‘Enchanted Evening’ highlights Mt. Hood Town Hall revitalization

Upper valley gem is a hub of activity once again

It might not seem like a big deal, but the new windows being installed at Mt. Hood Town Hall represent a major milestone in the building’s revitalization.

For as long as anyone can remember, and as long as photos of the building go back, two windows on the southeast side of the building, just to the right of the entryway, have been boarded up. The room was originally used as a classroom, and volunteers guess the windows were covered so the wall could be used as a chalkboard.

After years of restoration projects throughout the historic building, the old classroom, turned office, turned storage room, turned dust collector is one of the last major spaces to be restored.

“It has always been a dream of mine to see these windows restored,” said volunteer Roger Nelson who, along with Bob Danko, have spent a laudable amount of time working on the building.

“The great thing is, now that we’ve done all this work, the building is being used a lot more,” Danko said. “With revenue from different uses, and a lot of volunteer work, the building is now self-sustaining. So the revenue we take in from donations and fundraisers, like Enchanted Evening, can go directly into restoration projects instead of being shared with operation costs.”

In addition to the classroom restoration, another major project that’s being done is a new handicapped accessible ramp and entrance at the back of the building, behind the stage. The entrance will also serve as a fire exit, bringing the building in line with code on two major issues.

When funds can be raised, future projects include adding energy-efficient windows, an outside paint job, a kitchen remodel and a sidewalk around the building.

“It’s a long list, but we’re making good progress,” Danko said. “The more restored the building is, the more it is used, and that’s what we’ve been working for.”

A variety of classes and activities keep a steady flow of people passing through the building on a daily basis. And with the arrival of New Vision School a few years ago, the building is once again filled with the daily joy of children laughing, playing and painting colorful pictures to be hung on walls and hallways.

With its 100-year anniversary just two years away, the Mt. Hood Town Hall is looking better, brighter and more vibrant than it has in many decades.

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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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