Hearing on endangered fish plan set for Discovery Center Tuesday

The Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will host a public meeting Tuesday, December 6, to seek public input on developing a new science-based plan to save endangered wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers.

That meeting is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. The meeting is one of 15 scheduled in the wake of a U.S. District Court ruling last May that sent dam operators back to the drawing board and set a new planning process in motion. That revived calls from some groups advocating the removal of four dams on the lower Snake River, a proposal that has stirred controversy in the past.

Busy weekend in the Mid-Columbia

FRIDAY

The 13th annual Dallesport-Murdock Christmas Bazaar runs today through Sunday from 9 am to 4pm all three days at Eislan’d log cabin on Highway 197 at Columbia Hills RV Park. Hand-crafted gifts, jewelry, quilts, ceramics, toys, jams, jellies and baked goods on more than 30 tables. Hot dogs, homemade chili, and soup, soda and coffee also available.

Kick off the holiday season with the Festival of Trees at The Dalles Civic Auditorium. This celebration features more than 30 beautiful Christmas trees that have been donated to the event by families, businesses, civic groups and individual donors. Silent auction beginning at 6 p.m., live auction at 7 pm. Auction tickets $10. This is a 21 & over event and includes light hors’ d oeuvres.
The Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association with special guests Barley Draught present “A Celtic Christmas,” tonight at 7 pm, and Sunday afternoon at 2 pm. T at the Wy’east Middle School Performing Arts Center. There is a donation of $10 for adults, $5 students.

SATURDAY

Bring the whole family out to view the decorated trees on Community Day of the for the Festival of Trees Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to noon at The Dalles Civic Auditorium. Free admission. Opportunity for photos with Santa as a fundraiser for the local Kiwanis Children’s Literacy Program.

Saturday, from 9 am to 11 am North Central Public Health District hosts the kick off for the Step it Up! community walking groups program at Lewis & Clark Festival Park in The Dalles. This event is FREE and warm drinks will be provided. Step it Up! aims to encourage physical activity through social support.

Habitat for Humanity Annual Bazaar featuring baked goods, vendors, and a soup and pie lunch 10 am to 2 pm in the UCC Church basement at Fifth and Court Streets in The Dalles.

Goldendale Senior Center Holiday Bazaar 9 am to 3 pm at 115 E. Main St. Goldendale

Christmas Bazaar & Flea Market at the Goldendale American Legion 10 am to 4 pm.

Centerville Holiday Bazaar 9 am to 4 pm at 2315 Centerville Hwy in Centerville.

American Cancer Society Hope for the Holidays Bazaar 9 am to 4 pm at the Hood River County Fairgrounds in Odell We will have food, baked goods, jewelry, crafts, wreaths, and more. Free admission and parking

Annual Sherman County Holiday Bazaar 10 am to 2 pm at Sherman County School Cafeteria. 18 vendors and family holiday photos available

Mosier Country Christmas Fair with more than 60 vendors 10 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday at the Mosier Community School. Admission $2 per person and one can of food for human or pet
Open house for the remodeled Goldendale Chamber office and the annual membership luncheon have been set for Saturday, December 3,
Holiday Open House at Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum, Saturday, from 12 to 5 p.m. Bring a non-perishable food item, blanket, or winter coat to donate to local families and get free museum admission, with complimentary cookies and hot cocoa or cider. Enjoy live holiday music from 12 to 4 p.m. Get 20% off all Christmas décor at Columbia River Trading Co. See the live raptors at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Families and robot lovers of all ages are invited to watch the fun at the Columbia Gorge First Lego League Tournaments in December. These free events will be held from 9 am to around 3 pm on Saturday and Sunday at The Dalles Middle School Winners will travel to the state tournaments in Hillsboro on January 14 and 15, 2017.
Annual Meeting & Grand Opening of the Greater Goldendale Area Chamber of Commerce back in their newly remodeled building on Saturday, December 3rd from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
SUNDAY
Shenandoah Christmas Bazaar 9 am to 4 pm, 318 W. Brooks, Goldendale

 

Free health insurance 101 town hall and enrollment fair Wednesday Nov 30

You are invited to a FREE Health Insurance 101 Town Hall and Enrollment Fair Held tomorrow from 2 pm to 5 pm At Celilo Cancer Center 1800 E 19th St, The Dalles, OR Come learn about health insurance options in Oregon from the experts and sign up for health coverage through the Marketplace or the Oregon Health Plan. Free in-person assistance will be available to assist in the application process. Household information to bring: Social Security Numbers & Birthdates Immigration Documentation Employer & Income Information Federal tax information Policy number(s) & plan names for current insurance For more information please call 1-855-268-3767

Community organizations join forces to reduce hunger in the Gorge

Six months ago, representatives from over two dozen agencies and political offices met in The Dalles with an ambitious charge from the governor’s office: to form a coalition to decrease hunger and increase access to quality food in the Columbia River Gorge. Governor Brown designated the project as an Oregon Solutions project in March at the request of a growing coalition of community members who were alarmed at the rates of hunger which have been uncovered in the Gorge over the past few years, and are eager to do something about it. Over the past six months, these agencies have worked to identify gaps in the food system and set priorities to reduce food insecurity in the region. On Tuesday, they will meet at FISH Food Bank in Hood River to formalize the creation of the Food Security Coalition, and their individual and collective commitments to collective activities to reduce hunger.

