Rand Road property update
Submittals for the City’s 780 Rand Road Affordable Housing Development Request for Qualifications (RFQs) are due on August 25th. Selection of a developer (or developer team) for the seven-acre property may occur as soon as October. According to Senior Planner Kevin Liburdy, project manager for the City, multiple qualified teams are expected to respond. This is based on good attendance at a recent pre-submittal open house, Q & A and site walk-through.
Responding development firms or teams should have the capacity and experience to plan, design, finance, build, and operate affordable housing and related improvements. A two-acre parcel owned by Hood River County may be included in the project. Community interest is also high in the project. Once a developer or team is selected, more project information will be forthcoming.
CRuSE program expands
Hood River’s electric vehicle (EV) car-sharing program added its fourth vehicle at Rio Bella apartments in the Heights, located at 1600 9th Street. Soon a fifth car will be located at Wy’east Vista apartments on 8th Street. These two additional vehicles are only available to apartment residents. Each of the five Honda Claritys located in Hood River can be reserved and rented by the minute using the “Envoy There” app.
To rent a CRuSE (Clean Rural Shared Electric Mobility) vehicle, users download the app on their smartphones. Next, they enter personal information including a driver’s license and credit card. Cars can be reserved based on location and property numbers. Contact Customer Support though the Enoy There app if needed for questions, issues or assistance in Spanish. Envoy There plans to add a Spanish version of its app in the near future.
Smartphones are used as keys for the vehicle once a reservation begins. Vehicles can be reserved up to seven days in advance. These electric vehicle charges can last between 50 – 70 miles and may be charged at other public charging stations if needed. When a vehicle is returned to its station, it should be left charging for the next user.
The CRuSE project is a three-year program to study sustainability for plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) carsharing in rural communities, spearheaded by City partner Forth and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office. More information on the program and partners can be found HERE
Heights Urban Renewal phase one complete
Over the next year, the Urban Renewal Agency will develop a streetscape plan for the Heights to guide investments. Improving transportation usefulness, safety and community livability will be central to the plan. Phase one of the three-phase project is now complete with the adoption of project goals. These goals are based on background work, community feedback and stakeholder input.
Main project goals relate to slowing traffic, creating safe streets and intersections, and promoting a livable community through street improvements that support access to local businesses. Other common themes:
- preserve the Heights as a local destination
- make safety improvements at street crossings
- improve connections to neighborhoods and schools
- improve bike connections and amenities
- build on the area’s character and history
- manage on-street parking
The following project goals were approved by the Urban Renewal Agency Board:
Goal 1: Preserve and promote a livable community through streetscape improvements that balance safety and access for people walking and biking with parking needs to support access to local businesses and future mixed-use development.
Goal 2: Create an identify for the Heights that reflects the diverse culture and history of the area and as destination for residents.
Goal 3: Create streets and gathering spaces that provide safe, comfortable places for people walking and biking along and across the corridor and that connects area recreation and commercial destinations and neighborhoods.
Goal 4: Calm traffic and improve intersections to improve safety for people driving, walking, and biking and supporting local businesses.
Goal 5: Support existing and future development by maintaining and improving utility infrastructure as part of the streetscape project.
Goal 6: Engage residents and businesses, the school district, and those that use the corridor to provide ongoing input in the streetscape project.
Goal 7: Provide locations for people to gather, to stop and rest.
These seven goals are being used to guide phase two of the project: concept design and development in partnership with consultant MIG. Phase three will provide a preferred concept, identify changes to the City’s Transportation System Plan, and develop an RFP for final project design. You can stay up to date on the project by visiting this page
Partnering on transit with CAT
The City of Hood River has three new partnerships with Columbia Area Transit (CAT) that promote transit and reduce parking and traffic congestion. Free GOrge Passes are now available for all downtown employees and for low-income residents citywide. The third partnership supports summer weekend trolley service.
DOWNTOWN EMPLOYEE BUS PASS PROGRAM
CAT operates its fixed route service weekdays from 7 am – 8 pm and weekends from 9:45 am – 7 pm, running at least every 45 minutes. Downtown employees register for the program through September 30 for passes valid through 2021. CAT buses have bicycle racks, wifi, security cameras and ramps for mobility devices. To apply, ask your employer for an application or apply HERE. Downtown employers can get full information on passes HERE, as well as a map of eligible business locations. This pilot program will be evaluated this fall and may continue. For more info about the GOrge Pass, CAT or partner schedules, visit ridecatbus.org.
LOW INCOME PASS PROGRAM
Columbia Area Transit (CAT) provides FREE annual transit passes to eligible low-income residents. The GOrge Pass can be used to get around Hood River, the Upper Valley, between other Gorge communities, and to and from Portland. Residents must meet income guidelines for a free (or reduced cost) GOrge pass. Hood River-based partner organizations determine eligibility and distribute the passes. More information on where to apply can be found HERE. The City of Hood River contributed $7,200 to support this program for up to 240 eligible residents. More information about the Gorge Pass is available HERE. If questions, call CAT at 541-386-4202 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City is supporting CAT’s weekend trolley service with a $25,000 contribution for purchase of a trolley to reduce traffic congestion during busy summer weekends. For information on the trolley schedule, running about every half hour, and routes, visit ridecatbus.org/trolley/.
The City partially funded the CAT trolley service in 2018 and 2019 but was not available during the 2020 season due to the pandemic.
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