A look back at the Port of Hood River’s 2019.Read More
Bridge users “Breezing” By more than ever
When the toll for the Hood River – White Salmon Interstate Bridge increased on February 1, BreezeBy account holder benefits increased dramatically. Prepaying tolls electronically previously saved 20% for two-axle vehicles (80¢ toll instead of $1). When the February 1 tolling structure raised that toll to $2 cash, and $1 for BreezeBy, electronic toll customers began receiving 50% discounts on tolls.
The Port of Hood River promoted BreezeBy benefits via an extensive public information campaign early this year, and results have been significant. Since January 1, a total of 5,427 new BreezeBy accounts have been created, bringing the total of active BreezeBy accounts to 14,152. Through October 2018, there have been nearly 2.6 million bridge toll transactions made with BreezeBy.
In early 2019, the Port of Cascade Locks plans to adopt the BreezeBy system for its Bridge of the Gods tolling, meaning Columbia Gorge residents will be able to manage and use online accounts to pay tolls at both bridge structures.
BreezeBy customers that have set up online access for their accounts can now use the mobile app, available for free download at the app stores for iPhones and Android devices, to manage their accounts on the go. Just search for “BreezeBy.”
Daryl Stafford joins Port
Daryl became Waterfront & Marina Manager last spring, and there was no shortage of activities and events to keep her busy throughout the summer. Daryl is a longtime Gorge sailing and watersport enthusiast, entrepreneur, and administrative professional. She worked nearly 18 years at local watersports shop, Big Winds, and more recently ran JS Boat with her husband, manufacturing inflatable rafts that house scuba tanks.
Stafford is responsible for daily operations of Port-owned waterfront properties and the Hood River Marina, as well as ongoing and long-term planning for facilities and amenities improvements, policy, and budget planning. Stafford will be the point of contact for waterfront concessions, schools, event producers, tenants, and guests. She is available by phone at (541) 386-0972 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ken Jernstedt Airfields’s “Fly Friendly” program has been helpful in reducing noise in the residential areas surrounding the airfield, as indicated by a significant reduction in noise complaints. The program is in response to an increase in noise complaints from airport neighbors over the past few years as pilot training, residential and visitor airplane traffic had a sharp increase.
Mann presents at international symposium
John Mann, Port facilities manager, joined Paul Bandlow of Stafford Bandlow Engineering to present at the Biennial Symposium for Heavy Movable Structures on October 22 in Orlando, FL. The title of the report was “Unique Solutions to Interesting Problems,” covering issues and solutions to the Hood River – White Salmon Bridge’s lift span control system operations.
Port interns assist on varied projects
Activity at the Port office continues to build, and the Port of Hood River has created opportunities to engage youth as paid interns to learn and assist with Port projects. This year, the agency engaged three summer interns and a school-year intern. Here’s a little about each.
Aidan Liddiard served as Land Development Intern, assisting Anne Medenbach, Development and Property Manager, in evaluating the feasibility of a wetland bank in Hood River County and other wetland mitigation measures. Liddiard is a junior at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.
Melissa Manzo Andres serves as an Administration Intern. She recently graduated from Hood River Valley High School (HRVHS) and is now attending Columbia Gorge Community College. Melissa works to provide administrative support throughout the office.
Connor Truax interned at the Port as Video Production Intern, creating public information videos under the guidance of Communications & Special Projects Manager Genevieve Scholl. Connor now attends film school at Whittier College in California.
Jose Santillan, a student at HRVHS, is focusing his efforts on research and concept planning for a solar array on the Port’s shop facility building, plus a solar charging station at the Port office building parking lot.
New waterfront amenities open to busy season
A remarkable transformation has occured between early April and mid-July on the west edge of Nichols Basin with the completion of the first phase of Nichols Basin Trail.
Early warm weather and remarkable wind has put 2015 on track to be the busiest summer on record at Hood River’s waterfront, which means timing for completion of a number of new Port amenities was ideal.
Nichols Basin Trail
Phase One of the Nichols Basin Trail is now complete. The wide concrete path with gentle slopes is open to pedestrians and cyclists. The project also includes a sandy beach, stone masonry seat walls and retaining walls, irrigated landscaping, and a seawall structure with guardrails and water access.
“Thanks to the hard work of the designer, contractor, the public advisory committee, Port staff, and partner funding, we now have this fantastic project and can appreciate what improved trail linkage on the waterfront feels like,” stated Port Waterfront Coordinator Liz Whitmore. “We look forward to working with the City and Naito Development to complete a fluid connection at the final gap where Naito’s project is currently under construction, as well as a paved trail extension at the Hook.”
Landscaping is taking shape along Nichols Basin Trail.
Continuous trail links now stretch from the east edge of the Hook to the south end of the Nichols Basin (west of the Naito property), as well as from the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn to the Pedestrian Bridge. Once a public path is finalized along the south end of Nichols Basin (in about a year), an unbroken pedestrian/bike trail will exist along Hood River’s waterfront.
The Nichols Basin Trail was designed by Walker/Macy and built by Crestline Construction. Crestline’s contract includes one year of landscape maintenance at the project, and Port staff is currently working with them to ensure any non-thriving plants will be replaced.
Phase Two will incorporate upland development that ties the new esplanade to proposed future plans for the Port’s Lot 1 Light-Industrial park.
To offset the loss of parking at Slackwater Beach, the Port modified its parking plan on Portway Avenue and North 1st Street to accommodate 50 additional vehicles. The Port will be assessing parking capacity, vehicular circulation, and typical length of time cars are parked in designated areas this summer to determine future planning needs.
Port Commissioner Rich McBride, Lori Stirn from HRV Parks and Rec, and Greg Stiegel of the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association attended the dedication of the new Hook Launch.
Hook Launch and Trail
Waterfront users have also been enjoying the new launch at the Hook. The project resulted in a nine-foot wide concrete ramp, riparian plantings, and beach improvements for recreational use.
“It’s great to see the new ramp at the Hook come to fruition with the cooperation of many,” expressed Greg Stiegel, executive director and Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association. “The Hook is especially user-friendly for intermediate windsurfers and hospitable to all user groups.”
The new concrete launch ramp at the west end of the Hook offers easy access for wind and paddle-powered recreation.
A new paved Hook Trail will connect the existing riverfront trail with the new Hook Launch access ramp. It is scheduled for completion in 2016 in collaboration with the City of Hood River as part of its outfall extension project. This trail extension will result in over 2.1 miles of connected paved trails on Hood River’s waterfront sometime next year.
Upgrades to both sides of the Pedestrian Bridge over the Hood River are being enjoyed by hundreds of visitors each day.
Pedestrian Bridge Trail Project
The Pedestrian Bridge Trail project also recently concluded, resulting in an improved connection at Port Marina Park that incorporates a new asphalt path and bicycle “sharrows” along Marina Way connecting to the Button Bridge Road intersection. The design includes stone seat walls and kiosk structures at each end of the Pedestrian Bridge that will feature interpretive signage about the waterfront and Hood River confluence.