Walden: things are looking up

Congressman notes ‘shining ray’ of hope in HR visit

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., is working to bring more family wage jobs to Hood River and other rural Oregon counties.

He is extremely pleased about the plans by Cardinal Glass Industries to set up shop at the lower Hanel Mill site. Walden said the 75-100 family-wage jobs will help lower the high rate of poverty, hunger and unemployment in the Mid-Columbia.

“That news is a beautiful shining ray upon our valley that maybe will attract other jobs into this community,” he said.

Walden, who lives in Hood River, is working to score as much federal funding as possible for key infrastructure projects within his Second Congressional District. His ultimate goal behind pursuing these grant dollars is to bring more business opportunities into economically-depressed areas. He wants to relieve some of the financial burden that is being shouldered by struggling families.

“If we underwrite the extras with federal funding as much as possible then it lowers the water and sewer bills for people and helps their everyday budget,” Walden said after Wednesday’s meeting with Hood River officials.

About 12 city, county and port leaders gathered at the Hood River Inn on May 28 to brief Walden on the improvements that were being made because of his efforts.

That session turned “show-and-tell” when Port Director Dave Harlan handed the Second Congressional District legislator a piece of the dilapidated tollbridge decking. Harlan thanked Walden for scoring $1.35 million for replacement of the aging metal deck, which was installed in 1951 with an expected lifespan of 30 years. He said the $8 million project is scheduled to begin next spring and bring some complete night closures and crossing delays. Harlan and Walden both agree that the bridge serves as a vital link for commerce between the Oregon and Washington communities.

“This is a critical leg, it must be maintained since we have no new bridge in sight,” said Harlan.

Walden was also thanked by Lynn Guenther, city manager, for netting another $1 million that was paying for technical work on two major infrastructure projects. That money was awarded to aid in the upcoming extension of sewer lines into the Windmaster sector of the county and the replacement of the city’s aging 17-mile water main.

Walden is strongly supportive of a joint request that has been submitted by the three public entities this year. The proposal for just under $1 million will be used to establish a satellite branch of the Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) on the waterfront. The goal of the city, county and port is to interest more high-tech firms in moving to the Gorge by providing them with a highly-skilled labor force.

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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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