County to bolster flagging DA funds

‘Reverse 9-1-1’ and building ordinance also fill long agenda

Repairs have been made but there’s just a trickle of trouble with the Oak Grove water, meaning the boil-water order remains in place for an unknown length of time for Oak Grove Water District patrons.

That announcement came Monday from Mike Matthews, county environmental health supervisor, at the County Board of Commissioners meeting. (See sidebar.)

In a wide-ranging meeting lasting close to five hours, the board also approved “backfill” funding for the district attorney’s victims and child abuse services budget, and decided to reconsider the proposed accessory buildings ordinance that had been placed on the agenda for action.

Oak Grove meeting

More than 80 homes and businesses have had to boil water since October 2012 after E. coli was detected in water samples in the Oak Grove District.

The Health Department’s Mike Matthews said that repairs had been made on Oak Grove’s “head box” that was the center of the contamination, but that samples still show some E. coli present.

“We are trying to isolate the spot where the dirty water is coming from,” Matthews said.

Asked by the board how long the boil-water order might be lifted, Matthews said, “no time real soon.”

A public meeting on the Oak Grove situation is planned Monday at Rockford Grange on Barrett Drive.

According to County Finance Director Sandy Borowy, the department is experiencing a $14,000 shortfall for its victim’s assistance and advocacy programs and child abuse investigation and prosecution. Commissioner Maui Meyer’s motion to take money from general fund contingency passed 4-1, with chair Ron Rivers voting no.

The board also heard a report on “Reverse 9-1-1,” from Mike McCafferty of the County Fire Chiefs Association. McCafferty is chief of the Parkdale Fire Department.

Reverse 9-1-1 is a mass notification system that would alert citizens by telephone in times of emergency, as well as for non-emergency purposes.

Reverse 9-1-1 would come into play with community health issues such as the ongoing E. coli contamination in the Oak Grove water system.

The annual cost for the system would be $6,900, divided 10 ways by the county, city, fire districts, law enforcement and other jurisdictions. The county would contract with Everbridge, a Glendale, Calif., company, for the service.

Citizens provide information to the system, as basic as name and phone number, and manage their own user profile such as multiple phone numbers or addresses, choice of community alerts, and if they have any special needs. Users can also request the language of their choice.

The system can be employed countywide or in zones specific to a particular emergency or need; be it a fire, hazardous material incident, water boil notice, power outage or crime suspect alert. It can also be used to alert emergency providers when they are needed at an incident or training, and to announce planned water shut-down or other utility interruptions.


In other business, the board approved a resolution on The History Museum of Hood River County that would create a nonprofit organization. Currently the museum is a county department, and it will continue to receive county funding for personnel and other costs, and the county will maintain ownership of the property. The museum advisory board will be dissolved.

The new nonprofit, known as Hood River Heritage Council, will be overseen by a board of directors. The change gives more flexibility for fundraising and operations, according to Mary Ellen Barrilotti of the Heritage Council.

Latest stories

Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

Log in to comment

News from our Community Partners