Hood River hopes reopening I-84 brings business back

The highway has been closed for 3 weeks

Businesses in Hood River hope people will come support their town after weeks of slow days due to the Eagle Creek Fire. (KOIN)
Businesses in Hood River hope people will come support their town after weeks of slow days due to the Eagle Creek Fire. (KOIN)

HOOD RIVER, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s the news residents of the communities in the Columbia River Gorge have been waiting nearly three weeks to hear — I-84 is reopening this weekend.

Oregon Department of Transportation said Saturday that the eastbound lanes of I-84 were reopen. Westbound lanes were reopened on September 14 and were closed briefly 2 days later but have been open since.

Crews have been working to clear fallen or damaged trees and debris that would have made travel dangerous along the path of the Eagle Creek Fire. So far, more than 4,000 trees have been cut down along the highway.

I-84 remains closed nearly two week after the Eagle Creek Fire broke out and damaged dozens of trees along the highway. (KOIN)
I-84 remains closed nearly two week after the Eagle Creek Fire broke out and damaged dozens of trees along the highway. (KOIN)

The closures has been tough on residents as well as commercial business, like truckers who had to take the long way around.

Hood River hasn’t look like it’s normal self lately because of the fire and closure. Even Friday night the street were bare and quiet.

“It’s been pretty slow,” said Rose Rogers at the Trillium Cafe. “Very slow, like winter time. Mainly locals, if that.”

Rogers said business has been down 50-60% since the fire. Smoky air and evacuations meant a crowd was hard to come by on the cafe that’s usually open late.

“Us as locals, we’ve been trying to help other local businesses by going out and spending money locally,” Rogers said.

News of the highway reopening is getting people pretty excited after these slow weeks. Locals hope it brings in tourists who weren’t able to visit in the last few weeks of summer.

“It’s going to be huge, hopefully it’ll bring a lot of business,” Rogers said. “Just come out here and have a good time. We’re good people, it’s a great town, there’s lot of stuff to do.”

The Eagle Creek Fire has burned 48,668 acres since it started on September 2 and it is currently 46% contained.

Complete coverage of the Eagle Creek Fire