Craftsmanship meets efficiency in Gorge Green Home Tour

With a unique lineup of new and remodeled homes, the 12th annual Green Home Tour set for Saturday, Oct. 5, aims to inspire homeowners and businesses to invest in buildings that increase value while reducing their overall environmental footprint.

Presented by Gorge Owned (GO!) and the Energy Trust of Oregon, the self-guided tour features 10 homes in Hood River and Mosier that showcase everything from “tiny home living” and green roofs to deep energy retrofits and renewable energy.

“The tour offers a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to connect with homeowners, designers, do-it-yourselfers and contractors around a range of topics related to sustainable design, building, and living,” says Lindsay Miller, executive director of Gorge Owned.

The Gorge Green Home Tour kicks off on Friday, Oct. 4, with the Gorge Green Home Expo from 4-8 p.m. at Springhouse Cellar Winery in Hood River. The expo features green building products and service providers, along with 5-minute “GO! Talks” from local green building innovators.

Participants can meet this year’s Green Home Tour homeowners, enjoy pizza from Solstice Wood Fired Cafe, drink local wine and learn about innovative building practices.

On Oct. 6, the self-guided Gorge Green Home Tour begins at 9 a.m. at the Hood River Waterfront Park and includes stops in Hood River and Mosier. The tour showcases many cutting-edge homes, including David and Katie Skakel’s house in Mosier, which is the first recycled polystyrene house in the Gorge.

Also on the tour is a beautifully crafted post-and-beam custom-built home by Green Home Construction featuring an insulated concrete form wall system, tight building shell, living roofs and a 3-kilowatt solar system. Plus, a tiny home (128 square feet) designed and built by Mosier resident Leslie Nuckoles and modeled after the infamous Tumbleweed Tiny Homes will provide participants with a look into space-efficient home design.

The 12th-annual Gorge Green Home Tour is made possible with the support of numerous partners and businesses sponsors, including headlining sponsor Energy Trust of Oregon, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and tapping renewable resources.

Presenting sponsors include NW Natural, providing safe, efficient and reliable energy for homes and business, and Sustain EcoInteriors, providing the Columbia Gorge community with a local resource to learn about, see, touch and design with sustainable products for beautiful, healthy spaces.

The cost of the tour is $10 per person or $25 per carpool of three or more. Cyclists are $5. Entrance into the Gorge Green Home Expo is included in the ticket price. All proceeds from this event benefit Gorge Owned, a 501(c)(3) member-supported organization helping people invest in a vibrant community, healthy environment and strong local economy.

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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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