U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., held his 854th town hall since taking office in 1996 at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in The Dalles Friday evening. “I just felt there was unprecedented interest toward what’s going on in Washington, D.C., so I’m going to give you unprecedented access,” he said after being introduced by The Dalles Mayor Steve Lawrence, who drew tickets in a lottery system to select speakers.
Compromise is becoming lost art
Oregon Rep. Knute Buehler is visiting The Dalles on Thursday to talk with GOP leaders about his campaign to oust Gov. Kate Brown, who he strongly criticizes for “failed leadership.” “I am traveling the state listening and learning,” said Buehler, who resides in Bend and represents House District 54.
Kerri Weed doesn’t claim to be an artist, but she pulled off chalk drawings on a sidewalk Wednesday that seemed joyful enough to portray her “Smile, it’s contagious” message.
When Karl Vercouteren began researching the history of the “forgotten” opera house in The Dalles, he became so enthralled by the project that he published more than 200 pages of his findings. “It became much bigger than what I thought when I started out,” he said.
What role do emotions play in politics?
Athletes from the Columbia Gorge Triathlon Club got a scare Sunday morning when bullets buzzed around them and entered the water not far from swimmers. “It was pretty terrifying,” said Dawn Rasmussen of The Dalles, who was in a kayak in front of the group.
The P.E.O. “Home Away from Home” fall tour offers area residents the opportunity to explore six bed and breakfasts, and short-term rentals, in The Dalles while “helping women reach for the stars.”
The Dalles City Council held a special work session Monday to gather public input about whether the funding formula for lodging taxes should be changed, or if the current dispersal adequately supported tourism and marketing activities. “We decided it was a good time to look toward the future,” said Mayor Steve Lawrence.
There’s going to be party in the parking lot outside the Community Meal site on Saturday and area residents are invited to come down, enjoy music and a hamburger, and learn more about the program to feed anyone in need of a hot meal.
Interstate 84 west reopens, eastbound lanes still closed
The westbound lanes of Interstate 84 between Hood River and Troutdale re-opened to travelers Thursday evening, but the eastbound lanes remain closed with no timeline for re-opening. Although two lanes of the freeway are now in use, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced Sept. 14 that all ramps along the 45-mile stretch of road, milepost 62 to 17, remain closed, except for those in and out of Cascade Locks.
Simple answers to a challenging task
Becky Windsor’s approach to being a foster mom is simple, but effective. “I just love them as much as I can while I have them, but I always know deep in my heart that I’m going to have to let them go, so I do,” said Windsor, who typically has the foster “kiddos” in the family’s Hood River home for six months.
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore, said it has gone largely unreported that the House has approved more than 300 bills within the first six months of 2017 — more than under the Obama, Clinton and both Bush administrations during the same period. “We are getting a lot done this year,” he said. “That’s what the people elected us to do and that’s what I stay focused on.”
Suicide has long been an uncomfortable topic of discussion because of the pain, fear and confusion surrounding it, but Susan Gabay of Mosier believes that difficult conversation is necessary to save lives.
I pulled into the Chronicle parking lot just before sunrise Wednesday morning to find Rod Runyon, Northeast District ride captain for the Patriot Guard Riders, and three other bikers ready to depart. We were headed out on a very important mission: To escort The Wall that Heals on its one-hour journey from Toppenish to Goldendale, where it would be visited by thousands from Thursday, Aug. 31, through Sunday afternoon, Sept. 3.
The Dalles Outpost of Point Man International Ministries is on a mission to help veterans who are struggling with the aftermath of war, and to send comfort and care items to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Toward that end, the group, an “outreach for veterans by veterans” will be in high gear raising funds through two different venues during the next few weeks: A poker run and a Stoner AR-15 raffle.
A senior citizen in The Dalles spent the weekend stressing about a phishing call involving her Dish Network account that she worried might have made her vulnerable to identity theft. “I’m fine but there are a lot of seniors out there who get intimidated by that kind of stuff and I think they should know about this,” she said.
