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Ben Mitchell

Stories by Ben

Lolley sex abuse case could go to trial

Case could go in January 2015 if unresolved

A child sexual abuse case that has been subject to proceedings in Hood River County Circuit Court since late last year may end up going to trial in January 2015 if a settlement isn’t reached in time.

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Nichols Landing appeal hearing to be continued

A public hearing held Monday night regarding an appeal filed against the Nichols Landing project has been continued until early next month due to new evidence submitted on the record.

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Serious injuries in Highway 35 crash

A two-car crash that occurred south of Odell on Highway 35 Thursday afternoon sent three to the hospital, two with serious injuries, according to state police.

No leads in Astro armed robbery

Police continue to investigate an armed robbery that occurred at the Astro gas station in Hood River Wednesday morning, and are still looking for a suspect in the case.

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OWRC upholds ruling on Oxbow water right

Nestlé water bottling project inches forward

A proposal to build a Nestlé water bottling plant in the Gorge took a small step forward on Thursday when a state commission ruled that a water right the corporation needed for the bottling plant should not be canceled despite the concerns of environmental groups.

HRCSO looking to squelch radio issues

Spotty service raises safety concerns

Interference, poor signal strength, and lack of service altogether are plaguing local law enforcement radio systems and the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office is trying to figure out why.

State denies key permit for proposed coal terminal

Critics hail decision as a ‘huge blow’ to Port of Morrow project

After more than two years of public review, analysis, and permit filings, delays, and extensions, the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) announced on Monday that it had rejected a crucial permit needed for the construction of the Coyote Island coal export terminal proposed for the Port of Morrow.

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Opportunities for comment on park and ride

Weigh in via petition, site meeting or public comment period

It was originally a project that was approved without notification of the general public, but now the proposal for the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort park and ride slated for the community of Mount Hood is open for public comment.

Portion of Powerdale pipe to be removed

Walking trail section of pipeline untouched

After decades in the dirt, 2,600 feet of steel pipe that comprised part of the late Powerdale Dam on the lower Hood River is marked for removal. Columbia Land Trust, a Pacific Northwest river conservation group that owns part of the land the pipeline is on, announced it is removing the half-mile section on the southern end of the fragmented pipeline in order to make way for riparian restoration efforts.

Nichols Landing appeal pushed back to Aug. 25

An appeal hearing challenging the city of Hood River’s decision to award a permit for the Nichols Landing hotel and retail development has been pushed back to later this month at the request of the project applicants.

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MHM reduces scope of Park and Ride

County provides opportunity for public comment on project

Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort plans to reduce the scope of a park and ride planned for Mount Hood after residents and adjacent property owners raised concerns over the project’s potential impact.

Local crews part of first response to Rowena fire

The number of personnel fighting the Rowena fire has grown to approximately 700 since the Rowena fire was declared a conflagration the morning of Aug. 6, but one of the first groups of fire crews to arrive on scene were departments from Hood River County.

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The prolific, delicious blackberry

Thinking of a blackberry binge?

Wildfires spread haze throughout the state

Smoke from wildfires currently burning in the southern, central and eastern regions of Oregon has spread throughout most of the state, the Oregon Department of Forestry reported, reducing visibility, but having minor impacts on air quality.

Committee to vet dog park sites

Multiple properties on initial park list

An ad hoc committee will be examining several properties both in and outside the Hood River city limits over the next week or more to determine their feasibility as possible dog park sites for public use.

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CL putting ‘For Sale’ sign on old fire hall

The city of Cascade Locks is making another attempt to sell the city’s old fire hall, the windows of which have largely been dark since the city opened and began using its new fire hall on the east end of Wa Na Pa Street years ago.

Friends of HRW appeal Naito ruling

Appeal heard at Aug. 11 council meeting

A hotel and retail development slated for the south end of the Nichols Boat Basin is on hold once again after opponents appealed a decision by the Hood River Planning Commission that would have allowed the project to move forward.

USFS hopes to open Cloud Cap Road ‘soon’

The U.S. Forest Service is aiming to have Cloud Cap Road open this season for the first time in over a year, which has been closed since 2013 due to dead trees finally toppling years after they were burned in a wildfire in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

Business owner looks to fight new Mt. Hood Meadows parking lot

Impacts to business worry neighbor

The owner of a local vacation rental business is upset over the county’s approval of a ski resort park and ride planned for the community of Mount Hood and intends to appeal the decision at the state level.

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Fair Moments

One of the great things about the Fair is meeting up with friends you haven’t seen for a while.

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Parks and Rec to hold public meeting on possible dog park

Hood Riverites love their dogs — so much so, in fact, that if things go as planned, Fido, Spot, and Rover may get their very own public park.

Gorge Commission urges moratorium on new fossil fuel transport in Gorge

Commission asks governors to impose hold until comprehensive risk assessments can be completed

After prompts from the public during recent meetings, the Columbia River Gorge Commission has taken a stance on oil and other fossil fuel transported by rail through the Gorge.

County approves MHM park and ride in Mount Hood

The Hood River County Planning Department has approved a commercial land use permit for Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort to construct a gravel park and ride area in the community of Mount Hood.

New weight limits for Bridge of the Gods

Decision will affect short haul trucks

In July of last year, the Oregon Department of Transportation restricted heavy trucks from crossing the Bridge of the Gods after discovering dozens of corroding bridge components that were in need of repair or replacement.

