Sherman County eNews #393


Table of Contents

  1. Canyon Creek Fire tops 2015 Regional Weather Events
  2. Notice: North Central Public Health District Board Meeting, Jan. 12
  3. Bridal Show Slated for The Dalles Civic, Feb. 20
  4. Presentation: Lights Out: Going Dark in the Columbia Gorge, Jan. 22
  5. Cottonwood Canyon State Park Blog
  6. Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Start Collecting 25% Tax on Retail Price
  7. Oregon Vital Records Fees Increasing In January
  8. Links


1. Canyon Creek Fire tops 2015 Regional Weather Events

~ Dennis Hull, National Weather Service, Pendleton, Oregon

The Canyon Creek Fire, which burned 110 thousand acres of brush and timber and including several structures, was the 2015’s top regional weather related event as voted by staff members of the National Weather Service in Pendleton. The fire complex south and east of John Day in Grant County, Oregon burned from August 12 until fully contained November 5.  In addition to the long term loss of timber, there is the short term loss of grass and other vegetative cover which leaves the Canyon Creek Watershed vulnerable to flash flooding and debris flows.  The Canyon Creek fire event received an average rating of 8.2 on a scale 0 to 10.

The top 4 vote getters were all related to the hot dry weather during 2015.

The rest of 2015’s top events in order and rating are:

Drought (8.0)- Severe to extreme drought conditions gripped eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon during the 2014-15 Water Year. During the summer, no measurable rainfall was recorded at Kennewick and Moxee City in Washington and it was the driest summer on record at Pendleton and Pelton Dam Oregon and Dayton and Ellensburg Washington.  Irrigation water was restricted which impacted agriculture.  Stream flows were reduced which impacted water quality and water temperature and resulted in fish kills.

Multiple Wildfires (7.8)-From June through October, 14 fires, each over 1000 acres, burned through parts of eastern Oregon and Washington. The Canyon Creek Complex and Cornet-Windy Ridge Fire each scorched over 100 thousand acres.

Hot Summer (6.8)-The June through August period was the hottest on record for these locations in Washington: Yakima, Walla Walla,  Ellensburg,  Goldendale, Kennewick, Moxee City, and Whitman Mission.  For Oregon, it was the hottest summer on record at these sites: The Dalles, Hermiston, Bend, Dayville, Heppner, Moro, Prineville, Sisters, Long Creek, and Pelton Dam.   In addition, Hermiston, Ellensburg, Bickleton, and Satus Pass set records for the all-time single day maximum temperature in late June.

November 17 Wind and Dust (6.0)-A strong cold front brought widespread damaging winds across eastern Oregon and Washington. Wind speeds topped 115 mph at 3500 feet elevation on uninhabited Rattlesnake Ridge, west of Richland, Washington.   In the lowlands, peak wind gusts exceeded 60 mph and produced power outages, downed trees, building and sign damage, and tractor trailer roll-overs.   The strong winds combined with dry soils to generate a dust storm.  The reduced visibility caused a multi-vehicle accident near Stanfield, Oregon in which 1 person was killed.

December 21 Wind and Snow (5.2)-Strong jet stream winds combined with a deep low pressure area and cold front tracked across Oregon and southern Washington.  Peak Wind speeds gusts were at least 65 mph at Goodnoe Hills, Helix, Kooskooskie, Athena, Hermiston, Pendleton, Madras.  Heavy snow measuring at least  10 inches fell at LaPine, Cle Elum, and Ski Bluewood,

May Flash Flooding (5.0)-A large low pressure system off of southern California pushed moist and unstable air north across the area for several days. The result was thunderstorms with heavy rainfall on May 21-22. Several areas across eastern Oregon recorded nearly an inch of rain in a 30-60 minutes time. Streets in Bend closed due to standing water, and parts of highway 97 were underwater in downtown Redmond. Two thunderstorms collided on the south end of Pilot Rock and dumped over 1.5 inches rain in less than 1 hour, producing flash flooding.  In Washington, a debris flow was reported in western Yakima County, just east of Rimrock Dam.  In North Selah, there was street flooding and some building evacuations.

Strong El Nino (3.4)-As of the first of December, the El Nino was the warmest since 1997-98. This weather pattern reversal has contributed to increased storminess on the west coast and southern plains, abnormal warmth in the eastern states, decreased Atlantic hurricane activity, and increased drought and fire activity in Australia.  The El Nino is expected to continue into the spring of 2016.

Central Oregon November Snowfall (3.2)-An upper level low pressure area moving across southern Oregon dumped heavy snow on central Oregon. Snowfall of at least 8 inches was measured at Redmond, Mitchell, Bend, Ashwood, LaPine, Sunriver, Sisters, Prineville Reservoir, and Madras.

February wind (3.0)-On February 5th  and 6th, a low pressure system off the Pacific provided strong southerly winds associated with the warm front that would mix down to the surface across several areas in central and northeast Oregon. As a result, strong wind gusts and several reports of damage occurred. Wind gusts in MPH were as follows: (86) 3 miles N of Joseph, (74) near Mitchell, (71) 8 miles WSW of Grass Valley, (60) in Bend, (58) 9 miles E of Dufur. Wind damage and power outages were reported in several areas as well. Central Electric Power reported 650 customers without power in Bend & Redmond, and another 300 customers were without power in Tumalo.

Wet December (2.0)-A barrage of Pacific storm systems unloaded frequent rain and snow across the area. By mid-December, most areas had received their normal precipitation amounts for all of December with additional storms into Christmas week.   Part of highway 12 near White Pass, Washington was washed out which closed the road for nearly two weeks. Moderate flooding occurred on the Yakima River.  

