Port Commission ponders ‘make or break’ waterfront zoning issues

The Port of Hood River is drafting a “make or break” list about waterfront zoning issues that could adversely affect mixed-use development options.

On Tuesday, the elected body also appointed 12 community members to the new Waterfront Asset Management Technical Advisory Committee. That ad hoc group is charged with moving the project forward and helping to communicate the complexities and challenges to the general public.

The port board has highlighted several areas of possible contention in the Columbia River Waterfront Mixed-Use Zone currently under review by the City of Hood River. They are objecting to the “Wind Shadow Zone” that is defined as the area north of Portway Avenue, east of the Hook and west of the Event Site. The port board was not consulted first about that reference and favors an engineering study to model air flows so that building on the limited land base is not unnecessarily restricted. Although their methodology differs, both port and city officials have stated strong support for protecting westerly air flows to support offshore activities.

Whether the port will insist that the zone be established only through “good science’ is contingent upon the upcoming decision by the city’s Planning Commission. Port officials have agreed that no strong stands on any issue should be taken until the commission has finished its review, which will continue at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in the county courthouse.

“There are best practices of mixed-use development out there and we’re looking at those with the belief that whatever is done to the waterfront should mirror those principles,” said Dave Harlan, executive director of the port.

Another area of concern for the port is the request by Hood River Distillers, Inc., that new zoning include a 400-foot buffer around the industrial site. Because the property houses storage tanks and rail cars containing beverage alcohol, the company does not believe the proposed 50-foot buffer, which is the state standard, would be wide enough to protect other users of surrounding properties.

However, Harlan suggested to the port board that if the Distillers perceived enough of a potential hazard to require such a wide buffer, it might be a good idea to consult with the state fire marshal and initiate further discussions.

At the Oct. 7 meeting, Harlan also expressed “surprise” that the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association had spoken out in favor of preserving the waterfront for a large park. He said that action was taken without any discussion between the group and the port. He said that stand was unexpected since the port had spent years working in partnership with the CGWA to make improvements on their behalf.

A total of 22 applications were received by community members interested in serving on WAMTAC.

Harlan said the following individuals were chosen because of their experience in business, land-use, tourism and/or recreation: Kathie Allie, Mike Benedict, Bill Fashing, Steve Gates, John Gerstenberger, Tom McCullough, Dick Nafsinger, Carl Perron, Scott Reynier, Chris Trader, Tom Stevenson and Ken Woodrich.

In addition, the following three alternates were chosen to fill any unexpected vacancies: Jon Davies, Richard Lee and Linda Maddox.

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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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