Archive for the 'Hood River' Category
As winter spreads snow throughout the orchards here in the Hood River Valley, it’s easy to see the beginning of the growth process starting. All the leaves of last year disappear between a fresh layer of snow that covers even the deepest tractor rut. The year starts new and with it the cycle begins for these fruit trees.
Winter has a way of doing that. It’s the start of a new year which means new possibilities, experiences, and simply put, life moves forward. We hope you have a wonderful winter and wish you the best in your journey through all that this wonderful new year holds for you.
With the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, we take a look back at the event and remember it like we do every year: in awe. If you’ve seen photos or been to the mountain, you know that the eruption of 1980 was astonishing. In fact, it’s hard not to consider pieces of the eruption (photos taken mid-blast, the plume of smoke, the collapsing north face) beautiful.
Unfortunately, the area was devastated from the eruption, landslides and lahars that spread some 230 square miles.
Thirty years later, things aren’t so bleak. Mt. St. Helens is recovering and the surrounding wild life is in the early stages of returning to its once striking form. Take a look at NASA’s collection of satellite images from the past 30 years, and note the spread of vegetation. It’s incredible. Read more1 comment
I was on the verge of reporting nothing. That’s right, nothing. After scouring unsuccessfully for exciting Memorial Day weekend community events, I was ready to concede Memorial Day to the quiet background of family picnics, barbecues, camp outs and grave side memorials. Thankfully, it’s my research skills, not Hood River’s social life that needs some work.
So here they are, Memorial Day happenings in the Hood River Valley. Read moreNo comments
I’ll admit it, I have both loved and hated Hood River. I’ve been here so long, since birth actually, that I feel like a part of its history. I remember when partial lengths of the main road leading up town had no sidewalks. I remember when our first McDonalds moved in down on the port and when there was nothing but fields in what is now the west end of town. As I grew up in The Hood River Valley I just dimly remember the slow change from a child, happy and unconcerned, to a smothered teenager, antsy to get away and see the world. I itched to get away from the all too familiar faces and sleepy streets. There was more…something better out there, right?
In the years since high school I’ve left and come back, left and come back, and now back again, I’ve yet again found new love for this now not so sleepy town. Since the golden age (everyone gets to refer to their childhood as the golden age) the sidewalks have all been paved, the windsurfers have moved in and the world of tourism has discovered us. And yet, today I discovered that even with two McDonalds, a Taco Bell, Diary Queen, Wal-Mart and two, yes two, grocery stores we have not stumbled too far from our small town roots. Read moreNo comments
With an amazing Olympics from our neighbors in the north completed we were extremely excited and proud here in the Hood River Valley. Rooting for the amazing skills and talent that our athletes have is always a fun event. But also knowing that one of our own residents was the head coach leading them was thrilling. Here’s a little bit about Hood River resident and U.S. Head Ski Coach Jim Tracy from the U.S. Ski website:
Jim Tracy, former women’s head speed coach from 1997-2004, returned to lead the U.S. women’s alpine program following the 2008 season.
Tracy, who grew up in Mammoth ski racing, started skiing around the age of 10. Tracy made the move from California to Vail, CO, where he spent 24 years of his life. While in Vail, he raced Masters and won the national downhill title for the 25-35 age group.
Tracy coached for Ski Club Vail from 1976 to 1986 before joining the coaching staff at the U.S. Ski Team where he coached the men’s and women’s speed programs and the development and Europa Cup teams. Tracy has also coached through five Olympics and eight World Championships in his career.
Tracy lives in Hood River, OR with his wife Sue.
Way to go Jim! For more information on the exciting sport of skiing please visit US Ski team website and get involved!No comments
Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.
~Bill Morgan, Jr.
It’s been far too long of a wait. We are excited to let you all know that the Columbia Gorge Hotel has Reopened! Its beautiful, majestic buildings are lit once again and we look forward to the joy of the Holiday lights it shines on our community with every holiday season.
For more about the reopening we have included an article from our friends at the Hood River News:
By RAELYNN RICARTE
News staff writer
September 2, 2009
The 65 employees at the Columbia Gorge Hotel have polished up their hospitality skills and are ready for Friday’s public reopening.
“We had a ‘soft’ opening last weekend that gave us a chance to make mistakes and test ourselves,” said John Taffin, general manager. “Everyone has been cross-trained and understands the style of this business.”
Two unexpected guests invited to sample the new menu on Monday were Lucy and Pat Drury of Kirkland, Wash.
The pair drove for hours to enjoy lunch at the Gorge hotel — only to discover that the facility was still closed. Taffin, after hearing of their plight, invited the Drurys to order a meal prepared under the supervision of Chef Matt Grimsley.
His resume includes service as a sous chef at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. The Drurys both chose the Pacific Coast Dungeness crab salad that was served with homemade bread and two choices of butter.
“It’s excellent; I like a light lunch and this is very light,” said Lucy in her review.
She and Pat, like the handful of other lunch guests, had been handed a yellow notepad instead of a check at the end of their meal.
They were asked by Taffin to write down any comments that they wanted to share about their dining experience.
“We want to know how we are doing to help us get ready for this weekend,” he said. “So far, people are telling us that they’ve had a really good time.”
Twenty-five percent of the workforce — returning employees — is already familiar with the routine at the hotel.
Back on the job after an eight-month layoff are four members of the Martinez family.
“It feels great for the hotel to be open again; everyone’s excited,” said Carlos Martinez, a server and banquet attendant.
He spent most of 2009 studying for his associate degree in science and is glad, once again, to be earning a paycheck.
Taffin said the hotel will be at 80 percent occupancy this weekend, a good economic indicator of times to come.
He said the décor has remained virtually unchanged but Grimsley has altered the menu.
