Jaime Herrera Beutler’s Sea Lion Bill and West Coast Crab Management Bill will Receive Congressional Hearing on Thursday, July 23

WASHINGTON, DC – Jaime Herrera Beutler announced today that two of her bills to better manage Northwest ocean resources will receive congressional hearings before the Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, July 23.

The Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act seeks to reduce predation on endangered Columbia River salmon, and the West Coast Dungeness Crab Management Act will permanently extend a 17-year fishery management agreement that has been vital to Washington state’s Dungeness crab fishery.  The next step after the subcommittee hearing would be a markup by the full Natural Resources Committee.

“We work hard to preserve our salmon runs on the Columbia River, but leaving them vulnerable to unnatural levels of sea lion predation negates our community’s efforts,” said Jaime.  “My bipartisan solution will give fish managers the tools they need to protect the endangered salmon and steelhead.”

“Fishermen in Washington state have been effectively managing the west coast crab fishery for nearly two decades, making it healthy and sustainable for future generations,” continued Jaime. “We should solidify the current arrangement that is set to expire, eliminating any uncertainty about this partnership so that crab fishermen can continue supporting hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in benefits to our communities.”

Markup Details:

WHAT: Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee on the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Hearing on Jaime Herrera Beutler’s bipartisan legislation

  1. H.R. 564Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act
  2. H.R. 2168West Coast Dungeness Crab Management Act

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler

Witness for H.R. 564: The Honorable Leotis McCormack, Commissioner, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Lapwai, Idaho

Witness for H.R. 2168: Mr. Dale Beasley, President, Columbia River Crab Fisherman’s Association, Ilwaco, Washington


WHEN: Wednesday, July 23

7:30 AM Pacific Time

WHERE: 1334 Hearing Room, Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC

Video of the hearing will be live streamed here.
Additional markup information and details can be found at the committee website here.

Governor declares drought in Hood River and 2 more Oregon counties

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown has declared drought emergencies in three more Oregon counties.

With Tuesday’s declaration, 23 out of 36 counties are under drought emergencies. The new ones are Curry, Hood River and Union counties.

Brown says this year’s extreme drought reflects a new reality for Oregon and dealing with it is part of the “continuing challenges of climate change.”

The governor’s drought declaration does not bring any help in the form of aid or loans, but does allow increased flexibility in how water is managed.

Last winter saw a record-low snowpack, leading to low streamflows this summer that have affected irrigators as well as fish.

Washington State Awards more than $110 Million in Grants for Recreation and to Conserve Working Farms and Wildlife Habitat

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board has awarded more than $110 million to 268 projects to build parks and boating facilities, give people access to shorelines, maintain trails and conserve working farms and critical wildlife habitat.

“These grants are important to our economy because they help local communities create the kinds of places that people want to live and work, and tourists want to visit,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Washington’s outdoor recreation industry is as important to our economy as our technology and aerospace industries. Making sure we take good care of our outdoor places is important to many businesses and families in this state.”

A recent study[i] noted that $21.6 billion is spent in Washington on recreation trips and equipment annually and $4.6 billion comes from out-of-state visitors. Outdoor recreation also supports nearly 200,000 jobs, rivaling the technology and aerospace industries.

“These grants are an important investment in our future,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants. “They support three important goals of the State – to get people, especially our kids, outside more often to experience nature, to expand parks and to conserve our environment. It’s a win all the way around.”

These grants were awarded through seven different grant programs. Funding was provided by the Legislature in the recently enacted capital budget and by Congress with revenue coming from a mix of federal grants, the sale of state bonds, gas taxes and user fees.

The grants will be given to cities, counties, state and federal agencies, tribes and non-profit organizations for projects in 37 of the state’s 39 counties.

All of the funded projects were evaluated and ranked through a competitive process in which citizen committees with expertise in recreation and conservation issues evaluated the projects and created ranked lists for funding consideration by the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, and in some cases, the Governor and state Legislature.

“Overall, we have funding only for about half the demand,” Cottingham said. “The process ensures that only the best projects rise to the top and receive funding.”

The office accepted applications for 463 projects, requesting nearly $203 million. Most of the grant programs require grant applicants to contribute matching resources. This year, the matching resources totaled more than $107 million, nearly doubling the state’s investment in Washington’s outdoor recreation and conservation efforts.

Of the $110 million in grants, nearly $32 million goes to build or improve parks, nearly $12 million to improve facilities for boaters, about $26 million to maintaining trails,
$4 million to conserving working farms and another $27 million to protecting important wildlife habitat.

