:: Emergency Event Site Usage Proposal

MEDIA RELEASE

For immediate use

Contact:

Katie Crafts, 541-386-9225

Michael McElwee, 541-386-1645

HOOD RIVER, Ore. (May 20, 2011) – At the request of the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association, the Port of Hood River Commission on Tuesday, May 24, will consider a temporary launching and landing zone for kiteboarding at the Port’s Event Site.

The CGWA proposal is designed to help the kiting community during a period of extremely high spring runoff. High water in the Columbia River has temporarily inundated the Hood River sandbar, the region’s most popular kite rigging and launching platform.

“Though this condition impacts windsurfing to varying degrees, it has a profoundly negative impact on kiteboarding in the central Gorge by all but eliminating safe launch and landing zones,” said Steve Gates, president of the CGWA.

“The CGWA discussed this situation in depth at its May 19 Board meeting, and decided to take a proactive, good neighbor stance on this and recommend to the Port to temporarily re-open the Event Site to kite launch and landing effective immediately through Friday, June 10,”

Michael McElwee, executive director of the Port, said it was “a much-appreciated step” on the part of the CGWA. He said he would present it to the Board of Commissioners at its 5 p.m. meeting Tuesday, May 24, at the Port Board room, 1000 E. Port Marina Drive, Hood River (the building at the north end of the parking lot just west of the Bridge Toll Plaza).

McElwee said he also would temporarily lift the ban on kiting at the Marina swim beach, until the Commission Tuesday can also consider possible easing of its policies for kiteboard use of that beach. The swim beach is situated between the mouth of the Hood River and the west jetty at the mouth of the Port’s boat marina.

Under the CGWA proposal, launching and landing of kites would  be allowed at the Event Site from the irrigation control box east of the bathroom eastward to the existing pump/dry area.

“This should provide an adequate space for both kiteboarding and windsurfing for the next few weeks until the summer crowd arrives in force in mid-June,” Gates said.

The proposal stipulates that the current kite pump/dry area would stay in effect. Kites could not be stored in the launch/land area that would be created by the proposed adjustment.

During the interim period, windsurfers would store their boards and rigs to the west of the designated kite launch zone.

The CGWA encouraged the Port and kiting community to discourage use of the expanded launch area by beginning kiters.

“The Event Site is not an appropriate launch site for entry level kiters,” Gates noted.

Once water levels drop, kiteboarders would again be encouraged to use the sandbar for launching and landing.

The CGWA proposal noted the need for respect and cooperation among both windsports communities during the high-water period and shared use of a very constricted launch area.

Gates said the CGWA is committed to working closely with the Port and Columbia Gorge Kiteboard Association to inform members and other Event Site users of the temporary arrangement.

McElwee said that anyone wishing to comment on the proposal may direct thoughts to: porthr@gorge.net

All comments will be photocopied and included in information provided to the Port Commission prior to its discussion.

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