Tag Archives: parking

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. …

City Council to discuss in-lieu parking rule, next library measure

10 Jul

The next chapter in efforts to generate long-term funding for the now-closed Hood River County Library branches in Hood River, Cascade Locks and Parkdale unfolds Monday before the Hood River City Council.

The council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, July 12, in council chambers at 211 Second St.

County Administrator Dave Meriwether will report on a meeting at 1:30 p.m. that afternoon by the Hood River County Board of Commissioners, to review polling results and decide what sort of library funding structure — special district or service district — they will ask voters to support in November.

To fast-track the process of placing a measure on the November ballot, Meriwether the same day will visit both the Hood River and Cascade Locks city councils to ask their permission to include the cities in whatever sort of tax-supported district goes to the ballot. The county board meets at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday to take formal action on the ballot proposal.

Another casualty of the county’s belt-tightening was its Economic Development Office. Created in 2002, the office had been staffed until June 30 by Bill Fashing. Fashing has since taken a position as community development officer with the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments, serving both Wasco and Hood River counties.

Greg Colt, a commercial realtor in Hood River, will ask the council to consider partnering with other government entities in the Gorge to revive the economic development office for the county. Those partners might include the county, cities of Hood River and Cascade Locks, and the ports of Hood River and Cascade Locks.

The last headline item on the agenda involves the much-cussed “in lieu” parking ordinance. The city requires developers to provide one off-street parking space for each anticipated employee, plus parking for anticipated customers, on or near their property. The city, however, exempted commercial and industrial building owners downtown, in the Heights and at the Port.

Insteady, the city in its 2006 ordinance required developers to pay the city an “in lieu” fee so the city could develop adequate parking. The fee amount could float, depending on market conditions. Building owners were required to cover the cost of 1.2 parking stalls per 1,000 square feet of development, multiplied by the fee amount at the time a project was started.

The costs created a barrier to development downtown. Bob Carnahan, owner of the Waucoma Building at 2nd and Cascade, and Pasquale Barone, former owner of the Hood River Hotel and current owner of the Union Building on Industrial Street, have delayed conversion plans for their buildings because, as they have testified publicly, the “in lieu” fees would have added prohibitive additional costs to their projects.

As the council agenda notes, “The City Council decided there is a need to reduce the amount of the in-lieu parking fee as a means of encouraging development and redevelopment.”

Snips, snacks and finger foods of biz news …

14 Dec

Here’s a clip and paste of the e-news sent Dec. 13 to the downtown Hood River business community. In case you don’t belong. In case you missed it. Just in case …

New board members elected to HRDBC; Colt resigns — Because of other board commitments and the time crunch, longtime Hood River Downtown Business Council board president Greg Colt has resigned effective Dec. 31.

That opened a fourth board position, in addition to the three announced openings for the recent online election process. The fourth-place finisher will be seated to replace Colt.

Please welcome new HRDBC board members: Michael Barthmus, Libby Taylor, Sue Collins (incumbent), and Vanessa Lalli Dittenhofer. They will take their positions at the Jan. 6 board meeting.

And please also thank outgoing board members (in addition to Colt), Jon Davies and Andrew McElderry (recently elected to the Chamber Board). Without their hours of time and labor, the HRDBC (and before its mid-year merger with the Chamber, what was known as the Hood River Downtown Business Association) would not have been able to accomplish all it has — Hops Fest, First Fridays, Hood River Holidays, Downtown Safe Halloween, Girls Night Out, shopping directories, Downtown Walking Maps and an organized working relationship with the City of Hood River.

Parking poll shows support for continued free customer parking — In recent online poll, 32 out of 186 members (17%) of the downtown business community responded to an invitation to share their views on whether the city should continue its offer of free customer parking through Dec. 26.

Of them, 24 said “yes” (75%), and 8 said “no” (25%). The results have been shared with the city and HRDBC.

Until further notice, downtown parking will remain unmetered. Please remind employees that the intent of the offer is to make parking easier for customers. Employees, of course, are welcome to use close-in parking spaces when shopping. Otherwise, they should park as they normally would, and keep spaces available for other shoppers.

Party hearty — if you’re an employee of downtown business — Michael Barthmus, proprietor of Doppio, is hosting a get-together for people who seldom have a chance to get together, largely because they’re all working at the same time. It’s an after-work social for downtown workers, from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, at Doppio.

