Stoked: CGWA preserves windsurfing access with purchase of Swell City property

The Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association announced with excitement this week that it had acquired a one-acre parcel of Columbia River waterfront known as Swell City. After a unanimous vote of approval last week from the CGWA board of directors, Executive Director Greg Stiegel signed documents Monday making the purchase official.

With good wind exposure and easy access to the river, the property, about half a mile west of Spring Creek Hatchery along Highway 14, has long been a popular windsurfing site, albeit with limited capacity for parking. When the CGWA found out the landowner was putting the property up for sale, Stiegel says his organization jumped at the opportunity.

“We were given the first shot at the property,” Stiegel said, noting that the realtor for the sale was longtime Gorge sailor Sean Aiken. “Once we looked in to all the details, it seemed like a no-brainer. Considering what it was priced at, almost anyone could have snagged that space; and who knows what they would have done with it. If another private owner were to have purchased it, they could have put up a gate and made it private.”

CGWA purchased the lot for just under $33,000, using Doug’s Beach/BNSF railroad settlement funds that must be spent specifically on site access improvements by 2016.

Stiegel says, for the short team at least, CGWA’s goal is to keep things status quo at the site.

“There’s a pretty core group of users who have been there for a long time,” he said. “Our goal was to preserve windsurfing access at the site, and we are stoked to be able to do that. At least for this summer, we want to keep things as similar as possible. We haven’t really formed a long term strategic plan for the site yet.”

n In addition to the Swell City purchase, CGWA is spending $50,000 of its remaining settlement funds to help develop a new river access and windsurfing launch site at the west end of the Hook, on Port of Hood River property. The roughly $150,000 project is slated to start sometime this fall and be completed by the 2015 season. It will coincide with the City of Hood River’s sewer outflow relocation project, which will move the current outflow pipeline down the Hook road and into the river toward Wells Island. The project will be funded by CGWA, about $20,00 from the Hood River Parks and Recreation District and the Port of Hood River.

Additional topside improvements to the site, and a pedestrian path along the Hook road, are also planned, with funding for that pending a matching grant that the Port has applied for.

After the Swell City purchase and the Hook launch funding, Stiegel says the CGWA has about $45,000 remaining of the 2006 settlement funds.

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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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