Working in ‘puddles’ to stop racism
Breaking the grip of addiction offers new life for local mom
“There is no life so messed up that God cannot restore it,” has become the mantra of Shannon Gilman, 30, who is in recovery from heroin addiction and seeking to help others find healing and hope.
The Dalles and Hood River are two of 12 towns in Oregon that will be designated as a “Medal of Honor City.”
A four-footed fugitive turned officers from The Dalles Police Department into wranglers for about an hour on Wednesday afternoon. “Don’t let it get on the freeway” was the message relayed by officers when the pregnant black cow ceased running through city streets and headed for Interstate 84.
Two weeks before he was hired to take the helm at Sonrise Academy in The Dalles, Frank Sarvabui almost pitched his administrator’s certificate, thinking he would not need it anymore. “I was going through some old paperwork and came across it. I thought, ‘I oughta just toss this out’ but for some reason I couldn’t — and it turned out to be a God thing,” he said.
The moon's shadow passing directly in front of the sun, blotting out all but the halo-like solar corona, was reported Monday to have been the most watched celestial event in human history. Millions across the United States travelled to key viewing areas and tens of thousands came to Central Oregon, many passing through Wasco County.
Ancient cultures feared an eclipse
Neil Pober of New Jersey is flying to Oregon for Monday’s total solar eclipse, but he didn’t really think that tens of thousands of other people would be making the same trip when he booked a hotel room six months ago. “It’s a once in a lifetime event, I think,” he said.
Portland police captured one of two prisoners who escaped from a fire camp in Goldendale early Wednesday morning without incident. According to reports, Tyray Munter, 30, was taken into custody about 5:52 a.m. on Aug. 16 at a 7-11 at the corner of Southeast 82nd Street and Powell Blvd.
The number of people expected to descend on Central Oregon for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse has more than tripled from earlier estimates, and Wasco County Sheriff Lane Magill has upgraded public safety plans accordingly. Instead of the projected 75,000 people traveling to Jefferson County to be close to Madras, which lies squarely in the Path of Totality, there are likely to be 250,000.
As the debate over housing illegal immigrants at the regional jail ebbs and flows, I have found myself wishing the conversation would broaden into treatment of inmates as a whole. Why should we, as a society, accept any human being be subjected to sub-par living conditions? No one who is locked up should be eating meat labelled “not for human consumption,” but it is happening.
America is losing 330 World War II veterans every day and 96 percent of the 16.1 million who served in that conflict are now dead. “Time is of the essence to honor our ‘Greatest Generation,’” said Dick Tobiason, a retired Army officer who leads Honor Flight of Eastern Oregon, a nonprofit organization based in Bend. The group is getting ready to fly eight to 10 veterans and their guardians to Washington, D.C., to see the WWII memorial built to honor their service and sacrifice.
The Wall That Heals will soon arrive in Goldendale to honor Vietnam veterans and provide area residents with an opportunity to pay respects to the more than 58,000 warriors who fell in battle — and show their support for those who came home. The travelling half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C, arrives in Goldendale about 11 a.m. on Aug. 30.
Wasco County emergency managers are ready for everything — from snake bites to traffic snarls, car wrecks, drownings and wildfires — that could result from having thousands of people converge on the region for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse. Sheriff Lane Magill expects so much action in south county during the weekend prior to the eclipse that he is setting up two command posts to respond to incidents.
Cameron Smith, executive director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, recently awarded each member of the local “Got Your Six” band with a military challenge coin for their work to promote and raise funds for vet causes. “I got chills when he handed it to us,” said Chris Mumford, founder and drummer for the band named after the military term for “Got Your Back.”
Laurel Bushman of Hood River didn’t discover her passion for painting landscapes until eight years ago, but the retired educator’s talent with oils has placed her among 40 artists selected to compete in the 2017 Pacific Northwest Plein Air in the Columbia River Gorge event. Plein Air denotes the 19-centry style of painting outdoors, which was a central feature of French impressionism.
Eagle Media, the company that owns The Dalles Chronicle and Hood River News, is making a bold new move with the Aug. 1 appointment of Chelsea Marr to be publisher over both Gorge publications.
