Hood River Inn plans major expansion

March 23, 2011

The Best Western Hood River Inn is expanding and adding new amenities as it begins construction of an exercise room, new swimming pool and outdoor living space and prepares for an east wing addition.

The first phase of the project begins in March, with the groundbreaking for a new swimming pool. The new pool location will be on the east lawn next to the Columbia River, west of the Hood River Inn's private beach. The new 20-by-50-foot pool and 12-by-12 outdoor hot tub will be surrounded by 5,000 square feet of hardscape patios. The pool and spa will be enclosed by wood and glass fencing, with glass utilized to promote views.

The new exercise room will be constructed 45 feet to the east of the existing east wing of the Hood River Inn. The 1,600-square-foot fitness building will overlook the new pool and patio area, and will include fitness equipment, massage room, sauna, indoor spa, restrooms and changing rooms.

A 500-square-foot pool pavilion will be constructed between the freeway and the new swimming pool to provide a visual and sound barrier, as well as a place for guests to relax overlooking the pool. Part of the pavilion will be dug below grade.

"We've been upgrading the hotel for years, and felt the pool and exercise room should be raised to the quality of the rest of property," explains General Manager Chuck Hinman. "Relocating the pool and spa allows us to free up property for more parking area to serve the planned increase in guest rooms, as well."

Construction of a third floor on the Inn's east wing will begin in late October. "We expanded the Gorge Room five years ago to accommodate larger conference groups," Hinman states. "We've been successful at attracting larger groups ever since; and the next phase of our plan is to add guest rooms to enable us to accommodate guests displaced by convention rooms."

Hinman said hotel guests should see no disruption of service, though things might be crowded on the grounds those times when the hotel is hosting a large conference.

The east wing addition will add 36 guest rooms, and when complete will raise the number of hotel rooms to 194. In addition to new space, the renovations will add energy-efficient windows, an elevator, upgrades to the heating system and fire sprinklers in the entire building.

The east wing expansion, exercise room, swimming pool, spa and landscaping were designed by Mike Gorman of BLRB/GGL Architects of Bend. The contractor on the project is Design Structures LLC of The Dalles.

The new swimming pool is scheduled to open late June; demolition of the existing pool will start then. The east wing expansion will be completed in the spring of 2012.

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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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