The Port is engaged in a diverse range of projects and activities. Each week, it seems, there are new opportunities, challenges and initiatives to consider. The Annual Report provides detail about some efforts, but there are many less visible. Here are a few of those other stories and recognition of some who have provided positive contributions.
The Hook has been closed this winter for construction of a new sewer outfall. The City of Hood River has managed this challenging project well, and the contractor, Emery & Sons, has been stellar. The Port piggy-backed construction of a new path, seat wall and rigging area onto the City’s work. Users of the Hook should be pleased by the changes.
The Marina is increasingly becoming a hot spot for youth sailing. Jamie & Andy Mack (Gorge Junior Sailing), Lars Bergstrom (High School sailing team), and many at the Hood River Yacht Club have been passionate, positive leaders in this effort. Sailing is available to anyone, at little cost, and provides an exciting new focus of activity in the Marina. (Sign up for Gorge Junior Sailing through Community Ed.)
Airport Advisory Committee
There is a committee for nearly everything, but the volunteer AAC, chaired by Jeremy Young, is one that provides particular energy, expertise and leadership in enhancing our small aviation jewel, the Ken Jernstedt Airfield. The work of the AAC and the success of WAAAM are reasons why the FAA has allocated $3 million for upgrades in the next four years, and the Airport is in a positive position to receive another $1.3 million from the State.
We know that an effective way to advocate for legislation and projects that help the Gorge is to show collaboration and broad local support. And it’s most effective if public agencies and private businesses advocate together. OneGorge provides the platform. Thanks to over 100 entities that have signed up and aided this effort.
The contribution by our state and federal elected officials over the past two years has been tremendous. Bottom line: The Nichols Basin path happened quickly because Rep. Walden and Sen. Merkley amended the federal WRRDA bill. Bridge replacement efforts were enhanced because elected officials from both states supported an amendment to the 2015 FAST Act. The bridge is FAST Act-eligible because State Rep. Johnson and Sen. Thomsen supported SB 1510. Well done.
River rescues occur often in summer. The Hood River Sheriff’s Dept. and Marine Deputy Quintin Nelson do a great job with summer patrols of the waterfront. Their visibility increases safe boating behavior and they respond to a number of emergencies. But who most frequently responds when a kiter or windsurfer is in distress? Kiteboard schools, each with a wave runner and rescue protocols; and they are around most days in the summer.
County Administrator Meriwether is retiring in June. I have rarely met a public official with his combination of common sense, smarts and good nature, or who has earned such high respect from his peers. He has done a lot for this community in deed and in tone. I will also miss his Arkansas humor.
Public works employees everywhere do remarkable work, often unnoticed – until a storm event or emergency occurs. The Port has eight employees who do a myriad of construction, repair and maintenance projects. The bridge is always a big focus. Painting the center line at 3:00 a.m.? Climbing the towers to change navigation lights? Overnight traffic control? Check. And many more. People say Port facilities have never looked better. They are the reason why.
There are other stories and many other individuals who have a positive impact on your port and deserve recognition. We hope to share more another day.