City Hall open house scheduled for Jan. 9

January 4, 2012

Although much of Hood River City Council meetings of late have been focused on issues related to expansion plans at Walmart, other business has continued to be addressed which affect local citizens.

During the Dec. 27 meeting, vacancies on the budget committee, plans to hold a public open house at the newly refinished City Hall and potential changes to the city's Urban Renewal Agency were all discussed. Below are additional details on each.

Open House

Carpets have been laid, wallpaper is about to be hung and tiles are being nestled into place on the front steps of City Hall.

With final touches now almost complete, the renovated building is slated for a public open house Jan. 9. Refreshments will be served, but according to the somewhat serious City Administrator Bob Francis, "no red punch will be served" on those brand-new carpets.

Urban Renewal

In most other municipalities in Oregon, the duties of administering urban renewal projects fall to city councils or county commissions. The City of Hood River has been an exception to that rule by maintaining a separate Urban Renewal Agency that has operated independently of council.

On Dec. 27, the Hood River City Council continued a discussion on assuming the responsibilities of the current city urban renewal agency.

Both Mayor Arthur Babitz and several councilors expressed their desire to ensure closer ties to the council as well as providing for a new structure in which to develop representational advisory boards for each area. The city's URA includes three separate zones: downtown, the waterfront and the Heights.

In attendance at the Dec. 27 meeting, Port of Hood River representative Hoby Streich sought clarification as to the council's interest in that change. Both the downtown URA and the waterfront URA bodies' decisions will affect port-owned property and finances.

Streich also provided specifics on a letter to council in which the port offered support for the possible change in governing structure, while expressing its desire to maintain representation on any new URA.

The council directed staff to obtain further details on the process to undertake URA responsibilities and to seek additional information.

City Budget Committee

With the new fiscal year budget draft due for initial review beginning in April, Francis reviewed pending vacancies on the city's budget committee.

Two of the previous committee members, Ross Brown and Patricia Gouch, have indicated they would like to continue their appointments. Gouch's term expired in June 2011 and Ross' is set to expire in June of 2012.

The remaining four members have either already resigned, moved onto other positions or do not wish to be re-appointed for the upcoming budget cycle - leaving four vacancies seeking volunteers.

"We are looking for people that have some knowledge of budgeting, but it isn't essential," said Francis. "But, they should be interested in the budgeting process and making tough recommendations." The committee meets approximately weekly from April until the budget passes in late June. The candidates must be residents within the city and terms last three years. Current meetings have been scheduled for Wednesday evenings from 6-7:30 p.m. Committee members work alongside city council members.

For details contact City Recorder Jennifer Gray at 541-387-5212.

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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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