Out of the dark

The New Yasui Building was caught in a dispute that would have left $60,000 of restaurant equipment without electricity and many employees without jobs. A city intervention turned on the lights.

June 11, 2005

Developer Maui Meyer was in the dark last week. Not only did he not have any power available to finish work on the new Yasui Building, he didn’t know when the electricity would be turned on.

So, he was looking at a delay in the opening date for the five businesses that would be located at the corner of First and Oak streets. And he had intended for three of his new tenants to start off in style by capitalizing on the downtown summer tourist trade.

“People ask when we are going to open, but I have no clue, I have no idea and this is starting to seem like a bad joke,” he said.

In agitation, Meyer paced the unfinished floors of his new restaurant, Celilo, that would soon feature Northwest cuisine. He proudly showed off the weathered timber that had been purchased from an old log boom on the Columbia River. The 8-12 foot planks were waiting to be erected into place to create a forest atmosphere at the new eatery — once the power to perform that task became available.

He made an appeal to Hood River City Manager Bob Francis and Steve Everroad, finance director, to help him out. At issue was the city’s dispute with Pacific Power and Light over a $22,500 fee to offset the cost of undergrounding lines. Twice before the city had successfully protested the charge, and they planned to do so again.

But Francis and Everroad were also mindful of Meyers’ predicament and, by early this week, had come up with an alternate plan. They had convinced Pacific Power to go ahead and turn on the power while their dispute was being resolved.

“We need to get this settled but there is no reason that Maui’s project has to be caught up in the middle of it,” said Francis.

After hearing this news, Meyer’s mood became noticeably upbeat on Monday as he directed workers to put the finishing touches on the two floors.

“I’m a little disappointed that we won’t be open by the middle of June as planned but this is construction and delays happen,” he said.

By the first of July he expects Celilo, Copper West Properties — which he also runs — Knot Another Hat, Innovative Tools and Sushi Okalani to be up and running. He is not only excited about attracting visitors to the 16,000 square foot structure, but the fact that about 40 people will soon be employed there. And the look and feel of the establishment almost exactly duplicates the diagonal building that housed the original Yasui Bros. Store.

“This is just our personal gift to Hood River, it’s going to be a gathering place and I couldn’t be more excited,” he said.

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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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