City Council talks Sanctuary Monday

Waterfront merchants ask City to consider a plan to share off-street parking

The sanctuary city proposal and a revisiting of a parking meter decision highlight Monday’s agenda for Hood River City Council, meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Discussion items for the meeting will include the proposed Sanctuary City resolution, a request from Gorge Grown Farmers Market to waive its site use fee, the installation of waterfront parking meters Council approved last year, and Short-term Rental (STR) Licensing appeal Fees under Resolution 2017-01.

A group of waterfront businesses contacted the city with a proposed alternative plan to help address parking demand issues in the area, prompting the city to put the matter on the agenda for discussion.

The sanctuary proposal was first discussed at the Nov. 28 council meeting, and drew broad support from the community, though four citizens spoke against the idea. Further discussion was delayed from the Dec. 12 meeting until Jan. 9.

The resolution, modeled on one adopted last year by the City of San Francisco, addresses climate change, gender rights, women’s rights, and religious freedom. The key paragraph states, “Hood River is an inclusive city. We will not turn our back on the men and women from other countries who help make this city great, and who represent over one-third of our population. We endorse ORS 181A.820, the state law which forbids local jurisdictions from using their resources to enforce immigration law. Our Police are busy keeping our residents safe from criminals; they will not act as agents of or for federal immigration. We will continue to nurture a culture of trust between police and communities of color so all citizens feel safe in their neighborhoods …”

A delay in the parking meter move is “possible, but not likely,” City Manager Steve Wheeler said. “We haven’t purchased anything yet.”

According to Ken Whiteman, co-owner of pFriem Family Brewing, “Because most of the businesses on the waterfront have peak use hours during the mid-week and park users have peak hours during the weekends, we see an opportunity to share our parking spaces during our off-hours to address the capacity concerns that are driving the parking meters.”

Whiteman said the proposal would “more than double the available parking during peak waterfront hours.

“We are concerned that parking meters will drive park users into our lots in search of free parking at times when we need that parking for our employees and customers. That would create a challenging situation requiring parking enforcement in our private lots and the potential for our employees to be pushed out of our leased/owned spaces into the paid public parking areas.

“We feel our proposal is a win for all parties involved, especially for the residents of Hood River. At a minimum, we hope that the city will try it out for the next summer season and measure the impact before making a final decision on parking meters,” Whiteman said.

One option might be to make the meter charges seasonal and not year-round, Wheeler said.

Under the agreement with the port, the two agencies share the cost of installation, and of paying a parking enforcement officer for the waterfront.

“We’re moving forward with the council direction,” Wheeler said. “We have to make a decision soon, as we have a planned May 1 start date.” The council will also hear updates on contacts for plastic bag prohibition (Walmart, Safeway, Rosauers) and the State Street parking lot.

Two art-related items also come before council: a mural request from developer Pasquale Barone for Elks Building sidewall, Third Street and Industrial Way, and the call for artists for a commissioned piece to be installed at the Third and State street bicycle hub-restroom building.

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