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Work proceeds on phase one of Sahale Lodge, which will be physically connected to the North Lodge, giving Meadows “the best rental experience we’ve had in years,” CEO Matthew Drake said.

Sahale is a Native American word meaning “rising up,” or falcon.

The stout but, by design, graceful concrete structure that will be Sahale lodge at Meadows got an introduction June 26 from Meadows’ CEO Matthew Drake and the architect and contractors.

As Drake described the site plan,  Sahale will be part of “an attractive, highly-functional base area for people to recreate and have a great experience with family and friends.”

Hood River Chamber of Commerce’s Kelly Govro, Ashley May and Kate Schroder facilitated the cutting of the ribbon, with Hood River Board of Commission chairman Mike Oates and Ken Humberston of Clackamas County Commission handling the big scissors. Ron Suppah, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs council member, was also part of the ribbon-cutting group.

The 23,000-square-foot lodge is scheduled for completion in late 2020 — in time for that year’s ski season, though intended to serve “people of all ages and abilities in any season of the year,” Drake said. The work is ahead of schedule on phase one, according to project superintendent Corbett Fox of the general contractor, Bremik Construction.

The project was designed by LRS Architects.

Phase one will wrap up about the time the snows fall in late 2019, by which time the steel installation will have been started — steelwork was originally planned to begin in phase two, in April 2020.

Officials from the U.S. Forest Service, Hood River and Clackamas counties, Warm Springs Tribes and others gathered at Meadows to hear about the addition.

Sahale will be home to a 230-seat restaurant, the all-seasons Learning Center, rentals and Bullwheel Pub — named for the large circular piece so crucial to ski-lift function. Sahale is located at the base of Buttercup Hill between the North Lodge and Providence Medical Clinic.

Also planned is adjacent entry pavilion in front of the North Lodge. It will become the hub for a multi-modal transit system to serve Meadows, greatly reducing the number of gas-powered private vehicles coming to the mountain, as Drake envisions it.

What he calls “the sea of cars” parking lot will become a flow-through area for a fleet of electric buses that will deliver visitors to the lodge and slopes from what Drake called “tiered parking areas leading down the mountain and into the communities around the mountain.”

Drake said Sahale “really started about five years ago in terms of financial justification and then engineering, hard engineering and site location,” he said, expressing appreciation to his staff, to local government, and to the Meadows board.

“And we are also grateful to our guests,” Drake said. “This building is being built not to attract more guests but to accommodate the ones already have so we don’t send them home unhappy or unfed or in any other way a less than excellent experience at Mt. Hood Meadows, which this building will really help us to achieve.”

Drake credited Suppah’s lesson “to start every gathering with gratitude,” saying, “We want to thank the creator for all that supports our lives including the wonders that surround us here at Mt. Hood Meadows. We thank the creator for his grace and wisdom and strength to continually run toward hope and courage. We ask that you watch over all that work on this magnificent environment, particularly Sahale, to help keep us safe.”

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