Telling time downtownVolunteerrenews oldbank clock

A1: Clock story

By ERIK STEIGHNER

News Staff Writer

Throughout the morning last Monday, a 90-year-old Hood River landmark received a facelift -- literally.

Portlander Art Thompson scrambled along a scaffold as he attached the eastern face of the public clock at the International Museum of Carousel Art during the course of repairs to the venerable object.

Thompson donated roughly $2,500 in parts and labor as he repaired the clock, which hasn't functioned for over a decade.

He clocked onto the project after Sharon Harvey took on the restoration of the clock as a community endeavor, enlisting the help of downtown merchants as she formed a committee to address possible improvements. The old timepiece had sentimental value to Harvey -- she could remember a time when she and her schoolmates would use it as a rendezvous point.

"She deserves a lot of recognition for taking the initiative," said Duane Perron, owner of the Museum.

The process hit a snag early on -- bids for repairs ran as high as $20,000, and it was clear that an alternative course of action was needed. Luckily, board member Thompson undertook the project and was able to complete the same repairs for a fraction of the estimated cost.

The large timepiece was produced by the O.B. McClintock Company in 1910. Its case is copper over iron, with a stained glass and art panels on its underside bearing the name of the former First National Bank.

Its original system functioned until the 1960s, when wiring began to deteriorate. To make matters more complicated, bank employees would occasionally forget to wind the machine. The clock was updated in the 1970s with low-quality modern motors and an electronic chime, but those improvements had failed by the 1990s.

The Museum moved into the building in 1999, and plans were bandied about regarding possible work on the clock.

"We decided to restore the clock since downtown Hood River is converting back from retail to trendy tourist trade," said Thompson. "It looked shabby with a clock that didn't work."

Perron wanted to preserve a "quaint old-time sort of thing," so Thompson was careful to respect the landmark's original charm.

"We decided, as much as we could, to make it look and function as it originally did," said Thompson.

Still, some improvements could strike one as distinctly modern. The clock was overhauled with a combination of high quality modern components and replicas of the original parts.

Along with the new carillon control, a CD-rom with MIDI music files will be used to play chime tunes with approximately an adjustable one-block sound radius, and makes it easy for the sound to be turned off at night. It also allows for special seasonal music around Christmas and other holidays.

"This is the only public clock in the (downtown) that's functioning," said Perron. "We hope that this one lasts another hundred years, if we can get the funds to repair its case."

Indeed, the clock's stained glass and framework are rapidly deteriorating, and Thompson predicted that an ice storm could potentially bring it down. With that in mind, the museum is seeking financial support to preserve the historic downtown landmark.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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