Click below for descriptions of each grant awarded in the following counties:


Asotin County……………………. $4,386,111

Benton County…………………… $2,450,675

Chelan County………………….. $3,676,778

Clallam County………………….. $1,323,569

Clark County……………………… $3,771,438

Cowlitz County…………………… $1,774,385

Douglas County…………………. $2,821,250

Ferry County………………………. $1,496,824

Garfield County………………………. $70,000

Grant County………………………… $225,701

Grays Harbor County…………. $3,768,847

Island County…………………….. $3,543,740

Jefferson County……………….. $4,965,057

King County…………………….. $12,969,807

Kitsap County…………………….. $4,353,345

Kittitas County……………………. $3,264,919

Klickitat County………………….. $2,561,800

Lewis County…………………….. $1,153,625

Lincoln County……………………… $600,000

Mason County……………………. $6,537,153

Okanogan County……………… $1,735,619

Pacific County……………………. $1,789,788

Pierce County………………….. $13,710,961

San Juan County…………………. $141,953

Skagit County…………………….. $5,149,410

Skamania County…………………. $354,000

Snohomish County……………. $8,344,985

Spokane County………………… $2,318,155

Stevens County………………………. $61,900

Thurston County………………… $4,866,100

Walla Walla County………………. $345,340

Whatcom County……………….. $1,261,903

Yakima County………………….. $2,420,327

Multiple Counties………………. $1,974,954

(including Columbia, Pend Oreille, Wahkiakum, and Whitman)       


“There’s a lot of great work being done all around the state,” Cottingham said. “We have some fantastic outdoor places where you can go to relax, exercise, camp, fish and hunt, ski, explore and spend time with family and friends. It’s these special places to experience nature at its finest that keeps Washington a great place to live. Without this funding, many communities simply couldn’t afford to build or maintain these opportunities.”

[i]Tania Briceno and Greg Schundler,“Economic Analysis of Outdoor Recreation in Washington State,” Earth Economics, Tacoma, WA, January 2015, pp. ix-xi.

Rep. John Huffman Helps Secure Legislative Approval For Fossil Fiber-Optic Extension Project

Salem, OR – The Oregon Legislature has approved $2 million in lottery bond funds for a fiber-optic extension project in Wheeler County. The bonded funds will be used to deliver fiber-optic capabilities to Fossil, bringing new jobs and economic opportunities to the area. 

“As the representative for House District 59, one of my top priorities is to support and advocate for projects that bring new investments and economic development to the region,” said Representative John Huffman (R-The Dalles), who helped win legislative approval for the project. “This project will help support high-wage jobs in Wheeler County and provide a significant infrastructure upgrade for our community.” 

The fiber-optic extension is a top priority for Oregon Health and Science University, with the school pledging to create a number of local, full-time positions upon completion of the project. 

“I am excited about the opportunities this project will bring to Wheeler County,” said Wheeler County Judge Chris Perry. “Through cooperation between the state, OHSU and county officials, this project will help develop the infrastructure necessary to allow rural Oregon to prosper.” 

The lottery bond funds for the project are scheduled to be issued by the state in the spring of 2017.

It’s the Goldendale City Council – not Shark Tank

07 20 15 Lewis Baker horizontalArea resident Lewis Baker made a 20-minute presentation to the Goldendale City Council Monday night, saying he had economic development ideas that could mean prosperity for the city and good wages for high school students. His idea? That the city would sign “four pieces of paper” and be able to build a factory to manufacture what he called the Car John. That product, he said, would “solve the problem of going off the road and finding a gas station, a restaurant or somebody’s store to ask to use their bathroom facilities. That will be obsolete, thanks to Goldendale and its school system. You will see people parked on the side of the highway, reading The Sentinel newspaper, and with a look of relief on their faces as they use the privacy of their Car John seat.”

He said the money to finance construction of a factory would “come pouring in” because he had 100 names of institutions that gave out grants, and he would write and mail the letters for the city through Grey Wolf Productions.

Mr. Baker did not provide plans for the Car John, which he characterized as “easy to install and easy to clean,” and ultimately gave the council 30 seconds to make up its mind. Mayor Clint Baze said the city would have to check with its own legal counsel before signing documents of any sort, and Mr. Baker ultimately left, saying,”Goodbye, Goldendale; rest in peace.”

Mr. Baker made s striking figure in boots, long coat, cowboy hat and a thin blindfold, never removed, whose purpose was never explained.

