A season of red -- and green -- for Hood River downtown

GIFT CARDS say thanks to businesses that paid for lighting on downtown trees.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
GIFT CARDS say thanks to businesses that paid for lighting on downtown trees.

Fourteen Oregon towns, including Hood River, are celebrating the holiday season with a healthier type of holiday lights.

Hood River is one of a dozen Oregon communities with town holiday lighting displays using renewable energy.

Hood River’s tree-lined streets and leaping salmon display at Second and State is one example of Blue Sky energy powering holiday lights. Other examples are the glowing snowflakes in Grants Pass and a shimmering ice skating rink in downtown Redmond.

Grant funds from Ryan’s Juice, Columbia River Bank and the Chamber of Commerce paid for holiday tree and fountain lighting in Hood River, while downtown businesses paid $250 each to illuminate Oak Street trees for the season.

Throughout Oregon, Pacific Power communities are getting the power for their local lighting celebrations offset by emission-free renewable energy. Taken together, these holiday lighting displays are being greened with nearly a quarter million kilowatt hours of Blue Sky renewable energy.

According to Pacific Power, the renewable energy supported on behalf of these holiday lighting displays will: avoid approximately 270,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, which is the environmental equivalent of eliminating 278,000 miles, or 671 roundtrips from Prineville to Lincoln City.

“These lights go right to the roots of our communities,” said Pat Reiten, president and CEO of Pacific Power. “Bringing light to the holidays is part of Pacific Power’s commitment to its customers today, and for more than a century.

With renewable energy becoming part of the fabric of the state, we’re proud to have our Blue Sky participants ‘green’ these traditional festivals, lighting the season.”

Pacific Power customers can also celebrate the season by greening their own homes and businesses. Buying just one, 100-kilowatt hour block of Blue Sky power costs only $1.95 per month.

Customers can buy as many blocks as they wish or even match all of their usage with renewable energy through the Blue Sky Usage or Habitat options.

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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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