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Ben Mitchell

Stories by Ben

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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.

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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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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.

HRVPRD looks to expand Indian Creek Trail with Sieverkropp development

The Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District is looking to add another spur to the Indian Creek Trail network with the hopes of improving access to those who live around the Pacific Avenue area of the Heights.

Planning commission approves zone change on port property

Recommends council approves change to Expo Center parcels

A plan to redevelop the Expo Center property at the Port of Hood River took a small step forward Monday night with the Hood River Planning Commission voting to recommend that the city council approve a rezone and site plan review needed to develop the land.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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