Water restrictions coming in August

Will be in effect while upgrades are performed on city water line

Hood River citizens are going to see water use restrictions later this summer as the city works on upgrading a water line from the city’s water source from a spring near Lost Lake to its 5-million-gallon Riverdale Road reservoir.

The end result will be an upgrade from the city’s current 14-inch pipe to a 24-inch pipe.

But to do the upgrade the city will be swapping the 14-inch pipe to a 12-inch pipe, which will lie alongside the space where the 24-inch line is being put in.

“That will mean we have less flow than we currently have,” said Hood River Public Works Director Mark Lago.

The city must switch to the smaller line during the project because it cannot encroach past its easement around the pipe.

Lago said the city will be sending notices out in the coming weeks detailing what restrictions will be in effect.

Lago said that those restrictions will include odd-numbered houses doing lawn watering on odd-numbered days and even-numbered houses on even days, limiting filling of swimming pools, pressure washing and car washing.

Lago estimates the restrictions will be in effect for about two months beginning the week of Aug. 20 but warned, “It’s construction; things can happen.”

The city will monitor the level of the reservoir during the construction to see if it drops below usual levels during the nighttime, when demand is typically the lowest.

“I don’t feel like there will be (a problem) but I want to play it safe,” Lago said.

The construction is being done in August, to fit it into the city’s usual construction schedule, and because replacing the pipe is easier during the drier months of the year.

Additionally, the sooner the city completes the project, the lower its rates will be on loan repayment for the project.

Lago said the current pipe was installed in the 1920s and has not been upgraded in a while. He said the new pipe being installed would likely serve the city for just as long as its predecessor.

The waterline upgrade is phase two of three upgrades to infrastructure the city has planned using federal funds.

The funds to be used to complete phase three, an additional water line update from Riverdale to Wilson Reservoir, were revoked by the USDA last year.

However, the USDA national appeals director recently upheld the city’s appeal against the USDA to restore the funds. How much of the approximately $10 million dollars which were revoked and when the city gets them remain at the discretion of the USDA.

At the city council meeting on Monday, July 23, City Manager Bob Francis said he was planning on getting in touch with local USDA staff in the coming days to determine the best way for the funds to be restored to the city.

Anyone with questions about the water line construction project in August should contact Hood River Public Works at 541-386-2383.

Also at Monday’s meeting:

n The council held a lengthy discussion on park usage fees.

In recent weeks, several nonprofit groups had asked the city to revisit its fees, following a significant increase in the most recent fee schedule, which was adopted in March.

Under the new fee schedule, the cost for using the city’s waterfront park for an event went from $56 to $500.

Other fee changes included a charge of $56 per event to $75 per day for other areas.

City Manager Bob Francis said the city was struggling to recoup costs from larger events.

“When you are hosting a beer garden down there and all sorts of vendors, the city doesn’t recoup what it should,” Francis said.

He said the current fee schedule didn’t include any tiers or exemptions for nonprofits because “the council has always had the policy of not reducing fees for anybody, because how can you determine which nonprofit cause is more important than another nonprofit cause?”

Council members said they understood the steep fee increase, particularly without much advance notice, could put some groups in a position where they may not raise any money from an event due to the increased fees.

The council was wary of putting into effect any sort of fee waver for nonprofit groups, because controversial nonprofits, such as Westboro Baptist Church, could put the city in an awkward position if they requested a fee waiver.

Francis and council member Kate McBride raised the option of the city evaluating events to be held at city venues, and then choosing to become a sponsor to some, which could help offset the fee increase.

Mayor Arthur Babitz also raised the prospect of having different fee tiers depending on whether the event wanted exclusive use of the park and would be closing it to the general public, or if the park would remain open to the public during the event.

Babitz eventually charged Francis with looking at the park use fees and deciding on additional price points depending on how a park would be used, and also told him “You always have the ability to (have the city) become a sponsor.”

n Francis said he was working to schedule a meeting with ODOT in the coming days to discuss several pending projects, including the Cascade/Rand intersection, Country Club Road realignment, a crosswalk near Les Schwab, and the intersection at 13th and May.

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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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