Wal-Mart asked for plan detail

Wal-Mart has been asked to provide more data on about 50 items in its super center building application.

Hood River County planners posted a letter Jan. 16 to Scott Franklin of Pacific Land Designs asking primarily for a further analysis of traffic, infrastructure and wetland issues. The Clackamas-based firm submitted Wal-Mart schematics on Dec. 17 for a 185,000 square foot store on a little more than 16 acres at the junction of Frankton and Country Club roads.

During the past month the county has spent $2,000 to hire two Portland consulting firms -- traffic and wetland experts -- to comb through Wal-Mart's building plans for missing information. County officials have also solicited comments from involved state, county and city agencies to pinpoint any infrastructure weaknesses in the proposal for the large-scale structure.

Eric Walker, county senior planner, said the Oregon Department of Transportation and other stakeholders have categorically requested a more in-depth traffic analysis, including an accident review, a weekend trip volume count, and a more detailed estimate of both pedestrian and bicycle use near the proposed store. Officials are also seeking the specific mitigation measures Wal-Mart will undertake to offset changes to Cascade Avenue, which is also a section of the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Since Wal-Mart is proposing to restore Phelps Creek to its natural channel, the county wants more details about how that move will change peak flows downstream, which could increase erosion along embankments. Walker said Wal-Mart is also being asked to provide further detail about the piping system it will use to stop flooding into the creek and surrounding riparian areas when storm water runs off the 12-acre parking lot.

The national retailer has also been directed to explain how it will mitigate damage to the affected wetland areas from its development. It has been requested to provide a copy of these measures that have been filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Oregon Division of State Lands for approval. Wal-Mart will also be required to explain how it plans to maintain and treat pollution in two 18,000 cubic feet underground chambers. These containers will be used to catch excess water from the pavement and then channel it into the central water system to prevent flooding.

Although area residents have raised concerns that moving Phelps Creek could adversely affect native fish runs, Steve Pribyl, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife acting district fisheries biologist, said there are no federally threatened or endangered fish populations in that waterway at this time. Under state law, Wal-Mart now has 150 days to provide the additional data. Once complete the application would be forwarded to the county Planning Commission for a hearing.

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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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