Airport construction wrapping up until spring

Construction at Hood River Airport in October of 2012. The portion of Orchard Road which has been permanently closed can be seen at bottom right.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
Construction at Hood River Airport in October of 2012. The portion of Orchard Road which has been permanently closed can be seen at bottom right.

Construction work on shifting the runway at Hood River airport is about to wrap up this fall and the Port of Hood River says work so far has been slightly ahead of schedule.

“They are ahead of schedule; they got a lot of work done in a short amount of time,” Port Director Michael McElwee said of the pace of construction.

McElwee credited good weather lasting deep into October for allowing construction to proceed ahead of pace.

The main portion of the fall construction schedule was wrapping up Friday, with minor trenching work continuing for the next month before construction shuts down for the winter.

That does not mean that there have not been a few bumps in the road, however.

McElwee said there have been reports of difficulties getting people used to the new arrangements.

“When you sever Orchard Road there are travel behavior changes,” McElwee said.

A new farm access road has been created to allow use by orchardists, one of the conditions the county placed on allowing the vacation, but arrangements for access to that road are being finished this week.

The arrangement had led to some confusion on the part of orchardists and other drivers over using the farm access road and even Orchard Road itself, but McElwee said he was hopeful any confusion would be cleared up soon.

“It’s a process of changing travel routine,” he said.

Port Development Director Steve Burdick said that two large gates would be placed on either end of Orchard Road along with barbed wire to prevent people from driving through the vacated section.

“People were coming down and saying they shut off Orchard Road but left a way around just for me,” Burdick said.

He added that he knew of a few instances of people driving through the orchards in order to avoid the turnarounds.

“But for most people, the gates and barbed wire should be enough,” he said.

Gates are already in place at either end of the farm access road and Burdick said that orchardists would be given keys to the gates to allow them access.

This weekend the grass runway will be reopened.

Construction will begin again in full force in the spring.

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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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