City leaders convene at City Hall for first time since beginning of pandemic

All but one member of the Hood River City Council met in person on June 28. The majority of the meeting was a presentation on the “Visit Hood River” marketing strategy. Executive director for the project, Katie Kadlub, and Intrepid Communications independent contractor, Alana Hughson, prepared slides and offered insight into the blueprint for the city’s push to increase tourism and livability.

Kadlub emphasized that Hood River cannot be a destination for tourists without the help and cooperation of local businesses and residents. With a budget of just under $600,000, according to Kadlub, the management group has already entered a partnership with Double Mountain Brewery and produced branded apparel for the county. Despite progress made on the sponsorship and marketing front, concerns regarding diversity were brought to attention.

Councilors Gladys Rivera and Tim Counihan spoke up in favor of those under served throughout our community.

“There’s a lot missing in what’s being presented,” said Rivera. “I see this being tailored to a rich, white crowd.”

Kadlub and Hughson maintained that the plan is not final, and changes will be made.

“If we need to pivot, we have proven that we can,” said Kadlub.

The council approved the replacement of an old police cruiser and minor adjustments to the FY2020-21 budget. Engineering Senior Project Manager Wade Seaborn asked the council to approve a resolution which would authorize the Oregon Department of Transportation the power of eminent domain to repair and revamp the intersection at highway 30 and Rand Road, near Walmart.

Mid-Columbia Economic Development Project Manager, Alice zaWitt, discussed redesignation of the Cascade Locks-Hood River Enterprise Zone. Enterprise zones give property tax abatements to businesses. The Resolution 2021-09 would remove certain areas from the Downtown, Waterfront, Heights and Tucker Road zones.

— Story modified July 14 to clarify who made the presentation.