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Ben Mitchell

Stories by Ben

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HR man sentenced to 9 months for shooting incident

A Hood River man received a nine-month jail sentence last week after pleading guilty to shooting and injuring a teenage woman on Mitchell Point Drive earlier this year.

Gorge Commission receives a mixed message on funding

Budget to stay mostly flat; increases had been earmarked for oil, coal train issue

A year after its executive director warned the agency was on the “verge of collapse” due to a lack of funding, the Columbia River Gorge Commission will not be receiving the financial boost it had hoped for.

HR County Commissioners approve garbage rate hike

Increase larger than last year’s

Garbage rates will be going up again in January following a decision from the Hood River County Board of Commissioners to approve a request for the increase from Hood River Garbage.

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Exit Mayor Babitz

Outgoing Mayor Arthur Babitz (right) accepts a plaque adorned with a key to the city from City Manager Steve Wheeler at the conclusion of Monday night’s Hood River City Council meeting.

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Hood River City Council lays out the Waterfront's future

Council unanimously passes waterfront refinement plan

In what was one of its last actions of 2014, and for some, one of their last actions as city councilors, the Hood River City Council voted Monday evening to pass an ordinance implementing the Waterfront Refinement Plan, which sets down design concepts and zoning restrictions for future development at the Hood River Waterfront.

City of Cascade Locks sells old fire hall

The city of Cascade Locks’ old fire hall finally has some new owners.

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DeeTour appeal fails due to deadlock

County Planning Commission votes 3-2 to deny appeal

An appeal against a concert and event venue planned for the unincorporated town of Dee has failed after Hood River County Planning Commissioners were unable to muster enough votes to make a decision Wednesday evening.

Agreement reached on controversial Lava Thin

Vista Ridge Trailhead off limits as groups push for more wilderness

After attracting controversy from environmental groups earlier this year, a compromise has been reached that will help move forward a thinning project proposed on Mt. Hood National Forest land west of Parkdale.

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HR City Council votes down Walmart expansion

Councilors vote 4-3 against; unknown if Walmart will appeal

In a lengthy land use hearing that was fraught with controversy, the Hood River City Council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to deny Walmart’s application to expand its Hood River location, ruling that the store’s vested right to do so had expired since expansion of the store hadn’t moved forward in years.

Gorge Commission hears coal, oil transport update

Representatives from governors’ offices plan to attend Dec. 9 meeting

Representatives from both the Oregon and Washington governors’ offices plan to be in town next week to provide an update on what each state is doing to address coal and oil transport through the Gorge.

Council votes 4-3 against Walmart expansion

In a lengthy four-hour land use hearing that was fraught with controversy, the Hood River City Council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to deny the expansion of Walmart's store on Wasco Avenue.

DeeTour appeal hearing set for Dec. 10

HRVRC challenges County’s approval of amphitheater in Dee

The DeeTour development, which attracted controversy when it was announced earlier this year, will go before the Hood River County Planning Commissioners next week, who will consider an appeal filed by a local land use group that accuses the county of making errors in how it approved and noticed the project.

Council to address Walmart expansion Tuesday

The issue of whether Walmart’s Wasco Avenue store has the right to expand could come down to a Hood River City Council decision to be delivered Tuesday night.

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Nichols Landing agreements completed, legal disputes over

Naitos look to break ground on project early next year

After over two years of appeals and nearly as many in negotiations, the legal disputes over the proposed Nichols Landing development have been put to rest.

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Camp 1805 continuing on its spirited adventure

July 4, 1805: On what has already proven to be a perilous journey, a horrific tragedy befalls the Lewis and Clark expedition — the Corps of Discovery runs out of liquor, while celebrating Independence Day.

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Measure 91 passage creates big uncertainty

Stakeholders wait and see on new rules for marijuana

If we learned one thing from this month’s general election, it’s that the voters of Hood River County are big fans of marijuana legalization.

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MHM rescinds park and ride application

Meadows cites public concern as influence on resort’s decision

Mt. Hood Meadows administrators say they have decided to rescind the resort’s application to build a park and ride in the community of Mt. Hood after hearing numerous concerns from the public about the proposal during a Hood River County Planning Commission meeting last week.

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Park and ride appeal fails

Planning commission fails to make decision, appeal likely heading to county commission

An appeal of Mt. Hood Meadows’ plan to build a park and ride in the community of Mt. Hood has failed after Hood River County Planning Commissioners weren’t able to muster enough votes to arrive at a decision during a public hearing Wednesday evening.

Early snow snarls traffic but causes no major problems in the Gorge

“It looks like a combination of slowing down, stopping to chain, sliding around, or multiple other things.”

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HR Bridge lift span not setting correctly

Traffic delays anticipated Monday for bridge inspection

A contractor with the Port of Hood River will begin inspections this week to try and figure out why the lift span of the Hood River Bridge isn’t setting properly in the down position.

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Winter weather is on its way

Wintry weather makes its first appearance in the Gorge this week as a cold front out of the Canadian Rockies descends on the Pacific Northwest, sending temperatures plunging below freezing.

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The geography of Hood River County’s vote

Precinct-by-precinct breakdown shows political divisions

The narrative that has dominated this year’s midterm elections coverage has seemed to focus on two things: the sweeping victories enjoyed by the Republican Party and relatively low voter turnout.

Former HR resident arrested for alleged murder of son

Jillian McCabe, 34, accused of throwing son off Newport bridge

A woman who had recently lived in Hood River was arrested in Newport late Monday after allegedly throwing her 6-year-old autistic son off the Yaquina Bay Bridge, killing him.

