Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Welcome back, welcome signs:
The wooden signs with Hood River fruit and salmon scenes that greet visitors near exit 62 and 64 are back in place.
The signs have been down for a few months, after becoming weathered and cracked. One sign blown down by wind. Dayna Reed of SignMedia of Hood River repaired the signs and repainted them, adding accents at the tops. City Public Works crews put the signs back up this week.
The replacement of the signs comes at a good time, as Interstate 84 construction is going on at the height of the visitor season, according to Kerry Cobb, Chamber of Commerce executive director.
She said the visitors center has had more than 12,500 visitors through July 31 - surpassing the 2010 total of 12,050.
The center welcomed 4,000 visitors in July alone, a surprising fact according to Cobb given the construction at the freeway off-ramps, making it more difficult to find the center at exit 64.
The wooden signs direct people once they are off the freeway. They were made by Chas Martin, now of Portland, in the early 1990s. Artist Lee Jensen painted the mountain portion of the north-facing sign at exit 64.
"It is with great pleasure I was allowed to take part in preserving a bit of unique history of the Hood River Valley and its residents," Reed said.
"Dayna did an excellent job on the signs," said public works foreman Dave Smock.
"Any idea we can give people about how to get here is certainly helpful," Cobb said.
Eastbound drivers need to turn on exit 63 in order to get to exit 64, while contractors hired by ODOT replace the freeway bridge at exit 64.
Other signs around exit 64 telling drivers how to find the visitors center were removed as part of the construction project, according to Cobb. The chamber has asked ODOT to replace the signs, and put up some of its own, she said.