Beat the heat: The ever-reliable HR Aquatic Center

heated all year, the Hood River Aquatic Center is a great option for soaking-in the last weeks of summer when temps cool off.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
heated all year, the Hood River Aquatic Center is a great option for soaking-in the last weeks of summer when temps cool off.

The Hood River Aquatic Center has a long and vibrant history as the county’s public swimming pool, dating back to its pre-remodel seasonal days when it was lined with 10-foot-high green fencing and the Summer Swim Bus picked-up and dropped-off full loads of kids from as far away as Parkdale to spend the day lounging around in the sunshine and helping lifeguards get good use out of their whistles.

These days the pool is open year-round, thanks to a retractable cover that is drawn back most of the summer, and is heated to a comfortable 82 degrees, thanks to a solar water system installed several years ago. The two small wading pools at the west end are kept even warmer, at about 92 degrees, making the pool an excellent option for playing in the water when, like the last couple of weeks, late August weather acts more like April.

The facility, owned and operated by Hood River Valley Parks and Rec, is open seven days a week, with open swim hours daily from 1-5 p.m. and weeknights from 7-9 p.m. Off-hour activities include lap swimming, swim lessons, water aerobics, kayaking, multiple swim team practices and water polo practice, as well as special party room that can be rented in hour increments for special events.

The pool is lined with bleachers and lounge chairs and the ceiling setup provides both sunny and shaded areas for swimming and relaxing. A rope swing, slide, water-basketball hoop and obligatory floating objects provide additional options for those in need of a little extra entertainment.

As part of annual maintenance, the pool will be closed from Sept. 3-12, reopening Sept. 13 at 8 a.m. Special rates of $1 are set for Monday and Wednesdays, 1-5 p.m. and Fridays from 7-9 p.m. Regular rates are $2.50 for kids and $3.50 for adults who reside in the county.

HRVPRD was created by voters in 1988 and has since helped provide recreational needs of the community through the aquatic center, the skate park and several parks and trails. For a complete list of pool schedules and activities and HRVPRD info, visit

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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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