Gorge Commission will appoint group to review `scenic resource' policies

The Columbia River Gorge Commission approved the formation of a working group that will address the issue of "scenic resources" for the scenic area management plan review.

The approval came during the commission's regular January meeting.

The commission must review the plan every 10 years, as mandated by Congress, to see how well it is working to fulfill the spirit and dual purposes of the 1986 Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act -- protect gorge resources and promote economic development in designated urban areas.

This is the first review ever undertaken since the management plan was adopted.

At the meeting, commissioners were briefed on the plan's current scenic resource policies in the first of a two-part presentation. The second half is scheduled to be given at a special plan review session, Feb. 26 -- location and time are yet to be determined.

The working group will be charged with helping develop recommendations for revision of policies in the management plan that relate to the protection of scenic resources.

With this issue, scenic standards will be reviewed for practicality, clarity and flexibility. Current policies will also be considered in how well they work to achieve scenic protection.

The commission is also looking to eliminate redundancy where possible.

Some major subtopics to be included in reviewing scenic resources include such things as better defining key guidelines and terms ("visual subordinance," for example) and providing more specificity in regards to acceptable colors, landscaping and reflectivity.

The commission also seeks to resolve conflicts with scenic guidelines, such as with fire protection guidelines and landscaping requirements and to balance protection of public views with those from private properties.

The scenic resources working group will be made up of representatives from the each of the six gorge counties, four tribal governments, along with two gorge commissioners and four citizens appointed by the commission.

"We recommended a working group for the scenic resources issue because this complex topic will require people 'to come up to speed' and we can take advantage of the expertise the group develops," said Commission Executive Director Martha Bennett. "We want the kind of creative thinking that can be generated when people with different perspectives share their ideas about an issue.".

In endorsing the working group, Klickitat County's Commission representative Kenn Adcock said its duties needed to be clearly defined and understood.

"It will be strictly advisory, it won't make any decisions, and it will not be a substitute for public hearings," said Adcock.

The commission plans to conduct public hearings as part of the plan review process.

Current plans in the review also include the formation of a working group to help with recommendations on the issue of land use, according to Keith Fredrickson, public outreach coordinator for the commission.

At the commission's next meeting, Feb. 12, at the Discovery Center, commissioners will be introduced to issues involved in land use.

Bennett predicted earlier that scenic resources and land use would each take nearly a year or more to complete.

According to Fredrickson, other policy issues to be reviewed are expected to take far less time with work and research and will not require the assistance of a working group.

For more information on scenic resources or on the management plan review, visit the commission's web site at www.gorgecommission.org or call 509-493-3323.

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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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