Legislature approves planning grant for Scenic Area

The Oregon legislature provided an end-of-session boost to the future of Gorge communities and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. In a move that highlights Oregon’s bipartisan support for the Columbia River Gorge, the joint ways and means budget included an additional $80,000 investment for the continuation of work on urban planning issues in the Oregon portion of the National Scenic Area.

“The late-session funding decision came after Washington was unable to match Oregon’s budget for the Columbia River Gorge Commission.

In 2012, Gorge stakeholders identified urban area planning among the top needs in the National Scenic Area.

Recognizing the importance of planning for the future of the Gorge, Gov. John Kitzhaber and the Oregon legislature made a significant commitment to increase funding for the Gorge Commission.

When Washington did not match Oregon’s commitment, Oregon legislators and the governor’s office quickly turned to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development to instead provide a grant through DLCD’s local government planning grants program.

“We appreciate Oregon’s continued commitment to help build efficient, livable communities and to work together as stewards of the Gorge,” said Gorge Commission Director Darren Nichols. “The National Scenic Area is recognized as a world-class landscape; this grant from Oregon’s DLCD gives us an opportunity to help build world-class communities within this stunning landscape.”

DLCD Director Jim Rue added, “We are pleased to be able to support local planning efforts in the Gorge communities. The additional Oregon funds enable the commission and DLCD to make a significant positive step toward a vibrant, sustainable future for Gorge communities and Gorge resources.”

“We remain hopeful that Washington will recognize the value of investing in regional planning for communities on both sides of the Columbia River,” remarked Commission Chair Carl McNew. “The long-term success of the National Scenic Area depends on the commission’s ability to implement the purposes of the Gorge Compact to protect our resources and support healthy communities.”

The Gorge Commission and DLCD will now work with Gorge communities and stakeholders to develop a scope of work that meets the needs of the cities and enhances the National Scenic Area.

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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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