State Street project starts June 3

Parking meters on poles will be replaced with kiosks on State Street under the project. City worker Steve Hughes removes coins on Friday morning.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
Parking meters on poles will be replaced with kiosks on State Street under the project. City worker Steve Hughes removes coins on Friday morning.

Enjoy unimpeded traffic on State Street this summer, because after Labor Day, “it will pretty much get torn up,” according to chief designer Devry Bell.

Bell and his partner Stoner Bell, City Manager Bob Francis and Public Works Director Mark Lago met with members of the community Thursday to describe the 2013-14 Urban Renewal project that formally starts June 3, and will last 18 months.

The project stretches a total of nine blocks, from Sixth Street to Front Street and back one block to Oak and First streets.

Off-street work will start around June 3. That will include the start of retaining wall construction on the south side of State between First and Second and some sidewalk work.

By the time it is finished, several new retaining walls and elevated sidewalks will be finished, along with a plaza on the northwest corner of Sixth and State, along with new sidewalks, benches, planting areas, and street lights. Also, most power and phone lines will be placed underground.

Crestline Construction is low bidder on the $4.35 million project, which will be formally granted to the Portland company on May 28, according to Francis. The work will be paid for out of Urban Renewal funds, which are property tax payments contributed via nine member agencies including the city, county, port, and school district

No in-street work will be done until after Labor Day, though some periodic disruption of sidewalk and street traffic may happen to give crews access to off-street work areas, according to Francis.

The city and designers and contractors said that they will work closely with property owners during construction periods to reduce intrusion on business.

Scott Reynier of Columbia River Insurance (Sixth and State) and Craig Sheppard of Sheppard’s volunteered to represent downtown businesses at weekly construction meetings with project manager Eric Kerr of Crestline.

“Under the contract, the contractor must pay attention to businesses’ needs,” Devry Bell said.

Kerr will be a familiar face, as he was in charge of the previous Urban Renewal project, on Oak Street in 2008. Kerr said regular communication with business representatives worked well in 2008, and construction schedules can be firmed up and communicated two weeks in advance in most cases.

Most of the work will be done by Memorial Day 2014, with the bulk of the work happening this fall and winter. The western end of the project will be 250 feet west of Sixth Street, at the driveway of the county’s parking lot. The eastern end is just west of First and Oak.

A total of eight more on-street parking spaces will result as some blocks will change from parallel to diagonal parking. Nearly all the parking meters will be replaced with kiosks like the ones on Oak Street.

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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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