For breakfast, guests can enjoy a light start, such as a huckleberry scone and fresh fruit, or heartier fare that includes a Meat Lover’s Omelet, and Spicy Sausage Skillet.
The morning meal is served from 6:30 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday. Lunch selections include homemade soups, a variety of salads and sandwiches and chef favorites like Cilantro Crusted Sushi Grade Ahi.
The mid-day meal is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 2 p.m. on weekends.
Dinner specialties include everything from Charred Sturgeon Fillet and Zinfandel and Juniper Scented Denver Leg of Venison to Dry Aged Painted Hill Filet Mignon.
Taffin said a limited menu is available in the lounge, which is open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. or later to meet customer demand.
The hotel now has flower baskets and numerous café tables on an terrace to encourage patrons to sit outside and view the scenic landscape.
On Wednesday, Sept. 16, Hood River County residents are invited to enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast at the hotel.
The community event will take place from 7 to 9 a.m. and all interested parties are welcome. A second social opportunity has been planned by Taffin for Friday, Oct. 9, from 4 to 6 p.m. Beverage specials will be offered during the happy hour time period.
“We are looking forward to these opportunities to reach out to the community and get local people involved in the property,” said Daina Galster, director of sales management for North Pacific Management, which is now running the business.
The Columbia Gorge Hotel has been closed since Jan. 30, when operations shut down abruptly. One hundred and thirty employees lost their jobs after Boyd and Halla Graves, the previous owners, encountered financial problems that led to the foreclosure of the property.
ShoreBank Pacific’s headquarters in Portland acquired the property for $4 million in a July 20 foreclosure auction. The financial institution then turned operation of the Westcliff Drive facility over to North Pacific.
That company, also based in Portland, has owned and managed prime hospitality and commercial real estate for more than 20 years.
ShoreBank plans to keep the hotel largely unchanged while a new buyer is being sought.No comments
Exciting news from our friends at the Hood River News.
By RAELYNN RICARTE
News staff writer
The cobwebs are being swept away and the Columbia Gorge Hotel is receiving a “top to bottom” cleaning in preparation for its early September re-opening.
One hundred and thirty employees lost their jobs when operations were suspended on Jan. 30. The previous owners, Boyd and Halla Graves, had encountered financial problems that led to the foreclosure of the property.
Former workers — and other community members looking for a job — will now have a chance to be hired by ShoreBank Pacific, the new owners.
“The closure of the Columbia Gorge Hotel was a big hit to the local economy, especially the employees who were most impacted,” said Bill Fashing, county economic development coordinator.
“We are all hopeful the pending re-opening of the hotel will be long-term and will result in a major reinvestment in the facility.”
The bank acquired the property for $4 million in a July 20 foreclosure auction. At that time, Adam Monshi, senior vice president of ShoreBank’s operations in Portland, said the hotel would reopen while a buyer was sought.
The bank has since turned operation of the Westcliff Drive facility over to North Pacific Management. The company, also based in Portland, has owned and managed prime hospitality and commercial real estate for more than 20 years.
“The hotel is a great asset to the community and we are just thrilled to have found a great management company that can get it up and running again,” said Erin Fitzgerald, director of marketing for ShoreBank.
North Pacific will be holding a job fair at the hotel in about two weeks, according to Daina Galster, director of sales management. She said that event will be well-advertised once the date is decided upon.
All inquiries into current employment with North Pacific, or reservations for future dining and lodging at the hotel, can be directed to www.northp.com.
Galster said a full contingent of employees will probably not be needed for the initial re-opening of the 42-room hotel. She anticipates that workers will be added as business “ramps up” and the holiday season begins.
“We are really excited to be in Hood River and will be reaching out to the community as well as to visitors,” she said.
Mary Closson, director of the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, is already working with North Pacific to help ensure a smooth transition. She said the hotel is not only a major employer in the region, but a popular tourism attraction for romantic getaways, weddings and events.
“We look forward to seeing that grand old building come back to life and be part of the community,” said Closson.
Called the “Waldorf of the West,” the hotel was built in 1921 by tycoon Simon Benson. The scenic setting of the structure that was built on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River has attracted several U.S. presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge.
You can Read this article here at The Hood River News.No comments
What county leads the nation in pear production? The answer is Hood River County.
A total of 11,000 acres puts this county at the top of the list. Jackson County is ranked fifth, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Onions? Malheur is tops.
Green peas? It’s Umatilla.
Grass seed? Linn County, followed by Marion in second place, Polk in third, and Yamhill, Benton, Lane, and Washington in fifth through eighth among U.S. counties.
Christmas trees? Clackamas County is tops nationally.
Also, Oregon produces almost all the hazelnuts grown in the U.S. Yamhill County is the national leader, followed by Marion, Washington, Clackamas, Lane, Polk, Linn,. Benton and Douglas in the top nine. The census reflects Oregon agriculture in 2007.
For a state not always recognized as an overall agricultural leader in the U.S., Oregon has a large number of counties that crack the nation’s top 10 list in a variety of categories as listed in the latest Census of Agriculture. In those categories, which include acreage and value in sales, Oregon counties make the top 10 list of all U.S. counties at least 75 times. This from a state that ranks 25th of all states in value of agricultural products sold.
“There are more than 23,000 counties nationwide, and for us to show up in the top 10 in so many categories is a great testimony to the industry we have in Oregon,” said Katy Coba, director of the ODA.
Some of the high rankings should come as no surprise as Oregon tends to corner the market on several specific commodities. As the nation’s leading producer of Christmas trees, Oregon is home to the top two producers and four of the top five. Marion County is second, and Polk, Benton and Lane are fourth, fifth and 10th nationwide.No comments