CGCC board will seek November bond

Revenue would help purchase Hood River campus site

Columbia Gorge Community College will ask Hood River and Wasco County voters to approve a bond measure in the November 2003 general election, directors decided Thursday night.

The measure will allow the college to purchase property in Hood River for a permanent classroom building and replace the college Skill Center on The Dalles campus. The skill center closed permanently at the start of the winter term, when officials discovered extensive deterioration and mold throughout the structure. Skill Center functions have since been distributed through the already-crowded buildings on The Dalles campus, a short-term solution which college directors consider untenable for an extended period of time. A bond measure would also allow the college to fix several ongoing building problems on The Dalles campus, including leaky roofs in the main classroom and administrative buildings.

The bond amount has not yet been determined, although the board reviewed three preliminary options at Wednesday’s meeting, which was held in Hood River Valley High School. This ranged from $9 million — the minimum to replace the Skill Center, purchase Hood River property and conduct essential repairs — to $25 million, which would allow construction of additional new buildings on The Dalles campus and develop a college center in Hood River. The college board considered but rejected a proposal to place the bond measure on the May 2003 ballot, with a majority deciding this wouldn’t allow sufficient time to conduct a successful bond campaign.

Meanwhile, the college is negotiating with a potential developer for a Hood River building, and purchase of property in Hood River is a necessary first step toward that construction project.

Hood River voters approved annexation into the college district in 2001, but state legislators failed to fulfill their commitment of annexation funding as one result of Oregon’s fiscal crisis. The same statewide revenue crisis has driven a series of college funding cuts, and these continued this week with projected loss of another $105,000. (There was some good news, though: the state community college board successfully shepherded a one-time payment of $276,000 to offset Hood River operational costs, an amount essentially donated to Columbia Gorge Community College with the approval of all the other 16 community colleges in Oregon.)

“This is our opportunity to take charge of our own destiny,” said college director Dave Fenwick of Hood River, who argued for the earlier election date. “We’re cutting the strings from Salem,” he added, noting voters’ rejection of Measure 28 because of concerns it would route money to the state bureaucracy. “We’re spending money on our own institutions, our own kids, our own adults,” Fenwick added. Several other directors from both The Dalles and Hood River agreed. But others from both communities questioned the chances of passage in only a few months’ time.

Meredith VanValkenburgh, a college director from The Dalles, argued for a later election date, saying the poor economy and threat of war in Iraq made earlier passage unlikely. “When we do it, we should do it right,” 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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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