It’s official: HR Port to adapt Expo Center for commercial use

By SUE RYAN

News staff writer

December 9, 2006

Port of Hood River commissioners approved staff’s recommendation to adapt the Expo Center for commercial re-use.

The vote was unanimous. Commissioner Fred Duckwall was not present at the meeting.

Commission President Sherry Bohn said it was not an easy decision but one that took “years and years and years of discussion.”

The commission included in its resolution a number of conditions. Those include working closely with the Hood River Chamber of Commerce, other public agencies and users of the Expo Center on several issues.

The port plans to maintain the existing operations of the Expo Center through Dec. 2007. It will now begin a marketing effort to identify one or more businesses that may be interested in occupying the Expo Center in 2008.

Businesses targeted are ones that have a minimum of 40 living-wage jobs, that have growth potential and that are compatible with the long-term future of the waterfront.

The port will also start on necessary improvements to the Expo Center in 2007 that won’t negatively impact scheduled events or activities. The port plans to assist other public agencies in their efforts to evaluate the feasibility of developing a community facility to accommodate large public events if such a market exists in the future.

As far as Harvest Fest, one of the site’s largest events, the port plans to work with the chamber to evaluate the potential of relocating it to another site on the waterfront.

Commissioner Kathy Watson said several years ago she was a proponent of finishing the Expo Center as a small conference center when she served on the budget committee.

“We found it was just too expensive,” she said. “There really isn’t another direction for us to go.”

The port will assist the Chamber of Commerce in evaluating the potential to relocate the Hood River Visitors Center to another location by the end of 2007. Staff will give a progress report to the commission on the Expo Center changes by March 10, 2007.

The decision came about after a series of public meetings with users and stakeholders. The commissioners had decided that it was one of their goals for the year to decide what to do with the center, which has steadily lost money for the port.

Following the vote on the Expo Center, the commissioners heard a presentation on sustainability ideas for the waterfront from engineer Tom Puttman. The port contracted with his firm, David Evans and Associates Inc., of Portland, to identify specific concepts for future development.

“What we are looking at is how do we integrate the built environment with the natural environment?” Puttman said.

He presented several ideas including a ground-source heat pump system, a sewer plant effluent re-use system, and sustainable stormwater management system among them.

“In industrial ecology, you might be looking at attracting businesses where the waste of one might be the product of another,” he said.

In other business, the commission:

* Approved a three-year fixed base operation agreement with Flightline Design through Dec. 31, 2008, and retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006. Under it, the port will pay the company $1,500 a month for services.

* Retained Andrew Jansky, P.E., of Flowing Solutions Inc., to help staff identify options to consider dealing with changes at the mouth of the Hood River.

* Directed staff to interview two candidates, Laney Gale and Doug Archbald, for the one open waterfront committee position.

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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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