City maps out wetlands, wildlife habitat

Protection is key with new development in Urban Growth Boundary

The City of Hood River is expanding and officials are seeking to protect natural resources from development.

An open house to explain the upcoming inventory of wetland, riparian corridor and upland wildlife habitat will be from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday at the city fire hall, 1785 Meyer Parkway. The fire hall is located next to the Hood River pool, on May and 18th streets.

Information will be provided on the project that is being undertaken by the city, with technical expertise provided by Wetland Consulting, a Portland-based environmental/planning consulting firm.

“It’s timely to do this now because we’re having so much in-fill development in the Urban Growth Boundary that the open space areas are slowly going away and we want to protect them for future use,” said Cindy Walbridge, city planning director.

City staff, employees from the Oregon Division of State Lands, and the project consultant will be available at the Dec. 3 forum. These officials will outline opportunities for public involvement during the inventory, explain methods used to gather data, and present a schedule and map of potential sites.

Jennifer Donnelly, city senior planner and project manager, said the wetland, riparian and habitat list will be used to update the city’s comprehensive land-use plan and zoning code to protect fish and land wildlife habitat, improve water quality and better manage stormwater runoff. According to Donnelly, the inventory will also help both the city and property owners meet the requirements of federal and state environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and the Oregon Removal-Fill Law.

“With this mapping we’ll know where the resources are so we can better figure out how to help developers with a proposal,” said Donnelly.

The upcoming work will be paid with a $30,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. Last week, more than 300 letters were sent out to landowners within the city limits and Urban Growth Boundary who could have their property affected by protection measures adopted at a later date. Property owners were also asked to give permission for officials to walk across their land and briefly study the vegetation and soils.

To grant that approval, property holders were asked to sign a postcard enclosed with the letter and mail it back to the city by Dec. 6 or bring it to the public information workshop.

Donnelly said all affected property owners will also receive a notice for a second meeting in the spring when the preliminary results of the inventory are ready for viewing.

Once the mapping is complete, the city will develop a sensitive site and riparian corridor overlay zone and develop protective setbacks and sensitive development standards within those borders.

For more information on the open house or wetland inventory call Donnelly at 387-5224.

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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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