Tag Archives: sustainability

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. …

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Now THIS is local produce

23 Jul

Much written of late about the marketing of certain produce by Safeway, as “local.” In the news business, local was always one of those words that meant nothing, because everything is local, to the place where people encounter it. So it’s safe for Safeway to say it’s fruit is local, because it was grown at a locale, and picked by local workers, and shipped to a locale that is local to the … locals.

OK, we’ ve beat that horse. But in terms of sustainability — that is, how does the product support the local economy, and the environment, and the community — food grown as close to its consumers is what works best. And the Gorge Grown Food Network is our shining light. Not only does it serve up the weekly Farmer’s Market at the Midde School, but it takes its mission on the road, so it can be more local. Learn all about it here, with the current newsletter. Better yet, sign up.

Check out Full Sail sustainability vids

28 Jun

You may have seen that the state of Oregon recently honored da Hood’s original craft brewing company, Full Sail Brewing, for its sustainability efforts. Check out two videos, one from CNBC’s “People, Planet & Profit” series, the other a look at the Full Sail program itself — featuring founder Irene Firmat, brewmaster Jamie Emmerson, secretary of state Bill Bradbury, Portland city commissioner and sustainability guru Dan Saltzman, and city of Hood River public works director Dave Bick.

For my money, I’ve always recycled the water used in Full Sail beers. It’s hard work, but worth it.