County drafts plan to protect streams

Hood River County has drafted a plan to protect riparian areas along fish-bearing waterways with minimal regulation of private property.

That task has been made easier since many of the affected parcels are already subject to protection guidelines because they lie within a designated floodplain.

Planning Director Mike Benedict is seeking to meet Goal 5 of the state land-use rules by writing an ordinance that will govern ground-disturbing activities along 160 miles of rivers and streams.

“The purpose of this ordinance is to preserve the streamside vegetation that is essential for water quality,” said Planner Anne Debbaut in her briefing to the Planning Commission last week.

At the Aug. 13 work session, the appointed body suggested several slight modifications to the text of the “Safe Harbor” ordinance, which will be presented for public review in October. That formal hearing follows two open houses that were held this year to update citizens on the mapping process.

The county will not regulate lands within its borders that are currently managed by other agencies, including the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and Mt. Hood National Forest. In addition, the county did not include properties within the Urban Growth Areas of Hood River and Cascade Locks, leaving long-term planning for those areas to the cities in preparation for future annexation.

In January, Benedict used a $15,000 grant from the Department of Land Conservation and Development to hire Wetland Consulting of Portland. Joel Shaich of that firm mapped sites qualifying for Goal 5 protection. He was assisted in the creation of that inventory by the county’s technical advisory committee. That group included: Jennifer Donnelly, city senior planner; Jurgen Hess, city green space committee chair and chair of the city planning commission; John Everitt, vice-chair of the city planning commission; Holly Coccoli, Hood River Watershed Council; Bonnie Lamb, Department of Environmental Quality; Jeff Hunter, real estate agent; and Steve Pribyl, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department.

“The point of the (Goal 5) standard is to get people to think about doing their project without disturbing the resources,” Shaich said.

Benedict said many of the affected parcels are already sited within a floodplain and are subject to a 100 foot setback for development. He said those sites will not be affected by the 75 foot setback that is now proposed along the Hood River and 25 feet for other fish-bearing streams.

Although existing property uses are allowed to continue, the following activities will be prohibited on land that is not already under other protection guidelines:

* clearing of native plant species.

* grading, excavating or placement of fill materials.

* construction of new structures or impervious surfaces.

* Dumping, disposal or storage of materials, including garbage and yard debris.

In cases where a property owner believes his/her lot has been rendered unbuildable, Benedict has included a provision in the ordinance that allows for a variance from the rules.

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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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