Commissioners take oath of office

In what he termed an “august” occasion, Hood River County Attorney Will Carey administered the oath of office to three elected officials on Monday evening.

The first person to take the pledge was County Commission Chair Rodger Schock, who beat out John Arens for a two-year at-large term. He was followed by Commissioners Carol York and Chuck Thomsen, who each won another four years in their respective District 1 and District 3 seats.

All three county board members vowed to uphold the United States and Oregon constitutions and administer their duties “faithfully and honorably.”

During the following public reception in the third floor courtroom, Schock took the microphone to praise department heads and staffers for their “impressive” abilities to keep operations running smoothly. He reiterated that their strong work ethic would play a key role in maintaining services during tough economic times.

“I will tell you for a fact that there’s no better group of people working for the state of Oregon than we’ve got here,” said Schock, who previously served on the county board from 1979-1986.

Creating more local family wage jobs will top York and Thomsen’s list of “to-do” priorities during their next term. Both officials are concerned about the dire state of Oregon’s economy and want to soften the blow of budget cuts within the county wherever possible.

“In addition to the major growth issues, there are an awful lot of other things that we need to pay attention to — not the least of which is the state budget crisis and its impact on our county residents and services,” said York, who beat out challenger Ladd Henderson in her second re-election bid.

Thomsen, a champion of volunteerism, plans to fill probable budget gaps by seeking out more community members to serve on vital committees and donate their time and talents. He said when “times get tough” county residents have already demonstrated their ability to overcome obstacles and he believes they will readily lend their support wherever it is needed.

“I’ve done this job now for eight years and I’m still excited about it, I still enjoy coming to the meetings and talking to people,” said Thomsen, who ran unopposed for his office.

York, who was first appointed to fill an unexpired term six years ago, said she also wanted to run again to provide “continuity” as the county ponders three major development possibilities, a giant retail outlet, destination resort and tribal casino — projects that will also place Thomsen, Schock and their peers, Les Perkins and Robert Hastings, in the path of controversy during the months and years to come.

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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge

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