Wednesday, October 23, 2002
The Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration is just around the corner and the Gorge could capitalize on the thousands of visitors retracing that historic route.
To maximize the economic gain from increased tourism, the Columbia Gorge Visitors Association obtained grant funding to hire Kathy Watson as the local coordinator for the “epic” journey.
Watson and her husband, Stu, have written a book on the latter stages of the Corps of Discovery passage through Oregon and Washington.
She brings that expertise to her new consulting role and on Monday challenged the Hood River County Commission to prepare for the upcoming opportunity.
Although the national celebration begins in 2003, Watson told county officials that the Gorge will be highlighted at the two hundred year mark in the fall of 2005 and the spring of 2006. However, she said the three-year span of the anniversary is expected to draw as many as 25 million people to the Gorge.
Since studies have shown that most of these individuals would be somewhat affluent but live in the Northwest, she said the challenge was to get them to make more than a day trip.
“How do you get them to stay and spend the night because that’s the real benefit of tourism,” said Watson.
To help accomplish that goal, the Visitors Association has raised $40,000 in funding that will be used, in part, to educate employees of the local service industry about facts related to the expedition.
The specialized hospitality training will allow area businesses to post signage in their windows assuring clients that “Lewis and Clark is spoken here.”
“It’s really what we make of the commemoration whether it helps us to build on the region’s brand as a place of natural wonder and discovery,” Watson said.
She said there could be many long-term benefits from the commemoration since business owners many times decide to relocate after becoming attracted to another area during a visit.
Watson told the county board she would keep them updated as Lewis and Clark events unfolded but urged them to look for “synergies” between the commemoration and existing programs.
More like this story
- Yesteryears: Horizon Christian ‘changing skyscape’ with new building in 2006
- Teen pleads not guilty to stabbing HR woman
- Hearings begin this week on Longview coal terminal
- White River campground closed
- EnviroGorge announces bird quiz
- Letters to the Editor for May 25
- Santa Cruz, Fetkenhour April ‘Students of the Month’
- Picard resigns from Hood River city council over STR issue
- Cascade Locks city council continuing with Nestlé plans despite passage of 14-55
- An early exit for HRV boys lax, but not a disappointment
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