Hood River Port considers kiting ban

The Port of Hood River is fed up with kiteboarding violations that have turned into an annual public safety problem.

Just last week, the airborne devices were used for “street kiting” in two off-limit areas, the parking lot of the Event Site and Lot 6, a vacant parcel on the waterfront.

Dave Harlan, port executive director, intends to discuss a temporary ban on the sport with the Port Commission at its next meeting on March 4. He said that action could be necessary until there is a guaranteed way to prevent kiteboards from being used along the Columbia River shoreline where other recreational activities are also taking place.

“The kiteboarders need to get organized and this needs to quit happening — it’s just the same thing every year,” he said.

Harlan said kiteboarding is restricted to the Hook and a sandbar northeast of the Event Site for a simple reason. He said the port is trying to prevent injury to bystanders caused by a collision or entanglement in the 85-to-100 foot drag lines needed to launch and land the equipment. He said that danger is heightened by the fact that kiteboards typically travel between 20 and 25 miles per hour and can rise 20 feet above ground level.

In 2000, the port agreed to allow the sport when the Gorge Kite Boarding Association offered to be self-enforcing and educate participants about the importance of adhering to the rules. As part of that effort, the Hood River-based group helped port officials develop wording for signs that were posted in the restricted zones. In return, the port helped provide easier access to the waterside at the Hook by upgrading two primitive ramps.

But Harlan said the self-policing policy appears not to be fully effective since the kiteboarding season begins with at least several forays into prohibited areas. He said the liability risk is just too high to allow those “irresponsible” actions to continue.

“If people can’t read and follow the signs then the easiest thing for us to do is ban it,” he said.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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