a grant the organization applied for in mid-March will bring funds to help in the “preservation and adaptive reuse” of the historic Herbring House at 313 W. Fourth Street in The Dalles.

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MCCOG hires Meriwether

On March 28, the MCCOG board voted unanimously to hire David Meriwether, who previously served as administrator for Hood River County, to serve as interim director. Meriwether started work on Monday, April 3.

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New owners embark on Granada journey

The new owners of the Granada Theater in downtown The Dalles held an open house Sunday that drew a large crowd.

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Council puts repairs on hold

Paving priorities questioned by TD city council

There is no shortage in the number of streets in The Dalles that suffered damage over the long winter, but some members of The Dalles City Council say that doesn’t mean every street needs to be repaired and are calling for a fresh look at priorities.

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The Dalles sells Granada Theater

The historic Granada Theater building in downtown The Dalles has been sold to new owners. Charles Gomez and Debra Liddell, who do business as Charles Gomez Productions, paid $60,000 for the property and committed to pay for a list of upgrades to the exterior and interior of the theater.

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New route proposed for Riverfront Trail

Details of a proposed alternate route for the final segment of The Dalles Riverfront Trail will not be made public until they are presented to the city council, but trail supporters are hopeful the end is finally in sight.

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‘Soulcollage’ at The Dalles library

Clyde Sanda, a former interfaith chaplain at Heart of Hospice, will be at The Dalles/Wasco County Library on Thursday, April 6, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Civic gears up for ‘real, true stories’ Saturday

Event to support auditorium

It won’t be your typical storytelling session. On March 25, a Portland-based group known as the Portland Story Theater will come to The Dalles Civic Auditorium to present a program called “Urban Tellers On the Road.”

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Columbia River Herbals opens second shop

Columbia River Herbals, a retail outlet for medical-grade and recreational marijuana, has been working for several months to transform an empty and deteriorating former Arby’s restaurant at 2630 W. Sixth Street into an active and thriving enterprise.

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ODOT, city ink E. Second repaving deal

On one stretch of East Second Street, the city will be able to repave the roadway for a relatively inexpensive amount, thanks to an agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation.

City approves local grants for this year

Officials budget $25,000 for a variety of local projects, groups

A grant program approved by The Dalles City Council in 2015 will soon be helping local organizations meet their goals.

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‘Sanctuary Campus’ debated at CGCC

Board will wait to make final decision

Testimony was almost evenly split Tuesday on a proposal to make Columbia Gorge Community College a “sanctuary campus.”

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Freebridge snags ‘silver’ award

A brewery in The Dalles is batting one-for-one when it comes to creating one of the best beers.

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Wheels turn at new TD bike shop

From the time he was a young kid growing up in The Dalles, Calvin Lepinski always had a passion for bicycles and bicycling. So, it was just a matter of time before he turned his love of cycling into a business.

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Federal court dismisses UP lawsuit

Rail officials say ruling will be appealed

The legal back and forth over the proposed four-mile extension of a railroad siding at Mosier continues. On March 8, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken dismissed a lawsuit filed by Union Pacific Railroad in January because the railroad failed to include three Indian treaty tribes as defendants in the case.

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Celebrating our Native cultures

Reading festival in April will focus on American Indian culture

For those who love to read and appreciate the value of the written word, The Dalles is the place to be in April. As part of the American Indian Cultural Festival, four Northwest authors who have written books about native cultures will be coming to The Dalles for more than a week of literary activities.

CGCC considers ‘sanctuary’ status

Board will consider resolution Tuesday

The politics swirling around national immigration issues have reached The Dalles. On Tuesday, March 14, the Columbia Gorge Community College Board of Education will discuss a resolution creating “sanctuary campus” status for CGCC in The Dalles.

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City eyes parking

Employee parking is a big cause of the downtown parking shortage, a task force reported to The Dalles City Council last week. The task force recommended the city eventually build a multi-story parking garage to handle what is expected to be increasing needs for parking.

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An ‘Immense’ leap into marketing

A new marketing company in The Dalles is bringing an international level of expertise to the local community.

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Merkley hears from town hall crowd

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) took the concept of town hall meetings literally into overdrive Saturday as he barnstormed across four counties — Wasco, Hood River, Sherman and Gilliam — to meet with constituents. Merkley’s day included public forums in The Dalles, Hood River, Rufus and Arlington as he continued his tradition of holding at least one town hall in every county of the state each year.

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City eyes tobacco-free Festival Park

Signs in most public parks of The Dalles stipulate that tobacco products and vaping are not allowed. Yet at Lewis & Clark Festival Park, there are no signs regarding tobacco use, and members of The Dalles City Council believe there should be.

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Peachey stepping down

The Dalles Municipal Court Judge Tom Peachey will soon be stepping down. “It is with a heavy heart and some sadness that I submit my resignation as The Dalles Municipal Court judge effective April 1,” Peachey wrote in a Feb. 24 letter addressed to Mayor Steve Lawrence; Julie Krueger, city manager of The Dalles; and Gene Parker, city attorney.

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Changes behind the glass

Later this month, Nichols Art Glass will begin undergoing a transformation as owner Andy Nichols guides his artistic glass-blowing business down a slightly different channel. Nichols, who has operated out of a small studio at 912 W. Sixth Street in The Dalles since 2001, plans to temporarily close the business soon to remodel the space and reorient the creative direction of his artwork.

