Streets Alive creates an opening

Heights goes pedestrian for ‘celebration of health and community’

ZUMBA team members (shown at July 4 parade) will provide part of the fun via wellness with the Streets Alive event Sept. 30.

Submitted photo
ZUMBA team members (shown at July 4 parade) will provide part of the fun via wellness with the Streets Alive event Sept. 30.

You could say the streets will be “closed,” or that they will be open in a new way.

A free event, Streets Alive! HR/Fiesta en la Calle on Sept. 30 will restrict vehicle use on 1.5 miles of streets on the Heights and open them to non-motorized use. There will be a wide array of activities to promote health and community.

Streets Alive Events

Activities during the day will include:

Kid’s bike decorating at 11 a.m. and a kid’s bike parade at noon starting at May Street Elementary School.

Wellness Way on June Street between 10th and 12th streets will feature Zumba dance and Providence Hospital booths as well as other interactive booths featuring sponsors, face painting, bike decorating and more.

Much of June Street will showcase “Porchfest”: Residents will open their porches and decks to live acoustic music performed by a number of local bands.

Bike safety inspections, simple repairs and electric bikes demos will be provided by area bike shops.

Wilson Park will feature yoga classes and a trapeze artist.

An interactive chalk art mini-circle creation with teaching artists Courtney Berens and Stephanie Delgado of Arts in Education of The Gorge, will make a debut on Pine Street and 10th.

Businesses including Our Children’s Place, Farm Stand in the Gorge, Cutie Pie, Slopeswell and Pine Street Bakery will have special food, music and kids’ activities.

“The support of the City of Hood River and the Hood River Chamber of Commerce, along with the backing from community leaders and organizations, has been vital to this effort,” said fellow organizer Heather Staten, executive director of Hood River Valley Residents Committee. Grants for the project have been made possible due to the support of the American Association of Retired People (AARP), ODOT and the and local sponsorships from Pine Street Bakery, Providence, Heights Family Dental, Straightline Orthodontics, Summit Family Medicine, Columbia Pain Management and the Hood River Lions Club. The event involves no City of Hood River expenses.

Streets Alive! HR will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. along June Street, from Wilson Park to the Farm Stand in the Gorge on 12th Street, and will be open for the community to walk, bike, skate, run, dance, make art, or just play in a safe and relaxed atmosphere.

Streets Alive, also called Open Streets or Ciclovía, started in South America and has since been held worldwide for more than 30 years in more than 400 cities. “The Heights/Los Altos neighborhood in Hood River is ripe for Streets Alive,” said Hood River City Council Member Peter Cornelison, who first proposed the event last spring along with a group of community members.

“We have a great community, a rich history and a vibrant culture. The local business district and surrounding neighborhoods are culturally and socially diverse with a strong connection to our Latino community,” Cornelison said in a press release. Streets Alive is being done with the cooperation of Oregon Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction on 12th and 13th streets. However, most activities will happen on city-owned side streets, non-street areas, at businesses, and even on residential porches.

“The most vulnerable users of our streets and public right of way are well represented in The Heights/Los Altos, with a mix of schools and senior housing and single and multi-family housing. Streets Alive! HR is a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to connect to the businesses and to each other,” he said.

The Streets Alive! HR traffic team and the Hood River Public Works Department will showcase proposed bike and pedestrian safety improvements on ODOT controlled 12th and 13th streets.

A protected bike lane, increased crosswalks and bump out curbs at crosswalks would provide improved visibility for both pedestrians and drivers.

This is the first time that ODOT has been asked to help with a temporary demonstration project of this sort, according to the press release. Local civil engineer and traffic planner Jody Behr, a Streets Alive! committee member, calls the ODOT work “inspirational and groundbreaking.”

The Hood River County Chamber of Commerce serves as primary partner for the event. According to Ashley Huckaby May, vice president, “The chamber is happy for the opportunity to partner on the event with the Streets Alive! committee. Events such as this that promote community, commerce and livability are the definition of our mission. We are excited to create awareness in The Heights business community.

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