Kaleidoscope: Working ahead of schedule on State

Four months to go on major Urban Renewal project for downtown Hood River

Crestline’s Jake Hamilton cuts a vacated water line in front of Hood River Library, to make room for new stormwater catch basin.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
Crestline’s Jake Hamilton cuts a vacated water line in front of Hood River Library, to make room for new stormwater catch basin.

Crestline’s Jake Hamilton sat in the excavator with its toothed-bucket the size of a small dorm fridge and nudged a 10-inch trowel off a concrete box he needed to pick up.

The tool fell away as if Hamilton had reached down with his thumb and forefinger and moved it aside.

Men with skills are on the job on the City of Hood River’s $5 million Urban Renewal State Street project, and with the help of cool, dry weather, the URD is three months ahead of schedule. The project should be complete in May 2014.


The new retaining wall between Second and First streets. The gap at left is where a new stairwell will go.

Project Timeline

Urban Renewal State Street project dates are weather dependent:

Jan. 21 — Sidewalk demolition starts, at First Street

Jan. 27 — Street closure begins on Oak and Front streets, between State and First

Mid-March — Sidewalk demolition ends

Mid-March (projected) – Installation of new underground “dry” utilities

Late May – Project completion


Spike for breaking concrete awaits duty this week.Photos by Kirby Neumann-Rea


Worker hand-digs to clear the stormwater line for connection to the new catch basin in front of the library.

Work started last fall with gradually increasing cutting of trenches in State Street for new water, storm and sewer lines, and increasing disruption of traffic, primarily between Sixth and Second streets.

(While the weather has been favorable, the underground landscape yielded more large rocks than anticipated, which added to excavation time.)

State Street Urban Renewal is nearing the halfway point, with two significant shifts in the coming weeks:

n Removal of sidewalks was scheduled to start Jan. 21 at Second and Oak streets in front of Sheppard’s. The busting of concrete will move westward over the course of the next month.

n Street excavation starts on Front Street at Oak Street on Jan. 27. Oak will be closed completely from First around the corner to State — though pedestrian access will be provided.

“The contractor is working closely with property owners to ensure as little disruption as possible,” City Engineer Gary Lindemyer said.

The city has awaited a right-of-way permit from the Oregon Department of Transportation before beginning that phase of the project.

As the sidewalks are removed, Crestline crews will start on one of the more noticeable parts of the overall project: undergrounding of overhead lines. Those “dry utilities” — power, phone and Internet — will be placed underneath the new sidewalk.

Dusty Long of general contractor Crestline Construction of The Dalles said businesses have been notified of the specific times when the sidewalks will be removed from in front of their storefront.

“We’re going to try to make it as little-impact as possible,” Long said. “The sidewalks should be open the whole time; other than those portions of the day when we’re right in front of a business.”

Sheppard’s will be first.

“They’re looking forward to getting it out of the way during their slow time of year,” Long said.

He said the Astro service station, located at the corner of Front and State, will remain open throughout the project; though the east-bound access to the pumps may at times switch to a west-bound approach, according to Long.

The pace of the sidewalk replacement, and dry utility installation, is truly weather-dependent, Lindemyer said.

When the Oak Street portion starts as early as next week, traffic will be routed up Second and onto State. Work on State Street will be limited to the portion between Second and Front.

In that eastern section of State, the retaining wall is complete around the city parking lot, and utility installation continues on the upper sidewalk between First and Second. For that block, there will be a street-level sidewalk, just as before, and a new upper walkway, starting at the existing Overlook Memorial Park stairwell, looping to a new stairwell across from First. The city has installed utility heads and has planned for sidewalk extensions and tie-ins to property above the sidewalk, for future residential or commercial development there.

In terms of traffic impacts at State and Second, Long said he anticipates the same challenges as at Sixth and State streets, with flaggers and plenty of traffic control; motorists should expect delays.

Following demolition of the sidewalks, the crews will grade the street, install curbs and gutters, and then pour the sidewalks. After that comes the new street surface itself, likely in the middle of May.

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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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