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Tribal housing replacement funded

Last week, a group of Northwest senators announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will soon begin replacing tribal housing lost decades ago when dams were built along the Columbia River and rising waters forced many people to relocate.

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Officers ‘take a load off’

The Dalles Police Department’s new load-bearing equipment vests represent an innovation that has been welcomed by officers. In October, the department obtained 19 of the new vests, which are designed to perform a relatively simple task: they redistribute gear from the hips of officers to their shoulders, relieving them of weight that causes health problems.

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Three Kings Organics opens in TD

The marijuana business in The Dalles is expanding. On Feb. 2, a new recreational marijuana outlet, Three Kings Organics, opened at 224 Terminal Ave. in The Dalles, just down the street from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Tum-A-Lum Lumber.

Council awards hangar contract

Now that the snow is finally melting, infrastructure projects are starting to come out of virtual hibernation — including a large and important one at the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport in Dallesport.

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Gleaners feel winter sting

The Windy River Gleaners has been struggling to keep enough food on the shelves to help community members in need. Bad weather has halted food deliveries, forcing the organization to curtail office hours and pare back volunteer-led fundraising activities.

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Senior care that feels like home

The Dalles has a relatively large senior population. And as the number of senior citizens in The Dalles who need care increases, a new business has stepped up to help meet the need.

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Paulsen takes over Main Street Program

Jeremiah R. Paulsen has been hired to serve as the new executive director of The Dalles Main Street Program.

Council lists key goals for 2017

Annual workshop provides blueprint for city’s progress

The Dalles City Council recently gathered to review current goals for the city and discuss priorities for 2017.

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Civic serves up rebuilt kitchen

Slowly but surely, The Dalles Civic Auditorium, located at 323 E. Fourth Street, is being renovated — a section at a time. On Monday, another major piece of the puzzle fell into place, as the second-floor ballroom kitchen was completed after more than three years of planning, fundraising and effort.

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In celebration of (local) beer

Two local breweries join annual festival

Later this month, beer enthusiasts will be able to get “behind the scenes” at numerous Oregon breweries, including two right here in The Dalles. In February, breweries will participate in the ninth annual “Zwickelmania,” a craft beer celebration sponsored by the Oregon Brewers Guild, a nonprofit trade association representing the state’s independent breweries.

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Massive gate replaced at TD dam

On Tuesday morning, contractors used heavy-duty cranes to lower a new upstream gate at The Dalles Lock & Dam. The gate, which weighs 110.5 tons, is a vital piece of machinery for operation of the navigation locks, and represents the most important component of the annual maintenance upgrades and repairs at the dam this winter.

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Library builds learning space for teens

The Dalles/Wasco County Library never had a dedicated teen services staff member until spring of 2015, when the library hired Megan Hoak away from a public library in Florida.

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Youth shelter gets grant

A $25,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) is expected to provide a major boost for a local shelter geared to protect young people dealing with troubled home lives.

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Keeping carpets looking young

Taurus Carpet Cleaning has been tending to local carpets since the summer of 2005, and the business is not planning to slow down anytime soon.

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Military museum planned soon in The Dalles

Organizers target Memorial Day

The Dalles is going to have a little bit more of a military presence starting in 2017. The Mid-Columbia Veterans Memorial Committee (MCVMC) and American Legion Post 19 in The Dalles are working together to create a military museum that will be housed in a section of the American Legion building, which is located at 201 E. Second Street.

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‘Safety first’ sparks council discussion

With the region being impacted by a series of winter storms since December, employees of the city of The Dalles have been sent home early, advised to come in later, or told to take the day off altogether due to unsafe travel conditions. Councilor Taner Elliott asked his peers if they had any comments or suggestions regarding the city’s policy of excusing employees from work on days when bad weather rolls in and conditions are potentially hazardous.

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Spatz honored for city service

Long-Curtiss takes oath

The "changing of the guard" on The Dalles City Council was delayed a week due to the ongoing rough weather the region has been experiencing. Finally, on the evening of Jan. 16, bad weather held off just long enough for the council to honor the departure of Councilor Dan Spatz, and then administer the oath of office to his replacement, Darcy Long-Curtiss.

County alarmed over state budget

Technical assistance grants not included in Brown’s proposal

Wasco County officials are concerned about the proposed budget presented by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown for the 2017-19 biennium, which does not include grants to help local jurisdictions meet statewide land use planning requirements.

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UP files suit on Mosier project

Union Pacific Railroad has sued the Wasco County Commission in federal court over its rejection of a proposed expansion of tracks near Mosier.

Mayor chooses working groups

The Dalles Mayor Steve Lawrence has made a series of appointments to fill several expired or vacant terms on a variety of local boards and committees.

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A ‘Helping Hand’ with home health

Helping Hands Home Care has been in business in the Portland area for about 30 years, but is relatively new to the Columbia River Gorge. “Our staff have been providing everything — housekeeping, meal prep, transportation, personal care and medication management,” explained Mary Gailley, regional manager for Helping Hands, adding that the business also provides foot care for clients, help with dressing and bathing, doing the laundry, and even care for a client’s pets and plants.

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City strains under snow

The unending series of snowstorms hammering The Dalles and the entire Columba River Gorge region in recent weeks are creating a lot of extra work for public works crews. The good news is, the snow removal operations are not busting The Dalles’ budget — at least not yet.

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