Bridge painting proceeds, toll increase on deck

September 10, 2011

News of the Hood River Bridge is on two levels.

Under the deck, painting and repair work continues.

On deck: a proposed fare increase.

The $2.1 million paint project is on schedule and steel inspections indicate excellent structural integrity, the project inspector told the Port Commission Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the commission adopted a timeline Tuesday for a potential bridge fare increase, likely to $1 at the tollbooth and 75 cents via BreezeBy.

In the Sept. 20 meeting, the commission will discuss long-range plans for maintaining the bridge and how the fare increase supports those goals, and accept public comment on the proposed increase, according to Mike Doke, marketing director.

At its following meeting, Oct. 4, the commission could take action, or postpone the decision, but Doke said port staff will encourage a decision as early as possible to give plenty of time for agencies, businesses and individuals who use the bridge on a regular basis to plan their budgets based on the fare hike.

Commission president Jon Davies said Tuesday, "It is incumbent on those of us on the commission to reach out to constituents and user groups to explain why the toll increase is needed."

Bridge users can expect delays this fall as painting continues in dust-containment areas underneath the deck.

"The steel is in excellent shape," said Rick Bear of Bear Inspection and Consulting.

Workers are progressing toward the middle of the bridge span, as a way to reduce traffic delays on the Oregon side, according to Bear.

Work will continue this fall as long as weather permits; any significant moisture on the bridge will require suspenson of work until spring, Bear said. (Scheduled completion of the painting is summer 2012.)

The Port Commission on Tuesday approved an additional $370,000 contract with S and K Painting so that crews can blast and paint lower portions of the bridge. The current work focuses directly under the vehicle deck, on metal pieces including beams, stringers and parts known as "chords" which run the length of the bridge.

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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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