Stoplight in the Heights

Citizen-driven project becomes reality with Monday ceremony

At Eliot and Brookside streets in the Heights, the arching light poles are up and crews painted crosswalk lines — in the rain — Wednesday as last-minute preparations were completed on the long-awaited intersection safety upgrade.

On Monday at 1:30 p.m. Oregon Department of Transportation Region 1 Manager Kay Van Sickel will join Hood River City and County officials, contributors and citizens to mark the dedication of a $237,000 traffic signal on 12th Street (Highway 281) at its intersection with Brookside and Eliot.

In May 2000, Hood River residents Viola Briggs and Lynn Rasmussen died after being hit by motorists in separate accidents at the pedestrian crosswalk on 12th Street near the Hood River Shopping Center. Since those accidents, ODOT lowered the speed limit from 35 to 25 miles per hour in the area and hung large “Pedestrian Crossing” signs above the crosswalk “the largest signs legally allowable.

Lynn Rasmussen’s relative, Dollie Rasmussen, spearheaded a grass-roots effort that raised more than $50,000 to install this signal. Hood River County contributed $50,000 and the Oregon Transportation Investment Act funded the remainder. (Over seven years, OTIA will provide $500 million for transportation improvements statewide, using bonds financed by increased vehicle-title and other fees.)

The traffic light on Highway 281 at Brookside and Eliot Streets is expected to become operational by this weekend — after traffic engineers inspect and approve the contractor’s completed work. The signal will begin operation as soon as the inspection and approval process is finished. The exact time of the signal “turn-on” is not known.

In addition, next summer ODOT will install another traffic signal on 12th at Pacific — at the other end of the shopping center. The $220,000 project will be completed in early fall 2003.

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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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