Oregon Trail Rally returns May 2-4

National championship races in Hood River County May 4

Rally America racing comes to Hood River County next week, with many of the top racers in the country in tow for the 2014 Oregon Trail Rally — one of eight events in the national championship series. The three-day stage starts May 2 at Portland International Raceway, followed by May 3 racing in Wasco County and ending May 4 on the technical gravel roads of Hood River County.

The Oregon Trail Rally is scheduled to be televised on the NBC Sports Network on June 1 (3 p.m. PDT).

The rally returns to Hood River County after some deliberation between local agencies as to whether or not such events should be permitted on county roads. At issue was the disparity between the amount the county charged in permit fees for such events and the amount needed to rehab roads after the high-impact racing. County Engineer Don Wiley, who was working on permits for the event this week, said the county’s fee had been increased to about $1,700 per mile of the 10 miles of gravel roads the course covers in the county. He said the previous fee was about $400 per mile.

With several road closures set to help isolating the course, spectating for the event will be limited to pre- and post-race locations, including the Port of Hood River’s Lot 1, which will serve as the event’s “service park” for the weekend. The public will also have the opportunity to see racers and cars close-up at a fan party May 3, 7:30 p.m. at Double Mountain Brewery.

With big names like Travis Pastrana and Ken Block in the series this year, organizers say they are expecting a “healthy draw of spectators from the region” during the event.

Unlike past years, spectator zones will not be set up for the final day of racing in Hood River County, which takes place in the Fir Mountain and Gilhouley areas of the central valley. May 3 stages are based out of Dufur and have two dedicated spectator viewing areas in addition to a Parc Expose at 9 a.m. in the center of town. Specific road closures are listed below.

For more information on the rally, current points standings, state times and directions and more, visit rally-america.com.

Road closures:

May 3: Through access to Mason Cutoff, Fax, Adkisson, Hastings Ridge, Steuber, Center Ridge, and Easton Canyon roads will be closed. The event concludes on Saturday evening and all roads will be reopened by 7:30 p.m. Wrentham, Emerson, Ward, Boyd Loop, and Long Hollow roads will remain open. No access between U.S. 197 and Eightmile Road along Endersby Cutoff will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 3.

On May 4, Hood River’s upper Huskey roads down through county forest lands will be closed, as well as through traffic on Elder Road. Gilhouley Road will also be closed through county forest lands, while lower reaches of each road remain open to local residences. Roads in the area will be reopened by 7 p.m.

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