The catalyst for the current effort was a 2015 survey conducted by the Columbia Gorge Health Council and One Community Health which sought to learn more about food insecurity in the Gorge. Food security, which the World Food Summit of 1996 defined as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life,” is the number one social determinant of health in the region. With more than 2,000 responses from throughout the Gorge, this survey demonstrated that 1 in 3 residents worry about running out of food, and 1 in 5 miss meals. Upon learning the magnitude of the problem, community organizations throughout the Gorge joined together to bring in Oregon Solutions to help develop a plan of action. Oregon Solutions is a program of the National Policy Consensus Center which helps to develop solutions to community-based problems through the collaborative efforts of citizens, businesses, government and non-profit organizations.

The young coalition has already achieved a number of victories over the past six months. Collaboration between tribal members, the Department of Human Services and the Oregon Food Bank led to the beginning of bi-monthly deliveries of produce to Celilo Village. Earlier this month, 10 members of the Coalition went on a field trip to learn from organizations around the state who are engaged in food system work. The Coalition was also awarded a $20,000 grant through the Wy’East Fund and the Taylor and Alice Alexander Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation to fund a Program Manager to staff the coalition and help advance their objectives over the coming year. This position is already filled and working out of Gorge Grown Food Network, which will serve as a ‘backbone organization’ for the Coalition. Perhaps most impactful, however, are the relationships formed between organizations through the Coalition, and the potential for partnerships they represent. After a conversation about what each organization wished it could do and what it needs help with at one of the meetings, one coalition member expressed to the group that “everything we described that was a want or need, there was someone to meet that need. It was so great to be together to talk about these things because we are the solutions to each other’s problems.”

Mark Thomas, Director of Mission Integration and Spiritual Care at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, and one of the co-conveners of the Oregon Solutions project, echoed this sentiment when discussing Tuesday’s signing ceremony of the Declaration of Cooperation: “Solving hunger in our region can feel like boiling the ocean.  And it would be an impossible task for any one organization to take up alone.  But I believe that we can and will address hunger in the Gorge in powerful ways by aligning our organizational will and resources, to haul together toward that daunting goal.  I believe that, between us, and through really listening to the people experiencing the need, that we have the resources, creativity and trust to make the Columbia Gorge a place where hunger is not part of the experience of poverty.” Thomas was joined in convening the Oregon Solutions process by Ken Bailey, Vice President of Orchard View Farms and Regional Solutions Committee member.   Thomas and Bailey will hand off their leadership to emerging leaders in the Coalition on Tuesday, though they are likely to stay active in the Coalition’s efforts to improve access to healthy food.

While Tuesday’s Declaration of Cooperation signing ceremony will mark the end of the Oregon Solutions process with a celebration of accomplishments and commitments made so far, this is only the beginning of the Coalition’s work. Over the coming year, they will lay the groundwork to strengthen the food system from producer to consumer, addressing gaps and barriers to ensuring access to healthy food to everyone in the Gorge.

Mitchell Point project receives $28 million from US Dept. of Transportation

One proposed option outlined in a ODOT report.

One proposed option outlined in a ODOT report.

Public domain photo of the original Mitchell Point Tunnel, completed in 1916, bricked up in 1954 with the construction of Highway U.S. 30, and destroyed in 1968 when I-84 was constructed.

Public domain photo of the original Mitchell Point Tunnel, completed in 1916, bricked up in 1954 with the construction of Highway U.S. 30, and destroyed in 1968 when I-84 was constructed.

Will there be a new Mitchell Point tunnel? There might be. Bikeportland.org reports  a $28 million grant from the US Department of Transportation to The Oregon Department of Transportation. For many years, ODOT has been working toward the goal of reconnecting a 75-mile paved bike and hiking path between Troutdale and The Dalles. The new grant, which comes from the Federal Highway Administration’s Federal Lands Access Program, will allow ODOT to complete engineering designs and trail connections on one of the last remaining segments of the project — a safe crossing around Mitchell Point that might include a new tunnel.

In creating the original Columbia River Highway, which was completed in 1916, engineers blasted a tunnel through Mitchell Point, which lies just west of Hood River. The tunnel was closed off in 1953 When the river-level Highway 30 was built. And in 1966 with that roadway widened to become Intertstate 84, the tunnel was destroyed. Whether engineers build a new tunnel or a viaduct around Mitchell Point, officials are predicting a huge increase in the volume of bike traffic, once riders can go from Troutdale to The Dalles without having to face the dangerous traffic on I-84.

Helping Hands gets help from Oregon Cherry Growers

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Members of the Oregon Cherry Growers stand in front of Gorge Media Center Studios at 620 East Third Street, taking donations of warm clothing, unwrapped toys, nonperishable food and cash. All contributions are distributed back to local families by the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul. Donation events are held Wednesday mornings from 7 to 9 am through the holiday season.

Free Thanksgiving dinners provided in The Dalles and Goldendale

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In Goldendale, there is a free Thanksgiving dinner at noon at Father’s House Fellowship Church, 207 South Klickitat. Free transportation by Ogden’s Mopar Limo Service. Dinners will be delivered to people who cannot get there. Call 509-773-4114 for more information.

In The Dalles, a free Thanksgiving dinner sponsored by the Salvation Army will take place at St. Mary’s Academy from Noon to 3 pm. If you need a meal delivered call 541-705-4656.