County okays Meadows swap

Hood River County Commissioner Les Perkins was the sole holdout on Monday's 4-1 vote for the county to swap forestland with Mt. Hood Meadows, Ltd., of Oregon.

"My whole feeling is that there are better pieces of land out there and I just think we need to look at it harder and find better options," said Perkins.

He believed the 785 acres proposed for trade by Meadows would be subject to even stricter environmental restrictions against logging because of steep terrain that created the potential for erosion into fish-bearing streams. In addition, Perkins, the District 4 representative for the upper valley, joined concerns expressed by Crystal Springs Water District over the possibility of future development near its watershed.

The Hood River Valley Residents Committee has strongly opposed the timber land exchange because it believes that move will set the stage for Meadows to build the destination resort it has been planning for more than 20 years.

However, Ken Galloway, county forester, said he recommended that the county trade 640 acres with Meadows because it would net 145 acres from the deal, acquire more mature trees, and gain better access to three high-yield county properties.

Galloway reminded county officials at the Aug. 20 meeting that he was following their directive to find more land to replace the 1,000-acre exchange this spring of Scenic Area properties with the U.S. Forest Service for about $7 million. However, he said timber parcels within the county are difficult to acquire because most are owned by larger landowners who were in the business for the "long haul" and not interested in selling. To date, Galloway said Longview Fibre Company and Meadows were the only positive respondents to the exchange offers he made to 22 parties this spring.

However, Ken Maddox, president of the Hood River Residents Committee, told the commission that the trade was not of "equal value" as required by law because the county would most likely have to pay Meadows $1.5 million to offset the difference in acreage.

Will Carey, county counsel, refuted that claim, saying that "equality" in this case did not mean that the acreage had to be exactly the same, but that if the value of one land exceeded the other then monetary compensation had to be given.

He also disagreed with Maddox' assertion that the county did not follow the correct legal procedures for advertising the hearing. Carey said the county followed state law that expressly dealt with county forest and park exchanges to expedite the process and which allowed a shorter time period for advertisement. He said the statutes referenced by Maddox for longer notification centered on tax foreclosures or lands given to the county.

The county and Meadows are now setting the course for the exchange by splitting the $23,000 cost for Bill Alexander Forestry, Inc., of Pendleton to do an independent appraisal of each property's value. His written report will be finalized by mid-October and county officials have set a $1.5 million cap on the difference it will pay Meadows without further review.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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