Free parking set aside for First Friday


News staff writer

August 3, 2005

Two new parking lots have been made available free of charge to people attending First Fridays in downtown Hood River.

Mt. Hood Railroad has offered use of its parking lot at the junction of Cascade Avenue and Front Street. For those willing to walk a few extra blocks, the Port of Hood River is now allowing public parking in the waterfront lot just south of the Expo Center.

“We are encouraging downtown business owners and employees to park near the Expo Center on First Fridays,” said Bob Francis, city manager.

He said the growing popularity of First Friday during the tourist season has brought some traffic challenges. With 2,000-4,000 people strolling along Oak Street, it has become necessary for public safety to close a large section of roadway. One evening each month, from July through September, First to Sixth streets are blocked off to motorists from 5 to 8 p.m.

When a special occasion requires Oak Street to be blocked off, Francis said the surrounding east/west avenues of travel are left open. Streets that run in a north/south direction may be closed at the same time if officials deem that traffic flows will not be seriously impeded.

Because of the growing First Friday crowds, the DBA has hired four security workers — who are dressed in yellow T-shirts with the DBA logo — to enforce the following conduct rules:

All vendors and entertainers along the street must have a permit to be on the sidewalk.

No amplified music is allowed along the street to prevent a “bleed-over” of sound from one musician to another.

Electric bands are confined to the parking lot of Big Winds on Front Street. Interested performers may call Kathy Sneider at IKOTE, 387-3786, to sign up for a time slot.

Street music and artist venue locations are limited to three intersections along Oak Street. To reserve a spot, call Joanie Thomson, DBA coordinator, at 308-6738.

Fund-raising and political groups are restricted to the sidewalk in front of the Hood River County Library lawn, or in front of the City Administration Building on a first-come, first-served basis.

Skateboards are prohibited from being used for travel on either the sidewalk or the street.

Area bars will face sanctions from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission if citizens are allowed to leave the premises with an open container of alcohol. Business are only allowed to provide a taste of any wine selection and not a full serving.

“We want to keep First Friday an art-driven event and not have it turn into a free-for-all,” said Thomson.

Francis said some parents have begun dropping their children downtown on First Fridays and telling them to stay within the barricades. He is asking that elementary and middle school age youth be accompanied by an adult to prevent any safety issues from arising.

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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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