Archive | July, 2010

Salon Visio to relocate in December to former Con Gusto space

31 Jul

Schematics show new home for Salon Visio, with floor plan for interior.

Salon Visio has firmed up a deal to lease the top floor of the gorgeous brick building at 704 Oak Ave.

After years as a church, the building changed hands about 10 years ago. It first housed the Con Gusto restaurant, then the Gorge Grill, and most recently has been home to the offices of Columbia Gorge magazine. The magazine’s offices will remain in the lower level of the former church building.

Stan Aaberg, a partner with James Entwisle in Salon Visio, says the spa now at 310 Oak Ave. (behind Doppio) will relocate to the west after its current lease expires on Nov. 30 — just in time for Christmas.

Remodeling work will begin Sept. 1. Aaberg says the structure will require minimal build-out, because much of the necessary and desirable electrical and plumbing work is already in place as a result of remodeling for prior restaurant use.

“We’re super excited about what we will be able to offer our guests,” Aaberg said.

He said the spa simply ran out of room at its current location. The growth of the Gorge wedding industry, and demand for treatments like pedicures and manicures, facials, massage and body waxing got the owners looking for expansion room.

The new space will let them expand their work force from 8 now to about 22 after the move. They have six hair stations now, and will add four more. The new space will also let them create two treatment rooms and a separate manicure room. They also anticipate being able to offer some services on the front patio, which is screened from the street by an arbor.

They’re also excited that the new site has several on-site parking spaces, plus street frontage.

“The folks at Visio were aware that we had moved CGN-7 Studios to a larger, more accommodating location in The Dalles,” said Cory Bernard, project developer for CGN/Columbia Gorge Magazine. “They came to us with this great idea. The upper level of our building is a perfect match for a salon and spa.”

With the extra space, Aaberg and Entwisle hope to bring in industry experts to provide training to the entire Gorge community of stylists and other personal care professionals.

James Entwisle and Stan Aaberg of Salon Visio.

Aaberg describes himself as the business and marketing side of the partnership, and Entwisle as the creative side. He owned salons in the Tri-Cities area before starting Salon Visio in The Dalles. Aaberg worked in management at K-mart for more than 20 years. Five years ago, they moved to the Hood River space.

“Henry Fischer (their landlord) is a great guy to work with,” Aaberg said. “There was nothing he could do get us more space.”

For several months, Aaberg and Entwisle looked closely at the former Franz Hardware building at 2nd and Oak, but backed away from that site, in part because of the extensive costs associated with plumbing and wiring.

“The new location is truly amazing,” Aaberg said. “It’s a win-win-win.”


Insitu scores $43.7 million Navy contract for unmanned surveillance aircraft

30 Jul

Thanks to Bruce Peterson of Sailworks, longtime local speed merchant and windsurfing sail designer, for the tip that Insitu has won a $43.7 million contract from the U.S. Navy to develop unmanned aircraft.

That’s the best I can do without using a bunch of acronyms. For that version, see the official press release.

Thanks, Bruce, and congrats to Insitu.

SR 14 open in both lanes for weekend

30 Jul

Weekly ODOT report on any coming traffic impacts from rockfall abatement work along SR14 in Washington:

“Work and lane closures on SR 14 near Dog Mountain (milepost 54) have been cancelled for Friday, July 30. Both lanes of SR 14 will be open to traffic Friday and over the weekend.

Find this information on the Web by visiting our SR 14 Rockfall Mitigation project traffic impact schedule.

Catch your breath — an Event-a-lanche is coming at us in August

30 Jul

Talk to business owners downtown about how summer has been, and “Busy” is the word. Weekend of Aug. 6-8 (Fri-Sun) promises to be busier still. What up? Hundreds of bike riders will descend on town Saturday, Aug. 7, for Jackson’s Ride the Gorge, a five-year-old fund-raiser for the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation. It’s all based at the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum (WAAAM). Rides of 100 miles or less begin at 6 a.m,. and continue through 5 p.m. Watch for cyclists on the road!

Also coming down that weekend is First Friday (Aug. 6), with streets closed for pedestrian rambles PLUS, in the middle of summer, a Snow Rail Jam. It’s an echo event, of the Jam that 2nd Wind Sports and IPS Skate organized last December, during the run-up to Christmas. Pepi Gerald at 2nd Wind tells me that, yes, “We’re hauling snow down from Timberline. We’re delusional. We’ve got five trucks and some trailers. It’ll be on 4th Street between State and Oak.”

