Tag Archives: Hood River Square

Washboard Eco Laundry is … cleaning up

20 Sep

A latte while you wash and wait? Yep, inside the new Washboard Eco Laundry in the Hood River Square shopping center, between Walmart and Weston Hood River. In addition to high-efficiency washers and dryers, the facility boasts a kids' play area and TV. It's open for business.

Washers, dryers and folding tables near the kids' play area inside the new Washboard Eco Laundry in the Hood River Square shopping center.

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All the pieces, bits and pieces

16 Aug

Word from Mike Kehoe, owner of the Hood River Square center just west of Wal-Mart, is that two new businesses are about to open doors there. One, locally owned, is the Pearadise Creamery, dishing up frozen yogurt and smoothies. Its sign is up, but work inside continues. It’s next to Quizno‘s and Pizzicato. The other new shingle belongs to an office of Country Financial. It actually opened on July 1. Owner Thomas Torok says he will help people with a variety of Country insurance coverage — home, life, auto, health, worker’s comp, risk management. Torok worked 15 years trading stock options on the Chicago Board of Options Exchange, and before that worked as a certified public accountant. He still does tax work on the side. He and assistant Kim Solberg hold down the fort from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Their office is in Suite 105, at the northwest corner of the square, 2940 W. Cascade. Call 541-386-0284.

Allyson Pate, she of the big WINGS, tells us the space formerly occupied by the Movie Gallery will soon house a new outlet of the Maurices clothing chain. Allyson should know. Her husband, James, does property management for the Harsh Investments, which owns the Cascade Commons. The closest Maurices is now in The Dalles at 1320 W. 6th St. Two calls to get further details from the chain’s district manager have not been answered. Margaret Georgilas with Harsh said the company prefers not to talk about new tenants until deals have been firmed up, so it sounds as if it’s merely a possibility at this point …

Targeting Portland? Quick chat with one downtown retailer the other day revealed that he/she/it is giving strong consideration to another outlet — in the Portland market. I’ll let you guess who this is (but hey, we all know good stuff starts here, then works its way into the PDX mindset)…

Everybody wants to be (seen as) green. Or is that “sustainable?” Scratch beneath the buzzword to hit the heart of the matter” What’s behind the claim? Brian Watts of the Watts Building Co., a longtime Hood River contractor, recently completed the nine-month Sustainable Building Advisor Program at Mt. Hood Community College. Watts is putting his mettle to the pedal in a new bungalow-style home at 3013 Sherman. It’s far from his first. His first home, built in the Sierra Nevada foothills in 1980, employed passive solar water and space heating design. What goes around comes around …

Mark and Peggy Hudon of Hood River Coffee Co. are kicking up their heels, after placing their coffee in Whole Foods stores in the Portland area. Next in their sights? New Seasons. …

Todd Dierker of Gorge Grown Food Network says Market Money is ready. It’s their term for gift certificates good for purchase of products at the weekly Farmers Market (Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. at Hood River Middle School, into October). Call Todd at 541-399-2840 to buy Market Money — they make great employee incentives to 1) support local growers, 2) encourage healthy habits, 3) cut out the middlemand, 4) reduce greenhouse gases from transporting tons of produce from California and Arizona …

Oh, did we tell you about the new discounted parking rates downtown? Bob Francis says the city has changed the hourly rate for people parking at the Columbia lot, the one across from Full Sail and the Hood River Cinemas. Rather than the 75 cents an hour to park on metered streets, you can park in the Columbia lot for 50 cents an hour. The idea is to encourage employees who now park close to their places of work to use cheaper space just a bit farther away. But hey, anyone can use it. …

Speaking of the City, it’s moving ahead with plans to create an urban renewal district on the Heights. A recent meeting with the Heights Business Association provided a chance for business owners to ask questions and suggest uses for money. Again, Urban Renewal does NOT create a new tax or increase existing taxes. But it does siphon off the incremental increase in taxes that comes with higher assessed valuations, to help finance improvements such as sidewalks and lights and landscaping and storefront remodeling through revolving loan funds. The city is conducting a feasibility study with its consultants. Jack Trumbull of Anderson’s Tribute Center suggested extending the district boundaries north, to link streetscape improvements along 13th with Oak at Egg Harbor. He favors the same light poles as in use downtown. Lynn Roberge of John L. Scott Realtors and DR Productions suggested using local contractors for the work, although City Manager Bob Francis says the city is handicapped by Oregon bidding law that puts a premium on lowest price. Francis says the timeline puts the feasibility study in front of the City Council at the fourth meeting in September …

