Mind the grass Hood River’s sports fields face stressful times. One local caretaker offers tips to keep them healthy

Photo by Adam Lapierre

Jim Tedford waters a newly sodded patch of grass at Westside School. Use of Westside’s fields is currently limited due to repairs.


News staff writer

July 23, 2005

From the Columbia Gorge Soccer League, the Hood River Dynamos and summer lacrosse, to kids playing catch, ultimate Frisbee, rowdy dogs and the scorching summer sun, Hood River’s sports fields are facing a stressful season.

And soon summer will end —sorry kids — and school soccer, cross country and football will begin their grueling practice schedules, recess will send stampedes of young rascals over the grass, and the fields will once again get trampled day after day until winter says it’s time to play inside.

After a wet early summer, recent weather has been hot and dry, putting more stress on fields trying to recover from heavy spring use.

Hood River Dynamos coach Jim Tedford is one of a handful of staff members working hard to maintain Hood River’s fields.

“Our fields are a valuable asset for the community,” Tedford said. “If everyone, individuals and groups, do their part, the fields can remain in good condition for all to enjoy for years to come.”

Recently, Tedford has been helping with repairs to Westside’s fields, which are currently open only to limited use while extensive re-sodding takes root. According to Tedofrd, damage to the fields has been from both responsible use over time and from misuse.

Watering a patch of fresh sod, Tedford commented, “We need a community effort to keep these (fields) in good condition. We can not afford to do this every year.”

Westside fields have recently been cored, slice-seeded, top-dressed, and re-sodded to repair damaged areas before school sports start daily-doubles.

“Together,” Tedford said, “we can keep our fields safe, clean and in good condition.”

Tedford offered some simple instructions the community can follow to help reduce damage to Hood River’s already stressed sports fields:

Trash should always be placed in appropriate containers at all the fields.

Don’t place portable goals in the same place over and over for practices.

Stay away from flagged, recently repaired areas.

The soccer goals should not be placed at the end of the fields for practice (where they would be in game situations) and they should not be tipped over so they are resting on their front sides because they rust.

Be careful not to tear up wet grass or bare spots with cleats.

Do not drive a vehicle on fields.

Any group wishing to use any of the fields must sign up through Community Educaiton at (541) 386-2055.

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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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