Meetings will introduce proposed bridge routes

The existing Hood River Tollbridge could be replaced in the future by a floating structure or even a tunnel crossing under the Columbia River channel.

These are two of the options for the type of crossing currently being investigated by four transportation agencies, in partnership with local elected officials and stakeholders in both Oregon and Washington.

On Oct. 12 the three finalist locations for a Highway 35 bridge corridor will be presented for public review at a special open house. The event will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. at Fidel's Restaurant in Bingen, Wash., and is being hosted by officials from the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, Federal Highway Administration, and both Oregon and Washington Departments of Transportation.

The informal event will provide information on the three alternatives listed as most feasible and an explanation of the process used in their selection. These sites include:

* City Center Corridor -- a connection from the Second Street interchange in Hood River to State Route 14 in Washington.

* Existing Low Corridor -- about the same alignment as the existing Hood River Tollbridge.

* East A Corridor -- linking Koberg State Park to Bingen Point across the Columbia.

Three other alternatives were eliminated during a formal review of possible crossings that was undertaken by three separate advisory committees: a resource regulatory committee made up of state and federal agencies, local advisory committee comprised of area residents and business owners and a steering committee of local elected/appointed officials and agency staffers.

According to Dale Robins, SWRTC project manager, committee members and citizens have identified a variety of issues associated with the existing bridge and a potential new or improved crossing. These concerns include the capacity to handle future traffic, safety, use of tolls for financing, ability to accommodate bicycles, pedestrians and freight movement, possible economic impacts from connections between communities in both states and environmental and historical resource protection.

The upcoming detailed review will also factor in the possibility of just upgrading the existing structure or taking no action at all.

Robins said the next step in the process will be to perform a more detailed evaluation of the three alternatives. He said as that work unfolds, the public will be kept abreast of new information through public meetings, presentations to community groups, project newsletters and displays. The background and current status of the project is also kept updated on the SWRTC website: www.rtc.wa.gov/studies/sr35

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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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