Two dollars

Keep fee debate in perspective

June 22, 2005

Regarding the squabble between the City of Hood River and Port of Hood River over the parking fee at The Spit, just look at the location in question:

A sandbar. Things shift, and sometimes you have to go with what is there. On the other hand, it is helpful to look at what that particular site needs.

The gradually-improving sense of cooperation between the port and city over waterfront matters is too valuable to shake up over a $2 fee. In tight fiscal times, most recreationalists would be willing to pay the fee in exchange for improved facilities. (See "Sandbar parking fee launches new debate" for details.)

The fun is to be had on the sandbar and the waves that surround it, but the improvements are for terra firma.

Grading of the parking lot and access road was a welcome improvement to the popular spot. For erosion control, emergency access, and just plain user-friendliness, upgrading the road was the right thing to do, and while no one likes to see any trees removed arbitrarily, it looks like the reasons for doing so were correct — removing a poison oak hazard — while the means of disposal (dumping over the bank) were not. And the port has acknowledged that. Trees certainly are significant details. At the very least, the port now knows of another thing to watch for, in conjunction with the city, in any future contracts.

What can emerge from the debate over the propriety and timing of the fee is a positive discussion over how best to plan for improvements at The Spit and other public areas. The city believed it needed to make its concerns known for the benefit of the community. The Port has shown willingness to listen. From here, the two agencies should focus on their mutual concerns of fiscal responsibility and environmental stewardship. Such a recognition can be the healthy basis for all discussions.

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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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