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Archive | ‘Local News’

Fire Updates

Posted on 20th September 2017 at 08:53

Fire crews working on the Eagle Creek Fire and other wildfires around the Northwest are definitely getting some help from the rain that’s moved into the region. The Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge remains at about 48,665 acres, and is now 46 percent contained. Fire officials say that between 3 and 5 inches of rain has fallen on the southwest corner of the fire, while about an inch fell on the east end of the fire, near Cascade Locks. While this rain is helping the fire crews, their work is not over. They say that it won’t take long for fuels to dry out again after this first rain; hot spots will also continue to smolder, even after several days of rain. I-84 eastbound remains closed between Troutdale and Hood River, and there’s still no timeline for when that portion of the freeway will re-open.

This morning’s danger in the Columbia River Gorge could be flash flooding. The Weather Service is out with a Flash Flood Warning in part of Hood River, Multnomah and Skamania counties, as strong rain bands move across the Portland area. They say that the path of these storm cells could cause significant runoff, mudslides, landslides and debris flows in the areas that have been burned by the Eagle Creek Fire. The warning ran from 4:25 to 5:30 this morning.

Campfire restrictions are being eased by the Washington Department of Natural Resources, Starting at 12:01 this morning. Campfires are now allowed in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds on lands protected by DNR. It’s emphasized that the forests and rangelands are still extremely dry, even after all of the rain that has fallen. They urge caution with fire and other heat sources; DNR officials also remind us that counties, cities and local fire districts may still have burn bans in force. You should check with your own local fire agency before lighting any fires. DNR officials also say that this move deals with campfires only; other forms of outdoor burning are still prohibited at this time.

Anchor Point Plan

Posted on 20th September 2017 at 08:52

The City of Kelso is moving ahead with development of the Anchor Point Subarea Plan, a document that they say could help to finally open that area for development. At last night’s City Council meeting, Mayor David Futcher says that inaction won’t help anyone, either for or against development. Earlier this year, members of the Winters family, the owners of the 600-acre parcel near the mouth of the Cowlitz, came to the city with a request for the plan. The property has been eyed for development since 1980, when it was zoned as General Industrial property. Only about half is available for development, as the other portion is wetlands. The Winters family is paying for the plan; no city dollars are involved, and it’s emphasized that any improvements that would be needed would also be paid for by potential developers. Several citizens did raise concerns; one suggests that the city needs to quit chasing huge industrial projects, while also suggesting that the area could be turned into a large outdoor recreation center. The man says that such a center would be a magnet for tourists, who would also bring their money. The council did vote to adopt the Anchor Point Subarea Plan on a vote of 6-0; Nancy Malone was absent from last night’s meeting.

Hit and Runner

Posted on 20th September 2017 at 08:51

Longview Police are still investigating an injury car crash that happened yesterday morning. Around 9:20 am, two cars collided at 9th and Delaware Streets, and a woman suffered facial lacerations in that crash. Witnesses tell LPD that the male driver of the other car jumped out and ran, reportedly handing the keys to a woman that was on the scene. The male seen running off down the alley between 8th and 9th, but he was headed off. The woman was treated for her injuries, while the car that the man was driving was impounded. No charges have been reported as of yet.

Theft Photos

Posted on 20th September 2017 at 08:50

Kelso Police are posting photos on Facebook, asking for your help in identifying a theft suspect. Last Sunday morning at about 10:45 am, a man reported that his wallet had been stolen at a convenience store. The store’s security video reportedly shows the suspect “getting control” of the man’s wallet, and then he leaves the store. Four separate photos are being shared at this time; if you can identify the suspect, you’re asked to call Kelso Police at 360-423-1270.

Landfill Assessment

Posted on 20th September 2017 at 08:50

While still maintaining that they have no plans to sell the Headquarters Landfill, the Cowlitz County Commissioners are spending $40,000 with the accounting firm of Moss Adams LLP, with the goal of having that company to do an assessment, and to come up with what would be a “fair price” for the facility. This vote came at yesterday morning’s regular Commission meeting, where it was emphasized that this will be an assessment only; no recommendations for selling or keeping the landfill will come from Moss Adams. Several citizens continue to ask questions about the process, wondering why the county continues to obtain information on a sale price for the Landfill, if there are no plans to sell. Commissioner Dennis Weber says that it’s to make sure that no one “lowballs” the county, if and when anyone comes in with an offer. Commissioner Arne Mortensen says that this will help the Commission understand the value of this property, today and into the future.

