Ruby Mason to retire from Housing posts

After 33 years of service, Ruby Mason announced this month that she has decided to retire as an officer and executive director of three organizations that work together as the Greater Gorge Housing Partnership. The organization, which addresses housing issues in the Gorge, includes: Mid-Columbia Housing Authority, Columbia Gorge Housing Authority and Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation.

“Ruby Mason has been a strong leader, only the third since the Housing Agency started operating in 1976, and one who has managed the company through both good and challenging times,” said Rod Runyon, chairman of the Mid-Columbia Housing Authority board.

David Sauter, chairman of the Columbia Gorge Housing Authority board, added, “The board is grateful for her innumerable contributions to the company and her distinguished tenure as executive director since 1980.”

“I have had the best job in the world,” Mason said. “It’s truly been an honor and privilege to lead an organization that is committed to improving the living environment and quality of life for individuals and our community.

“After more than three decades with the Housing Authority and 23 years leading Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation it’s time to move on and transfer the helm to a new generation of leadership,” she said.

“I feel comfortable leaving a strong, viable organization that is poised to move to the next level of service. I look forward to working with the board and management team over the next several-month transition period and to being available as an advisor to management after retiring as executive director.”

The board of commissioners and directors will conduct the search process to choose Mason’s successor and will consider internal and external candidates for the position.

The HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program continues to be the primary operating program to assist lower-income families in the area obtain decent, safe housing in the private sector.

Rental assistance payments are made directly to private owners to help families afford the cost of renting a stable home which improves their stability and reduces the likelihood they will have to move as a result of eviction, rent increase or other financial struggles.

The Housing Authority also administers the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, Section 8 Homeownership, Shelter Plus Care and the HOME Tenant-Based Assistance Program for homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless.

Over the past 23 years, Columbia Cascade Housing has successfully developed 20 rental properties with 357 dwelling units throughout the five-county service area (Hood River, Wasco and Sherman counties in Oregon and Klickitat and Skamania counties in Washington). Many of the projects received national recognition and awards for design and innovation.

The Housing Resource Center offers information on various types of housing.

Together the housing organizations serve nearly 1,200 families per month.

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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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