U. S. Senator Maria Cantwell is expected in the area today, meeting with local officials to unveil a new report on the “affordable housing gap” in Cowlitz County, while also pushing for Congress to expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. Cantwell will be holding a roundtable session with local and county elected officials along with local housing and shelter officials. Cantwell is pushing for a 50-percent expansion of the Housing Tax Credit, along with other reforms that will help that credit target the lowest-income populations. Today’s roundtable discussion is being held at Lilac Place in Woodland, a housing complex for up to 38 low-income families; Lilac Place opened in 2014, and was partially paid for through the Housing Tax Credit program. Today’s roundtable discussion starts at 12:30 pm at the Lilac Place Apartments, located at 1313 Wildwood Street in Woodland. A tour of the complex is planned after the roundtable discussion.
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Road striping and chip-sealing continues on county roads over the weekend. Striping is planned on a number of roads around the Castle Rock and Kelso areas; on Sunday, road crews will be striping roads on the west end of Longview. If you come upon the painting operation, you’re asked to wait until the last truck has passed before entering the roadway, and you’re asked not to cross the paint lines until they dry, which takes about five minutes. Chip sealing is planned to start next Tuesday, working in the Kelso area, also heading out Rose Valley and Goble Creek Roads. The West Side Highway Overlay project also continues next week, working on the north end of the highway between Chapman Road and the Lewis County line. Delays of up to 20 minutes at a time are possible, going from 7 am until 6 pm in the work zones. Be sure to slow down for the work zones; fines double in work zones so be sure to observe work zone speed limits, along with the directions of flaggers and construction personnel.
Lower Columbia CAP says that another Chinook and Steelhead handout is planned for today, starting at 11 am at the Help Food Warehouse. You’ll need to have your EBT card or you must have been getting commodity foods from CAP to be eligible for a fish, and you must be a Washington resident. You’ll also need to bring your own box, bag or cooler to carry your fish, as CAP has no carrying containers available. Call 425-3430 if you need more information or help.
Safe Kids Lower Columbia is putting on a Car Seat Clinic today, set up in the parking lot of the Red Canoe Credit Union on Washington Way in Longview. They will be there from 1 to 4 pm, checking seats for proper installation and use. They claim that 92 percent of the car seats checked last year in Cowlitz County were improperly installed. Certified Car Seat Techs will check to make sure your car seat is properly installed, and is safe for continued use. Call Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue at 575-6280 if you have questions.
It’s the final weekend to catch the latest melodrama from Stageworks Northwest, as they present “The Merchant of Menace.” Curtain times at the Longview Theatre on Commerce Avenue in downtown Longview is set for 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday nights, along with a 2 pm Sunday matinee. Get ticket information on stageworksnorthwest.com.
The Columbia County Fair continues today, tomorrow and Sunday at the fairgrounds just outside of Saint Helens on Saulser Road. The gates open at 10 am each day, with racing pigs, live entertainment, the NPRA Rodeo and a lot more.
The Rod Run to the Rock Car and Powersports Show takes place on Saturday in downtown Castle Rock. Setup starts at 7 tomorrow morning, and then registration will open at 8. Awards will be presented at 2 pm. New this year at the Rod Run for the Rock is the inclusion of ATV’s, UTV’s, snowmobiles, motorcycles and waverunners. Organizers say that ALL rides are welcome, from mud buckets to show cars. Call 274-5655to get more information.
There are a couple of things going on this weekend in support of Addy Jo Cliffton, the local four year-old who has been battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia. There’s a Spaghetti Feed going from 5 to 8 pm Saturday at the Faith Family Christian Center at 38th and Ocean Beach Highway. The cost is $5 per person, and will also feature raffles and a silent auction.
At 2 pm this Sunday at Riverside Park, a party is planned for Addy Jo’s 5th brithday. Addy Jo says that she wants her birthday celebrated with a giant water balloon fight, so that’s what’s being set up. Everybody is invited to come by and take part.
The Ralph Painter Memorial Run is being held this weekend at Rainier High School, starting at 8:30 Saturday morning. They’ll have 5K or 10K routes to walk or run, raising money for the Ralph Painter Memorial Scholarship. Register in advance at RalphPainterRun.com.
Out at the beach, the annual SandSations sand castle competition and display will take place. Get full details by going to funbeach.com.
The people who put together last night’s Longview Police “Cop Chat” event say that they’re extremely pleased by the turning, with more than 70 people coming by for the event. In a Facebook posting after the event, organizers say that they weren’t sure if anyone would show up, if it would be a protest, or if it would be a “love fest.” They say that it turned out to be a “great opportunity to talk and listen to each other,” and LPD says that it wants the dialogue to continue. Patrol Captain Robert Huhta, Investigations Captain Deborah Johnson, Training Doug Kazensky, Corporal Danielle Jenkins and Community Service Officer Cindy Lopez Werth met with the 71 people who attended, and also answered questions. One couple arrived with a balloon bouquet, and others brought homemade cards of support. Police officials say that they felt “very supported and appreciated,” and they thank the community for that.
Longview Police are working off of security video photos to try and identify and arrest the man who had the guts to try and break into the department’s garage on 14th Avenue. They say that the incident took place early Tuesday morning, and was captured on the building’s security video. They say that a man cut a hole in the chain link fence wall on the alley side of the garage, but it doesn’t appear that he got inside, or did any other damage. Repairs to the fence wall are estimated to be about $750. LPD reports that they do have a lead on a possible suspect, but no arrests have been reported as of yet.
Pictures are being posted on Facebook by Longview Police, asking for your help in identifying the man who stole a security camera from a home in the 900 block of 28th Avenue. The incident reportedly took place early on the morning of July 10th; the photos being posted show a man wearing a Nike ball cap, a zip-up hoodie over a T-shirt, long camo shorts with drawstrings at the knees and athletic shoes; they also say that the suspect appears to have a can of Pringles in his pocket. Longview Police say that they’ve had great help from the public when they’ve posted photos like these, with some cases being solved in as little as ten minutes after the initial post. If you know the person in these photos, don’t post names or information publicly; you’re asked to send a private message, use the case number L16-4704, along with a reference to “stolen security camera. You can also call the Longview Police non-emergency number at 442-5800.
Fire Season is officially under way in Oregon, initiated at 1 am today by the Oregon Department of Forestry. This declaration covers ODF-protected lands in Columbia and Clatsop counties, along with Washington, Multnomah, Tillamook, and Yamhill counties. The declaration covers state, private and Bureau of Land Management forest lands, and will remain in effect until further notice. Forest operators are now required to have fire equipment on-site, and they’re reminded that this equipment needs to be ready to pass inspection. Forest companies must also provide fire watch after each operation is shut down at the end of the day; smoking restrictions are in place, along with a ban on the use of “fuse and caps” when blasting. For the general public, permits are now required for open pile burning and burn barrels; you should contact your local fire agency for current regulations and permit applications. Contact your local fire department for more information.
All lanes of I-5 southbound are open once again, but miles of backup remain after this morning’s crash on I-5 Bridge over the Columbia River. Two lanes of the freeway into Portland were closed until about 6:30 this morning, after an SUV rear-ended an “attenuator truck” that was blocking lanes for a work zone on the southbound span at about 3:30 am. Witnesses reported seeing the driver of the car get out and run away, as the car caught fire. One of the bridge workers broke a car window, and helped rescue a woman and a child that were left in the vehicle. Two lanes of the freeway remained closed until 6:30, backing freeway traffic up for miles. Heavy traffic will remain until that backup clears; you may want to use an alternate route into Portland this morning.