Tuesday, July 8, 2003
Port of Cascade Locks officials believe their budget is in shape budget for fiscal year 2003-04.
That optimism is due, in part, to the May pay off of a $340,000 debt service and an expected increase of $60,000 in ticket sales from the sternwheeler “Columbia Gorge.” The agency is also expecting $130,000 of additional revenue this year from January’s toll increases at the Bridge of the Gods.
In addition, the port has streamlined operations by combining some managerial positions and not filling open vacancies. Chuck Daughtry, port director, said the workforce has been reduced from 89 full and part-time staffers in 2001 to 65 in the current year.
He said these factors have contributed to a $365,114 million budget that is almost the same as last year — in spite of significant spikes in insurance premiums.
“Everything looks favorable from the economic side and I think we’re really getting our act together,” said Daughtry, who came onboard two years ago.
He said because of the national alert over terrorist strikes, the port’s premiums for the tollbridge have risen from $74,000 to $125,000. He said higher fees are also being paid to update the value of the paddlewheel replica from $2.6 million to $3.75 million.
Although the vessel is still not generating the profit margin the port wants, Daughtry expects that scenario to change. He said the vessel is not losing the same amount of capital since it is no longer wintered in Portland. He said the work of Casey Roeder, the new marketing director, is also beginning to pay off. According to Daughtry, Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Wash., is now including rides on the sternwheeler in its room packages. He said the passenger count is also growing due to more special excursions and increased interest in charters from corporate clients.
Daughtry said the port’s unemployment expenses have spiked significantly, from $5,000 in the previous fiscal year to more than $46,000 in the current budget. There will also be some wage increases as staffers have the opportunity to earn up to 2.5 percent more from merit increases at the end of the calendar year. However, he said retirement costs have remained stable, a situation that have not occurred in many other public agencies.
He said the port has now positioned itself to capitalize on a turnaround in the economy— and from the potential siting of a gambling casino on about half of its 120 industrial park. If Gov. Ted Kulongoski denies that proposal from the Confederates Tribes of Warm Springs, Daughtry said the port will aggressively market the park to manufacturing firms.
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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