30-acre park will replace old orchard

When a big orchard is pulled out anywhere in the county, tongues begin to wag on the reasons prompting the removal.

If you’ve seen the bulldozers and grinders at work on the parcel near the northwest corner of Barrett and Alameda, then you too may be wondering.

The good news is that tree clearing on this 30-acre lot is the first step in the Hood River Parks and Recreation District’s long-term plan to create a new community park with sports fields and an extension to the existing Indian Creek Trail.

In addition to much-needed ball fields, potential uses for the land, according to Lori Stirn, director of HRPRD, include community gardens, community-supported agriculture, picnic shelters, playground equipment, additional walking and biking trails, passive recreation play areas, dog parks and other recreational options.

The land clearing has begun to meet requirements laid out as part of a HRPRD lottery-funded State Park Local Government Acquisition Grant obtained in Oct. 2007.

“A requirement of the grant is that all non-recreation uses on the property must be terminated within three years from the date of acquisition or the park district would have to locate and purchase another similar property or return the $325,800 grant funds,” said Stirn.

“In an effort to keep the property located at 4010 Barrett Drive and the grant funds, we are removing the 28-plus acres of fruit-bearing trees as well as terminating the lease with the current orchardist.”

Once removal is complete, HRPRD will back-fill the holes and provide rough grading and grass seeding at the site. Existing structures on the property will be left in place at this time.

Many additional steps remain before final land use approvals are obtained, but HRPRD is working closely with the Department of Land Conservation and Development and county planning staff to determine what is an allowable use on the currently EFU-zoned parcel.

“At this point we would like to begin to receive ideas from the community in an informal way about priorities for park needs and potential uses,” Stirn said. As the land use approval process formalizes, countywide community meetings will be held to obtain specific community input.

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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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