Wednesday, December 12, 2001
I attended the Hood River County Planning Commission's open meeting last night (Dec. 5) and I felt sorry for the guys. The County Board of Commissioners had handed the Wal-Mart hot potato to them. The question they were to advise on was: Is the pending issue of Wal-Mart building a mega-mart a planning "emergency" and worthy of special treatment.
A goodly number of city and county citizens presented testimony that it was an emergency for various reasons, and a local barrister declared the need to define this situation as an "emergency" a "red herring," based on previous actions and court rulings by this group and others like it.
The planning group decided that it was not a planning emergency but it was a political question to be decided by the commissioners. And, as far as they are concerned, a process for addressing the planning issue is in place. So the potato was handed back, still steaming. The commissioners will meet Dec. 17 to have another look at that potato.
Here are my concerns:
1. The clock is running. In retail, where every day is an emergency, tough and dedicated company fighters will proceed, knowing that clock is running in favor of their application.
2. I hope the commissioners will not take the decision of the planning group as having relieved them of their responsibilities. Some one in the county has to start to bring protective and defining language to the issues of responsible growth and life-style, particularly in an area where many voters are outspoken about both.
3. A vote was conducted on the casino issue. Is that appropriate here?
I am afraid of waking up and finding Wal-Mart by Default!
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I Can't Keep Quiet singers at "Citizen Town Hall"
‘I can’t keep quiet,’ sing members of an impromptu choir in front of Hood River Middle School Saturday prior to the citizen town hall for questions to Rep. Greg Walden. The song addresses female empowerment generally and sexual violence implicitly, and gained prominence during the International Women’s Day events in January. The singers braved a sudden squall to finish their song and about 220 people gathered in HRMS auditorium, which will be the scene of the April 12 town hall with Rep. Greg Walden, at 3 p.m. Enlarge