City opens fire hall bids March 30

March 23, 2011

The City of Hood River will open bids March 30 for the fire hall expansion, which will cost a projected $6 million.

Fire Chief Devon Wells said he expects it will take about a week to choose a bid for recommendation to city council.

At the end of March, firefighters will begin vacating the fire hall, at 18th and May streets, and move into temporary quarters across the street on city property in the public works yard. Four portable buildings, including two measuring 12 by 60 feet, will house offices and provide living quarters, Wells said.

"It'll be a little like fire camp, but the guys are excited about it," he said. "Services shouldn't change at all."

Fire engines and other vehicles and equipment will be housed under portable tents, and at the Wilson Street fire substation and in two rented storage units.

"We had toyed with idea of a phased construction move-out, but we decided to move out and camp for the summer, and get out of the contractors' way," Wells said.

Given a mid-April start date, the fire hall expansion has a projected complete date of late November.

Voters approved the bonds for capital expansion and apparatus updates in 2008. Part of those funds have already paid for a 95-foot center-mount ladder engine that will enable firefighters to combat fires in large buildings.

The new hall will have larger bays for storing vehicles, more office and living space and a training room, and a meeting room that can be used for public gatherings as well as department training.

"We're excited about that; to finally have a place in the station for training," Wells said.

The department now has 17 paid staff, who live at the station in five- or six-man shifts, using one large sleeping room and a bathroom and shower designed for two people, which was the paid staff in 1986 when the fire hall was built. Expanded living quarters will also enable the department to start a resident volunteer program.

The building demolition will look drastic at first - "like the fire hall got lifted off the planet," Wells said. The building footprint will expand southward, to the embankment between the fire hall and Friendship Park. Wells said that when the project is done, the building won't look all that different.

"Other than the two-story section it will look the same from the street, with the same hose tower," Wells said.

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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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