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Work continues to bring back historic landmark; Downtown Troutdale plants living Christmas tree

COURTESY PHOTO: ODOT - Blasting and drilling took place this week to reconstruct the Mitchell Point Tunnel. Blasting a new Mitchell Point Tunnel

This week travelers through the Columbia River Gorge may have heard controlled explosions as crews continued to work to bring back a historic tunnel that was seemingly lost to time.

The Oregon Department of Transportation used rock blasting and drilling Wednesday morning, Nov. 24, to form the reborn Mitchell Point Tunnel — a new 655-foot tunnel with five arched windows that when completed will mimic the historic tunnel that was constructed in 1915.

The blasting led to rolling shutdowns for travelers between Cascade Locks and Memaloose State Park, east of Mosier. The drilling and blasting will pause as crews assess the latest section of rock with probes as the tunnel continues deeper into the rock face. The additional geotechnical work will help ODOT crews assess further excavation.

The original 390-foot Mitchell Point tunnel was a famed destination within the Gorge along the Historic Columbia River Highway. It was closed in 1953 because it was unable to accommodate high traffic volumes and large car sizes. In 1966 the tunnel was destroyed to widen the water-level highway, now Interstate 84.

Downtown Troutdale's living Christmas tree

A new tree has been planted in downtown Troutdale that will serve as a living Christmas tree to be lit up every year for the holidays.

The blue spruce was planted by city crews last week at the live tree well in Mayors Square, in downtown along the Historic Columbia River Highway. A great time to see the new spruce will be Sunday evening, Dec. 5, during the Troutdale Wind-er Wonderland and Tree Lighting. Visit troutdaleoregon.gov/treelighting for more information.

Join Gresham's Planning Commission

Community volunteers are needed to help guide how Gresham grows into the future.

Applications are now open to join the Gresham Planning Commission — a nine person advisory committee that makes recommendations to City Council on matters related to land use, livability, protecting the environment, economic development, and creating an equitable future.

The group meets from 6:30-9 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of the month, as needed, at Gresham City Hall, 1333 N.W. Eastman Parkway. The expected duties would require between 4-10 hours a month.

Recruitment is open for two positions. Apply online at greshamoregon.gov/CCAC/by Wednesday, Dec. 8, to be considered. For more information, or for help with an application, contact Claire Griffing at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-618-2871.


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