County purchases land to construct workforce housing

Plans for Cascade Ave. parcel in development

Hood River County is the new owner of a 2-acre parcel off West Cascade Avenue that the county says it intends to develop as much-needed workforce housing for the community.

HR man arrested for attempted murder

A Hood River man has been arrested for attempted murder in connection with a stabbing that occurred outside the Dee area Thursday evening.

Medical marijuana dispensary opens in downtown HR

The waiting room of The Gorge Green Cross, Hood River’s first medical marijuana dispensary, looks like any other.

Planning commission approves Naito permit, opponents ‘likely’ to appeal

A plan to construct a hotel and retail development near the Hood River Waterfront took a big step forward Tuesday night when the Hood River Planning Commission voted to approve a conditional use permit for the project, despite objections from a local citizen group who say the project is improperly sited.

Hood River man gets jail time in horse sex abuse case

A Hood River man has been sentenced to 60 days in jail, 24 months probation, and ordered to obtain a mental health evaluation after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting horses in the Oak Grove area.

Port revises HR bridge overlay project dates

One lane closures to start July 21

Repair work scheduled to start earlier this week on the Hood River Bridge has now been pushed back according to the Port of Hood River.

Possible decision on CL Port vacancy this week

The Port of Cascade Locks could make a decision this week on who will fill a seat on the port commission that has been vacant for over three months.

Naito hotel remand remains unresolved

City record to stay open for further evidence intake

In a debate that has now lasted well over a year, proponents and opponents of a development slated for the south shore of the Nichols Boat Basin continued their verbal sparring Monday evening during a public hearing over whether or not the proposal has met land use criteria.

City in need of planning commission applicants

The city of Hood River is looking to fill a vacancy on the Hood River Planning Commission that has been open for months, but so far, no one has been interested enough in the position.

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Hood River man has ‘run-in’ with cougar

Kean Dayley was driving on Country Club Road at around 3 p.m. on Wednesday when all of a sudden, he noticed a tawny flash in his periphery.

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City holds Naito hearing

At issue: Nichols Boat Basin hotel remand

The City of Hood River Planning Commission has set a public hearing for Monday, July 7, to decide on whether a hotel and retail development proposed for the Nichols Boat Basin is in compliance with the city’s comprehensive plan.

Lolley plea date pushed back again

A Hood River man arrested in December of last year on over a dozen counts of first-degree sexual abuse has had his plea date pushed back for a second time.

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A splitting headache: Rain splits cherries, but damage is variable

The concerns packhouses and orchardists had regarding the weather forecast were realized late last week when early summer rains swept through the Gorge and split cherries that were ripening in many Hood River Valley orchards.

Punchbowl grant a no-go

While the Port of Hood River’s proposal for a waterfront trail at Nichols Boat Basin will almost certainly receive funding, a county proposal to acquire 102 acres of land around Punchbowl Falls for a public park will almost certainly not.

Port ‘highly likely’ to receive grant for Nichols Boat Basin

The Port of Hood River recently received word that it is in line to receive a $445,000 state grant to help construct a waterfront bike and pedestrian trail located on the west bank of the Nichols Boat Basin.

Kenneth Lolley sex abuse plea scheduled for Monday

A Hood River man arrested in December of last year on over a dozen counts of first-degree sexual abuse is scheduled for an entry of plea Monday at 9:30 a.m. at the Hood River County Courthouse.

HR Bridge overlay to start soon

The Port of Hood River is set to begin a $266,000 bridge approach overlay and joint rehabilitation project in less than two weeks, which will cause delays and closures for motorists traveling over the Hood River Bridge for approximately one month.

County creates code enforcement position

Hood River County has been peppered with complaints of various potential land use and building code violations committed by some of its residents, and those complaints have been piling up faster than the county can resolve them.

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Geotechnical work underway on ‘new’ section of Historic Highway

Physical work has begun on a project that will restore a long-dormant section of the Historic Columbia River Highway in Hood River County to its former glory when it was first constructed nearly 100 years ago.

Cherries look good, but weather and labor a concern

The cherry harvest is underway in Hood River County and the fruit is looking good, with ripening slightly ahead of schedule.

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Authorities preparing for ‘tough’ fire season

With high temperatures and drought conditions predicted for most of the state of Oregon this summer, firefighting agencies throughout the Gorge are already girding themselves for what is expected to be a challenging wildfire season that is already underway.

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Crews quickly knock down Owens fire

A wildfire that began sometime early Wednesday morning on the site of an active timber sale on Hood River County Forestry Department timberland has been brought under control by fire crews.

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Bridge ticket discount to be eliminated 1/1

HR Port cites large printing expenses

Those who use paper tickets to cross the Hood River Bridge will no longer receive a discounted rate on bridge tolls come next year.

County budgets conservatively due to uncertain revenues

Five years after the global recession, the revenue situation for Hood River County has not improved as fast as the county would like, and that doesn’t appear to change anytime soon.

CL to try EMS support fee measure again

City adjusts budget to prepare for lost revenue

The city of Cascade Locks has decided it will make another attempt at passing an Emergency Medical Services support fee during the November general election after the original measure failed during the May primary due to a lackluster voter turnout.

Dog Falls fire fully contained

A fire that started earlier this week on the Washington side of the Gorge is all but out, according to fire officials.

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