Event Site:Kiting back until July 31

June 25, 2011

The Port of Hood River Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to allow kiteboard landing and launching from part of the Hood River Event Site through July 31.

The Event Site, which is normally closed to landing and launching access for kiteboarders this time of year, had been opened for the sport earlier in June due to access issues caused by unusually high water in the Columbia River. An initial temporary allowance expired on June 10, but was extended to June 17 due to continued limited access and relatively low numbers of other users at the Event Site.

After recommendations by members of the Waterfront Recreation?Committee, numerous public comments and discussion by the port board at its regular pubic meeting Tuesday evening, the board voted to reopen access to the Event Site until Sunday, July 31.

The board also agreed to a provision that would allow Michael McElwee, port executive director, to end the arrangement sooner if the water goes down sufficiently for access to the sandbar.

At the Event Site, windsurfers and kiteboarders will be expected to share the area in a safe and respectful manner, with kiteboarders sticking to a layout on the east side of the area and windsurfers having open access to the west side.

Kiteboarding will be allowed in a "kiteboard box" designated by painted lines on the lawn. Spectators and other Event Site users are encouraged to exercise extreme caution and stay clear of this area at all times.

"This temporary action responds to pervasive high water conditions and the pressing need for an accessible launch site for kiteboarders," said McElwee. "Users of the Event Site should be extra careful to observe signage and stay clear of the 'box' when kiteboarding activities are underway. The safety of all users is the paramount concern of the port as we enter the more congested summer months," he added.

McElwee noted that the situation went "exceptionally well" this month before access expired, but that challenges will exist once more people start arriving in town.

Kiteboarding will be restricted from the Event Site this weekend due to?Windfest, an open-to-all annual event organized by the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association.

Another high-water contingency launch point was discussed in brief Tuesday as well, and the board voted to keep a June 30 deadline for landing and launching kite access at the marina swim beach. After that date, the permanent pump and dry area is still allowed at the east end of the marina beach, near the restroom, but kiteboarders will need to wade into the water to launch and land away from shore.

For a detailed drawing of the kiteboard zone, and for a variety of discussions regarding kiteboarding in the region, visit the popular blog called Northwest?Kiteboarding at www.nwkite.com.

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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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