Heights Walkshop reviewed

Planning expert Dan Burden

The timing for the Heights Walkshop was optimal as the City of Hood River plans Hood River Heights district urban renewal projects. The event, hosted by the Hood River Valley Resident Committee (HRVRC) and the City, featured urban planning expert Dan Burden who guided attendees through a walk audit of the Heights commercial core.

A walking audit is a review of factors like street conditions and traffic flow that contribute to the safety and pleasantness of traveling by foot or bicycle in the area. The walkshop in the Heights offers input to the City and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) on how to improve Heights planning for a safer, more enjoyable and utilitarian experience for pedestrians.

Burden, a nationally-recognized expert with the company Blue Zones specializes in reinventing streets, neighborhoods and towns with walkability and bikeability solutions. The Heights walk audit was made possible by a $18,000 grant to HRVRC from the Oregon Community Foundation, and was supported by the City with materials and staff time.

The event encouraged community involvement

The event encouraged community involvement, kicking off with a presentation on best practices for people-friendly environments, followed by the walk audit. Lead by Burden, participants looped around 12th and 13th streets between Belmont and May. To complete the event, participants worked in groups to identify opportunities to improve the Heights business district while better accommodating pedestrians and bicyclists.

New public transportation onboard

The Pink Trolley offers free weekend trips around town

Hood River’s newest public transportation is an open-air pink trolley which carries people on a fixed route through Hood River with nine scheduled stops. Pedestrians may also flag down the vehicle with a wave from a safe spot for an unscheduled pick up. The trolley runs Saturdays and Sundays through September however the same route service is available Monday – Friday via the CAT bus. The trolley service is free, sponsored by the City of Hood River, along with PacificSource Community Solutions and Columbia Area Transit. Offered donations are dedicated to Hood River Shelter Services which operates Hood River’s Warming Shelter during winter months. For details on the weekend trolley or CAT bus routes and schedule, visit catransit.org.

Matthew Barman of Hood River Pedicab - photo: Kyle Ramey

The trolley is not Hood River’s only new form of transportation. This summer the City of Hood River licensed its first “pedicab” in close to 20 years to Matthew Barman of Hood River Pedicab. A pedicab is a pedal-operated vehicle that serves as a taxi. The service offers rides on an electric-assist tricycle in the commercial downtown area and the waterfront on a tips-only basis, with dispatch fees of $5 or more (and additional $1 per minute charges) in other parts of town. His vehicle comfortably holds two-three people, up to 500 lbs. total weight, and he offers a cargo-only model as well.

“My business has been incredibly well-received by locals and tourists,” Barman says. “As the pedicab business settles I will develop and promote other related offerings: shuttling sports gear or auto-service pick-ups, hauling, deliveries, take-out, and special events.” A button on hoodriverpedicab.com links to its real-time location in Google Maps while circulating, and in the near future Barman hopes to add a reservations widget on his website. Hood River Pedicab can be contacted at 541-714-3130.

HRPD hosts Gun Turn In Day

Rifles and a pistol voluntarily turned in to HRPD in early June

The Hood River Police Department (HRPD) hosted Gun Turn In Day in early June. The first-ever six-hour event offered residents an opportunity to surrender unwanted firearms and ammunition. In six hours, HRPD took in 10 weapons (nine rifles and one semi-automatic pistol) plus an abundance of ammunition.

According to Police Chief Neal Holste, many guns retired came from people who had inherited them or were unsure how to properly dispose of them. Individuals were appreciative of the free service, and no incentives were offered as exchange. HRPD plans to hold collected weapons for 90 days in case any anonymous donors change their minds. After 90 days, they will be sent to a melt-down facility in the Willamette Valley.

“If citizens have a firearm or ammunition they would like dispose of in a safe manner, contact the police department anytime for assistance,” Holste instructs. “If firearms are brought to the police station, they must be unloaded, sealed or taped in a clear plastic bag, and then put into a container or bag that is not see-through. Community members should transport the gun(s) in the trunk of the vehicle or out of reach of vehicle occupants.” For further information, contact HRPD business office at 541-387-5256.

Police Station needs assessment planned

Police department facility planning has begun as an item on Hood River City Council’s list of 2018 goals. The City of Hood River, with assistance from civil engineering firm Bell Design Company, is developing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a comprehensive assessment of the current Hood River Police Department facility located on 2nd Street next to City Hall. The project would identify benefits, limitations and deficiencies of the existing facility for properly serving the community. Potential future alternative facility sites may also be evaluated. The needs assessment process will likely follow the International Assn. of Police Chiefs’ Police Facility Planning Guidelines.

Bulky Item Drop-Off update

Annual Bulky Item Drop-off Day

Hood River Garbage took in 1.95 tons of bulky waste items during the City’s annual Bulky Item Drop-off Day held on June 23 at its Guignard Drive transfer station. Large furniture items, appliances, box springs and mattresses are accepted at no charge, but must weigh less than 50 pounds. Household kitchen trash, yard debris, tires, concrete and appliances containing Freon are not accepted, but may be disposed of at posted rates. The annual event is part of the City’s collection agreement with Hood River Garbage and is for city residents only.

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