Another Voice: Ask Salem to support Clean Energy funding

For the last 16 years, my company, McDowell & Son, has served the Hood River area, providing local homeowners with construction and residential energy efficiency services. As a partner of the nonprofit Clean Energy Works Oregon (CEWO), we are helping make it easier for local homeowners to make comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades to their homes.

CEWO connects homeowners to local lenders for low-cost financing, to local utilities for cash incentives, and to certified energy-efficiency contractors like us for construction services.

Since fall 2012, we have completed more than 35 CEWO home energy assessments and five home energy retrofits in Hood River County. We’ve helped our customers save money on monthly utility bills while making their homes more comfortable. Plus, we’ve been able to provide full-time work for our employees to whom we provide a good, living wage, and we work with numerous local subcontractors to complete aspects of each project.

None of this would be possible without public investment. CEWO was created through a public-private partnership involving numerous public agencies, utilities and contractors. The program has helped thousands of Oregonians make their houses more comfortable while reducing wasteful energy expenses and improving the value of their largest asset, their home.

And equally as important, CEWO has ensured a regular paycheck for more than 1,300 workers. As a small-business owner and employer, I know how important that is.

Now, the State of Oregon is considering legislation that would provide secure funding for CEWO into the future. With more than 600,000 homes throughout Oregon in need of an energy upgrade, representing $8 billion in economic development, I see continued promise in programs like CEWO, which has a proven track record of creating jobs, growing businesses, and increasing private investment.

That is why I am encouraging my legislators to fund efforts like Clean Energy Works Oregon, and I encourage you to do the same.

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Melissa McDowell is owner of McDowell & Son in Hood River.

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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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