Chamber terminates executive director

Action comes as agency is busy planning Harvest and Hops fests

Mary Closson has been fired as executive director of the Hood River Chamber of Commerce, board president Mark Brown confirmed Tuesday.

Brown declined to elaborate on the reasons and the terms for her dismissal, other than to say, “The board decided to go in a new direction.”

The firing took effect Saturday. Brown had said last week that “We’ve put her on a break,” and that Closson was on paid administrative leave after two years, eight months on the job.Closson’s leave took effect Sept. 10; since then, chamber staff and board members have worked together to cover her duties.

“I’m filling in as director, along with Andrew (McElderry) and other chamber board directors,” Brown said.

“We are coming into festival season, with the Hops Fest (Oct. 2) and Harvest Fest (Oct. 16-17) and things are under control. Our staff is just super,” he said.

Closson was unavailable for comment. She was hired in February 2008, after holding a similar job with West Linn Chamber of Commerce.

Brown said he will meet with his executive committee next week to start to “get the ball rolling” on a plan for hiring a new director, but he did not expect action on it until after Harvest Festival is over.

“I’m sure there will be some fallout; some hurt feelings over this,” said Brown, who said “We wish Mary (Closson) the best.

“In her time here she played an active role in promoting the chamber, and the Gorge,” he said.

Brown broke the news of the dismissal to the Chamber Ambassadors on Friday.

Ambassador president Lisa Marie Nelson said, “We just have to step up a little more and be supportive of the chamber in this time until they can get a new director.

“For me, it will mean even more volunteer help, with Hops Fest and Harvest Fest coming up — taking a more active role in the legwork,” 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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