Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Roads Closed

November 19th, 2015

If you’re traveling between Kelso and Castle Rock, your route options are pretty limited, as road closures remain in place, some indefinitely. West Side Highway remains closed near Hazel Dell Road, after a mud and debris slide came down across the road yesterday morning. Around 8 yesterday morning, mud and trees came down onto the road north of Lexington, covering both lanes of the road, and causing a power outage. Those repairs have been made, but the Washington Department of Transportation is expressing concern about the long-term stability of this slope. Geotechnical engineers from WashDOT will be investigating the slope, and will determine if additional work is needed before the highway can re-open. Northbound traffic on West Side Highway is being detoured to I-5 via Sparks Drive, while southbound traffic is being directed to I-5 through PH 10 Road and Huntington Avenue in Castle Rock. This closure will remain in place indefinitely.

Wren Loop Road is also closed at this time, as the county has discovered that the road was undercut and severely damaged during this last event. County officials say that it’s possible that this road could be closed for the entire winter. Traffic is being detoured onto Delameter Road or Sandy Bend Road.

North Pacific Avenue is also not an option this morning, as that road remains closed by high water between Walnut Acres Road and Headquarters Road. Cowlitz County Public Works officials say that they’re continuing to pump water out of that area, and expect that work to continue until around noon today. Contact Cowlitz County Public Works at 577-3030 if you have other questions.

School Bust

November 19th, 2015

A Monticello Middle School student is in custody after officials with the school reported finding that person in possession of a large amount of marijuana, along with a large amount of cash. The school called Longview Police in yesterday afternoon, turning the student and the seized marijuana over to officers. The student was booked into the Juvenile Services Center and the marijuana was logged for evidence; they say that the cash was secured with the student’s personal belongings. This investigation continues.

Shoplifter Snagged

November 19th, 2015

Troy Aaron McChesney, 44, of Portland is in the Cowlitz County Jail, picked up yesterday afternoon after he was identified as a suspect in a shoplifting incident at Home Depot back on the 10th. It looks like he actually “returned to the scene of the crime,” as employees called Longview Police shortly after noon yesterday. They say that McChesney was unloading some shop lights from his truck, possibly the same lights that Home Deport Loss Preventions says that he was seen stealing back on the 10th. Longview Police contacted McChesney in the parking lot of the store, and then arrested him for second-degree theft and possession of heroin. He’s currently being held without bail at this time.

Kelso Budget

November 19th, 2015

The Kelso City Council is moving ahead with mid-biennium budget adjustments, approving more than $300,000 in increased spending over the original budget document. Finance Director Brian Butterfield says that the Police Department will be a big beneficiary from these adjustments, receiving new cars and a new position…kelsobudget…Butterfield says that tax revenues have been increasing over the past year, boosting city coffers. Along with the full-time Nuisance Abatement Officer, Butterfield says that they’ll be able to shift some revenues, putting an additional $80,000 for debt service. City Manager Steve Taylor gets a raise in this budget, but his office’s overall budget is actually being reduced. Taylor says that other adjustments are being made in the “upstairs offices,” shifting money for the development of a utilities operations manager and another administrative manager. Utility rates for 2016 were also approved at the meeting, raising water rates by two percent; the average monthly Kelso utility bill will rise by a $1.60 per month.

Merrill Lake Deal

November 19th, 2015

A land transaction that’s intended to help preserve steelhead and bull trout habitat near Merrill Lake and the Kalama River is being approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. At last weekend’s meeting, the Commission approved the purchase of 235 acres of land near Merrill Lake, riparian land that will now be set aside as critical fish habitat. Actions were also taken on a land transaction in Asotin County, along with sportfishing rules, and rules dealing with conflicts between humans and wildlife, looking at things like crop damage or livestock predation. Full details on last week’s meeting are available on the WDFW web page

Community Conversation

November 19th, 2015

Architect Andy Rovelstad will be speaking about “Environmentally Friendly Design” at today’s Community Conversation Lecture, continuing on this term’s theme of “Jobs and the Environment: Imagining the Possibilities.” Rovelstad will be talking about “green design” and its impacts, pointing out how those concepts are included in LCC’s new Health and Science Building. Today’s free lecture starts at noon in the Wollenberg Auditorium at the Rose Center for the Arts.