In documents given to the council in advance and posted in the council packet for the meeting on the city’s  website, Mr. Baker included various news accounts of his previous activities, including an article from an Ojai, California newspaper in which he proposes building a billion dollar set of five complete western towns in which to film a series of 16 western movies he was writing under the general title of “Drakon.” This apparently did not come to pass.

You can hear the complete 20 minute presentation to the Goldendale City Council by clicking on the grey podcast bar below.


Update #2: 63 year old still missing in The Dalles

07 15 15 Lucia Flores

On the afternoon of July 15th the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office suspended search and rescue operations in the Mill Creek and Wicks Reservoir areas for Lucia Florez.

It should be noted that even though the search for Lucia has been suspended the investigation of her disappearance is ongoing. Interviews of potential witnesses have also been conducted, including one report Lucia was transported by vehicle to the Reservoir Road area. This information was confirmed through the investigation as Lucia was last seen standing near the main gate entrance to Wicks Reservoir. She was not moving at the time of this sighting and only standing in the area and she appeared to be in no distress at the time.

Based on Lucia being seen at/near this area is where the primary search was conducted. Extensive searches of ravines, creek bottoms and other areas several miles up and down Mill Creek, including above Wicks Reservoir were searched, but again Lucia was not located and no evidence was found.

Numerous tips have come from the public that Lucia was seen in the City of The Dalles. These tips were followed up on by Wasco County Deputies and The Dalles City Police, but again Lucia has not been located.

Lucia was last seen wearing dark pants, neon pink and black tennis shoes a pink shirt. She was also was carrying a purse. She was also carrying a grocery bag, (possibly a Walmart bag) with her at the time.

If you have any information on the location or possible sightings of Lucia please contact the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office at 541-296-5454.


The following is a press release issued July 15

On the evening of July 13th 2015, the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by Anayeli Alvarez who was reporting her grandmother, 63 year old Lucia Florez was missing. According to Anayeli she last saw Lucia around 6am on the morning of July 13th and hadn’t seen her since. Anayeli reported Lucia sometimes goes on long walks but always returns home. She also indicated she contacted friends and relatives in an attempt to locate Lucia but was unsuccessful.

Wasco County Road Department employees were conducting road maintenance operations on upper Mill Creek Road during the day of July 14th, and while traveling had observed Lucia walking on Mt. Hood Street around 12pm and then later observed her in the 5800 block of Mill Creek Road around 4pm.

On the morning of July 14th additional information was received that Lucia was seen walking southbound on Reservoir Road. Based on this information the Wasco County Search and Rescue Division was dispatched in an attempt to locate Lucia in this area. Search operations in the Reservoir Road area found no signs of Lucia in the area and the search was discontinued due to darkness on the evening of July 14th.

On the morning of July 15th Wasco County Search and Rescue continue to search the Reservoir Road area as well in areas around Wicks Reservoir. Search and Rescue assistance is also being provided by Klickitat County Search and Rescue.

Lucia was last seen wearing dark pants, neon pink and black tennis shoes a pink shirt. She was also was carrying a purse. She was also carrying a grocery bag, (possibly a Walmart bag) with her at the time.

If you have any information on the location or possible sightings of Lucia please contact the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office at 541-296-5454.


Original message From Wasco County Citizen Alert:
Missing: 63 year old Hispanic female, Lucia Flores. Last seen in the area of Reservoir Road, The Dalles. Wearing a pink shirt, black pants, pink shoes, carrying a black bag and blue Walmart bag. She has been missing since approximately 4 PM, Monday, July 13th. Residents living in the area of Reservoir Road are urged to check their property, including outbuildings.
Please call 541-296-5454 if seen.



Tribes force Riverfront Trail final section south of I-84

ew Riverfront Trail proposal map

The Dalles City Council met last night and there were a couple of surprise emerging from the meeting and that of the council meeting as the Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Agency. First was a new route for the remainder of the Riverfront Trail that would take it south of Interstate -84 Check the map on our website, gorge news center dot com. Former city Planning Director Dan Durow told councilors last night that the tribes will not allow any further expansion of the Riverfront Trail along the river due to cultural resources. The new route would take the trail away from the river between freeway exits 85 and 87, ultimately connecting with Bret Clodfelter Way east of The Dalles Bridge and completing the trail from the Discovery Center to The Dalles Dam. Durow said the Oregon Department of Transportation would allow them to transfer a $1.7 million ODOT grant to the new location. The Trail group would spend as little as possible of that grant for rights of way and engineering in order to spend the maximum on trail construction. Several council members expressed their disapproval, preferring a route along the river itself but ultimately accepted that would not be possible and approved the use of the grant for this new route.