County okays restoration fee hike for road rallies

The Hood River County Board of Commissioners is allowing motorsport events to continue being held on county roads but at a significantly higher cost.

Commissioners voted unanimously during their Monday meeting last week to approve a recommendation from the county’s forestry and public works departments to increase road restoration fees charged to event organizers from $400 per mile to $1,700 per mile.

The fee increase was proposed to offset damage done to unpaved county roads where road rallies have been held the past 10 years.

County departments originally recommended charging $2-$6 per lineal foot of track in restoration fees — significantly higher than the previous rate of 7.5 cents.

Rally proponents, however, spoke out against what they considered to be exorbitant fees and commissioners decided to table the issue while the forestry and engineering departments re-examined their fee proposals.

A rally scheduled for October was cancelled and with another event looming in May, Hood River County Public Works Director Mikel Diwan wanted to offer a rate that he said was “more of a compromise.”

“We’re not trying to run the road rally out of business,” he told commissioners last week. “We’re just trying to protect the roads and I think it should be reflective of the damage that is caused.”

The new fee was based off the cost of laying an eighth of an inch of rock on a 16-foot-wide section of road, but Diwan still thought it should be more.

“I don’t think it really reflects the damage that is caused by this event,” he said.

After commissioners voted to approve the recommended fees, County Administrator Dave Meriwether asked Jeff Lemley, a race organizer who attended the meeting, whether the new rate would work for the rally groups.

“We’ll have to see,” Lemley said. “It’ll be a pretty healthy entry fee.”

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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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