Odell, Parkdale zone hearings deferred

August 27, 2005

The results of a new housing study has prompted Hood River County officials to postpone discussion of boundary changes around Odell and Parkdale.

Mike Benedict, county planning director, said both public hearings on Sept. 6 will open, as required by law, at 7 p.m. and then be deferred until sometime in the future. He said the hearing for Windmaster will take place as planned because it involves no significant adjustments.

Officials don’t want to make long-term decisions for Parkdale and Odell until they have fully explored the findings of the Oregon Downtown Development Association, in cooperation with Marketek, Inc. (see stories Grasping the GAP and Housing costs drive out workers).

“We need to ensure that we’re making adequate provision for affordable housing and industrial growth,” said Benedict.

He said once the new border is drawn around Odell it cannot be changed without the county going through an arduous exception process. That state rule is in place because of the community’s close proximity to the urban growth boundary of Hood River.

“Once the boundaries are drawn around Odell, they are basically drawn for life. So, we need to be very, very sure about what we are proposing,” said Benedict.

In addition, the county expects to review the results of a new industrial lands survey within the next few weeks. That inventory of all available sites will also help officials decide how to better attract firms that provide family-wage jobs. And bringing more companies into the valley is tied to the availability of affordable housing for workers.

According to the new marketing study, Odell is the fastest growing community in Hood River County, at an average annual rate of 3.76 percent. Odell also has the highest percentage of youth, with 50.5 percent of the population in the prime consumer ages between 25-64.

Because of its strong agriculture base, 43.4 percent of Odell’s population is comprised of Hispanics. However, Odell and Parkdale both have an extremely low number of renter units, and the majority of tenants are paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing. Both seasonal and permanent farmworker housing has been identified by the recent study as a key need in Hood River County.

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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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