In split decision, Council passes business license


News staff writer

August 30, 2006

In a split decision, the Hood River City Council voted to require that businesses have a license to sell goods and services within their jurisdiction.

The elected body debated the pros and cons of the new fee before the majority decided that it should be enacted. They believed that public safety would be better protected with a central database.

And information gleaned from about 600 businesses within the city limits could be incorporated in a special packet. That documentation could make it easier for potential employers to set up shop in Hood River.

“I think it will be a lot of help to put together a packet that lists our requirements and points people in the right direction to get their questions answered,” said Bob Francis, city manager.

However, the council also agreed that businesses should be able to keep anything but basic data from being posted on the city’s Web site. Council also deemed that safety inspections of buildings should be voluntary and not required by the $50 initial fee and $20 annual renewal cost.

The decision to enact the license was not without dissent. Councilors Paul Blackburn, Laurent Picard and Ann Frodel voted against the license on the belief that a database could be created without regulatory action. Frodel said that 75 percent of cities in Oregon did not require a license, so there must be other ways to acquire pertinent facts and figures.

“This (license) would provide us with a lot of things that would be nice to have. But I’m not sure it would provide us with anything we have to have. And I’m not sure I want to charge businesses for that info,” Blackburn said.

Councilors Paul Cummings, Carrie Nelson and Martin Campos-Davis favored the license because it provided an avenue to monitor home-based businesses. Cummings said it was important to know what hazardous materials might be on site to protect neighbors. Mayor Linda Streich, the owner of Professional Business Solutions, cast the deciding vote in favor of the license because she shared that viewpoint.

“I’d pay $20 per year to be in a database because if something happened at my business such as a break-in or a fire I’d really like alternative access to contact information,” she said.

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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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