County seeks expansion of Enterprise Zone to help attract business

Two public hearings are scheduled in March over an offer by Cascade Locks to expand its Enterprise Zone to attract new businesses and industries.

“We have a regional economy in the Gorge and what benefits our community benefits us all,” said Cascade Locks City Administrator Robert Willoughby.

On March 10, the Cascade Locks City Council has invited Hood River County Administrator Dave Meriwether and County Commissioner Carol York to present a map of potential sites for citizen review and comment. A final decision is expected to be made that night and the approved map will be forwarded to the Hood River County Commission on March 17.

The proposed map includes six square miles of properties in Odell, Dee, Parkdale and the City of Hood River. These parcels will be added to about four square miles reserved for use by Cascade Locks. By expanding the zone, Cascade Locks and the county would provide an opportunity for Cardinal Glass Industries, Inc., to open a window manufacturing plant on the lower Hanel Mill property. It would also provide other companies with lowered startup costs from a property tax exemption for three years, and up to five years under special circumstances.

“This will allow economic incentives to be in place for potential business development in the future,” said Meriwether.

Since last year the county has been negotiating with the City of Cascade Locks for inclusion into the zone. After determining that widening the boundaries would not drive away potential businesses from the economically-depressed community, both port and city officials have signed on to the idea. Currently, Cascade Locks has only one qualifying business, Chinook Winds Sailing, in its zone.

The Oregon legislature set up 49 Enterprise Zones for non-urban areas where geography would inhibit economic growth. Three years ago, Cascade Locks applied and was granted one of the zones for a 10-year period, at which time it may re-apply. Firms qualifying for the tax breaks include manufacturers, processors, shippers and other operations that serve business, and some types of headquarters and call centers, as well as hotels, motels and resorts.

Cardinal has submitted a letter of intent to buy a portion of the land owned by the Hanel Development Company. The national firm wants to construct a plant of about 100,000 square feet during the summer and fall months and have it ready for operation by the end of 2003. The plant will pay family wages plus benefits to between 50-75 workers initially — with more hires expected as production increases.

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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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