Downtown Hood River parking study underway
A comprehensive downtown Hood River parking study has begun that will identify current parking supply, evaluate requirements for additional parking, as well as establish alternatives to meet current and future need. The analysis will consider public input through multiple means.
A contract was awarded to Rick Williams Consulting (RWC), parking and transportation specialists, with assistance from Fehr & Peers on impacts of technology on future needs. “The current parking system will be evaluated at all levels to assure it is operating at maximum capacity,” Williams shared. “We’ll look at code, operational systems, enforcement, technology and communications systems, plus realistic options for funding and accommodating parking demand growth. We will also look at trends in transportation, including autonomous vehicles and transportation network companies (like Uber and Lyft), since parking built today survives 20-50 years.”
An Ad-Hoc committee worked with City representatives to define the scope of work, help select consultants, and will continue to participate in efforts. Public outreach may include progress and findings presented through community open houses, public input collected via an online survey and interviews, plus documents shared on a project-related webpage. The study is expected to last five months and will culminate in a comprehensive parking strategy plan report.
Bohn onboard as City IT Manager
Bill Bohn of Hood River, with extensive experience in information technology (IT) will become the City’s first IT manager. The City will capitalize on Bohn’s qualifications to implement the City’s newly adopted IT Strategic Plan and, under his leadership, the City will plan, develop processes, budget, source, implement, install, and train for, as well as maintain and replace technology systems. These actions will be possible through Bohn’s knowledge in network infrastructures, servers, IP phone systems, IT policies, website development and more.
Bohn has assisted businesses and public organizations in implementation, improving processes and productivity by utilizing various aspects of technology, as well as operational planning. He served as chief technology officer for Columbia Gorge Community College for nearly 23 years, assisted organizations with technology solutions through Bohn Consulting, and worked as project manager at Campus Management Corporation.
HRPD facility needs analysis launched
The Hood River Police Department (HRPD) facility will undergo evaluation for suitability of its current space in a needs analysis. HRPD moved from the primary level of the City Hall building to the basement level in 2010 as part of the City’s consolidation of offices. While the upper level was fully renovated, the lower space was anticipated as temporary for HRPD and received only minor updates. A long list of known deficiencies include lack of seismic resilence, holding cells, private interview rooms, ventilated evidence storage, covered, secure parking, and general shortage of space.
The needs assessment, awarded to architecture / engineering firm Mackenzie, will consider suitability of HRPD’s facility against standards set by the International Chiefs of Police (IACP). Alternative sites will be evaluated, and the study will culminate in a site recommendation, conceptual drawings and cost estimate.
Community supports warming shelter operations
Hood River Shelter Services (HRSS) is in its ninth season of operating the only seasonal homeless shelter in Hood River County, providing overnight stays, meals and other essential services during cold winter months. Many who seek shelter for survival during winter are long-time Hood River residents who are homeless, yet may receive income from local jobs or other sources. The non-profit organization has operated on strong community volunteer efforts, grants and individual contributions, and in 2018 was the beneficiary of a $22,865 grant from the City of Hood River. Donations from last summer’s pink trolley ridership added another $700 in contributions.
So far this winter, the warming shelter has provided refuge to over 70 individuals, while 264 individuals are trained as volunteers for the organization. HRSS has a paid part-time director, Sarah Kellems, along with operating expenses including rent, utilities and supplies. Ongoing challenges include maintaining a stable location in which to provide services as well as continual recruitment and training of volunteers. The shelter is led by an Operations Committee of 15 individuals and operates under the umbrella of Gorge Ecumenical Ministries (GEM).
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