Once discussed in prior parking studies, the idea of a second level for parking above the current Mt. Hood Railroad parking lot is apparently getting some new interest — by the newest owners of the railroad. So said City Manager Francis at a recent meeting …

And while we’re on the topic of parking — and the Chamber is leading continued talks about parking (the next parking committee meeting is 6 p.m. Aug. 18, Hood River Hotel Landmark ballroom — here’s an interesting piece that appeared in the Sunday New York Times. Higher pricing for parking would help reduce fuel use, car traffic and greenhouse gases. Anybody ready for that approach? Oh, yeah. We’re green alright — between here and the car door. …

Washboard Eco Laundry will put a new spin on greenwashing

5 Jul

Cynics might look at Mike Kern’s plan to open the Washboard Eco Laundry in west Hood River and call it “greenwashing.” But in the truest sense of the word, that’s exactly how Kern wants people to think of the business.

“It’ll be the most energy-efficient laundry in the Gorge, and maybe even in Oregon,” Kern says.

His plans call for 21 Electrolux High-Spin “H” models that will extract almost every drop of water by creating 350 G’s (the force of gravity) on the spinning drum wall. He compares his equipment, for example, with those in the Hyland Eco Laundry in Beaverton. They generate 200 G’s. The average home washer generates 100 G’s.

So we’ve got a little bit of an arms race going on here, but in the positive direction. Factor in high-efficiency gas-heated dryers that employ reverse spin to fluff fabrics, and you’re looking at a 30 percent drop in drying times. A load that would take 33 minute previously now will be ready to fold in 23 minutes.

“When you combine the washers and dryers, it’s state-of-the-art as far as energy efficiency is concerned,” he says.

Add in “99.8 percent efficient on-demand water heaters,” and you’ve got some genuine energy savings.

Wash drum sizes range from 60 pounds down to 18 pounds. For those folks who would rather not do laundry, the business will also offer drop-off “wash-n-fold” service, and commercial service for businesses that have large linen loads — caterers, restaurants, hair salons, motels and vacation rental managers — but no desire to do it themselves.

“Doing laundry isn’t very exciting,” Kern says.

So, for people who might otherwise think of themselves as trapped while the jeans and t-shirts go round and round, Kern plans to outfit his wash-a-torium with big-screen TVs, an espresso cart, and a children’s play area.

Kern, who has been managing the Snap Fitness franchise since it opened in January, is building out his laundry space two doors to the west in the Hood River Square. A Montanan with a business degree from Montana State, Kern had learned to love Hood River while spending his summer here, teaching windsurfing.

After 18 years with Enterprise Car Rental, he figured it was time to get back to paradise. But how to make a living? Big question, familiar to many in the Hood.

He started planning the eco laundry in the summer of 2009, before the gym opportunity came up. In talking with shopping center owner Mike Kehoe about the laundry’s space needs, Kern learned of the fitness center gig, and figured the proximity of the two spaces would let him tackle both.

Kern hopes to have the Washboard open in early September. To introduce the public to his version of greenwashing, he plans to offer two days of free use.

Save your dirty socks.

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Address: 2940 W. Cascade Ave., Suite 103.

New HR fitness center? It’s a … Snap

23 Dec

Are we looking at a fitness center explosion in the Hood? For years, it’s been the Sports Club, Big Gym and Curves, each with its own market niche. Coming soon to the west side, a Snap Fitness franchise store where Isthmus Sailboards used to be, at the north end of the Hood River Square mini-mall just west of Walmart (and there’s a Cross-Fit sign up near the Armory; no time yet to explore what’s going on there).

Portlanders Mike Kehoe and his wife Lorri, who bought the Hood River Square three years ago, were looking for tenants to fill out the space. Idea! Start another business and do it themselves. They bought the Hood River franchise, one of about 1,100 around the country.

The idea here is around-the-clock access, for you fitness buffs who want to get … buff … at three in the morning. Or whenever. 24/7 card lock access with daytime staffing offer convenience to fit busy lifestyles, Kehoe says.

He’s hired Mike Kern to manage the place. Rates are a work in progress. No contracts or membership fees, just monthly rates in the neighborhood of $39. Details soon. He’s hoping to have build-out finished, equipment installed and doors open by Jan. 8. Stay tuned.