Jobless Numbers

Posted on 20th September 2017 at 08:49

The number of people in Cowlitz County who have gainful employment continues to run at a record high, with Employment Security reporting that there are 40,000 people in the county that have jobs. The August unemployment rate for Cowlitz County came in at 5.6 percent, two full percentage points below the number in August of last year. Scott Bailey with Employment Security says that the only significant change in August was a drop in local government jobs, where seasonal layoffs dropped that number by 200. Non-farm employment is up 3.4 percent over the past 12 months, an increase of 1,200 jobs. It’s also noted that the number of people looking for work has dropped, down to 2,500 at this time. That’s 800 fewer than this time last year.

Road Work

Posted on 20th September 2017 at 08:48

The City of Longview is out with a reminder that the full closure of Columbia Heights Road is being extended by another day, and will continue through today. They say that weather impacts require some additional cleanup, as repairs to the slide from December of 2015 are continuing. Tomorrow through Monday, one lane of the road will re-open, with flaggers controlling traffic. Use alternate routes to avoid delays.

Cowlitz County reports that the south end of Beulah Drive will be closed today through Friday, as a project for the Beacon Hill Water and Sewer District is completed. This will be a daytime closure, going from 7 am until 6 pm today, tomorrow and Friday. Detours will be posted; call Cowlitz County at 360-577-3030 to find out more.

Today’s Events

Posted on 20th September 2017 at 08:47

The third-quarter meeting of the local chapter of “100 Men Who Care” happens this evening at the Kelso-Longview Elks Lodge, starting at 6 pm. Participants and others attending the event are asked to check in at 5:45, and then things will get under way at 6. Nominations for local charities that could receive the cash donation from 100 Man Who Care are still open, and you can make a nomination by going to 100mwcLowerColumbia.com. Each member of the 100 Men Who Care is being asked to donate $100 cash, which is then collected and donated to a local non-profit or social service agency. Community House on Broadway received $13,000 from the first meeting of the year, which was then followed by a $9,500 donation to the Emergency Support Shelter in June. Get more information on the web page, or go to the 100 Men Who Care Lower Columbia Facebook page.

Alvin Jones and the Crystal Pool Revival will be rocking the Longview Moose Lodge tonight, in a fundraising event for the Longview Senior Center. The theme for tonight is “School Daze,” going from 6 to 10 pm. Get a break on your tickets by purchasing them in advance at the Senior Center, or at the Moose Lodge, which is located at 921 Washington Way. Call 360-270-9519 to get more information.

Permits Nixed

Posted on 19th September 2017 at 09:11

The road to development of the $2 billion Northwest Innovation Works methanol production and export facility at the Port of Kalama just got blocked by the Washington Shorelines Hearings Board, which just invalidated two major permits for the facility. In a decision made last Friday, the SHB came down on the side of environmental groups that oppose the project, determining that the Port of Kalama and Cowlitz County failed to fully evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions from the plant. In the summary judgement that was issued on Friday, the SHB says it’s “troubled” by gas emissions from the facility, without additional evaluation of mitigation measures. They state that the plant will emit more than a million tons of greenhouse gases annually, increasing the state’s overall emissions by one percent, all by itself. Columbia Riverkeeeper, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity are cheering the decision, saying that it validates their previous contentions about the lack of analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from the proposed facility. In a prepared statement, NWIW President Vee Godley that they are evaluating the decision, and they “look forward” to continuing to collaborate with regulators, environmental and business leaders to achieve economic and environmental goals for the state. In its 21-page decision, the SHB states that a 30-day window to appeal the decision to Superior Court is now open.

Tornado Warnings

Posted on 19th September 2017 at 09:11

The unsettled weather put on a show out on the coast yesterday, with tornado warnings and sightings of water spouts reported. A Tornado Warning went up at 4:45 yesterday afternoon, covering parts of Wahkiakum and Pacific counties. In the Ocean Beach School District, a school bus that was headed for Chinook was sent back to the high school, and the scheduled cross-country meet was cancelled. Quarter-sized hail was reported in the Rosburg area shortly after 5 pm yesterday. Early this morning, several thunderstorms were reported along the south Washington and north Oregon coasts, with pea-sized hail, lightning, thunder and at least one-third of an inch of rain. They say that the chance of thunderstorms will continue into this morning, so you’re advised to be prepared for that possibility.