I-84 Exit 63, 64 changes will last about a year

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Traffic changes start next week and will last about a year until the I-84 bridge replacement project is completed.

Major changes to Interstate 84 between exits 63 and 64 are planned to start next week and will remain for roughly a year until construction of a new bridge over exit 64 is completed. Changes entail a “split diamond” rerouting of freeway traffic, which will isolate through traffic from merging traffic. Both eastbound and westbound lanes will be split in two, with only one lane of through traffic between the two exits. n Through traffic: Vehicles passing through without exiting at either exit will merge into one lane between the two exits. n Eastbound: From downtown Hood River, eastbound access to I-84 must either use Exit 64 to enter the interstate, or use Exit 63 (downtown), travel on an isolated lane into the recently-rebuilt intersection at Button Bridge Road and merge onto I-84 from Exit 64. Traffic from I-84 wanting to reach Highway 35 must use Exit 63 and travel through downtown Hood River. Westbound: Traffic traveling west on I-84 must use Exit 64 to reach the downtown Hood River Exit 63. Lanes will be isolated between the two exits and traffic will not be allowed to merge. Highway 35 traffic and traffic coming from Washington headed west on I-84 must either travel down an isolated lane from Exit 64 to Exit 63 or pass through downtown Hood River to Exit 63. An ODOT spokesman explained that isolating freeway traffic to only one lane per direction is necessary for safety and to replace the high-use bridge while keeping the interstate open. Project staff will observe traffic flows throughout the project to make sure things are flowing safely. Activation this week of new traffic signals at Button Bridge Road should ease congestion at the busy intersection. The long-awaited improvements to the intersection should keep traffic flowing more smoothly during peak hours when cars headed to Washington often back up to beyond Exit 64’s off ramp. To learn more about the project visit

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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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