Grants Benefit Three Communities
Program centers on economic benefit
Recipients of Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District’s Economic Development Grants will share $50,000 and provide benefits in education, transportation, emergency services and recreation.
The PUD awarded a total of $50,000 in grants during their regular June 5 meeting. Successful projects provide either infrastructure or property within the PUD service territory that is expected to last at least five years. Eligible projects may have received PUD grant funding no more than twice within a five year period and may not fund private, for- profit ventures.
Dufur – Solar 4 R Schools
Dufur School District will receive $10,170.45 to provide for the installation of solar panels at Dufur School, to help with alternative energy education. The funding will match a grant received from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.
“By the end of the unit, students will be able to articulate verbally or in writing the process of solar energy production,” according to the application, “the construction of photovoltaic cells, and the environmental impacts of both construction and energy production.”
Students will develop a data collection and monitoring system for the school’s solar panels.
From this system they will compile data and compare the outcome with data from other area energy sources, mainly wind and hydropower.
The Dalles Transit Center
A $5,469.55 grant for Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) will help pay for a bus shelter and signage for The Dalles Transit Center on Chenowith Loop Road.
“The project is part of a regional effort to expand and connect transportation services throughout the Columbia Gorge and update messaging about The Link,” the application states.
The LINK’s Dial-A-Ride services currently offer door-to-door transportation to employers, retail, schools, medical facilities and other destinations. The organization has been recommended for approval of a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) that would fund fixed route service to key destinations and connections to regional transportation providers starting April 2019.
A second ODOT grant, covering both The Dalles and Hood River, would provide for the safety and comfort of riders through bus shelter facilities and bus stop signage. Funding partners include MCEDD, Columbia Gorge Community College and the Port of Hood River.
Tygh Valley Rural Fire Protection District
A $4,960 grant to the Tygh Valley Rural Fire Protection District will fund purchase of eight new semi-closed breathing apparatus (SCBA) bottles and valves. Personal protection equipment is essential gear to provide maximum protection for individual firefighters.
The SCBA bottles and valves are essential protection in response to structure fires, RV fires, burning shops or marijuana grow farms with chemicals, or any incident where contaminated air is an issue. They are portable air bottles that can be carried in a backpack with a full face mask. The fiberglass bottles have a 15-year shelf life. Current bottles are reaching the end of their lifespan.
Wasco County Sheriff Reserves
Wasco County’s Sheriff’s Reserve provides part-time support for the sheriff and his deputies in times of need. The reserve program’s initial request was for $20,000 included funding to augment the selecting, hiring and outfitting of 10 new reserve deputies. The PUD’s award is for equipping the reserves, since only equipment and infrastructure are funded through the grants.
Each reserve commits to a minimum of 13 hours of duty per month. From 2014 to 2017, Wasco County reserves volunteered 1,919.25 hours of service, saving $44,489.50 in payroll, based on the cost of an entry level officer’s salary.
“With the addition of 10 reserve deputies, the anticipated savings and volunteer contributions to the county would be doubled, if not tripled,” the application states.
County reserves receive monthly training, at times in partnership with The Dalles City Police Reserves.
Reserve deputies provide extra patrols for large events. They provide foot patrols during Cherry Festival, Fort Dalles Fourth and various sporting events throughout the county. They also staff booths at various safety fairs and participate in local philanthropic events such as Tip-A-Cop and Pig Bowl.
Port of The Dalles Klindt Cove Kiwanis Park
The Port of The Dalles is working with The Dalles Kiwanis and Northern Wasco County Parks & Recreation to expand and enhance the park area at Klindt Cove, and improve access to the Columbia River in the Port area. A $16,000 grant from the PUD will help complete Phase I of the project, including expansion of the parking lot and lighting, upgrading to year-round restrooms, adding power pedestals for events, expand the grassy areas and install irrigation.
The project started in response to community interest in preserving river access in west The Dalles. The expanded park will provide space for small gatherings and festivals, enhance tourism opportunities, and provide a key way station along the Riverfront Trail, which is considered part of the Historic Columbia River Highway Bike Trail under development in the Columbia Gorge.
The reimagined park will include more activity and covered picnic areas, as well as improvements to the beach and river access.