In August? Dumped onto relatively warmish asphalt? How, Pepi, will you keep it from melting faster than you unload it? “Good question,” Pepi says. “We’re going to bring it straight down. And Sunderland is playing while we’re doing this. There’s also a snowboard movie premiere after at the parking lot of the British Pub.” Oh, lordy, this should be fun.

Same weekend, just west of Ground Zero, comes the Bridge of the Gods Kite Fest. No snow imports required. They just use the snow after it’s melted. You may be familiar with the substance called w-a-t-e-r. …

Then we have the sail BOAT folks (remember when this was sailing?), gathered together under the banner of the Columbia Gorge Racing Association. They’ve got a killer schedule of activities and races, and coming up Aug. 3-5 they’ve got the WIND Youth Clinic for kids (i.e. future sailors). If that doesn’t float your boat, hang on — for THREE national championships during the Columbia Gorge One-Design Regatta Aug. 6-8, also in Cascade Locks. …

Interesting post in the SF Gate about our fair city, from perspective of someone with a disability, trying to get around town. A chance for some empathy for those with such challenges, during the anniversary week of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Farmer’s Market is hoppin’ place on Thursday afternoon

29 Jul

Distilled report from Todd Dierker, manager of the weekly Farmer’s Market at the Hood River Middle School:

“The Gorge Grown Farmers’ Market has REALLY taken off this summer. Both weekly attendance and sales are up about 30% from last year. … Last week Ben Stenn from Celilo showed us how to make delicious Cherry Tomato Bruschetta. In case you missed it, the recipe will be posted on our website. … August 5 is a celebration of bike and walking to market and will have lots of activities and events around biking and healthy families. On August 12, the market is proud to be hosting Green Drinks and a discussion about local composting operations and needs. Come join the fun…

This week … over 25 vendors … with a wide variety of dinner foods (including a new vendor, Henni’s, from White Salmon, serving curries), fresh fruits (peaches, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, etc.), breads, tarts, beef, worm compost and vegetables — tomatoes … along with fresh greens, squash, beets, carrots, green beans, kale, potatoes, etc.).

Debit cards and SNAP cards can be used at the INFO booth. We have an incentive program this season also that allows us to match your SNAP dollars …  to expand your purchasing power. Marimbas and the first tomatoes of the season will make for a very festive event this Thursday from 4 to 7 at the HR Middle School.

This week’s activities:

  • Music – Chigwaya Marimba
  • Children’s Activity – Kidsense
  • Non-profits – Ugandan Orphanage

What if beach access went bye-bye? Would visitors follow suit?

29 Jul

Washington has wrestled with parks funding in the past. In the current economic climate, state officials are again taking a look at the possibility of closing some state parks, including three very popular with visitors to the Gorge during the summer — the Spring Creek Hatchery, Doug’s Beach and Maryhill.

According to the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association, a 2007 poll of 580 Gorge windsurfers showed that the Hatchery ranked the highest in use among Gorge beaches, followed by Doug’s Beach at 2nd and Maryhill at 6th.

This would be a kick in the teeth to the Gorge economy. No place to play? No reason to stay.

Learn more about how important these sites are to windsports fans, and some of the numbers behind the issue, in a report by Katie Crafts of the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association.

Bag Battle heats up with roundtable, Fred Meyer PDX bag ban

29 Jul

Confession. I almost always forget to take my reusable bags into the store with me. So I end up with far more plastic bags at home than my garbage can needs, or other uses require. Still, it’s good to know I have enough bags to carry all my guilt, even though I do recycle them.

They’re convenient, yes, but a pain in the butt — they break, they fly away, they clutter the environment. Recycling them seems like such a futile exercise, because thousands somehow also find their way down river, into the ocean, into the mouths of fish, wrapped around birds, cluttering up life in unsightly and lethal ways.

Paper or plastic? I always think, paper. But I often answer, plastic (because you can tie the handles and keep your oranges from rolling all over the trunk, for one thing). You know how it goes.

So it’s been interesting to watch the acceleration of efforts to ban plastic bags in Oregon. DeLona Campos-Davis of Small Planet Trading in Hood River wrote about it on her store blog. Environment Oregon is leading the charge. And the Kroger Corp., parent to Fred Meyer, got headlines this week with news that it would ban plastic bags at its Portland-area stores.

I’ll be exploring this issue further — talking with proponents and opponents — but wanted to let you know first about a roundtable discussion planned for Aug. 4 at the Springhouse Cellar in Hood River.Brock Howell, state policy advocate for Environment Oregon, will lead the discussion at 6:30 p.m.

Share your views here, and/or take the poll.