CGCC could piggyback on Wal-Mart

Officials look into new land use possibilities for community college and Wal-Mart

The Columbia Gorge Community College may be looking to piggyback on Wal-Mart plans for development at the western edge of Hood River.

Bob Cole, CGCC director of Resource Development, said the 28 acre property adjacent to the proposed site of a new Wal-Mart supercenter is under consideration for a satellite campus. However, he admits the college would find it difficult to build on the parcel owned by Ladd Henderson without Wal-Mart absorbing the major costs for infrastructure.

“We are not talking to anyone officially, we are on a mission to inquire and identify all the options we have available,” said Cole.

Wal-Mart is seeking to place a 185,000-square foot “super store” at the junction of Frankton and Country Club roads but has encountered a major roadblock. Last month, the Oregon Department of Transportation vetoed its traffic plan to move the existing Country Club Road intersection with West Cascade Avenue about 300 feet to the east.

Henderson has also initiated discussions with Wal-Mart to overcome the obstacle that could also prevent construction of a local campus in that vicinity. He is interested in selling the national retailer the easement it needs for an access that stands a better chance of gaining ODOT approval.

“I contacted Wal-Mart because I think it’s about time somebody becomes a little proactive here and I’m hoping the county will see this as an existing problem and take an active role in solving it,” said Henderson.

The future of both projects could hinge, in part, on the possibility of Wal-Mart relocating Country Club onto a public right of way from an old subdivision plat that runs along the current Stonehedge Gardens Restaurant driveway. That site would put the traffic light between 400-500 feet farther east than Wal-Mart’s current proposal and would dovetail with city plans to eventually construct a street at that location which would be linked with Fairview Drive.

ODOT officials contend the current proposed placement of the signal is “flawed” because of the potential for traffic backup since the stoplight would be located too near the Exit 62 freeway off-ramp. Because Cascade Avenue is part of the Historic Columbia River Highway, ODOT officials also registered concerns because the reconstruction was inconsistent with the city’s transportation plan and design changes would fail to preserve the roadway’s character.

Cole said wherever the Hood River campus is located it will also likely house branch offices of the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments and the Oregon State Employment Department. In spite of state budget woes, Cole said the college is seeking to fulfill its promise to provide more local classes.

“No matter what, this college is committed to providing educational services in Hood River,” said Cole.

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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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