Cooking oil spill makes for slick downtown street

July 2, 2011


Fire, police and public works departments responded Tuesday evening to an oil spill in downtown Hood River.

Hood River city police and firefighters responded Tuesday evening to an unusual incident on the streets of downtown Hood River. And it was, in the most literal sense, on the streets.

Sometime around 6 p.m., an unknown vehicle spilled a large quantity of cooking oil on Cascade Avenue. The oil spread about four blocks, by gravity and the tires of passing cars, before responders could close off the street and spread absorbent material over the oil.

"It was pretty obvious by the color and smell that it was cooking oil, and it was actually a pretty substantial issue," said Devon Wells, HRFD chief. "The street was very slippery; cars were sliding into intersections, pedestrians were slipping and we saw a couple cars almost slide into trees."

Wells and Neal Holste, Hood River City Police chief, confirmed that no accidents or injuries were reported from the incident. A stretch of Cascade Avenue and some side streets were closed for about three hours as a public works crew cleaned up the mess.

"We are working on a few leads," Holste said. "We know it was a pickup truck with a large container in the back of it. Our goal, if we can locate the individual, is to get that person's insurance information so we can get reimbursed for some of the costs of cleanup."

Holste noted that there is an Oregon Revised Statute (818.300) that prohibits operating a "sifting or leaking load."

"It's only a violation, like running a stop sign," Holste said. "Certainly, anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has information should call the police department." The department's number is 541-387-5256.

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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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