Light Up Your Night!

November 19th, 2015

You’re invited to come and help “Light Up the Night!” this evening at Community Home Health and Hospice, joining in the observance of National Hospice Month. You can come by and light a memorial luminary, while also enjoying activities and refreshments provided by Community Home Health and Hospice. This will run from 5 to 7 pm at the James Avery Grief Center/Ken Henderson Memorial Garden, located at 1000 12th Avenue in Longview. All are invited to join in.

Extra Mile Day

November 19th, 2015

The Longview City Council will take time tonight to honor a woman who has been responsible for untold hours of volunteer work, helping organize parades, festivals and other events in the city for more than three decades. At tonight’s meeting, Longview Mayor Don Jensen will proclaim today as “Extra Mile Day,” in honor of Arleen Hubble. As a member of the Longview Downtowners, Hubble helped run the Longview Christmas Parade for more than 30 years. She also did the same thing for the Go 4th Parade during that same time, while also serving as the Go 4th Executive Director for ten years. Hubble has also helped to arrange events connected to Breast Cancer, along with supporting other events and organizations through all of that time. Tonight’s City Council meeting starts at 7 pm on the second floor of the Longview City Hall.

Storm Report

November 18th, 2015

After another inch of rain fell on the Kelso-Longview metro area and 30 mile-an-hour wind gust raked the region, the local weather picture is much calmer today. There are some road impacts around the area, due to high water and debris on the roadway. At about 8 am, West Side Highway was closed near Hazel Dell Road, and power to 549 Cowlitz PUD customers after a mudslide. Repairs are under way. North Pacific Avenue was closed to all traffic in the 3400 block between Walnut Acres and Headquarters Road, as water covered that area. Cowlitz County is bringing in pumps, and they hope to re-open that road later today. Cones are set up on South Cloverdale Road near Kalama, as mud and debris have been sliding onto the road through the night. Out to the west of us, traffic on Ocean Beach Highway is down to one lane near Seal River Road, due to water over the roadway. To the south and east, fifty miles of I-84 is currently closed east of Troutdale, due to hazardous trees. Traffic is being detoured onto Highway 26 and Highway 14 in Washington.

The station at the Southwest Washington Regional Airport in Kelso got nearly an inch of rain, and registered a peak wind gust of 30 miles an hour. Castle Rock reported a 24-hour rain total of 2.63 inches, and a gust of 25 miles an hour. Kalama got 1.63 inches of rain, and a wind gust of 26 miles an hour. One place that would have been absolutely miserable yesterday was the station on Abernathy Mountain; as of 3 am, they had recorded 4.17 inches of rain in the previous 24 hours; around midnight, that total was over 5 inches. That station also recorded a peak wind gust of 90 miles an hour at 3 pm yesterday afternoon. Sustained winds of 40 to 50 miles an hour were reported several times during the day yesterday. Over six days, nearly 16 inches of rain has fallen on the station at Abernathy Mountain.

A Flood Warning remains in effect for the Lower Cowlitz River through this morning, as the river is running above the Minor Flood Stage. As of 4 am, the river in Kelso was running at 22 feet, just above the Minor Flood Stage of 21.5 feet. They say that the river crested around midnight, and is expected to drop below flood stage at about 11 this morning. Minor flooding is expected, particularly in areas that traditionally flood out during events like this.

The Cowlitz PUD says that more than 1,400 customers lost power at some point during yesterday’s wind and rain, with five significant outages reported. Outages affected 458 customers along Delameter Road, 430 in the Castle Rock area, 391 on the west end of Longview, 120 customer up near Toutle, and 75 customers on the north end of Kalama.

There have been no injuries or deaths reported in the local area, but the Red Cross does report that they are assisting a family in St. Helens, after a tree fell on their home and rendered is uninhabitable. This is in the 59 thousand block of Clinton Street in St. Helens. Four adults, one child and a pet are now getting assistance with basic needs and recovery information.

Morton Quake

November 18th, 2015

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network is reporting that a small earthquake was recorded this morning near Morton. The magnitude 2.8 earthquake was reported at about 6:15 am, and located about 30 miles east of Morton. This was a very shallow quake, recorded at a depth of only 2.4 miles. There are no reports of damage or injury at this time.