Barrett Park:‘A blank slate’

March 30, 2011

A blank slate.

That's what Lori Stirn, Hood River Parks and Recreation District director, calls the 34-acre plot the district owns at the corner of Barrett and Alameda roads. And, although limited by the land's Exclusive Farm Use zoning, what is added to that blank slate will be largely up to Hood River County residents.

HRPRD is hosting an input meeting on Tuesday, April 5, to gather ideas from the community and hear what people would like to see in the new park. The meeting, at Hood River Valley High School, will be a chance for people to share ideas, voice concerns and ask questions about the future of the large corner lot that was, until last fall, acres of apple and pear orchards along Indian Creek.

"We're looking to the community; for people to tell us what they want to see out of this new park," Stirn said. "The property is sweet; two sides are bordered by Indian Creek, there are mountain views and main roads that provide easy access. We want ideas from the public so we can determine how to meet the needs of the people who will use the new park."

Stirn said the district expects to get working on the park this summer when the soil dries out, but a lot of this year's progress will be basic cleaning up and dirt moving. Until last winter the lot was a working orchard, with about 18 acres of apples and 8 acres of pears. The trees were ripped out late last year to avoid complications involving a grant agreement with the state.

The district purchased the land in 2007 with the help of a $325,800 grant from Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. One requirement of the grant is that HRPRD has to ensure the land will be used exclusively for park and recreation purposes.

The agreement stated that all non-recreation uses on the property must be terminated within three years from the date of the acquisition. Thus, although specific plans for the park haven't been drawn up, the land was cleared of the orchard within the three-year period required for the grant.

Rumors quickly circulated around town of soccer and baseball fields, tennis courts, even sports complex in the works for the property. Rules tied to the property's EFU zoning, however, means the district, and the community, is limited to what can be built and what activities can take place on the land. A sports complex: definitely out. Baseball fields: not likely. Soccer fields: possible, but with limitations.

Several examples authorized uses on EFU land are public parks and playgrounds, day use areas, picnic shelters, barbecue areas, play structures, trails (walking, hiking, biking, horse), community centers, fenced informal play area for dogs and community-sponsored agriculture.

"I have already received 12 dog park requests," Stirn said. "We've also heard from people interested in a cyclecross course, community gardens and an area for radio-controlled airplanes. We're really hoping to get a variety of ideas, from a variety of users at Tuesday's meeting. The park really is a blank slate, and what goes on it depends on what people tell us they want."

Also on the list of authorized uses are open play fields. A dedicated sports field - like a baseball diamond - wouldn't fall into that category; but an open field with portable bases, or portable goals, probably

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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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