Annexation? Yes

This year, average resident undergraduate tuition and fees at four-year colleges in the Oregon University System range from $3,621 per year at Eastern Oregon University to $4,071 at the University of Oregon.

Now, compare that with the $2,025 cost (for three terms of 15 credits at $45 per credit) of tuition to attend Columbia Gorge Community College.

That's a huge savings, for someone taking the first two years of college close to home, or someone working toward a two-year degree.

Now imagine taking many of those classes in Hood River, instead of driving three to five days a week to The Dalles (if your car gets 22 mpg, that's at least $3.50 per trip, or up to $17.50 per week, for 12 weeks a term, or $630 a year extra in gas).

Imagine what your child would save in room and board costs, if they chose to stay at home the first two years of college.

Imagine the chance for local high school students to take college classes.

Image the targeted workforce development opportunities for local business.

Imagine the business recruitment opportunities tied to an expanded college classroom and instructional presence in Hood River County.

Imagine boosting state tax support from $48,588 now to about $1.2 million, if county voters support annexation to the Columbia Gorge Community College district.

Imagine having a representative voice in delivery of college services.

Imagine getting all that for no more than $27 a year (at most, per $100,000 of assessed property value).

Or, to put it another way, what would you give to lift Hood River County's average job wage from the fourth lowest of the state's 36 counties (1999)?

If you own a home valued at $200,000, would you give the equivalent (at most) of the cost of a cup of coffee every week for the next year?

To quote a sign from the movie "Animal House," "Knowledge is Good," and the more knowledge is better. When your ballot arrives for the Nov. 6 election, show how smart you are -- and how much smarter you would like us all to be -- by voting "yes" for Measure 33-35 -- annexation to the Columbia Gorge Community College District.

Stuart Watson

Hood River

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