Neighborly Law Ordinance is just one part of solution

Hood River News Editorial

July 27, 2005

Do you know your neighbor?

Can you work out what problems, if any, you may have?

Fortunately, for most people the answer is yes, but a new kind of help is on the way for those who cannot. It’s in the form of the Chronic Nuisance Property Ordinance, explained in Council arms chief with new nuisance ordinance.

The ordinance is one of the first acts by new City of Hood River police chief Bruce Ludwig, who joined the department in mid-June. Under the new ordinance, citizens may call the non-emergency dispatch number in the evenings about ongoing noise and conduct violations and during the day at the police station.

Under the ordinance, property can be declared a chronic nuisance after law enforcement officials have taken three actions within a 30-day period. Qualifying offenses include: felony drug activity; assault; out-of-control behavior; discharge of a firearm; underage drinking; and loud or disturbing noises.

City Council adopted the ordinance on July 13, and it is a welcome thing. Yet it also comes at a time when a mediation group is looking for examples of peaceful resolution of disputes. For many unwanted behaviors, a non-police solution may be in order. “Vision Awards: Piecing Together Solutions,” points to a concept worth exploring and understanding. It is open to nominees of all ages and all walks of life, the Vision Awards will celebrate people who help others avoid the pain of conflict. The award is intended to honor visionaries who facilitate a “shared vision of how to move peacefully through the pressures of inevitable change.” (Nomination forms are available at Waucoma Bookstore in Hood River.)

This is the first time Six Rivers Community Mediation Service, which serves the Gorge, has offered such an award. It could go to the neighbor who calmly settled a heated squabble over barking dogs, or “the person who brought a calm voice, open mind and steady leadership to solving an issue of community concern,” according to a Six Rivers press release.

But when mediation, direct or with a third party, is no longer feasible, or such options are exhausted, or when dangerous situations exist, that is where the Nuisance Ordinance comes in.

Neighborhood complaints should be made with discretion. For example, a Saturday afternoon barking dog problem deserves at least one neighbor-to-neighbor contact before any official is called upon. But shouting in the middle of the night or reckless driving are the types of situation where expert assistance should be called in — without hesitation.

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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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