Columbia Gorge United Way awarded $275,000 to 36 agencies in the Mid-Columbia region Tuesday at the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn. Jeff Heater, president of the United Way Wasco/Sherman Council, said a record number of contributions came in from area residents and businesses in 2016, which allowed more local programs to receive assistance.
Wasco County Clerk Lisa Gambee is seeking to educate special districts about election rules after dealing with a variety of challenges to get seats filled this year. She said some of the incumbents with Tygh Valley fire and water districts did not know that they had to file to run for positions in the May 16 election.
Wasco County could gain about $85,000 more per month for road maintenance and repairs seven years after a transportation package approved by the Oregon Legislature is signed by Gov. Kate Brown and enacted. Arthur Smith, county public works director, doesn’t want to become too excited about having $1 million per year to relieve budget constraints until the paperwork is signed — and he learns whether citizens will refer the controversial new taxes to the ballot.
The bottom of the cherry market has fallen out with a bountiful harvest across the Northwest, which means that smaller fruit cannot be sold. That bad news has been delivered by Jeff Heater, field man for The Dalles Fruit Company, to about 25 cherry growers in Wasco and Hood River counties who process crops at the packing plant, located in Dallesport.
Mid-Columbia Medical Center’s new president and chief executive officer, Dennis Knox, wants to see urgent care clinics established in both The Dalles and Hood River. Knox is confident that his 37 years of experience as a health care executive, and co-founder of Urgent Point, a national company, will help move those projects, and many others, forward.
Ken Hansen puts thousands of flesh-eating beetles to work cleaning hunting trophies
The idea of beetles stripping flesh from bones sounds like the plot of a horror movie but, in the case of a Lyle business, it is how beautiful pieces of art are created.
Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, will not run for his House District 59 seat in 2018 — and may be leaving earlier if he is selected by the Trump administration to oversee Oregon’s rural development programs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Community members are invited to a block party Friday that not only provides an evening of fun but helps take care of the area’s most vulnerable populations. Funds from the fifth annual benefit concert hosted by the United Way Wasco/Sherman Council are used in 36 different programs, including those to help domestic violence victims, developmentally disabled adults, seniors on limited incomes, needy families, runaway teens and the homeless.
What happened in The Dalles? The Fort Dalles Fourth decided to honor America’s 241st birthday on July 1 instead of July 4.
Wasco County prepares for huge spike in visitors as eclipse casts shadow over services
Wasco County Sheriff Lane Magill and other local emergency managers are preparing for thousands of amateur astronomers to converge on the region several days before the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse.
The Wasco County Commission has deeded the site Lewis and Clark called “Rock Fort” over to the city of The Dalles, which already maintains the almost five-acre property.
America celebrates its 241st birthday on July 4, and communities across the nation will mark the occasion with fireworks, parades and other social gatherings. The day is a good time to reflect on what the Declaration of Independence meant to early colonists, who were willing to lose everything they owned and risk their lives to be free from the oppression of British rule.
The local Oregon State Police office has received a second state award for superior performance in 2016, this time by troopers with the Fish & Wildlife Division. “You have done an awesome job and you are still doing an awesome job,” said Capt. Jeff Samuels, who came to The Dalles Area Command office from Salem headquarters to present a plaque June 23 to Sgt. Les Kipper, who headed the team last year, and his troopers.
Cherry harvest is underway in the Columbia River Gorge and there are plenty of pickers despite worries that President Donald Trump’s focus on border security would cause laborers from Mexico and Central America to stay home. “For the most part, all of my growers say they’ve got plenty of people — they’re even turning workers away,” said Jeff Heater, field man for The Dalles Fruit Company, which runs a packing plant in Dallesport.
Two members of the local Church of Latter Day Saints will soon be sharing their faith with people in Hong Kong and Argentina.
Congress seeks to boost power generation
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., went on a tour of The Dalles Dam Saturday to see a new navigation lock gate and discuss power generation and environmental issues with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers administrators.