Agencies mull Enterprise Zone

With “cautious optimism” the city of Cascade Locks agreed on Monday to devise a tentative plan for sharing its Enterprise Zone with other Hood River County agencies.

However, Cascade Locks Mayor Roger Freeborn and fellow public officials made it clear at the joint meeting with Hood River county, port and city leaders that any deal struck between the agencies needed to first benefit the “stepchild” municipality.

“Cascade Locks has felt for a long time that it gets ‘second best’ to the rest of the county, so what assurances would there be that would give this city equal status to Hood River?” asked Commissioner Carol York, who represents District 1 which encompasses Cascade Locks.

The 23 executives from the county, both cities and the two ports were joined by Carolyn Sanka, regional development officer from the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department, in agreement that Cascade Locks had the authority to set the terms for expansion of its Enterprise Zone.

“I see this meeting as working toward a united front, having the two cities, the two ports and the county all on the same page,” said Hood River Mayor Paul Cummings.

Robert Willoughby, Cascade Locks city manager, said the rural township applied for the 10-year designation three years ago and, because of its high unemployment and limited job base, was given one of 50 Enterprise Zones within the state.

He said the Enterprise Zone covers 12 square miles and suspends both real and personal property taxes for new and expanding businesses which create more jobs. He said the incentive is typically given over a three to five year period, although under special circumstances it can be extended for up to 15 years. Cascade Locks currently has nine square miles of the Zone that are available for distribution to other public lands throughout the county.

Another joint meeting has been scheduled for July to view a sample document prepared by the Cascade Locks City Council that will outline how that distribution can most benefit all parties.

“I think we are just right on the cusp of having some really good things happen in this area and it will help to have multiple voices with the same message going to the state,” said John Arens, chair of the county board.

The consensus of those gathered on the sternwheeler for the meeting was that Hood River County needed to work together as a whole to overcome its steep jobless rate. However, Cascade Locks officials reiterated that their community had the highest unemployment rates in the county and the least job opportunities.

“It really does appear that the economic expansion of the past few years really passed us by,” said Cascade Locks Port Director Chuck Daughtry.

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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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