Gorge Commission opposes change to trust land Board also opts out of interim air regulation

Board also opts out of interim air regulation

The Columbia River Gorge Commission spoke out on Tuesday against tribal plans to change the legal status of 160 acres of Scenic Area property near Hood River.

If given "sovereign nation" protection that land will be exempt from regulation and could be used to support a gambling casino on the existing 40-acre trust site.

"It is profoundly demoralizing to think that 200 acres directly to my east may be completely removed from the same regulations that I and thousands of other Gorge landowners must comply with," said North Cheatham, who resides next to the new property purchased earlier this year by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

At its Aug. 14 meeting, the Gorge Commission also gave the nod for Oregon and Washington air regulatory agencies to start air studies that are intended to identify and clean up any existing pollution problems in the scenic corridor.

"There's a lot of emotion over air quality but what we need is some good science," said Joyce Reinig, Hood River's representative on the Gorge Commission.

The two actions were given unanimous support after the Commission heard lengthy testimony on both sides of each issue. Because it is mandated by Congress to protect the resources of the nation's first Scenic Area, the bi-state agency felt it had a strong role in both issues.

The Gorge Commission directed Martha Bennett, executive director, to send a letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs opposing the tribal request to transfer Scenic Area land east of Hood River from "fee" (open market) to trust status. The Commission declined to hear discussion or take a stand on the proposed casino because it might have to hear the appeal from a county decision on the project at some point in the future. It felt that a bad precedent would be set for other treaty tribes if federally protected property could be converted for unrestricted use. In addition, the bi-state entity said that, by law, federal decisions affecting the Scenic Area must be reviewed by the U.S. Forest Service to determine their consistency with the Act. They believe that review must then be signed off by the Secretary of Agriculture and that the Secretary of Interior, who makes the final review for trust applications, does not have the authority to change the status of the tribal land until all these hurdles have been cleared.

In other action, the Commission nixed a proposal by Friends of the Columbia Gorge and several other environmental groups to put temporary air standards in place, at least during the first 18-24 month phase of air studies. Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality, the Washington Department of Ecology and the Southwest Washington Clean Air Agency, which will oversee the five-to-seven year effort, said it would be "premature" to take that action. The agencies reasoned that there is no technical base in place to determine the origin of current emissions or sufficient information to determine the future benefits of at least eight new pollution reduction measures that are expected to dramatically clean up air across the nation by 2010.

However, a 32-member advisory group, made of stakeholders from industry, economic development and environmental groups, and local governments can use a consensus process to recommend short-term strategies for the Gorge at any time during the course of the study if these are deemed necessary.

Latest stories

Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

Log in to comment

News from our Community Partners