Gorge Reality

On March 21, 2002 the Gorge Commission released a press release entitled "Plan Review Roundup: Commission to look at land uses". Allen Bell was quoted as saying "More than 200 people submitted comments stating mining threatens scenic vistas, wildlife and plant habitat, water resources and other sensitive resources."

There were actually 124 comments (one person had submitted two post cards) and all but one of these were mailed from Portland. Eighteen of these people live within the scenic area boundaries and most of them are in the urban growth areas or within the city limits, unaffected by the Scenic Area rules.

We received copies of these documents. They were 1/4-sheet pre-printed post cards all with the same message on them. The message read "The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a national treasure, and Management Plan Review is a matter of both regional and national significance. I urge you to incorporated into the Plan Review process: 1) A complete "build-out" analysis of the impacts of full development as allowed under the current Management Plan; 2) Stronger protections for farmland, forestland, open spaces, rare plants, wildlife habitat, cultural and scenic resources, and a ban on new mines or mine expansion in the Scenic Area; 3) Public meetings throughout the region, including Portland, Vancouver and Seattle, to ensure broad public participation."

It is interesting to note that when we submitted the 915 letters individually signed to the Gorge Commission office requesting that an independent party be commissioned to do the review of the management plan, they dismissed them stating that they were form letters.

Recently we asked for complete copies of the tapes of three of the Gorge Commission meeting minutes, we received instead, edited copies. Two of these sets of tapes had been altered leaving off several sections of what was discussed in the printed copies of the minutes. The third set was edited leaving off a statement made that apparently they did not want public.

Who is it that will keep this agency honest?

Barbara Sexton

Hood River

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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