Shannon Middleton chosen for Goldendale City Council


Shannon Middleton answers a question during candidate interviews.

Shannon Middleton answers a question during candidate interviews.

Goldendale City Council had a busy time of it last night with a packed agenda that included choosing a replacement to fill the vacant seat on the council left by the resignation last month of Len Crawford who moved to out of the area. Councilors interviewed five applicants: Terry Luth, Michael Goodwin, NanSun Whitner, Michael Kitchen and Shannon Middleton. The council used a two-round voting system. In the first round, the six council members each picked their top two candidates. Of those 12 votes, five went to Shannon Middleon, four votes for NamSun Whitner and three votes for Terry Luth In the runoff between Whitner and Middleton, Shannon Middleton was a five to one vote winner. He was sworn in and took his seat on the council last night.

Klickitat County Commissioner Jim Sizemore was listed as a presenter on last night’s city council agenda, but he said he came to listen rather than talk. That’s because the three incorporated cities in Klickitat County – Goldendale, White Salmon and Bingen – have made an unusual request. They’ve asked commissioners to add a one tenth of one percent to the sales tax, with the proceeds dedicated to drug enforcement. City Administrator Larry Bellamy said the increase would mean about $45,000 a year in revenue to the city and chief Reggie Bartkowski said that his budget for the coming year is right on the bubble, with not quite enough to fund the ninth officer that he needs.

Right now we have eight officers that are 100 percent covered in the 2017 budget,” he said. “This extra $45,000 to $50,000 would solidify our number nine position, which I want to use as a drug detective.” Bartkowski told the council that with eight officers he can patrol 24/7 and respond to calls, but he needs another person for surveillance, to run drug investigations and to run a confidential informant.

County commissioners can approve such a small tax hike without a vote of the people, but Sizemore said they are reluctant to do so without such a serious need. Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer, who attended the meeting last night, said he hoped commissioners would go for a three tenths of one percent sales tax increase dedicated to drug enforcement, but that size would need to go to a vote of the people in November.

The Commissioners will meet on the subject at 1:45 on Thursday, July 21.

Two dead, three injured in crash on Boyd Loop Road

07 19 16 Boyd Crash 1

Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing the investigation into Sunday night’s single vehicle fatal crash along Boyd Loop Road, about 13 miles south of The Dalles, that resulted in the death of two occupants and injuries to three other occupants.

On July 17, 2016 at approximately 7:30 p.m., a 1994 Chevy 1500 pickup driven by Tamara J. KUCHER, age 40, from Dufur, was traveling east on Boyd Loop Road near Highway 197, when for unknown reasons the driver lost control, traveled off the roadway into a ditch and rolled several times.

The driver, KUCHER, and pickup bed passenger, Hunter W. SPEARS, age 21, from Dufur, were ejected and both succumbed to their injuries at the scene.

The right front passenger, Marshall A. JOHNSON, age 32, from Dufur, was transported to Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles by ground ambulance with serious injuries. He was later taken by Life Flight to a Portland area hospital for treatment.

Two rear seat passengers, 17 year-old female juvenile and 16 year-old male juvenile, both from Dufur, were transported to Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles for treatment of minor injuries.

OSP troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are continuing the investigation. Trooper Vadim Bogdanov is the lead investigator.

Alcohol, speed, lane safety and occupant safety are being investigated as possible contributing factors.

OSP was assisted by the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office, Dufur Valley Volunteer Fire Department and the Mid-Columbia Fire Department.

Photograph – Oregon State Police

The Dalles 14U Babe Ruth All-Stars sweep tournament in Idaho, earn berth in World Series in Florida

Congratulations to The Dalles 14U Babe Ruth All-Stars softball team and coach Dawn Marie Hert, They swept a three game series at the regional tournament in Meridian, Idaho Friday. They opened the series with a 14 to 6 win against Meridian last Thursday, And followed that up with an 11 to 5 win against Kuna, Idaho Friday morning. Coach Dawn Hert said things got a little tense in the championship game.

“It was like the fourth, fifth and sixth [innings] we were tied, and we had a two-out, bats-came-alive rally and our girls ended up scoring about 11 runs.”  

Final on that was The Dalles 23 and Kuna 13. Hert also said this was a brand new combination.

“They are such solid young women and are so talented. They’d never played a game together  until we went to that tournament.   They played on three separate teams during our league. They are amazing and they just click.”

Now the All-Stars are headed to Florida for the World Series. That’s coming up July 26 through August 3 in Jensen Beach, Florida.

The Dalles orchard donates tons of cherries to the needy

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The group Farmers Ending Hunger has lined up a large donation of cherries from a prominent orchardist in The Dalles.

The Capital Press reports that roughly 80,000 pounds of fresh cherries will be distributed to Oregon food banks this summer.

Ken Bailey of Orchard View Farms is donating 14 totes per week, each of them 1,000 pounds.

The donated dark cherries are ones the commercial market doesn’t want because they are perhaps under-sized or off color.

Orchard View has an optical scan sorting system that routes market-quality cherries to the appropriate totes. The system practically eliminates hand-sorting labor costs and results in a product of uniform quality, size and color.

Three Portland men arrested for charges related to shooting in the Gorge

Three Portland men were arrested on Wednesday July 13, 2016 on charges in relation to a shooting that happened on the night of Tuesday July 12, 2016 on Herman Creek Road n ear I-84 in Hood River County.