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Murder suspect Soto-Quintana won’t see court until next year

A Hood River man accused of murdering the mother of his child won’t go before a judge again until next year following the conclusion of a court appearance on Monday that provided no new information on the crime.

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‘Third Party View’ as HR cops get body cameras

HRPD’s body cameras keep an eye on public and police

The Hood River Police Department acquired a new weapon in its belt this year, but it’s not a stun gun, a pistol or a riot baton.

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LUBA rejects appeal over park and ride

An appeal filed against Hood River County’s decision to approve the initial concept of a park and ride planned for use by Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort has been rejected by the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA).

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Rip City meets Swell City

Blazers shoot TV commercial with local fans

The Hood River waterfront was buzzing with activity midday Thursday as local Portland Trail Blazers fans descended upon Waterfront Park to take part in a commercial shoot for the team that will air during the upcoming NBA season.

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Mayoral debate focuses on growth

Colt and Blackburn tackle topic of development at Dog River debate

For most elections, “It’s the economy, stupid,” that is often the key issue.

City sets Walmart hearing for Dec. 2

Could decide fate of Walmart expansion

A public hearing that could decide the fate of a planned expansion for the Walmart store in Hood River will be held Dec. 2, although how exactly that meeting will be conducted is still being sorted out.

MHM parking lot decision appealed

Park and ride goes to Planning Commission review on Nov. 12

A Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort park and ride proposed for the community of Mt. Hood has been put on hold while the county addresses an appeal from a neighboring property owner challenging the county’s decision to approve the project.

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Man charged in murder case

Miguel Quintana-Soto in custody for murder of Cecilia Campuzano-Ortiz

A Hood River man is behind bars and has been indicted by a grand jury for murder for allegedly killing the mother of his child.

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County says yes to medical pot moratorium, deadlocks on tax

The Hood River County Board of Commissioners passed one measure regulating marijuana and split on a second Monday night at the conclusion of two public hearings dealing with the drug’s evolving status in Oregon.

Parks and Rec expands focus on ball fields

HRVPRD examining idea of smaller parcels, more playing fields

The question of how Hood River County will solve its ball field shortage is still up in the air as the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District continues to search for viable parcels that could be home to new public recreation facilities.

CL seeking approval of EMS support fee

After it failed due to a subpar voter turnout in May, a measure that would charge Cascade Locks electric customers a fee to support the city’s fire and EMS department is heading back to the ballot this November.

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Walmart expansion back before city council

You may have seen the mailers this summer or the full-page color ads in recent weeks in the News from Walmart regarding a potential expansion of the retailer’s Hood River location, asking citizens write or call the city and voice their support for the store’s expansion.

County approves Mt. Hood Meadows park and ride

Opponent plans appeal of Mt. Hood project

Hood River County has approved a ski resort’s park and ride planned for the community of Mt. Hood, but the lead opponent of the project has already announced she intends to appeal the decision.

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Crush caps off a great grape-growing season

The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, the leaves are beginning to turn colors, and snows are slowly creeping from their summer homes on mountain summits down the rocky slopes of the Cascades.

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Halloween haunted house unlikely this year

Organizer of popular production cites time, money, lack of location as reasons

Hood River Fire and EMS Lieutenant Paul Henke loves scaring children.

Sewage issues shut down CGCC Indian Creek Campus, classes back in session Monday

A sewer pump failure Thursday evening at the Columbia Gorge Community College Indian Creek campus in Hood River resulted in the closure of the campus to faculty, staff, and students on Friday.

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County considering extending medical marijuana moratorium

Public hearing scheduled for Oct. 13

The end of a six-month moratorium on the siting of medical marijuana facilities in Hood River County is rapidly approaching and the county will soon hold a public hearing on whether it wants to extend that ban.

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New location for one of town’s oldest businesses

After 85 years downtown, Sheppard’s plans to relocate to new waterfront locale

Farm and orchard equipment retailer Sheppard’s has been at its location near the corner of First and State streets in downtown Hood River since the beginning of the Great Depression, but it appears it’s time for a change.

Two teens charged in CL pistol-whipping incident

Two Gresham teenagers have been charged with second degree assault after allegedly pistol-whipping a man at a Cascade Locks motel early Tuesday morning.

DeeTour proposal on hold due to HRVRC appeal

Hood River Valley Residents Committee appeals decision to approve Dee music venue

An outdoor music venue planned for the community of Dee has been put on hold due to an appeal filed by a local land use watchdog group that says the county made missteps in its approval process.

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CLIMATE CHANGE MARCH

A climate change march held Sunday afternoon in downtown Hood River drew approximately 200 people, many of whom were children.

Council not interested in pot tax

The vote on a measure that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state of Oregon is fast approaching and some municipalities are considering passing their own cannabis taxes beforehand in case the measure is approved.

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Not out of the woods just yet: Despite a little rain, fire restrictions remain

Fall officially began earlier this week, and not long after, the first official precipitation of the season followed.

Names released in pursuit that shut down railroad

Police have released the names of two individuals arrested in a traffic stop Friday, one of whom was allegedly involved in a foot pursuit that temporarily shut down the Union Pacific rail line near Hood River.

HRCSO investigating assault at motel in CL

The Hood River County Sheriff’s Department is currently investigating an assault that took place at a Cascade Locks motel early Tuesday morning.

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Climate change rally draws large crowd

Approximately 200 people marched through downtown Hood River Sunday afternoon.

Deal on Nichols Landing, park inches closer

URA authorizes execution of purchase and sale agreement

The long-awaited deal that would bring an end to the Naito Development/Friends of the Hood River Waterfront dispute over Nichols Landing may not be quite done yet, but a big step forward was taken Monday night.

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