New Columbia River Gorge trail segment is now open

Allows bike and pedestrian travel off I-84 between Cascade Locks and Troutdale

The new 1.6-mile segment of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail will officially be open to the public Thursday allowing pedestrians and bicyclists to travel between Troutdale and Cascade Locks without using Interstate 84.

The new trail segment, which was dedicated in September, is complete except for minor detail work, including landscaping.

The $8.1 million project is the final link in a 34-mile scenic bike ride from Troutdale to Cascade Locks on 26 miles of the Columbia River Historic Highway and 6.5 miles of shared use path on the State Trail. Ultimately, the trail will extend to Hood River although the design and funding sources are still under study.

The new 1.6-mile trail segment includes:

n A new 12-foot wide paved path accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, hikers and people using wheelchairs

n A distinctive new 76-foot long, 16-foot wide bridge over McCord Creek reflecting the craftsmanship of the original highway design

n A new picnic and rest area with restored views of Beacon Rock

n A link with U.S. Forest Service Trail 400 connecting to Elowah Falls

In 1987, the Legislature set in motion the restoration of the Historic Columbia River Highway, which was completed in 1922 as America’s first scenic highway. By the 1950s, many sections of the road had been abandoned or demolished for what eventually became Interstate 84.

ODOT has been working on the project with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the State Historic Preservation Office, the U.S. Forest Service, the Federal Highway Administration, the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway, Travel Oregon, and the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee to restore and reconnect the highway.

With the new segment, 62 of the original 73 miles of Historic Highway linking Troutdale with The Dalles are open to motor vehicles or to bikes and pedestrians.

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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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