`Travel Oregon' gives Hood River top billing

The Oregon Tourism Commission (OTC) unveiled the first issue of its new biannual magazine "Travel Oregon" this month, and Hood River County gets good billing.

The magazine is part of OTC's push to bolster tourism and increase awareness of the diverse beauty and attractions of Oregon, according to Tori Benson, communications manager at OTC.

"The new publication represents a major shift in the way the state presents travel information to potential visitors," Benson said. "The traditional travel guide is basically a book of lists -- names of places, hotels, restaurants and attractions. `Travel Oregon' takes an entirely different approach. It grabs the reader's imagination and takes them on a trip to some of Oregon's special places."

Not surprisingly, some of those places are in Hood River County. There's a spread on fruit pie which, naturally, includes photos and many references to the bounties of the Hood River Valley. There's even a photo of U-pickers at Kiyokawa Orchards as well as a recipe for pear tarts.

In a sidebar to an article on Central Oregon golf courses, Indian Creek gets billing as one of "Nine Other Great Oregon Courses."

And, in a catchy calendar listing that highlights just a few events statewide each month, Hood River County festivities get plenty of show. The Blossom Festival, April 20-21, is listed as "a gala springtime celebration." The May calendar finds the Pear and Wine Festival, May 17-19, smack in the middle. And July's listing features the Gorge Games, July 13-21.

The magazine is the latest initiative from OTC, which last fall unveiled a new in-state advertising campaign as part of its "Tourism Industry Recovery Plan" to address the impact of Sept. 11 events on the state's tourism industry. The campaign offers sample travel itineraries to encourage travel within the state. OTC also runs a national magazine ad campaign.

"Travel Oregon" is free and is offered at state welcome centers, visitors' centers and other select locations. It can also be ordered online at www.traveloregon.com.

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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge

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