Thursday, December 9, 2004
Hood River County wants to add a $5 fee to all traffic tickets brought before the Justice Court in Cascade Locks.
The new surcharge would be used to set up a mediation process to resolve residential disputes, and to find larger quarters for the court. Currently, Justice Robbie Lee presides over court proceedings in a single-wide manufactured home off WaNaPa Street in the heart of the city. Each year the rural court generates about $270,000 in revenue from tickets issued county-wide for driving infractions and violations of state weight rules by commercial truckers.
Dave Meriwether, county administrator, said if $2 from the fee increase is added into the county coffers, the court could be afforded a new home in the near future. He said the county is currently negotiating with the Oregon Department of Transportation to construct a multi-agency human resource facility on state land at the intersection of WaNaPa and Forest Lane. In addition to the court, that facility would house a second branch of the county health department and the Center for Living, which provides an array of counseling services.
He said the remaining $3 from the proposed fee would allow the county to contract with a mediation service to resolve disputes. He said timely intervention by a professional mediator could stop civil conflicts between neighbors from escalating into criminal behavior.
A public hearing is scheduled on the fee proposal at 6 p.m. on Monday in the first floor conference room of the county administration building, 601 State St.
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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