HR Port may add weekly pass for use of Event Site


News staff writer

December 2, 2006

The Port of Hood River’s waterfront committee met Tuesday and discussed adding a weekly pass rate for the Event Site.

Currently passes sell for $4 daily or $50 annually but not weekly. They discussed several amounts for weekly prices. The committee will consider the actual pricing in the spring when they come up with a final recommendation to forward to the commission. President Sherry Bohn said she thought the idea would be tourist-friendly.

The committee received a season statistical report from site host Dan Bauer. During the discussion on rates, they also talked about enforcement. Bauer reported 49 early entries and 44 deadbeat non-payers at the event site in his report.

“The real issue is to get some backup for the people in the booth,” Bohn said.

The committee discussed whether closing the Event Site during the summer should be done at a specific time rather than at dusk. Lori Stirn suggested that between Memorial Day and Labor Day that a closing time of 10 p.m. be posted with the host and maintenance person going around to remind people at 9:30 p.m.

Signage plans for the Marina Beach are on hold until the flood aftermath settles out. Administrative Assistant Linda Hull said the Hood River Lions Club and the port worked together on bilingual signs to go at the Marina Beach warning of the swimming dangers there. They took the action following a drowning in the Hood River this summer.

Port Director Michael McElwee took a boat ride around the new delta in the Columbia River with a hydrologist. He said they estimated there is an addition of approximately 15 acres of land from sediment dumped in the Nov. 7 storm.

“What’s happening to the river hydrologically is the delta is acting like a big bottleneck, backing water up,” he said.

The port is studying whether it can work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to raise the Bonneville Pool to see what change that would make.

“He (the hydrologist) said the delta may have been created by a combination of the silt from flood runoff and low water in the pool at the time,” McElwee said. “He advised wait and see what happens by spring.”

McElwee said the delta is blocking flow to the Nichols basin, which may affect future plans to add more boat slips in the area.

The commission has been considering adding another finger dock to the marina but was waiting to see about the addition of 15-20 slips by the Naito Corporation at the Nichols Boat Basin.

Whether or not that will happen now due to siltation in the basin remains unclear at this point. The sediment has created a shoaling effect in the basin, which affects the port’s cruise ship dock as well as the event site.

“The impact will constrict access, put more people into a smaller space,” said Steve Gates.

The estimate was that up to one-third of the event site area has been made too shallow for windsurfing by the shoaling.

The committee also discussed safety issues with kiteboarders possibly trying to cross the now split-current Hood River to use the delta.

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