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Chamber takes in Heights group

August 6, 2011

The Heights Business Association will meld into the Hood River Chamber of Commerce under an agreement that takes effect in January 2012.

According to Chamber Executive Director Kerry Cobb, the chamber board last week approved a request from the HBA to become the Heights Business Council, under the aegis of the chamber, just as the Downtown Business Council (formerly Association) did in 2010.

"We have to maintain our independence, but at the same time we want to be an advisory board just like the Downtown Business (Council)," said Tony White, HBA president.

"Our emphasis will continue to be on the Heights business district," he said.

Cobb said the agreement means HBA will no longer be a dues-collecting organization, and the chamber will coordinate its fundraising and marketing efforts; though the Heights Council will continue to organize established Heights activities such as the Safe Halloween event.

Cobb noted that the Heights Council will keep its focus on the Heights Urban Renewal District, which was approved by city council July 25.

The council will continue to meet at its regular time, the third Thursday of the month at 8 a.m., at Columbia Gorge Community College. It will meet regarding the impending Heights Urban Renewal District and other matters on the first Thursday of the month, according to Cobb.

The council voted unanimously to accept the consultant-prepared planning document as the guideline for the Heights Urban Renewal District 20-year development process. Charged with implementing a tax sharing plan designed to fund improvements for streets, lighting, sidewalks, parks, building fa├žades and infrastructure such as storm drains and sewers, the Heights UR agency will now be able to move forward.

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