Government Camp restrooms spared budgetary flushing

October 12, 2011

Perhaps it was the not so pleasant images of Mt. Hood visitors tromping into the woods with toilet paper in hand that prompted the fast action taken by Sen. Chuck Thomsen and Rep. Mark Johnson of Hood River, to ensure the survival of the highly trafficked public restroom facility at Government Camp.

At a roundtable meeting orchestrated by the two legislators on Sat., Oct. 8, in Welches, Thomsen announced a proposal that pulls together multiple partners in order to save the facility from demolition and provide for its ongoing operation and upgrade.

Thomsen describes the details of the proposal between agencies "a done deal."

According to Thomsen's announcement, Oregon Travel Experience, a sub-project of the Oregon Travel Information Council, will obtain a permit from the U.S. Forest Service to operate the restroom, the only one between Madras and mountain ski areas, during the prime ski season, Dec. 1 to March 31.

"This is an important facility for some travelers on our highways," said Johnson in a statement.

OTE has agreed to provide staff at the site 24/7 for maintenance and operation until the Oregon Legislature, in Feb. of 2012, can decide whether to provide for ongoing funding.

ODOT has agreed to continue providing snow removal to the site and would provide $50,000 towards upgrades to the elderly building under OTE's operations. Clackamas County would provide for any uncovered operating costs through March 31.

ODOT, who has been responsible for the rest stop's maintenance and operation for 40 years, had planned on demolishing the structure. The $50,000 now offered for rehabilitation is what would have been spent on demolition.

ODOT was spending $7,500 per month in maintenance fees and the proposal to close the facility was made in response to a mandate to cut 2 percent of the agency's maintenance budget for the next two years. Other ODOT-maintained rest stops are also on the chopping block as well.

To ensure the Clackamas County portion of operation costs can be met; multiple partnerships have been formed, including recreation stakeholders in Government Camp.

Already operating other rest areas in the state, OTE has been recognized for its innovative operations strategies to keep the State's convenience stops operating properly.

The U.S. Forest Service is slated to build a new restroom at the Zigzag Ranger Station 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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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