Healthcare facilities to open soon in Odell, CL

Bill Turner of Bill Turner Construction Company in Hood River puts the finishing touches on a door frame inside what will soon be the new healthcare facility in Odell.

Photo by Ben Mitchell.
Bill Turner of Bill Turner Construction Company in Hood River puts the finishing touches on a door frame inside what will soon be the new healthcare facility in Odell.

For people seeking healthcare services in Odell and Cascade Locks, there are few to no options that don’t involve driving to Hood River or Stevenson.

However, two part-time healthcare facilities scheduled to open next month in Odell and Cascade Locks will go a long way toward addressing the healthcare needs of people living in these underserved communities.

Hood River County Administrator David Meriwether said the Cascade Locks clinic, which will occupy part of the old Cascade Locks High School, and the Odell clinic, which will occupy a portion of Mid Valley Elementary School’s cafeteria, will offer a variety of services, such as inoculations, mental health services, drug and alcohol counseling, family planning and health and nutrition counseling; though they will have limited hours.

“It won’t be a full-time clinic,” Meriwether said. “It would be open on a periodic basis; a couple days a week.”

Staffing for the clinic will be split between the Hood River County Health Department and the Mid-Columbia Center for Living, with the possibility of other health service providers joining in the future.

To prepare for the arrival of the healthcare facilities, both schools underwent remodeling this past winter, which is currently nearing completion. Meriwether said the cost of the remodeling was paid for by $600,000 in federal appropriations that were awarded to the county years ago. The original plan was to construct a $1.2-million health clinic in Cascade Locks, anticipating the city of approximately 1,150 residents would swell by several thousand when a long-envisioned off-reservation casino and resort would finally be built on port lands. The controversial 690,000-square-foot casino and resort, which would be built by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Indian Reservation, is in limbo since Gov. John Kitzhaber has refused to give his required approval of the project.

“Without the population increase, there was no point in building a facility of that size,” Meriwether explained. “When it became obvious that, A: there was not going to be a gaming casino, and B: that time was running out on expending the funds, we decided to move forward with the project.”

Heidi Ochsner, assistant to the county administrator, has been helping coordinate the project and said that “operation costs will be absorbed by each of the entities” that will be using the facility. On the Health Department side, which Ochsner said will charge services on a sliding scale based on a patient’s income, the facility will be staffed by school nurses who are already on site to serve students. Ochsner also said the county is “currently working out arrangements” with the Hood River County School District, which owns both buildings. Cascade Locks High School was closed in 2009 due to poor enrollment forecasts and Ochsner noted the Cascade Locks Branch of the Hood River County Library is also planning on moving into the facility within the next year.

Although an official date has not been announced yet, both the Odell and the Cascade Locks facility are planned to have grand openings within the next few weeks.

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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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