CL fire district moves a step


News staff writer

July 19, 2006

Hood River County Commissioners approved moving the request to form a fire district in Cascade Locks to the next step.

The city had put the request before the commission to put a tax levy of $1 per 1,000 on the fall ballot for voters to decide. The levy would fund the formation of a fire district, which would essentially be the borders of the town.

Legal counsel Will Carey said the commission must hold a final hearing on the issue not less than 30 or more than 50 days from Monday night. The commissioners chose to hold the final hearing at their Sept. 5 meeting.

Both proponents and one opponent testified on the issue before the council voted. Sandra Kelley said she opposed the fire district because she did not see the need to add layers of more government as well as adding more taxes.

“Because our town does not enjoy the level of income the rest of Hood River County does,” she said. “It’s important to understand everybody has to live within their means.”

After she cited the town spends “a lot of money,” Cascade Locks budget officer Kate Mast detailed for the commissioners how the $10 million budget is allocated. A little more than half the budget is from grants the city has yet to receive.

“That leaves an operating budget of $3 million with just $700,000 for all other expenses in the general fund,” she said. “The idea is to put a permanent solution in place rather than to try and band-aid it every single year.”

Even if the levy for the fire district is approved, Cascade Locks will still pay for about half of the emergency services budget. Fire chief Jeff Pricher pointed out that although the title deals with fire, the bigger issue deals with the full spectrum of emergency service.

“One of the reasons we brought me on was to have advanced life support for the majority of the day,” he said. “With the ambulance the problem we had was staffing.”

In addition to being fire chief, Pricher is a trained paramedic. Before Cascade Locks funded the position, they relied on a volunteer who worked at Bonneville Dam and had to leave work in order to respond to calls. That need is why city councilor Rob Brostoff spoke in favor of the district.

“Between Wyeth and Multnomah Falls we’re the only responder,” he said. “If someone gets smeared out there on that highway, we have to take care of it.”

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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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