Goldendale city councilors pick Carmen Knopes to fill vacant seat

By Lou Marzeles

Goldendale Sentinel

Edited version of story used with permission. Read the complete detailed story in this week’s Sentinel.

Carmen KnopesThe only note of controversy arising from Monday’s special meeting of the Goldendale city council occurred in the audience when a motion was passed by the council to go into a brief executive session.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Carmen Knopes was elected by the council to fill Mike Canon’s seat vacated when he became mayor.

When the council left the room to go into executive session, many faces in the audience were clouded with doubt.

“What are they doing?” asked Deanna Luth, herself a council member but recused from the selection process because her former husband was one of the candidates. “They’re going in to discuss the qualifications of the candidates? They’ve been listening to them for an hour and a half.” Others voiced concern over what appeared to be a lack of transparency.

Seven candidates had volunteered for the vacant position. Six showed up and were questioned. There was a sole no-show, Darlene Williamson. The six present were Mike Goodwin, Terry Luth, Knopes, Sue Ward, Elaynna James, and Arletta Parton.

Four council members were present to form a quorum and vote on the candidates: Gary Hoctor, Andy Halm, Len Crawford, and Lucille Bevis. The meeting was led by the mayor and facilitated by City Administrator Larry Bellamy.

The council went through a first round of voting in which three votes were cast for Knopes, two each for Luth and James, and one for Parton. Agreement was reached to go another round for the top three vote-getters in order to break the second-place tie, whereupon councilman Crawford moved to go into executive session. Bellamy reminded the council that RCWs permitted such an executive session but only for the purpose of discussing candidate qualifications. Upon the council’s return, another vote was taken, this time resulting in four votes for Knopes and a tie again for Luth and James with two votes each. Discussion began on whether or not to do another round of voting when Halm moved to simply elect Knopes. The motion passed, and she was then elected unanimously.

Listen to full 11 30 15 town hall meeting on enterprise zones

Art Fish, left, the state of Oregon expert on enterprise zones and Scott Hege, Chair of the Wasco County Commission.

Art Fish, left, the state of Oregon expert on enterprise zones and Scott Hege, Chair of the Wasco County Commission.

Daniel Hunter, left, enterprise zone manager for The Dalles, Mayor Steve Lawerence and Wasco County Assessor Jill Amery.

Daniel Hunter, left, enterprise zone manager for The Dalles, Mayor Steve Lawerence and Wasco County Assessor Jill Amery.












To hear the presentation and questions and answers that followed, click the grey podcast bar below:

Town Hall Monday night on Enterprise Zones

If you have interest in enterprise zones and the deals Wasco County and the City of The Dalles have cut with Google over the past decade, tonight is an excellent chance to find out more and ask questions of the experts.

The City of The Dalles is hosting a town hall meeting tonight at 5:30 at Mid-Columbia Senior Center in The Dalles.

The meeting will start with a presentation from Mayor Steve Lawrence, Wasco County Commission Chair Scott Hege, Wasco County Assessor Jill Amery and Art Fish, of Business Oregon. Fish is the state’s acknowledged expert on the subject. He not only helped write the initial legislation, he also administers the program for the state of  Oregon.

There was a lot of interest in the most recent deal for a third Google compound in The Dalles, and it should be a fascinating discussion.

County commissioners ponder taking building code inspection duties over from MCCOG

Wasco County Commissioners will recess at the conclusion of their regular meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 2 to an evening session at 5:30 on the issue of whether the county should drop out of the current arrangement with the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments, which provides building code inspections and set up a Wasco-County-only inspection department.

Commissioners will review a 29-page report on the subject submitted by a project team consisting of Tyler Stone, Wasco County Administrative Officer; Angie Brewer, Wasco County Planning Director; Lisa Gambee, Wasco County Clerk; Paul Ferguson, Wasco County IT Interim Director; and Taner Elliott, The Dalles City Councilor, who is involved in the building trade.

That report is available on the county’s website as part of the board packet for the Dec. 2. meeting.

The report recommends the county pursue the option of creating its own department, despite the fact that the report notes the county has no idea of the total startup costs, which they estimate would be at least $105,000, with a total of $728,000 in estimated first year operating costs.

Busy holiday long weekend in the Gorge

The Salvation Army hosting the big community Thanksgiving dinner at St. Marys Academy at 10th and Cherry Heights in The Dalles Thursday. starting at  Noon. Open to everyone.

Free Thanksgiving Dinner Father’s House Fellowship Church 207 South Klickitat in  Goldendale.  Dinner served at noon Thanksgiving Day Transportation available by Ogden’s Mopar Limo Service Meal delivery available
Call 509-773-4114 or 509-250-6 l47 to arrange a ride, a meal delivery, or for further information.’

Red Cross Blood Drive Friday 10 am to 3:30 at St Peter’s Catholic Church in The Dalles.

Friday is the kickoff for The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce Shop Local and Win promotion. For every $100 worth of receipts from local merchants turned into the chamber you get a ticket for a drawing for prize baskets. Double tickets if the receipts are from Chamber members.

Santa at Home Depot 10 am to 2 pm Friday and Saturday

Starlight parade Friday starting at 6 pm through The Dalles, followed by tree lighting ceremony at The Dalles Chamber of Commerce, hot cocoa and coffee and pictures with Santa.

Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 free play The Best Christmas Pagent Ever in the third floor auditorium at Columbia Gorge Community College

Helping Hands underway today

Some of our favorite folks from Oregon Cherry Growers  are on hand this morning for the Helping Hands event. They’re taking your donations of warm clothing, nonperishable food, unwrapped toys and cash. Everything stays locally, with the Salvation Army and St. Vincent dePaul. 11 25 15 Helping Hands with Oregon Cherry Growers_edited-1 It’s a great tradition for Haystack Broadcasting and our sponsors. Drop on by at 620 East Third to make a donation, and pick up a free cup of coffee and a cookie.

Every Wednesday morning now through Christmas, we’ll be taking donations from 7 to 9 a.m., with help from that week’s sponsor.

Google closes on Port property, files plans with building codes, says new building will be 10,000,000 cubic feet

11 24 15 Port of The Dalles Google press release

Ten million cubic feet. That’s the number released yesterday by Google as the preliminary figure for the size of their third operation center in The Dalles. Yesterday the company submitted plans to the building codes department, and there may be modifications as the process unfolds, but that figure is important because Wasco County and the City of The Dalles negotiated the Enterprise Zone payments that Google will make to them over the next 15 years instead of paying taxes based on that cubic foot measurement. First year payment was equal to 16 cents per cubic foot, which would translate to $1.6 million to be split between the city and county. Payment for the following 14 years would be at 11.4 cents per cubic foot or $1.14 million per year.

Google also closed the land deal with the Port of The Dalles yesterday. A press release from the port says Google paid $4.271 million for 24 acres in the port’s new industrial park. And while under the terms of the Enterprise Zone agreement, the company won’t pay any property taxes on improvements for 15 years, they will pay property tax on the value of the land. The exact amount isn’t yet determined, but the lowest tax rate in Wasco County is $11.41 per $1,000 and the highest is $20.37 per $1,000. On the $4.27l million value of the land, Google will pay between $48,000 and $87,000.