CAT increases service with shuttles to Mt. Hood and Portland
Gorge to Mountain Express is now operating free daily shuttle service to Mt. Hood Meadows with regular scheduled trips southbound and northbound on weekdays, weekends or holidays. The shuttle service is available to residents and visitors, picking up and dropping off at the CAT transit center and the Hood River Event Site, as well as stops in Odell and Parkdale. The service is funded with a $500,000 two-year grant from the Federal Highways Federal Lands Access Program, with Mt. Hood Meadows providing the local match. The new service has seen steady ridership since it began December 21st with more than 100 riders per day. The service runs through March 29th. Call CAT at 541-386-4202 for more information.
In addition to the Gorge to Mountain Express, CAT also took on the Columbia Gorge Express in November. CAT expanded CGE service with eight trips on weekdays and six trips on weekends from Hood River to/from Portland (Gateway Transit Center) for a $10 fare. A 20-month $1.8 million grant was received from the new State Transportation Improvement Fund Discretionary Grant for this service. Other daily CAT routes include the Upper Valley, The Dalles and Cascade Locks. Exact change or a ticket is required. Pre-purchase tickets are available on the downloadable Hopthru app or at the CAT office. More info and complete schedule and fares is available for all routes at ridecatbus.org.
City eyes hydroelectric power
As efforts to create a more sustainable community grow, the City of Hood River has been exploring the feasibility of using hydroelectric turbine technology in its waterlines over the past year. The City’s water flows through a 24-inch line, dropping 2,000 feet over 20 miles before reaching the City. It builds enormous pressures that must be eased with a series of pressure reducing valves (PRVs). Hydroelectric turbines work in tandem with PRVs, converting water pressure and flow into renewable energy.
A feasibility study examining the hydroelectric potential of the City’s waterline was recently completed by the City’s engineering firm, Bell Design with support from NLine Energy who specializes in small hydro development projects. The study looked at two locations with proximity to electrical infrastructure and easy access for construction. Although many financial, legal and regulatory hurdles are needed before projects could occur, the study offered good data. The two sites combined could potentially to produce 932,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually.
The City of Hood River used 2.03 million kWh in 2019, so combined, these two hydro-electric projects would generate approximately 46% of municipal operations electricity use (not including street lights which are unmetered). The cost of both projects is estimated at just over $2 million. Electricity from hydroelectric projects would be sold to Pacific Power in a program that encourages renewable energy projects.
Locals Wednesday Downtown
A pilot is underway for Locals Wednesday Downtown, or LWD, with free downtown street parking from 3 pm – 6 pm on Wednesdays in January – May and September – December, 2020. LWD is a partnership with the Hood River County Chamber, City of Hood River and Hood River Downtown Business Association.
Weekly events and activities will be promoted with the aim of fostering community and increasing visits to downtown businesses. The organization and businesses will let locals know about the activities and events during LWD each week via the Hood River Downtown Facebook page.
Winter weather reminders
Weather in the Columbia River Gorge can be difficult to predict, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to forecasts. When weather patterns call for cold temperatures and precipitation, rainfall, snow or sleet may produce, and depending on temperatures, streets and sidewalks can become slick.
A few reminders during winter conditions:
FOR YOUR SAFETY
- Pedestrians should stay out of roadways — Plows have limited visibility, maneuverability, and braking ability.
- Do not use the roads for recreation (sledding, skiing, etc.)
- Immediately move fender benders off of road.
- Whenever possible, keep vehicles out of the street
FOLLOW ALL SNOW RULES
- Snow tires or chains are required for motor vehicle travel in the City during winter conditions..
- Parking is prohibited:
- on North and East sides of roadways to allow for snow removal.
- anywhere on primary streets in the Downtown and Heights District between the hours of 12am and 6am.
SNOW ROUTE MAP
Hood River Public Works dept. prioritizes plowing of roadways in the city limits. For more details and a map of plowing priority visit Public Works winter streets page.
The City of Hood River staff appreciates your patience and cooperation during snow events!
City budget presentation earns award
The City of Hood River’s 2019-20 Adopted Budget recently earned the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) award for Distinguished Budget Presentation. The award is based on the document’s quality as a “Policy Document, Financial Plan, Operations Guide and Communications Device.”
The Fiscal Year 2019-20 is the City’s first GFOA Budget Award. It represents external recognition of the high-value the City of Hood River places on the careful and transparent stewardship of public resources, according to Finance Director Will Norris.
GFOA reviewers specifically commended the City of Hood River’s document for its explanation of capital expenditures, department/fund relationships, strategic goals, and debt. The review process also includes recommendations for improvements that will help the City improve its budget document in future years.
The City’s FY2019-20 Adopted Budget can be found at cityofhoodriver.gov along with the organization’s recent financial audits, quarterly financial reports to City Council, and other related reports.
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