Cascade Locks proceeds with Nestlé bottling plant research

— “Strategies: Collect the facts both pro and con. Document all facts and sources to ensure fact base authenticity.”

Those activities are listed in the newly approved “Fact Based Information and Communications Program” enacted by the Cascade Locks Joint Work Group on Economic Development in their plan to research the proposed Nestlé water bottling plant now under consideration.

The purpose of the approved action plan is to “ensure that both internal (community) and external audiences receive fact based information on the proposed Nestlé opportunity and to provide fact-based information, objective data and to ensure that the citizens of the community understand the pros and cons of this opportunity.”

At the May 24 meeting of the public body, several steps were laid out to reach the group’s goal to become well-informed decision-makers and to inform the citizens of Cascade Locks through that process.

According to Port Executive Director Chuck Daughtry, topics now slated for further research include an evaluation of city aquifer capacity and well-infrastructure, the need to create a water use curtailment and management master plan, a wastewater impact assessment, the option to charge differential rates for water used in the bottling process, measurements of noise pollution impacts and air quality impacts and traffic studies.

Daughtry also informed the work group of a pending proposal to contract with the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District to conduct due diligence research into 5 “comparable water bottling facilities ... specific to the Northwest.”

Daughtry informed the group that MCEDD would be directed to examine five bottling agreements or resolutions between corporations and government jurisdictions selling spring water. Daughtry’s selected communities included McCloud, Calif.; Evart, Michigan; Cucamonga, Calif.; Madras, Ore. and Chaffee County, Colo. Daughtry also added that it was “meaningless to look at other areas of the country.”

Although spring water is one aspect of the proposed bottling plant, city ground water remains an integral component of Nestlé’s proposed plant — which will produce both “Arrowhead Spring Water” and “Pure Life” (purified) brands.

According to Daughtry, MCEDD will be directed to analyze rates charged for water sales, off-site improvements, storm water concessions, water monitoring and other significant terms.

Daughtry also noted that the community would be responding to a recent letter from the Oregon Water Resources Board on a discrepancy between historically permitted water use and actual use by the city. As the Nestlé proposal includes access to city ground water wells, the result of that negotiation may become pertinent.

OWRB, who is charged with directing water for additional purposes such as fish habitat, referred to “fish persistence” issues in the letter.

Daughtry indicated that the city has OWRB permits for water use beyond what has been its actual historical use. He also presented OWRB questions raised over the city’s documentation of past use.

Water use factors may be reviewed by the OWRB and unused water could potentially be redirected for state use in promoting fish persistence.

Daughtry and Cascade Locks Interim City Administrator Paul Koch will make recommendations from the Port-funded MCEDD analysis to the Joint Work Group.

The group affirmed the need for a quick execution of a hydrologist analysis of the city’s aquifer, since results will determine whether to proceed further. The city’s water management master plan may take up to six months to complete. The group wanted answers on aquifer capacity much sooner.

OSU Economist Bruce Sorte is slated to present an independent analysis of the economic impacts of the proposed water bottling plant at the next meeting on June 28 at 7 p.m.

Daughtry also indicted that a draft memorandum of understanding would need to be developed between the City and Nestlé.

After the listing of upcoming due diligence actions was completed, Mayor Lance Masters clarified that “any memorandum or contract with Nestlé” would be drafted following a review of all the collected data since many terms of that agreement would be affected by the research results.

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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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