Friday, July 1, 2011
Gorge Yellow Cab owner Enrique Ortega is off to the races again - bicycle races, that is - with another small-business venture.
"I wanted to start a green business. My son Luis is always talking to me about recycling and being green. I thought this might be a way to do that and help my son too," said Ortega as he disclosed the source of inspiration for his new bicycle delivery service.
GYC-BM Deliveries brings a familiar concept, bicycle messengers, to a non-traditional venue, small-town America.
Bicycle delivery persons are very common in big cities, but Ortega thought it also just might work in a small town with green-minded people.
"You know … people could save gas and help the air by calling us," said Ortega. Given that gas prices are edging up beyond the $4 mark, a trip around town might be more expensive than the minimum charge Ortega will offer for the smaller routes - not to mention the reduction in greenhouse gases.
The service, staffed by Ortega in his off hours, a few teen riders, including his son and another adult rider.
The messengers will ride between the China Gorge restaurant on the east end of downtown to the Columbia Gorge Hotel on the west side, out to the intersection of Country Club Road and Portland Drive, then across to approximately Orchard Road.
Most short trips would come in at the minimum $8 charge - especially when there are no hills involved. At the farthest points of the grid a pick-up and delivery would run up to $21.
"We could pick up or deliver groceries, documents - just about anything that could be carried on a bike," said Ortega, who has courier baskets and satchels on the bikes to allow for larger parcels up to 10 pounds.
The new service will be available from 7 a.m. to dusk seven days a week.
"At GYC, we are constantly working on reducing waste and reducing carbon footprints," said Ortega. Adding the bicycle service will surely meet those goals.
Ortega is planning to add more riders beyond family members, so whether looking for a delivery or a good summer job, interested people can contact Ortega's dispatch line at 541-308-3383.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge