City guests on Radio Tierra’s Sabados con Nubia
Since last November, Radio Tierra has offered our Spanish-speaking community members a chance to hear from the City in a bilingual monthly segment with host Nubia Contreras. Contreras interviews City officials to share news and information, and although she is bilingual, she is often assisted by interpreters in order to focus on the interview. Spanish-speaking City staff members may also present information, resulting in programming in English and Spanish. The Hood River audience can listen to Radio Tierra at 95.1 FM and may call in with questions in both English and Spanish at (541) 387-3772.
These Radio Tierra interviews are held on the second Saturday of each month at 10:30 a.m. unless a schedule change is needed. So far, Mayor McBride was interviewed in November and February, while Fire Chief Leonard Damian was interviewed in December and Police Chief Neal Holste in January. Some programs are live-streamed on Facebook.
Nubia has served on the Radio Tierra Board since 2018 and was recently elected as Vice President. The City also participates in monthly interviews on the Mid-Columbia Today program at KIHR-AM with rotating topics and guests, generally on the fourth Monday of each month.
Safe Routes to Schools
The City of Hood River has plans for improving its Safe Routes to School (SRTS) system to help students and families get to school safely, and seeks community input. The City was awarded SRTS planning assistance from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) last November to identify safety improvements near May Street Elementary and Hood River Middle schools. Through this program, the City, Hood River County School District, Hood River Valley Parks & Recreation District, Columbia Area Transit, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, and ODOT are working together with Alta Planning + Design to create a Safe Routes to School Plan.
The SRTS planning process will take place in two phases. In this spring’s first phase, the project team will work together to find priority safety needs within a mile of each school, receiving input from the community using virtual methods. The City of Hood River asks families to share feedback and experiences getting to school using this interactive online map. By sharing your feedback, you’ll be entered to win a walking or biking safety pack ($50 value). To give input on this and other projects, visit cityofhoodriver.gov/input.
During the SRTS plan’s second phase this fall, the team will host a community meeting and walk audit to observe student arrival or dismissal and meet with school community members. The team and attendees will identify additional SRTS construction, education, and engagement recommendations, and complete the final SRTS Plan. For more information, contact Jonathan Skloven-Gill at (541) 387-5208 or email@example.com.
New plans for Heights Urban Renewal
The Heights Urban Renewal Agency (URA) is developing an implementation plan for Heights streetscape and engineering projects over the next year based on extensive public input with more input opportunities to come. The project will develop a thorough plan for improving the northern commercial core of the Heights District (12th and 13th Streets and intersections and streets that tie the couplet together). Input and design concepts will be blended into a plan with engineered drawings suitable for construction cost estimates. The plan will address proposed improvements documented in the Heights District Urban Renewal Plan as well as recent URA and community conversations related to traffic safety, community identity, and other City and stakeholder goals.
The project is currently in its first of three phases and focuses on establishing the project vision and foundation. As part of this phase, the staff and consulting team will catalog existing conditions and context, document regulations and design standards that impact future construction, and develop a project area base map.
In the coming weeks the URA will begin outreach efforts for more community input, including development of a public project webpage, social media posts, and opportunities to receive notifications regarding project updates. To give input on this and other projects, visit cityofhoodriver.gov/input. In addition, the URA will launch a community-wide survey campaign to refine public input. The three-week online survey is part of the first phase of a 15- to 18-month effort to formalize a comprehensive streetscape and urban design plan in coordination with the Hood River Urban Renewal Agency that will place renewed emphasis on addressing traffic and pedestrian safety, walkability and the area’s local businesses.
Social Worker engaged by City
Using grant funds provided by Providence Hood River, The City of Hood River contracted with Social Worker Alisa Fowler last November to provide direct outreach to individuals experiencing homelessness. Fowler specializes in mental health and housing with a commitment to the model of “housing as healthcare.”
Fowler’s case management includes linking individuals to social services, healthcare providers, contacts for placement in permanent or transitional housing, and basic needs resources such as food boxes, hygiene supplies, clothing and winter gear.
“Individuals and families served through this program meet the HUD definition of homelessness, sleeping outside in tents or on the street, in vehicles or RVs with no utilities, in places not meant for habitation,” Fowler explains. “Community members living ‘doubled-up’ or ‘couch surfing’ are also eligible for case management assistance through Gorge Outreach.”
As part of Fowler’s outreach, she works to help individuals overcome barriers to housing (such as lack of current ID, rental history, poor credit or insufficient income). In addition to direct outreach, data on the homeless population is collected and reported that could help the community secure federal funds.
Chief Neal Holste of the Hood River Police Department is eager to collaborate more with Fowler. “I’m excited about Alisa’s passion and experience to address some of the challenges law enforcement encounters when responding to homelessness concerns,” Chief Holste said. “Alisa’s community involvement and knowledge provide resources beyond the scope of law enforcement.”
Hood River County residents experiencing homelessness and community partners seeking basic needs and housing assistance can contact Gorge Outreach by leaving a message or text at 971-238-4438 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours and availability vary depending on scheduled outreach activities, severe weather response, and collaborations with community partners.
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