Localities: The chance to have a say on bridges, trails and streams

You see them around: bumper stickers reading “Don’t hassle me, I’m a local.”

Presumably, a car bearing such a message cannot be driven beyond the home jurisdiction of the driver, say across a certain bridge if you want to qualify for a discount?

To explain:

The whole “local” concept comes to mind with an element of the Port of Cascade Locks’ proposal for Bridge of the Gods bridge fare increases.

Suitably, the plan calls for keeping the $1 basic fare for passenger cars, and increasing revenue based on per-axle increases for commercial vehicles. Tolls for pedestrians and bicycles would stay at 50 cents – a nice touch.

Then there is the 25-cent discount for “locals,” a price break that would likely be identified and enacted in a year or two. The Port acknowledges it does not yet have a plan for who is a local and who is not. Is Wyeth or Warrendale local? Stevenson and Carson? What about Hood River? If anything, the conversation will be an interesting one. Attending the Jan. 23 meeting (details on A5) is a great place to start.

The counterpoint to “don’t hassle me” is the “I’m a local, this is what I have to say.” Of course, showing up in the process is critical to the local’s responsibility in Living Where You Do. That means either attending meetings or taking the time to put your comments down in writing at the appropriate time.

More such public opportunities abound in Hood River. Two cases in point, both taking place on the same night:

n The Port of Hood River Commission has developed a public process and meeting schedule in preparation for the design and planning of Nichols Basin’s west edge that will include a pedestrian/bicycle path, water access, and landscaping. The work will be guided by a Project Advisory Committee, and include four public meetings to obtain community input.

The first public meeting scheduled for Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. at the Port of Hood River conference room.

n Hood River Watershed Group meets on Jan. 28, 7 p.m. with a talk by Les Perkins, Farmers Conservation Alliance business development director, on his recently completed case study of watershed impacts of small-scale hydroelectric projects. (Perkins is also a Hood River County Commissioner.) It happens at the OSU Extension office.

The Watershed Group will also discuss the 2014 Hood River Watershed Action Plan update.

Oddly enough, a watershed plan sounds dry, and while it may be a topic of interest primarily to stakeholders such as farmers, that makes it a vital one to all of us.

All of us locals.

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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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