2. Notice: North Central Public Health District Board Meeting, Jan. 12

The North Central Public Health District Board will be meeting Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. at the North Central Public Health District, located at 419 E. 7th Street, in the Main Meeting Room, in The Dalles, Oregon. This meeting is open to the general public.

3. Bridal Show Slated for The Dalles Civic, Feb. 20

The Dalles Civic Auditorium will host the 2016 Bridal Show on February 20, 2016.  The one-day event will offer vendors who provide services or products from photography, wedding cakes, bridal fashion, wedding planners, wedding music, travel agents, health care, skin care, gifts, jewelry,  wineries, etc.

The event will be held from 11:00am to 4:00pm and will include a Bridal Fashion Show scheduled for three times during the day.  Bridal fashions by Davinci will be courtesy of The Dalles Wedding Place.

The exhibit area will be in the Civic’s Ballroom.  The fashion show will be held in the Community Room.

Admission to the event is $5.00 per adult. It is recommended that this event is not appropriate for ages 12 years and under.

Vendor and Sponsor packets as well as more information can be obtained by contacting Trish Neal, Program Manager at The Dalles Civic, by phone at 541-298-8533 or via email at


4. Presentation: Lights Out: Going Dark in the Columbia Gorge, Jan. 22

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center presents Lights Out: Going Dark in the Columbia Gorge, Friday, January 22, 2016. Bob Yoesle from Friends of the Goldendale Observatory will talk about the effects, costs, and hazards of light pollution. A beef stroganoff dinner will be served at 6 p.m. for $16, followed by the 7 p.m. program, which is free to the public.  RSVP by January 20. Columbia Gorge Discovery Center is located at 5000 Discovery Drive, The Dalles.  Please call if you have questions. ~ Susan Buce, Marketing Manager,, 541-296-8600 x 215, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum, 5000 Discovery Drive, The Dalles, Oregon 97058

5.  Cottonwood Canyon State Park Blog


 6. Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Start Collecting 25% Tax on Retail Price

~ Oregon Department of Revenue

SALEM, Oregon–Medical marijuana dispensaries will start collecting a 25 percent tax on the retail price of recreational marijuana products on January 4, 2016. Dispensaries started selling nontaxable limited recreational marijuana products–seeds, leaves, flowers, and non-flowering plants–to those 21 or older on October 1, 2015 under Senate Bill 460. House Bill 2041 authorized the tax that begins in January, and the rate is in effect for dispensary sales until December 31, 2016. Toward the end of the 2015 Legislative Session, marijuana taxation shifted from the grower level to the point of sale. The administration of the tax also moved from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) to the Department of Revenue. Since then, Revenue has been working closely with its partner agencies to make sure the plans for administering the tax match with the expectations of voters, the Legislature, and the general public, said John Galvin, the Marijuana Tax Program manager at Revenue. “Even though the marijuana tax program is new to Oregon, administering tax programs is what we do every day,” said Jim Bucholz, director of the Department of Revenue. “We’re applying decades of tax-administration lessons learned and best practices to the development and implementation of Oregon’s marijuana tax program. We’re confident that the end result will be an effective and efficient tax collection program.” OLCC plans to start issuing licenses to retail facilities in late 2016. At licensed retailers, consumers will be able to buy more types of recreational marijuana products, including immature plants, edibles, concentrates, extracts, and topical products. Retail sales at licensed facilities will be taxed at 17 percent. Cities and counties can adopt an additional local tax of up to 3 percent on retail sales. The state Department of Revenue is not involved in the collection of local marijuana taxes. Oregon voters approved marijuana tax revenue distributions through Measure 91.

The total revenue, after Revenue’s administrative expenses and OLCC’s liquor fund loan are repaid, will be distributed as follows:

* 40 percent to the Common School Fund.

* 20 percent to mental health, alcoholism, and drug services.

* 15 percent to the Oregon State Police.

* 10 percent to cities for local law enforcement.

* 10 percent to counties for local law enforcement.

* 5 percent to the Oregon Health Authority for alcohol and drug abuse prevention and early intervention and treatment services. These disbursements may begin after July 1, 2017. City and county disbursements will depend on the number of OLCC licenses issued to facilities in that area. Cities and counties that choose to prohibit licensed facilities will not receive any marijuana tax revenue disbursements.

Find out more about Oregon’s recreational marijuana tax online at You can also call (503) 947-2597, or email, for more information. For current revenue estimates on recreational marijuana sales and taxes, call the Legislative Revenue Office at (503) 986-1266. To learn more about licensing for retail facilities, retail sales, or starting a recreational marijuana business, visit, call (503) 872-6366 or 1 (800) 452-6522 (toll-free), or email For information on temporary recreational sales at medical marijuana dispensaries, call 1 (855) 244-9580 (toll-free) or email


7. Oregon Vital Records Fees Increasing In January

New cost to cover existing services required by law

Fees for Oregon vital records, including birth, death and marriage certificates, will increase by $5 in January to cover increasing administrative costs, the Oregon Health Authority’s Center for Health Statistics is announcing.

The basic fee for a certificate will be $25 starting Jan. 1, 2016. Fees for other services will also increase. A complete list can be found at:

All county vital records offices must charge the same fees as the state vital records office. North Central Public Health District provides certified copies of birth and death certificates for the first six months after events occurring in Wasco and Sherman Counties. After that certified copies are only available through Oregon Vital Records based at the OHA Public Health Division.

For more information, please contact North Central Public Health District at (541) 506-2600 or visit us on the web at




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