Letters to the Editor for July 17

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Bridge problems

Today the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks is being weight-limited to 8 tons; in other words no heavy trucks crossing it — will this include emergency service vehicles like fire trucks?

This will affect commerce in the small towns on the Washington side; Stevenson, Carson and North Bonneville, mainly. In 1990 the Port commission passed Ordinance 1990-7 calling for a set aside of tolls for bridge maintenance; it never happened.

On July 19 of 2007 the commission dissolved this fund with resolution 2007-5; that was approximately a year after ODOT notified the commission of potential problems.

Why was the fund dissolved when it was notified that there were potential problems that needed to be addressed? Does the state require that there are maintenance funds in place for private bridges so the state doesn’t have to pick up the costs of maintenance for a private structure? And shouldn’t the bridge tolls be based on the cost of maintaining the bridge in a manner that is safe for crossing the river plus structural improvements?

What will the losses in revenue be to the Port, who will pay for the upgrades to the bridge? What will this cost in delayed shipments and extra costs to shippers incurred while shipping on a different bridge and SR 14?

This didn’t have to happen: The Port was notified in 2006 of potential problems; tolls could have been raised accordingly and contributions to the maintenance fund made to cover current problems. Hopefully with hindsight a lesson will be learned.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Arts center shines

Once again, I find myself praising the arts and culture we get to enjoy in the mid-Columbia. “The Earth Laughs in Flowers” is the Columbia Art Gallery’s current exhibit of incredible visual art focused on flowers.

Karen Watson’s painted lily pads and Carla Axtman’s marvelous “To be a flower is a profound responsibility” photo are among my many favorites.

There’s one more weekend (this Friday-Sunday) to take in CAST Theatre’s hilarious “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” an ensemble piece written by Nora and Delia Ephron that provides lots of adult laughs and insights — for women and everyone who loves them.

All the acting shines; Brenda Hering, playing “Gingie,” is unforgettably droll when she instructs us all how to draw ourselves in a dress. Hats off to director Judie Hanel, the cast, crew, volunteers and supporters for bringing us this fine play.

Finally, a warm welcome to Gregory Smith, the new executive director of Columbia Center for the Arts. I’m sure he can immediately see the talents of the people he’ll be working with here.

Tina Castañares

Odell

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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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