City hikes parking fines, adds new meters

The city of Hood River will soon install another 170 parking meters throughout the downtown historic district that is expected to add $66,000 of yearly income into the general fund.

On April 22 the city council decided to add parking meters along the entire length of State Street from its western intersection with Sixth Street to the Front Street junction. The meters in front of the library will offer only short-term 30 minute parking but those on the southern side of the street will allow vehicles to park for a three-hour time period.

The new meters will also be placed south on Sixth Street and around the corner on the southern side of Oak Avenue for one block to Fifth Street. The coin collectors will also be set up along Third, Fourth and Fifth streets from Cascade Avenue onto Columbia Street.

Lynn Guenther, city manager, said there will still be 161 free parking spaces throughout the downtown area and people working in that sector have the option to pay $25 per month ($15 if paid a year in advance) to park in one of the four downtown parking lots. He said currently there are 109 vacant spaces in the lot next to Full Sail, eight spaces available east of Front Street, one in the lot just west of Front Street and six in the Fifth Street lot.

Guenther said his recommendation arrived at the behest of the Downtown Business Association, which preferred that plan to a suggestion in March by city public works/engineering director Mark Lago that the 25 cents most commonly used to plug meters buy only 20 minutes instead of the current 30 minutes.

To solve the ongoing problem of people preferring to net a parking ticket than pay for lot rental, the city council decided at the April 22 meeting to double the price of the infraction from the current $5 to $10.

Currently the city makes $112,000 from its 250 parking meters and is seeking revenue to offset its existing $300,000 budget shortfall and, eventually, build up enough capital fund to replace its aging fleet of service trucks.

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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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