City signs off on new parking plan

Downtown employers and workers are scrambling to take advantage of the discounted parking prices at the Columbia Street lot near the Full Sail brewery.

Hood River City Manager Lynn Guenther said during the past week 56 of the 135 available spaces have been reserved following news that the city would likely be lowering the monthly fee from $20 to $10. The rental rate at the other three city lots was slated to remain at the current level.

The reduced price at one lot became official on Monday as City Councilors approved the Downtown Parking Plan that will go into effect on July 1. The new plan was drafted after six independent merchants complained about recent city installation of 161 new meters. Guenther said two meetings were scheduled to work out differences after Craig Sabina, owner of Summit Projects, volunteered to spend two hours computer modeling the downtown area with the addition of the 196 existing meters.

“Our goal was to come up with a plan that not everyone was going to be happy with but that the majority of people could buy into,” said Geunther.

The intent of the revisions, said Guenther, was to free up more downtown parking spaces without penalizing business owners and workers. That compromise included offering rates of 25 cents per hour, down 50 percent, for the 65 meters on the south side of State Street. In addition, motorists will be able to buy a $10 monthly pass for those unreserved spaces that will allow them to park up to 10 hours daily.

The remainder of the meters throughout the downtown area will be at full value and the price for a violation remains at $10, double the $5 cost earlier this year.

Guenther anticipates that revenue from the new meters will bring an additional $90,000 per year that can be used to fund law enforcement, the wages of the parking patrol officer and maintenance costs. Prior to installing the new meters, the city grossed about $190,000 from fines, lot rentals and coinage from meters.

Although the city received some complaints about not metering the parking lot behind its own administration building, Guenther said those spaces needed to be left open for use by citizens and public works, fire and police officials. He said city lots will also be more heavily patrolled to prevent unauthorized users from taking up reserved spaces.

Pete Jubitz, owner of Franz Hardware, told Councilors that although he did not like the sharp spike in the fine for violators, he was pleased overall with the compromise worked out between the city and merchants.

“This is moving the right way, it’s better now with this proposal than I’ve ever seen it,” said Jubitz.

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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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