Back to profile

Ben Mitchell

Stories by Ben

Tease photo

Foot pursuit of suspects shuts down UP railroad

Train traffic on the Union Pacific rail line was briefly shut down Friday morning as law enforcement pursued a male suspect who allegedly fled during a traffic stop made by the Hood River Police Department.

Tease photo

Hazy skies in Gorge caused by fire near Estacada

If you’ve noticed some smoky skies and spectacular sunsets and sunrises in the Gorge lately, a wildfire currently burning near Estacada is the culprit.

Cascade Locks offering incentive program for EMS volunteers

With a small volunteer pool and faced with rising costs, the city of Cascade Locks is looking for a way to draw more volunteers to its Emergency Medical Services department.

Tease photo

County considering preemptive pot tax

A ballot initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state of Oregon hasn’t yet been passed by voters, but Hood River County will consider passing its own marijuana tax beforehand just in case they do.

Public hearing on port zoning Monday

The Hood River Planning Commission will meet this Monday to address two items needed before development planned near the Expo Center property at the Port of Hood River can move forward.

Tease photo

Wildfire damages homes near Underwood

A wildfire sparked by a power line damaged three homes and burned 8.5 acres on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River near Underwood Thursday afternoon, but was mostly contained as of Friday morning.

County approves DeeTour venue

Earlier this week, the Hood River County Planning Department approved a commercial land use permit for DeeTour, a music and event amphitheater planned for the old mill site at the corner of Lost Lake Road and Dee Highway.

Sides file dueling LUBA motions over Park and Ride

While the county works on the decision, the park and ride is currently the subject of multiple filings that have been submitted to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA).

County hears earfull on Meadows park and ride

Planning dept. gets flurry of feedback on MHM park and ride

A proposal for a ski resort park and ride located in the community of Mount Hood has garnered dozens of public comments from county residents — the vast majority of which say they are opposed to the project.

Tease photo

Deal on Naito project ‘very close’

Agreement includes construction of waterfront hotel and commercial building, creation of new city park

After two years of legal challenges, it appears the controversy between Naito Development and Friends of the Hood River Waterfront is finally coming to an end.

Tease photo

ODOT submits plans for new Historic Hwy segment

Work likely won’t start on it for at least a few months, but construction plans for the next phase of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail have been submitted to the county for permitting.

Tease photo

Minor knocks out pole in Monday morning chase

Crash occurs at Ninth and State

A brief police chase early Monday morning ended suddenly when the juvenile driver of the pursued vehicle slammed directly into a power pole in Hood River, shearing the pole in half.

Dog park list narrowed down

Parks-Rec focus is on undeveloped sites

An ad hoc committee formed to find a suitable location for a dog park in Hood River has narrowed down its list of potential sites and largely scrapped plans to place the facility on already existing park sites.

Tease photo

HR’s second dispensary, Mountain View Naturals, opens

The city of Hood River is now home to not one, but two medical marijuana dispensaries.

Bomb threat closes HR Bridge Wednesday night

A bomb threat phoned in to law enforcement by an anonymous caller resulted in the temporary closure of the Hood River Bridge Wednesday night.

Tease photo

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.

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.

Tease photo

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.

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.

Tease photo

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.

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

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.

Tease photo

The prolific, delicious blackberry

Thinking of a blackberry binge?

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.

Tease photo

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.

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.

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.

Tease photo

Fair Moments

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

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.

Tease photo

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Prev