Weekday Wrap: $5M for Wallowa Lake Dam rebuild and Oregon to pause homeowner assistance applications

By OPB staff (OPB)
Nov. 28, 2022 10:45 p.m.

Stories you may have missed from staff reports and our news partners around the region.

Tribes awarded $5M toward Wallowa Lake Dam rebuild

Tribes working to restore sockeye salmon habitat in northeast Oregon will receive $5 million through a federal grant program. The money will help the Nez Perce and Umatilla tribes rehabilitate the 100-year-old Wallowa Lake Dam south of Joseph. Adding fish passage to the dam will unlock access to hundreds of miles of spawning grounds for sockeye salmon in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.


“The Tribe has had some success in bringing back coho salmon that were once extirpated from the Snake River Basin and in dramatically increasing the return of Fall Chinook salmon in the Snake River Basin, we would like to do the same with sockeye,” Nez Perce tribal chair Samuel N. Penney said in an emailed statement. “We believe it is our responsibility to restore the inhabitants of our homelands if we can; they have always cared for us.”

The plan is to create a catch basin that will attract fish, where they’ll be collected and trucked upstream. But the project still faces hurdles. The Wallowa County Chieftain newspaper reported that rising costs and funding delays have stalled the project until 2024. (OPB Staff)

Oregon to pause homeowner assistance applications amidst backlog

Oregon Housing and Community Services will pause accepting new applications for the Oregon Homeowner Assistance Fund Program on Wednesday.

Ryan Vanden Brink, assistant director of Homeowner Assistance Programs, said this pause will allow the agency to process current applications in its pipeline, carry out minor system maintenance, and better project the amount of federal money remaining for homeowners.

Eligible homeowners are encouraged to apply for assistance before 11 a.m. Wednesday. If a person has previously applied or begun an application, the pause will not impact them.

During this pause, homeowners who have fallen behind or are at risk of missing a payment on their mortgage can continue to get free help from certified housing counselors around the state. To serve the most at-risk homeowners during this pause, OHCS will continue to accept applications submitted by housing counselors on behalf of homeowners in specific situations.

The Homeowner Assistance Program received about 180 applications during a minimal pilot program. Since opening under its third phase in June 2022, an additional 1,700 applications have been started by Oregon homeowners. (OPB Staff)


Boise launches investigation into cop with white supremacist ties

The city of Boise has launched an investigation into the discovery that a retired police captain has ties to a white supremacy organization. Retired BPD captain Matt Bryngelson used a pseudonym while spouting racist beliefs online and working as a city officer. He also was among the speakers listed at a conference hosted by a white nationalist organization group. Mayor Lauren McLean said an independent investigation will examine whether McLean or others in the police department have advanced racist ideology, including a review of arrest records. (Julie Luchetta and Troy Oppie/Boise State Public Radio)

Read the full story here.

New $35M transfer center aims to keep trucks off I-5

After five years and several hurdles, the much-anticipated $35.5 million intermodal facility in Millersburg is complete and faces its next test: starting operations. Once it’s up and running, proponents say the Mid-Willamette Valley Intermodal Center will take several trucks off I-5, reducing traffic congestion in the region and moving goods more quickly to Asian markets and other destinations. Situated on a long-vacant paper mill site, the facility is designed to transfer train containers full of agricultural and wood products onto ships and send them to countries like China and South Korea. Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist said the project has been challenging but “will be a driver of our local economy.” (Bill Poehler/Salem Statesman Journal)

Read the full story here.

Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort opens Tuesday

Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort announced Monday it will be opening for the season Tuesday, thanks to a winter storm that dumped snow on the Cascades over the weekend.

To start with, the resort will operate its Daisy, Buttercup and Easy Rider chairlifts, along with the Ballroom Carpet, according to marketing vice president Dave Tragethon.

“That’s mainly providing access to groomed beginner and intermediate terrain,” he said. “We have a 31-inch snow depth in the base area right now, close to 4 feet at mid-mountain. And with the storms that are lined up we expect that we will most likely be adding more lifts and terrain by the weekend.”

Tragethon said while winter storms mean great news for ski resorts, they can also make for treacherous driving conditions. Drivers should visit TripCheck.com before heading over the Cascade passes.

At Timberline Lodge, two lifts are already running. And at Mount Bachelor in Central Oregon, opening day is scheduled for Wednesday. (OPB Staff)

Stories you may have missed from staff reports and our news partners around the region.