Historic Hood River
Too Much New Stuff
When the good folks at The Hood River News moved into smaller quarters last month, the museum jumped at the chance to provide a new home for their archives. Lester’s Moving and Storage transferred the materials into the closed but now jam-packed museum a few weeks ago, and I finally got a chance to take a quick look last week.
There is certainly a wealth of material which will take years to sort through. Roger has bravely jumped in to start the process of organizing everything. I randomly sampled the collection and came up with a few images to share this week.
Exhibit #1: a view down Oak Street, probably late 1960s.
I think this view really shows some of the positive side of changes over the past five decades. Hood River looks pretty shabby in this view, in my opinion. Crumbling sidewalks, lots of projecting signs and billboards, no trees, overhead powerlines– we’ve come a long way. Downtown is certainly more visually attractive. The urban renewal program started in the 1990s replaced streets, sidewalk, and crumpling utilities beneath the street. It also added street trees and moved power and telecom wires underground. A sign ordinance reduced visual blight, and an historic district with a landmarks review process encouraged preserving and restoring historic buildings. But none of that would matter without building owners investing heavily. It’s hard to find a building on this view that hasn’t been significantly improved by its owners.
Clearly the character of downtown has changed, with more tourist services with their seasonal congestion, and fewer storefronts serving permanent residents. We certainly have far more dining choices now. On the other hand, you can’t buy gasoline on Oak Street today… and get free glasses.