City seeks to save historical house, trees

The city of Hood River is scouting the best path to save a historical house -- without putting nature in harm's way.

"I too don't like trees to be limbed, but I want to save the house so how do you balance it?" Stephen Datnoff asked the city council last week.

In December, Datnoff made the sole bid of $27,000 for the Roe-Parker House at 416 State Street. The 100-year-old Queen Anne style cottage is sitting on a lot that has been dedicated for a major expansion of the adjacent library. Although the county originally planned to move the vintage home and re-sell it to raise money for the library project, that idea did not pencil out because of a shortage of available lots within close proximity.

However, Datnoff has a vacant lot behind his existing residence at 911 Montello Avenue and is willing to spend the estimated $54,000 to move the house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With the $4 million library renovation scheduled to begin in July, Datnoff would like to prevent the demolition of the dwelling but its relocation will necessitate an exception to city policy that prohibits removal of trees within its right-of-way or limbing beyond a height of 14 feet.

Dantnoff said he chose the steeper route up 7th Street because it would damage the least number of trees. After conferring with neighbors, he said there was general agreement for limbing up to 20 feet on eight or nine trees and removal of two to three others. Although he would have preferred taking the house on a smoother drive up Serpentine and down Montello from Fourth Street, Datnoff said that direction would have required trimming 32 trees.

"I didn't think this would be so complicated when I started but I'm just trying to help the community," said Datnoff, who will also absorb the cost of laying the groundwork for placement of the 1,400 square foot home.

But Datnoff has faced opposition from Catherine Kelter, owner of the Wine Sellers at the corner of Sixth and State streets. She told the city council at the March 11 meeting that she was worried the old maple tree in front of her business could not withstand the severe pruning necessary to remove the fiber optic line running through its branches. Datnoff is seeking to have the line lowered, intact, to the ground along State Street so that he can forego the $8,200 cost of clipping and resplicing it.

"The house can be cut in two and put back together again but if the tree is cut in two it will be gone and it's such a lovely tree," said Kelter.

However, Dantoff told officials the expenses for the project were already escalating and he estimated that piecing the house back together would cost more than it was worth.

"If it's a choice between the tree and an historic house, particularly since the tree may not die, I think the house should be saved," said Councilor Chuck Haynie.

Kelter also raised concerns over the safety of the steep route chosen by Datnoff, but he reassured city officials that he had conferred with three house movers who said the Roe-Parker house could be hauled up the incline without danger.

The city is seeking a "win-win" solution by asking Sprint to donate dollars from its community fund for the cost of re-splicing the fiber optic lines.

"I would certainly think there's an avenue to get that line dropped without cutting the tree," said Councilor Andrea Klaas.

While all of these details are being ironed out, Dantoff said he will continue working on his current home, a 1906 house he bought dilapidated in 1983 and had authentically restored enough by 1987 to have listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He said the work on that 3,000 square foot dwelling is within several thousand dollars of completion and he may sell it and move into the Roe-Parker house so that he can devote full energies toward its rehabilitation.

"I have to see how it feels, I just don't know yet," said Datnoff.

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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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