The Heights URA is developing an implementation plan for Heights projects over the next year based on extensive public input, with more input opportunities to come. Input and design concepts will be synthesized into an implementation plan with engineered drawings suitable for construction cost estimates.
This website will be updated throughout the planning process. See below for answers to frequently asked questions about the project.
Planning to date has included:
- Blue Zone, LLC Walkshop (6/6/2018 Presentation)
- Blue Zone, LLC Walkshop (9/24/2018 Final Presentation with Recommendations)
- Heights Community Meetings
- URAC Project Recommendation Report May 2018
- URAC Thoughts to date on Proceeding with Heights Urban Renewal
- Executive Summary – Hood River Heights Urban Renewal Area Public Input from November 2017 meeting and online survey.
- Powerpoint presented at the October 26, 2017 Meeting
- Information 101 about the Heights District and Urban Renewal
- StreetsAlive! Traffic Demonstration Review
- Hood River Heights Urban Renewal PLAN
- Hood River Heights Urban Renewal REPORT
- 2020 Heights Traffic Study
The Heights is a distinct neighborhood of Hood River, filled with amenities and a diverse population. The corridor is an ODOT State Highway that links downtown Hood River and the Hood River Valley. The district and immediate surroundings include landmarks such as Providence Hospital, May Street Elementary School, Hood River Middle School, Jackson Park, and Indian Creek Trail. The project will focus on commercial core between May and Belmont Street which has a mix of office, restaurant, and other retail uses. The surrounding streets are predominantly single and multi-family housing. Both the local business district and surrounding neighborhoods are culturally and socially diverse with a strong Latino community presence.
As stated in the Heights Urban Renewal Plan, “the purpose of urban renewal is to improve specific areas of a city that are poorly developed or underdeveloped. These areas can have old or deteriorated buildings, public spaces that need improvements, streets and utilities in poor condition, a complete lack of streets and utilities altogether, or other obstacles to development. The Area has infrastructure needs, lacks adequate streetscape and parking, and does not have a program for assistance to business owners.”
The Heights Urban Renewal District was established in 2011 and covers approximately 96 acres centered around State Highway 281. Using tax increment financing, it has a total indebtedness of $8.5 million. In 2011, the Urban Renewal Agency adopted the Hood River Heights Business District Urban Renewal Plan, with input from the Heights Business District Association and the Hood River City Council. The Plan encompasses goals, objectives, and projects relating to economy, district identity, recreation, traffic and transportation, public utilities, public involvement, and housing for the Heights Urban Renewal District.
The boundary of the Heights Urban Renewal District as shown in the Urban Renewal Plan is shown in the figure on the right.
The project will review previous plans, which have looked at many options, and incorporate additional strategies based on evaluation, traffic analysis, and additional public involvement. This includes larger traffic flow options like restoring two-way traffic, intersection options like traffic circles and signalization, and incorporating site-specific elements like festival streets, parking modifications, and gateways. Pedestrian improvements like crosswalks, bulb-outs, bike lanes or cycle-tracks, and options for street trees and additional landscape plantings along the corridor will be evaluated. Additional options for placemaking include materials, site furnishings, street painting, art, and other amenities to provide a unique identify while increased district coherence.
The current street design on the 12th and 13th Street couplet encourages fast-moving north-south traffic along the commercial core of The Heights, making east-west travel difficult and unsafe for autos, pedestrians and bicyclists. Streetscapes along the couplet include relatively narrow sidewalks, a lack of street trees, and views dominated by overhead powerlines. There are also relatively long, poorly-marked street crossings that create pedestrian safety issues, especially with connections from adjacent neighborhoods, nearby schools, and parks. This project is an opportunity to create a district identity for The Heights by unifying visual character and experience in an area that has an eclectic mix of building styles, while making it reflective of the needs of the local community.