Trautwein Case

Do a land study, cut four ways

The arcane regulations of the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area have come down heavier on Cherry Trautwein's shoulders than on any other single individual in the 15-year history of the Scenic Area.

Trautwein found some Native American artifacts on her property (the location being a poorly kept secret) and as a result has everyone short of the dogcatcher telling her what she can do with her land. (The full story is on page A1.)

Ironically, Trautwein might need to cut down trees as the only way to preserve artifacts elsewhere on the land.

The Trautwein case is not exactly the monolithic or complex land use question on the order of a superstore or a casino, but like those issues it comes down to how far bureaucracy goes in directing how a piece of land is used.

In Trautwein's case, there's been plenty of meddling by government entities. The U.S. Forest Service, Columbia Gorge Commission, Hood River County, and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs have all compelled her to go to great lengths to protect potential Native American resources.

The preservation of cultural resources is truly an important goal of the Scenic Area Act. But now that the potential cultural site has been identified, it is possible to find a way to ascertain if more artifacts exist on Trautwein's property and allow her to either sell or develop the land in a reasonable manner of her choosing.

The four agencies listed above have demonstrated a keen regard for the cultural significance of Trautwein's property. Let them split the cost, four ways, of hiring a couple of archaeologists to do an extensive study of the site.

We're talking about six acres -- and the location of the artifacts is fairly well understood by those who've had access to the property.

Trautwein has already been forced to pay an archaeologist to study her land; the agencies can take their turn. It's a small price to pay for preserving resources and demonstrating sincerity regarding that mission.

This is not to suggest that archaelogy is an exact science. Nor, however, should science be excluded from the solution for what to do about a specific piece of property.

Trautwein has acted on good faith, and weathered bureaucratic threats to prosecute her for revealing to a reporter the location of the land. Representatives of the county and the Gorge Commission attempted to discourage Trautwein from exercising her right to speak publicly on the situation. One county official went so far as to suggest that Trautwein not confirm the location of the property to a reporter. That was going too far; at last report, Trautwein was still the owner.

The powers that be should take a step back and realize they have a cooperative client -- not an adversary -- and then take a step forward and pony up sufficient resources to determine what's on the land and protect it appropriately. Then, if no other artifacts are found, leave it alone for Trautwein to do as she long wanted.

They can have it both ways.

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

Columbia Gorge news and businesses