By SUE RYAN
News staff writer
February 17, 2007
The waterfront recreation committee for the Port of Hood River saw a great turnout Tuesday night to discuss how recreation will have to adjust this season to the new delta.
“I think it was very productive,” said Katie Crafts, the new executive director of the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association. “Everybody agrees there will be congestion between the Event Site and the sandbar.”
A debris flow that washed down the Hood River following flooding and landslides during Nov. 5-8, 2006, resulted in the 30-acre site at the confluence of the Hood and Columbia rivers. Currents since then have shifted the deposit slightly but the effect remains the same: A much longer, wider sandbar where the Spit used to be and a socked-in Event Site and Marina Beach.
At the meeting, the port presented new aerial photographs by Terra Surveying Inc. that were taken in late January of the entire waterfront. Engineer Andrew Jansky, of Flowing Solutions, Inc., showed slides from a multiple year period that indicate debris deposits have been a constant condition at the mouth of the Hood River.
He said that while the Delta would continually change due to seasonal river conditions, the site is most likely here to stay and that extensive dredging was cost prohibitive and unlikely. Most of the site is believed to be owned by the Department of State Lands and not by the port.
A three-hour discussion followed among the more than 60 people who came to the session.
“It was a good way to get correct information out and to start the dialogue on how different entities are going to co-exist on the delta,” said Sherry Bohn, committee chair.
The committee plans another meeting in mid-March.
Monday’s meeting included kiteboarders, windsurfers and a dog walker. Crafts said everyone recognized they will have to work together for a solution. Some of the preliminary discussions they had for solutions involved the idea of coming up with possible zones for use and signs to educate all of the users.
“We recognized that it’s not just the local users who need to know about conditions, it’s visitors who don’t know the area,” said Crafts.
Steve Gates, who also serves on the port committee and owns the windsurfing shop Big Winds, said the follow-up meeting will give a chance to assimilate more information.
“We’ll have some additional information from the hydrologist and anticipated water flows with respect to elevations of water relative to the sandbar,” Gates said. “We know it’s grown in width, but how much height is unknown.”
Whatever the outcome for spring and summer, Crafts said she is firm in her belief that the different recreation users can get along.
“I want it to be known we’re optimistic we can all find a way to co-exist,” she said.
The next meeting should be held sometime in mid-March but has not yet been scheduled. For more information or updates, visit the port’s Web site at: www.portofhoodriver.com.