From left to right:
Austin Steed
Chance Pinkard
Deshone Brooks


The three men, AUSTIN GREGORY STEED age 20, CHANCE COREY PINKARD age 19 and DESHONE JAHEEL BROOKS age 21, all residents from Portland, Oregon were all lodged at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility (NORCOR) in
The Dalles on charges of Attempted Murder, Assault 1st degree and Robbery 1st Degree.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the three men drove to Herman Creek Road, which is near I-84 approximately 4 miles east of Cascade Locks on the night of Tuesday July 12, 2016. While at that location, the three met with CHARLES KANE JR., age 23 and CODY DALE RAU age 21, both from Portland, Oregon. KANE JR. and RAU had drove to the Herman Creek meeting site in separate vehicles. While at the Herman Creek location, KANE JR. was shot in the left arm.
KANE JR. and RAU left the scene in their vehicles and stopped along I-84 near the Wyeth interchange. From there, KANE JR. was transported to the Gresham area by RAU. KANE JR. and RAU were contacted by police in the Gresham area. KANE JR. was transported to Emmanuel Hospital in Portland where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

STEED, PICKARD and BROOKS were located in the area of the shooting by troopers from the Oregon State Police The Dalles Area Command and deputies from the Hood River Sheriff’s Office.

An investigation into the shooting is ongoing at this time. The Oregon State Police was assisted by deputies and detectives from the Hood River Sheriff’s Office and the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Hood River District Attorney. No further information will be released pending authorization from the Hood River District Attorney.

Photographs provided by Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility.

Video: Walden and Oregon delegation introduce bipartisan oil train legislation


Washington, D.C. – Today, members of Oregon’s Congressional Delegation introduced the bipartisan Community Protection and Preparedness Act (H.R. 5786), legislation that creates a new trust fund to help communities prepare for accidents involving rail cars transporting flammable liquids, including crude oil and ethanol. The legislation was sponsored by Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and co-sponsored by Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

The Community Protection and Preparedness Act would allow the fund to be used for emergency response and clean up after rail accidents involving flammable liquids. The fund would also be used to issue grants to help prepare and protect communities along rail lines. The legislation would require railroads to inspect certain tracks in high consequence areas, such as near waterways, for defects on foot. A high consequence area is defined as a high population area, a concentrated population area, an unusually sensitive area, including drinking water or ecological resource areas that are sensitive to environmental damage, or a commercially navigable waterway. On June 3rd, 16 rail cars from a 96-car Union Pacific crude oil train derailed near Mosier, Oregon on a stretch of defective track that was inspected by employees by vehicle.

In addition, the legislation would also require that railroads periodically use gage restraint measuring systems to measure shifts in the rails and detect weak ties and fasteners. It also authorizes funding for the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to hire additional track safety specialists.

“Every day, thousands of rail tank cars carrying toxic, hazardous materials crisscross the country. The communities along these train routes shouldn’t be on the hook for clean up or damages after an accident and spill occurs. This legislation would help protect and prepare communities by providing funding to help States and Native American tribes develop and carry out emergency response plans, and provide critical training for emergency responders. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, which will better protect the public and the environment, and help prepare communities both big and small,” said DeFazio.

“Oregon communities—especially ones like Mosier in the Columbia Gorge—deserve the highest level of safety from railways and rail cars. And they certainly shouldn’t be on the hook for damage caused by a train derailment or spill,” said Walden. “This bipartisan plan would boost inspections, help phase out older, unsafe rail cars, and protect lives and property. It continues strong efforts by the Oregon delegation to protect the people who live in communities near railroad tracks, as well as the natural beauty of the place we call home. I’m proud to support it.”

“The derailment in the Columbia Gorge earlier this summer serves as an important reminder about the dangers of how we transport oil and other hazardous materials through our beautiful state. We must do more to ensure safety and transparency. The Community Protection and Preparedness Act will get less safe railcars off the tracks, require more rigorous and thorough track inspections, and make sure that emergency responders are coordinated, funded, and trained to respond to these incidents. This legislation makes sure Oregon is prepared for any outcome,” said Blumenauer.

Creating New Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to Help Communities
The Community Protection and Preparedness Act of 2016, creates a Rail Account in the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, and authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to collect an annual fee of $1,500 for each outdated DOT-111 and CPC-1232 rail tank car that fails to meet the new Department of Transportation (DOT) standards that drastically improve rail tank car safety. The fees are imposed on each person who ships Class 3 flammable liquid, including crude oil and ethanol, in outdated tank cars. The fee would start on October 1, 2017, for the use of tank cars the prior year.

Funds collected will be provided for the payment of removal and remediation costs and other costs, expenses, claims, and damages related to an accident or incident involving the transportation of Class 3 flammable liquids by rail. Funds can also be used by the Secretary to make grants to States and Native American tribes to develop and carry out emergency plans, develop and train regional response teams, and train emergency responders. The legislation allows the Secretary to collaborate with States and Native American tribes in preparing for an accident or incident.

Requiring Railroads to Inspect Track on Foot
The legislation requires Class I railroad carriers to inspect track on foot and periodically use systems to measure shifts in the rail and detect weak ties and fasteners where an accident or incident involving the transportation of flammable liquids or poisonous- or toxic-by-inhalation hazardous materials by rail could affect a high consequence area.

A preliminary FRA investigation of the June 3rd Mosier derailment found that Union Pacific failed to adequately maintain its track and that walking inspections could have found the defective section of rail track and prevented the derailment. They determined the Union Pacific derailment was caused by broken lag bolts leading to wide track gauge. According to the FRA in its report, “Broken and sheared lag bolts, while difficult to detect by high-rail, are more detectable by walking inspection combined with indications of movement in the rail or track structure and/or uneven rail wear, and are critically important to resolve quickly.” The legislation’s requirement to force closer, more thorough inspections, combined with immediate remedial action requirements, will help prevent accidents before they happen.

The bill also authorizes funding for the Administrator of the FRA to hire additional track safety specialists.