Doppio will offer drink specials all night long (yes, that includes wine and cerveza). If you’re coming, you’re encouraged to bring finger food. And cans of food, for the FISH Food Bank. Each can of food will exchange for a raffle ticket. During the evening, prizes donated by downtown businesses will be raffled off.

Downtown businesses, that would be YOU! You’ve got five days to cough up something for the raffle — as a catalyst for food donations and fun times. Call Michael at 386-3000 with any questions.

Doug’s offers special shopping opp for downtown businesses, too — Lori Duffy at Doug’s reminds us that Doug’s is again putting on a special sale for downtown business members only, from 6 to 8 p.m. the night of Wednesday, Dec. 16. In addition to deals on merchandise, wine and light snacks will be provided.

Link it up with new business promotion web site — Stan Aaberg at Salon Vision tells us that there’s a new web site promoting the businesses in the 310 Oak St. building. That would include the salon, home of “deals on Aveda, Bumble and bumble and customized gift card gift sets,” and neighbors Doppio, Silverado and Plenty.  The web address is http://www.310oak.com/ It’s a portal page only at this point. Aaberg says the partners would like to include links to other businesses in town. Submit yours to Stan salonvisio@mac.com

The Pines 1852 hosts caroling event to benefit Oregon Food Bank — Sierra Wright tells us The Pines Tasting Room at State and 2nd would love to see your smiling face the night of Saturday, Dec. 19, to celebrate the holiday season with a night of Christmas caroling to benefit the Oregon Food Bank. Kerry Williams will lead the singing with special appearances by some other favorite local musicians.

The event starts at 5 p.m. and will run until about 9 p.m. All ages welcome. Admission is two cans of food or $5 to benefit the Oregon Food Bank

Mark your calendars for Girls Night Out in 2010 — The Holiday season isn’t over yet, but please take a second to look just beyond the horizon into early 2010. The HRDBC will sponsor three after-hours promotions in the first quarter — one a month, on the third Wednesday. It’s called Girls Night Out, and it’s a chance to offer a good time to your female  customers of all ages. Dates are …

  • Jan. 20
  • Feb. 17
  • March 17

Think about what sort of special activities, merchandise promotions, speakers, music, food and beverage you would like to host to make it a fun and attractive event. Someone from the HRDBC will be contacting you shortly with window posters, event guidelines, and passports to help shoppers sign up for prize drawings.

We’re looking for a few good Santa Clauses — Remember how your English teacher went on and on about dependent and independent clauses? Well, we won’t — because we want to focus on SANTA Clauses. We’ve got one more weekend for Santa Claus to welcome and listen to the gentle wishes of young people at Santaland — 416 Oak Ave. Santa presides from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19-20, in a lovely setting prepared by Holiday committee volunteers, and donated generously by property owner Chuck Beardsley. If you’d like to play Santa, or know someone who would, call Greg Colt at 490-1175.

Annual fire truck parade is coming up — Get the full routes and schedule at the Hood River Holidays blog site — http://hoodriverholidays.wordpress.com/ The site also includes a full calendar of other holiday related activities.

Reminder — first Hood River Holidays Downtown Throwdown is Dec. 19 — That’s right, a rail jam (snow boarders hopping their rides up onto a horizontal metal rail, skidding along it, doing tricks off it, etc.) will be conducted the evening of Dec. 19, along 4th Street between State and Oak. Organizers Pepi Gerald of 2nd Wind Sports and Wally Inouye of IPS Skate are hoping favorable weather and fresh snow in the high country (which they will bring down to cover the street) make this a killer event for shoppers to enjoy after a day in the stores.

Ever thought you could act? Here’s your opportunity — Two plays planned for 2010 at the Columbia Center for the Arts are conducting auditions. For its return appearance, “The Vagina Monologues” will hold auditions at 2 p.m. Jan. 16 and 5 p.m. Jan. 17 at the CAST Theater. Auditions for “The Laramie Project” will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 21 and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22. Call Columbia Arts at 387-8877 with questions. Or visit its web site at http://www.columbiaarts.org/about/who.html

City offers free parking to host Hops Fest visitors

29 Sep

Thanks to the City of Hood River, a major booster of the annual Hood River Hops Fest, visitors to the 6th annual event on Saturday, Oct. 3, will get to park anywhere downtown — for free. No parking meters. No tickets. If you’re a merchant, spread the word. If you’re not, leave the spare change at home.

The Hops Fest, by the way, is a great annual event — featuring 25 Northwest craft brewers pouring samples of 50 beers — about half of them cooked using fresh hops. Check it out.