City sends 'urban fringe'annexation to voters

Hood River voters will decide whether some territory on the "urban fringe" of the city should be annexed.

Last week, the Hood River City Council gave the nod to placing the issue on the November ballot. Officials believe the incorporation of the central and western outskirts of the city will provide residents with several key benefits. These include quicker response times by emergency service providers and consistent development guidelines to ensure orderly residential and commercial growth.

(Previously scheduled hearings on the issue have been cancelled.)

The council decided to let city and urban growth area residents decide the issue after it received mixed reviews on pending plans to annex 277 acres of property near Frankton Road. Although many landowners in the area signed on to that proposal, both Ice Fountain Water District and Westside Fire Department challenged the city's legal right to make that move without the express consent of the people. If the city annexes the property, West Side would lose part of its tax funding base and Ice Fountain has raised concerns over finances should the city decide to take over as the primary water supplier within those sectors.

The Frankton Road annexation proposal was the first of four on the city's drawing board. However, the upcoming vote will only include that area and land west of the Heights that runs south to Country Club Road. The remaining zones on the northwestern and eastern borders have been placed on hold because the city cannot currently afford infrastructure upgrades to accommodate their incorporation.

The city originally proposed using the "triple majority" method of annexation on the two proposed territories, but feared it could be open to a legal challenge on constitutional grounds since that alternative would not provide a voice for non-property owners who resided in the subject areas. Under the triple majority approach, Oregon law requires that the annexation be upheld by 75 percent of the property owners who hold 61 percent of the involved parcels and 75 percent of the assessed value. For more than 30 years, landowners within the urban growth boundaries have been required to sign consent agreements for annexation when they requested access to city infrastructure. These agreements have carried over as a deed restriction from owner to owner.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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