Hood River is a city and county seat of Hood River County, Oregon, and a river port on the Columbia River located 62 miles east of Portland, Oregon on Interstate 84. The town was named for the nearby stream, the Hood River. The town was incorporated in 1881 and currently has an estimated population of 7,200. Long renowned for its magnificent setting in the Columbia River Gorge and its scenic drives through the picturesque fruit orchards of the Hood River Valley, Hood River is the gateway to world-class wind surfing in the Columbia River Gorge and the home for the employee-owned Full Sail Brewing Company, a major Oregon microbrewery.
The city is bordered on the north by the Columbia River which is the dividing line between the states of Oregon and Washington. Along the river and the city runs the Union Pacific Railroad, one of the leading transporters of lumber, chemicals, food and autos. The rail that runs thru the city is the key leg of the rail that connects the eastern states to the western coast. The National Scenic Area and State Forest Lands border the city on the eastern and the western sides. These forest lands are thick and lush with numerous indigenous species of trees, plant life and wild life. The County of Hood River borders the city to the south.
The city has three very distinct districts within its boundaries. The first is the downtown business district. This is the busiest of the three, where all the county and city political buildings are located. City Hall, County Administration, County 911 Center, U.S. Post Office, County Sheriff’s Office, City Police Department, Hood River County School District Office and the Port of Hood River are all located in the downtown business district. Downtown Hood River also boasts a collection of historical buildings dating back to the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. These historic buildings are inhabited by mostly upscale shops that cater to the tourists and many eateries. The second district is called “The Heights” business district located in the southern portion of the city. Businesses such as grocery and retail stores, restaurants, and hardware supplies all oriented toward the year round residents are located in “The Heights”. The third district is the residential area, housing a year round population of 7,200 residents.
Hood River has two public elementary schools, a middle school and a high school, along with several private schools. Providence Hood River Hospital is located in the center of the City of Hood River and is the only hospital in the county. Additionally there are seven assisted living care facilities, accommodating a combined total of approximately 560 elderly residents located within the city. The city has the Hood River running through its southeastern boundary draining into the Columbia River. The entire eastern and part of the southern portion of the city is considered urban-wild land interface.
The Port of Hood River is located within city limits and is the key access point to the Columbia River for boaters and windsurfers. This location has been declared as the windsurfing capitol of the world. The port docks approximately 150 pleasure boats on an annual basis and has a guest docking slip that can hold additional guest pleasure boats. The port is also home to most of the commercial and industrial facilities for the county. In recent years the city has grown both within its boundaries and by expanding into the urban growth boundary. The city is experiencing phenomenal growth in the areas of medium density housing, along with commercial and retail space.
The call load for fire has increased by 20% over the last year and demands continue to grow. The City of Hood River provides fire protection to approximately 7,200 year round residents, and approximately 10,000 visitors during tourist season. This fire protection includes both structural and wild land.
The Hood River Fire Department is the only combination Fire Department in Hood River County. We have paid staff on duty 24 hours a day and we are relied upon by our automatic and mutual aid partners both in Hood River County and outside of the county.Currently we have automatic aid agreements with the two volunteer rural fire districts that border our city. We also have mutual aid agreements with four other volunteer rural fire districts in Hood River County. These volunteer RFD’s rely on our response to supplement their crews on the scene of their emergencies. Hood River Fire/EMS is also the only 24 hour staffed advanced life support provider in Hood River County.
Hood River Fire Department has mutual aid agreements with three neighboring counties. One of which is Wasco County that has critical infrastructure on the state watch list. The Dalles is the largest city in Wasco County, located 20 miles east of the City of Hood River. We are their initial first response in a mutual aid situation. We also rely on these automatic and mutual aid partners for a reciprocal response. Thirty five percent (35%) of our call load is for automatic or mutual aid responses given to other agencies. Hood River Fire/EMS also has mutual aid agreements with the Oregon Department of Forestry as well as the National Scenic Area which borders our city. During wild land season, our units are constantly used to supplement forestry units. Annually our resources are requested by the State of Oregon during enacted conflagration incidents. During these conflagration incidents, our Engine Pumper can be deployed for a week at a time.
Our ISO rating is currently a class 4.
The department is funded through property taxes and a fee based ambulance service