Sandbar parking fee launches new debate

City councilor Ann Frodel questions the legitimacy of fee; city manager says port illegally removed two trees

June 22, 2005

The City of Hood River has challenged the Port of Hood River for charging a fee to cover parking lot improvements near a sandbar popularly used by kiteboarders.

City Councilor Ann Frodel is denying allegations posted on a kiteboarding Web site that she instructed a kiteboarder not to pay the $2 daily charge at the Spit.

“I did tell someone to look into it because the city had questions but I did not tell anyone not to pay it,” said Frodel, who also sits on the port’s Waterfront Recreation Committee, which recommended the fee.

The controversy over the re-grading of the dike at the confluence of the Hood and Columbia rivers has also brought a secondary charge by city personnel.

Bob Francis, city manager, contends riparian protection standards were violated when the port’s contractor removed two Locust trees — intertwined with poison oak — from the lot.

He also levied a charge that illegal dumping had taken place when the contractor subsequently threw the rootballs over the embankment.

In a May 18 letter, Francis outlined planning staff complaints about the recent work.

The port board is expected to draft a response following a final discussion of the outstanding issues at Tuesday’s meeting.

Port officials claim the work done this spring on the gravelled lot was routine and intended to stop erosion and repair dozens of potholes.

In addition, the narrow driveway had been almost inaccessible to emergency vehicles, a problem that was highlighted by an injury accident last year.

Dave Harlan, port director, said the user fee for the site was levied to cover the $18,000 cost of the improvements. He said it was also meant to pay for ongoing expenses, such as maintenance of the grounds and portable toilets, and no profit is being generated.

In his letter, Francis recommended that the parking fee near the popular sandbar be suspended until the zoning has been changed from light industrial to recreation/commercial.

He directed the port to take corrective steps to remedy the situation by Aug. 1 or face possible enforcement action.

“Usually when developers, contractors or residents have questions regarding land-use regulations on development plans, they first consult with the city staff,” wrote Francis. “The city staff is always willing and available to review any work prior to it starting. I would ask that the port and its staff also contact the city staff prior to conducting work projects, especially issues at the waterfront, so we may avoid any future problems.”

Harlan expressed surprise at receiving the documentation from Francis.

He said the work done in the parking lot had long been requested by kiteboarders and was just meant to overcome problems.

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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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