Wednesday, March 12, 2014
The commanding voice called “Keep moving!” to a motorist who was rounding a corner on the Heights Monday.
It was day one of what appears to be a blessedly short period of “wrong way” detours done in the interest of keeping traffic flowing while Belmont and 12th and 13th streets are excavated for new water lines.
“This is the price of running water,” flagger Dave Williams of contractor MEI said Monday as cars streamed by in both directions.
The vocal motorist was some impatient soul who Had To Get There First, and was yelling at the car ahead even though both were traveling in a congested area and going south on a normally north-only street.
In an unusual situation, this person insisted on behaving with the usual impatience.
The flaggers deserve credit for safely and efficiently moving vehicles through the neighborhood. It’s a public safety concern, given the potential for accidents in this case of sanctioned wrong-way driving, and the fact that the city and contractor MEI have reached a linchpin in this $12 million public infrastructure project. Sometimes you have to cut holes in the busiest streets in town. The price of running water, indeed.
Two-foot diameter pipes are going into the ground at this writing; the project heads east across 12th and along Union Street in the next phase of the project.
There is always the potential for the unforeseen, any time there is digging up the road involved.
That may remain the case on the other big project in town — downtown Urban Renewal — where piles of gravel and stacks of pipe seem to be everywhere. The Crestline crew deserves credit for making way for motorist and pedestrians, though some downtown businesses have complained about significant incursion on their business in the past three months. Such as the case five years ago in the Oak Street Urban Renewal Project.
The city plans an outreach of sorts this spring once the project is done, a kind of invitation to people to come back downtown. That’s a positive idea, but we recommend it start now. True, there is less parking available because State is almost constantly closed to traffic and parking, but it is almost always open to pedestrians. The only exceptions have been when safety is at stake or temporary access was made impossible by the task at hand.
Oak and Front Street businesses, like those on State, remain open, and no level of dust and noise has changed that. There is parking available, and the downtown businesses affected by street closures deserve support. The end of the project is in sight, but there is plenty of work to do, and plenty of work going on inside the walls fronting the streets.
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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