The Oregon Trail Rally returns to Klickitat County next month, opening with a car show on Main Street in Goldendale November 6.

The Goldendale City Council met out of sequence Monday night in a meeting postponed from the previous Monday after technical difficulties prevented people from attending by Zoom, including two members of council. At this week’s meeting, Karen Jankowsi of the Oregon Trail Rally said that this year was the 25th for the annual racing event, which focuses on routes involving secondary and gravel roads in Wasco and Klickitat counties. She said there will be about 75 race cars involved, and councilors approved a request to start the Klickitat County portion of the event with a car show featuring the racers on Main Street for Saturday, November 6.

“It’s a really nice way for people in Goldendale and fans to look at the cars before they go out and race,” she said, noting that the first leg of the event takes place November 5 at Portland International Raceway where crowds are not allowed near the cars or have a chance to mingle with the drivers and support teams as they will in Goldendale and the concluding leg in Dufur on Sunday.

“We’ll have a ceremonial start,” she said. “I’m envisioning that they will turn onto Columbus, under your really cool arch that says Goldendale, and pictures and videos will show that. It’s a really great way to show more people about Goldendale.”

Jankowski said Klickitat County has approved the racecourse on county roads, which will involve the Maryhill Loops among others, and that the school district has approved the use of the Goldendale High School parking lot as a spot for service and have lunch in between legs of the local event. 

Councilors expressed their pleasure at hosting a portion of the event again this year, postponed from an earlier date due to the pandemic.’

Leslie Hiebert, CEO of Klikcitat Valley Health (KVH), provided an update on the pandemic from the medical standpoint.

“We continue to provide Covid testing Monday through Saturday” she said. “It’s been quite busy, and some weeks we’ve been booked out a little bit. We’re offering Pfizer booster shots by appointment throughout the day and flu shots by appointment from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.” She said people can make appointment on the Covid hotline, 773-4029, and people can get a booster and a flu shot at the same appointment.

From the hospital’s standpoint, Hiebert said, there have been a lot of hospitalizations throughout the state, which made transferring patients out a bit difficult. That includes sometimes having to transfer patients farther, as all the way to Seattle, rather than Yakima, Tri-Cities, or Portland.

“We are experiencing staffing shortages, just like all health care organizations, and finding placements in long-term care facilities has been challenging. We sometimes have to keep people in the hospital longer than we normally would, and sometimes, when there is no room in the hospital, we have to keep them in the emergency department.”

She said that 95 percent of the hospital’s 300 employees have been vaccinated or approved for an extension with about a week to go before the governor’s mandated deadline for hospital employees

In other business, councilors awarded a bid of $52,011.73 for the Simcoe Drive sewer project, approved a $14,000 award for a study on declining well yield, and had the first presentation of the proposed preliminary budget for 2022.