Weekday Wrap: Gorge hiking trails reopened, Evergreen Schools may have misused funds and new Hillsboro water rates

Two gorge trails reopen five years after Eagle Creek blaze

Two popular hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge are finally reopening after being closed since the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire. The U.S. Forest Service said it took thousands of hours of rehabilitation work from multiple organizations, to open the Nesmith Point and Wyeth trails to the hikers. The Nesmith Point Trail begins at the John B. Yeon State Park Trailhead and is a favorite for early spring conditioning hikes. The Wyeth Trail, which begins in its namesake campground, enters the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness and continues within the national scenic area for five miles before crossing the boundary into the Mount Hood National Forest. (Christopher Keizur/The Gresham Outlook)

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Fixes for out-of-date 911 radio system are years away

The radio system in Columbia County that first responders use is long due for an overhaul. The system is more than 20 years old and can be staticky and inconsistent. Concerns about radio coverage within schools have become a major concern for parents and some local leaders. Meanwhile, the county has been strategizing about upgrading the system since 2015. There are several options all with varying costs in the tens of millions of dollars, which will likely be funded by a resident-approved bond, adding even more time to the timeline. (Anna Del Savio/Columbia County Spotlight)

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Whistleblowers allege Evergreen Public Schools funds misused

According to an investigation from The Columbian, Evergreen Public Schools in Washington may have violated a state doctrine. Whistleblowers revealed that the equipment and machinery formerly used in the district’s Career and Technical Education program, potentially worth thousands of dollars, was given away without going through the proper procedure. State law requires publicly owned property and equipment to be formally designated as surplus and sold at auction if it’s no longer being used. By selling off old goods that might not be in good shape, school districts are able to retain as much money as possible from goods originally purchased with taxpayer money. (Griffin Reilly/The Columbian)

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Snow is expected Saturday in the Cascade Range in Lane County, winter weather advisory issued

The first major snow of the season is expected to fall in the Cascade Range in east Lane County Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. A winter weather advisory has been issued for the Cascades in Lane County above 4,000 feet, with snow totals of between 2 and 8 inches possible. Winds gusting up to 35 mph are also possible. The highest snow totals will be above the mountain passes with 4 to 8 inches of snow expected to accumulate above 4,500 to 5,000 feet. (Louis Krauss/Register-Guard)

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Forecasters says low elevations in Western Oregon have a better-than-average chance of seeing snow this winter, though they're not specifically predicting a storm like the one that hit Eugene in February 2019, pictured.

Forecasters says low elevations in Western Oregon have a better-than-average chance of seeing snow this winter, though they’re not specifically predicting a storm like the one that hit Eugene in February 2019, pictured.

Brian Bull / KLCC

Culver pulls 6th graders from Outdoor School over non-binary counselors

On Monday, Culver sixth graders bussed to a would-be week-long outdoor camp at Camp Tamarack, only to turn around and head back home that same afternoon. The reason — some students were meant to share a cabin with non-binary counselors. The superintendent made what she described as a difficult decision to bus the students back. The superintendent blames the camp for a lack of communication, but a spokesperson for the camp said they communicated with the school extensively and that communications are not allowed to include the sexual orientation or sexual identity of any of the kids, campers or student leaders at camp. Many counselors at Outdoor School are high school students. (Pat Kruis/The Madras Pioneer)

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New Hillsboro water rates adopted despite public outcry

Hillsboro’s water rate increases for 2023 and 2024 have been approved by the city’s utilities commission, effective at the start of next year. Another hike is coming at the start of 2024. Hillsboro said for a household that uses 6,000 gallons of water each month, monthly bills would go up by about $3.73 in 2023, and would climb by an additional $4.11 in 2024. Rate hikes will be higher in apartment buildings and for commercial water users. (Troy Shinn/Hillsboro News Times)

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