Monday, August 8, 2011
In this sluggish economy, the news that two Hood River companies are expanding, breaking ground and building new facilities to increase production - and employment - has been met with welcoming ears.
When both projects are completed early next year, Turtle Island Foods and Hood Tech's new facilities will essentially be neighbors in the Port of Hood River's waterfront business park.
Turtle Island, father of the famous Tofurky and a variety of other widely popular vegetarian meat alternatives, broke ground last week on a new $10 million, 33,000-square-foot facility on 1.5 acres of land purchased from the port. The new facility will be utilized in addition to about 30,000 square feet Turtle Island recently leased from the port at the Jensen Building and its downtown Hood River factory adjacent to Full Sail Brewery.
Hood Tech, a company specializing in stabilized camera turrets, launch catapults for unmanned aircraft and equipment that monitors blade and rotor health of turbo-machinery, purchased the former United Telephone System building earlier this year and has contracted Key Development to renovate the 30,000-square-foot building (just east of the sewage treatment facility) into a modern office and production space that will be the company's new headquarters.
"The port is excited about retaining these local companies and providing room for their growth," said Jon Davies, Port Commission president. "Separately, they reflect different industries - one is an aeronautics system supplier and the other is a food processor - vital to our region. Combined, Hood Technology and Turtle Island Foods provide more than 100 local jobs."
Port staff noted that Hood Tech is expected to add about 20 new jobs and Turtle Island about 30 jobs once the expansions are complete.
Construction of both projects is expected to be complete late this year or in early 2012. Key Development Corporation, based in Hood River and Bend, is developing the projects.
Key Development specializes in environmentally sound, efficient projects and is aiming to have both buildings be LEED Platinum certified. The company noted that Platinum is the highest level of LEED certification and currently only one other food processing building in the world hold that level.
"We want this building to be consistent with the spirit and the mission of the Tofurky brand," said Jaime Athos, vice president of operations at Turtle Island Foods. "As more and more people look to vegetarian foods as a healthy, environmentally friendly way of eating, it seems only natural that this building should be a reflection of that mission."
Key development noted three innovations in Turtle Island's new facility: A solar hot water system will preheat the water needed for food processing and cut energy consumption by up to 40 percent; heat recovery from the refrigeration system will be used as a heating source where needed; high-efficiency mechanical and food processing equipment will be installed.
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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