Parking spaces

Big events show needs — and solutions

June 29, 2005

The mid-point of the year brings changes to one of Hood River’s most beloved cultural events: First Friday.

The art walk event returns July 1, and exemplary art and musical offerings can be expected once again.

With the success of the event, the sponsoring Hood River Downtown Business Association has changed some of the rules in the interest of efficient sidewalk use and making sure all artistic expressions receive their due.

Here is a summary of the new rules:

* The biggest change is that all vendors and entertainers that are on the street or sidewalks during First Friday need to have a permit. Those that are not sponsored by a HRDBA member or hold a permit will not be allowed to perform or display art.

* No amplified music will be allowed on Oak Street, and all street venue locations must be reserved.

* Fundraisers, political issues, and other non-art groups are invited to locate on the sidewalk area in front of the Georgiana Smith Memorial Park (library lawn) or in front of City Hall on a first-come, first-served basis.

* Oak Street between Front and Second and Second and Sixth Streets will be closed for traffic during First Friday events.

June’s first Friday saw massive parking demands downtown, thanks to good weather and a burgeoning slate of activities. Friday’s event is likely to be just as well-attended. Patience is in order, as well as adherence to parking rules and rules of common sense, particularly in those hard-to-define areas where intersection visibility and the rights of property owners must be respected.

Meanwhile, the city has embarked on a long-range parking study for downtown.

The city deserves credit for a novel idea to help soften the impact, for some people, of getting ticketed for expired parking time. (For details, turn to RaeLynn Ricarte’s article on A1.) City manager Bob Francis plans to issue Downtown Business Association (DBA) owners five parking ticket waivers per month. These can be redeemed for $1 to provide short-term relief for clients.

The coupons issued by the city are intended to help out shoppers who have forgotten to plug the meter and can produce a receipt to show a purchase from the store. It’s a good way to spare customers from the regular $10 fine for a parking violation, while offering a gentle nudge for future reference. (Waivers will not apply to other infractions and cannot be used by employees or business owners. A one-coupon per customer per month policy would also be a good idea.)

Parking will remain a “hot button” issue until more parking spaces are added — an expensive, long-range solution — or until downtown employees and business owners un-learn old habits such as parking in the same block of their own place of employment. Park-and-ride facilities are not unprecedented but take intensive planning and education to make them work. Which means it is a good idea the city is starting to look into it now.

One model might be the shuttle service in use this very week to bring Thomas the Tank Engine riders from the Event Site to the Mt. Hood Railroad Depot.

The Event Site land is available, at least for now, and it’s close to, and visible from, downtown. To make a permanent shuttling system work, a link with the CAT bus service might be just the needed pick-up.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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