Rep. Johnson talks ‘Gorge Center for Regional Innovation’

Rep. Mark Johnson told the Chamber of Commerce at Friday’s Appreciation dinner that a high-tech educational facility to serve the Gorge is looking increasingly likely for Hood River.

A meeting next month in Salem should be the tale of the tape.

“The rest of state looks at this as a great community and (legislators) are envious of me getting to represent Hood River,” he said. “I was in a meeting the other night that symbolized that.

“We are working closely with CGCC to put together a plan for a new proposal, Columbia Gorge Center for Regional Innovation, going to be based right here in Hood River. The idea is what this community needs and what our private sector folks are asking for; is more advanced technological education that directly targeted what the private sector — Insitu, Cloud Cap Technologies and others — are looking for.

“We are looking to put together a plan where we can begin to develop some four-year degree opportunities right here in Hood River so people don’t have to go to Eugene or Klamath Falls or Corvallis to get that degree in advanced aeronautical engineering.”

Johnson said he met in late February with CGCC President Dr. Frank Toda and Dr. Rudy Crew, the state’s chief education officer, Ben Cannon of Kitzhaber’s staff and Duncan Weiss, Portland Development Council chair.

“We made a presentation that was enthusiastically received,” Johnson said. “One of the things that sealed the deal is the support this community has for public education because it is such a huge contributing factor.

“When we can point to events like happened last November when we passed a Local Option Levy with about 62 percent of the vote, people say, ‘You know if we give Hood River (the funds) we know the community itself will come behind it and support this as well.’

“We had a very good meeting and will present it to the Oregon Education Investment Board in April and I have every hope that soon after we will have an announcement of a brand new educational facility right here in Hood River. That’s an indication of how representing the community is easy, because the community does so much to foster that reputation around the state.

“What they’re looking for is places we can crate these regional STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) hubs in Oregon and I think there’s a very good chance we could become the pilot. And that’s what the whole theme of the meeting is going to be.

“OEIB is charged with making targeted investments in P-20 (pre-school to post-graduate); they have the cash,” Johnson said. “With the capital construction budget, out of the top 20 projects, the governor drew the line at 10, and this one (the Gorge tech center) was at 11.

“I did some behind-the-scenes texting, talked to the governor at Mahonia Hall, and he’s really interested in it. He has a real interest in seeing this coming out.”

Letters of support are coming from OSU, PSU and Lewis and Clark, to bring in the needed staff.

“It’s a whole different paradigm; taking resources out to where the students are, out to where the private sector needs the education,” Johnson said. “It’s a whole new way of thinking about it.”

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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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