A Park Awaits

On the waterfront, potential is ripe

June 8, 2005

Saturday, in the Park ...” went the old song by the band Chicago.

Like all songs about parks, it conjures images of places where people congregate, relax, and share an open space that gives pleasure in a variety of ways.

The concept of a waterfront park has long fascinated this community, but varying interpretations of what to build, and even what the park would mean, have kept it from coming to fruition.

The old stalemate can now be history, and we urge residents to get behind a plan that will move the waterfront park forward.

Saturday for the park might be the refrain now: June 10 is the day the City of Hood River, and members of the citizen-based Park Development Committee (PDC), present a request to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for a $500,188 Local Government Program grant to build a waterfront park on Lot 6 near The Hook.

The Hood River proposal meets a long-hoped goal of the community. The Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District, a partner in the proposal, identified a waterfront park as its number one priority in the 1998 District Master Plan — specifically, to “acquire and develop a waterfront community park at Lot 6.” A recent Recreation District survey named a waterfront park as the greatest recreational need. Lot 6 was identified as a location for a waterfront park in the 1992 Port Waterfront Plan.

The place is here and the time is now for a park for all our Saturdays, and Mondays or Thursdays, too.

The park grant is right for Hood River, given the location at the heart of the National Scenic Area, and with Hood River residents’ love of recreation. The park will help meet the diverse outdoor interests of the community and provide visitors one more reason to tarry. The park will give our growing population a needed place to play, and enhance Hood River’s well-deserved reputation for hospitality.

Local citizens have stepped forward to direct the process of planning the park, along with organizing, fund-raising and garnering further community support. The Port of Hood River has deeded over the strategically located six-acre parcel — the $1.4 million value of the land. Our friends in the Japanese Sister City of Tsuruta have pledged 50 trees.

A $10,000 cash donation has been pledged by G. Williker’s Toy Shoppe toward a new children’s playground. That amenity is one of several features confirmed for the park by the PDC, along with restrooms, open space, and pedestrian paths. Hood River’s Andy von Flotow has pledged to donate $100,000 worth of topsoil for landscaping. Another citizen pledged a three-man work crew for three days, and someone else has already donated $2,000 toward the project.

This shows that, literally and figuratively, the community is willing to get its hands dirty for the project. Many other ways to dig in and pitch in are going to be made very clear very soon by the PDC, starting with Friday’s kickoff fund-raiser at Full Sail (details on page A1). As the article explains, residents can give input for the park design as well as learn how to contribute financially to the community project.

The chance to create a real park on the waterfront stands before this community. It represents an opportunity for that coming Saturday when, to quote the song again, “people talking, really smiling, a real celebration, waiting for us all.”

We might sing in different ways, but we can all agree on the need to sing. Through the PDC’s efforts, we now have a unifying tune.

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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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