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Port heads into home stretch on waterfront plan

The Hood River Port Commission is taking two key steps to turn a conceptual plan for development of the waterfront into a reality.

On April 7 the port board will meet with the Hood River City Council to work out final zoning details for 31 acres from the Hood River to the riverside jetty known as the Hook. At the same time, the public agency is reviewing applications from six firms who want to bring the architectural sketches to life.

Dave Harlan, port director, said the development companies are vying to construct buildings that blend retail, residential and light industrial uses in the same neighborhood. Their work will also include both marketing and traffic studies, as well as an advertising outreach to attract interested businesses.

“It’s a complex package to put together,” said Harlan.

Three of the contenders include the following team members from Hood River:

Planner Scott Keillor, developer Dave Nelson and architectural consultant Sally Donovan add their talents to the work proposal submitted by Harper Houf Righellis, Inc., of Portland.

Maui Meyer, owner of the Sixth Street Bistro and a partner in BMP, LLC, joins the Heritage Investment Corp of Portland in its bid for the project.

Architect Carl Perron has thrown his hat into the ring with the Gerding/Edler Development Company of Portland.

Also under for consideration are William Smith Properties, Inc., of Bend, A-1 Hospitality of Pendleton, and D.M. Stevenson Ranch of White Salmon, Wash., the company which already owns the Hood River Inn complex.

Harlan plans to visit several of the sites listed by each of the applicants to view their finished product firsthand. Then he said port officials will have to make a decision about how to proceed with the final selection. The options under consideration include having all parties submit additional and more detailed information, gathering new data by conducting interviews, or initiating negotiations with a single top choice.

“We’re kind of at a decision point about which way to go,” said Harlan. “This is a good group of developers, we’re really encouraged by the interest we’ve had.”

Meanwhile, the port is waiting for word on $250,000 of state funding that could be used to realign the entrance road to the waterfront. Although the port received an “informal” notification that the money was going to be allocated, Harlan said state budget woes may have put that legislative intent on hold.

Last November the port purchased a key parcel of land to help facilitate the waterfront development. The .8 acre of industrial property formerly owned by Fast Serve Hood River, Inc., lies just north of the Texaco gasoline station at the base of the Second Street Overpass and sold for $537,000.

Harlan said the port is committed to utilizing its waterfront property to create more family wage jobs and provide recreational use attractions in a setting that links the area with downtown Hood River and the surrounding area.

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