Large number of salmon return to Columbia River

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of salmon are making their way from the ocean up the Columbia River this month, a windfall for salmon eaters and tribal and recreational fishermen in the Pacific Northwest.

It’s one of the largest runs since dam construction blocked river passage for fish. The run is forecast at 1.5 million salmon by year’s end — though fish managers say the final number may turn out to be lower.

More than 460,000 adult chinook have already passed over the Bonneville Dam on their way to spawning areas in native streams. That’s the first dam salmon cross in their migration upriver.

Monday’s 67,521 chinook were the largest single-day return since the dam was built in 1938.

Fish managers attribute the large run to good ocean conditions and improved habitat.

Rocky road? I-84 qualifies after dump truck spill

BOARDMAN, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Police say eastbound Interstate 84 near Boardman was indeed a rocky road after a dump truck spilled its load of large rocks.

Police say a truck pulling a large belly dump trailer was traveling on the highway Friday afternoon when the trailer’s gate opened and rocks spilled onto the freeway. One vehicle was reported damaged.

The Oregon Transportation Department quickly got equipment to the site and removed the rocks.

Boardman is located in northeast Oregon.

Thompson Park Pool Project 09 12 14

The Northern Wasco County Park and Recreation District has announced that the solicitation for bids for the construction of the Thompson Park Pool Project will begin on Wednesday, September 17. The announcement and call for bids will be posted in The Daily Journal of Commerce beginning on Wednesday, September 17 and in The Dalles Chronicle under Legal Notices on Sunday, September 21. The deadline for submitting bids will be Thursday, October 2, 2014. Full details regarding the bid specifications and plans will be available in the announcements in the above mentioned publications. A complete set of project drawings and specifications will be available for review at the Northern Wasco County Park and Recreation Office, at 414 Washington St Suite 1D, as well as other Plan Centers in the area, beginning Wednesday, September 17. The demolition of the existing facility will be forthcoming as part of this process.

The Thompson Park Pool Project will include a 50 meter, 8 lane pool, with a number of recreational amenities including a slide, climbing wall, and splash park, along with a new enclosed locker room facility and concession area. The facility will also be able to host competitive swim meets such as the ever popular annual Ted Walker Swim Meet that has drawn competitors and spectators from throughout the Northwest for past several years.

For further information regarding the Thompson Park Pool Project, please contact the Northern Wasco County Park and Recreation District at (541) 296-9533.

US 97 Biggs Rapids-Sam Hill Bridge to get a makeover

09 12 14 Rusty Biggs Bridge from below

MARYHILL- Rust spots and peeling paint are signs that time is catching up with the exterior of the US 97 Biggs Rapids-Sam Hill Bridge. The 52-year-old structure spanning the Columbia River connecting the communities of Maryhill, Wash. and Biggs Junction, Ore., is due for a makeover beginning this month.

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will begin by stripping the worn paint, then apply primer to the bare steel and paint it with several coats of specialty bridge paint, which is designed to hold up to the weather in the Columbia River Gorge. The bridge was last painted in 1988.

It costs a lot less to paint a bridge than it does to replace a bridge,” said WSDOT project engineer Chris Tams. “This will protect the steel portions from the elements, which will help preserve the structure and prevent deterioration for years to come.”

An environmental containment system will soon be installed to prevent flakes, rust, and other debris from falling into the river.  Crews will start on the underside of the bridge working their way from the Washington end towards Oregon. After painting of the underside of the bridge is complete, they will work on the truss main-span. Traffic impacts will be limited to nighttime hours with occasional single lane closure on the bridge from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Monday, Sept. 15.

High winds and severe weather through the Columbia River Gorge can create a challenge for crews working on the bridge. With this in mind, the contractor will work seven days a week, year round while it is still safe to do so.

The $8.8 million project is expected to be complete by fall 2016.

Lyle Water System emergency water rationing

On behalf of the Lyle Water System, Klickitat PUD is requesting emergency water rationing for ALL customers within the Lyle Water System due to a failing pump at the upper reservoir.

Customers are asked to avoid any and all unnecessary water use at least until Tuesday 9/16/14. This includes no outside watering or filling of swimming pools.

This is necessary to avoid overloading the pump and will assist in maintaining water levels within the reservoir.
Rationing is extremely important to maintain water for fire protection as well.

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation.

Klickitat County PUD

Winds fan wildfire that damages 3 Wash. homes

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — High winds and warm temperatures are challenging Northwest firefighters, especially in the typically windy Columbia River Gorge where a windblown wildfire on the Washington side damaged three homes and smoke from a fire on the Oregon side temporarily restricted traffic on Interstate 84.

The National Weather Service says winds in the White Salmon, Washington, area gusted as high as about 30 mph Thursday. U.S. Forest Service spokesman Stan Hinatsu says no one was injured in the roughly 10-acre fire but some people left their homes. Traffic on a nearby state highway was temporarily restricted. The spokesman told KATU-TV the fire was “in good shape” by Thursday evening.

On the Oregon side, KGW-TV reports that a small fire along I-84 near Multnomah Falls created so much smoke that travel was briefly restricted on the freeway.

In Portland, a spokesman for Portland Fire & Rescue said crews had responded to more than 30 wildland fire incidents by Thursday evening. One hillside fire briefly closed a major area highway. Winds at Portland International Airport gusted to 44 mph.

The Weather Service says the hot, dry, windy weather is expected to continue into Friday in much of western Oregon and Washington.

Small grass fire gets into trees, but is knocked down in time

Captain Steve Biehn and Firefighter AJ Mounsey

Captain Steve Biehn and Firefighter AJ Mounsey

That column of white smoke visible in The Dalles this morning turned out to be a small grass fire behind Oil Can Henry’s that got into a couple of trees before Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue knocked it down and mopped it up. Most of the fire was confined to a rocky bank that led from the back of the Oil Can Henry;s parking lot down to the alley that runs along Mill Creek behind the stores on West Sixth, but had the potential to move through the line of trees and threaten other stuctures in the area Capt Steve Biehn and firefighter AJ Mounsey were rolling the hoses back up in just a few minutes