Monday, October 14, 2002
Don’t look away
In the midst of so many issues, pressures and decisions that our community faces currently, it is difficult to find the time or commitment to become “involved” in one, or any, issue. However, the proposed Cooper Spur Area Expansion on the north side of Mt. Hood is one issue that we cannot look away from. Prior to placing judgment or voicing opposition, I have worked to become as informed as possible about the proposed development by Mt. Hood Meadows North. Meadows has not been forthcoming with its information regarding this development. I understand why.
Now, I am writing not to evoke an antagonistic response, but a realistic one. Hood River County residents and local government have worked hard in the past decades to nurture a community and businesses that sustain the local economy and promote growth. Year by year, businesses have grown, incrementally, in response to a rise in tourism and the growth in permanent residents. Meadows North’s still unpublicized resort plan would not only cut off the vein of revenue to these local businesses, but would erode the beauty and economy of the Upper Valley that draws SO MANY tourists here every year.
If the greater public were aware of the magnitude of this proposed resort, I believe many more would oppose it. Development on the north side is NOT inevitable. It is deplorable. Just as many work to promote responsible growth in Hood River, we must curb the appetite of Meadows to expand northward on county land. We should not be lulled into thinking that a “softer” approach through a “sustainable business” is any more palatable. Meadows has not had past success expanding at their current location, and for good reason.
Their current (unreleased) plan would allow their private business to “potentially” host a small village above valley orchardists and you. Imagine what it takes in utilities to support one block of downtown Hood River, or the Heights. Now imagine, above our homes, above your orchards, a golf course, a quaint street of small, Meadows-owned businesses, 450 condos, snow-making. Where will the water come from? Who will pay to support the installation of power? Where will the sewage go?
I believe these are serious issues that will not be resolved by creating a “green” resort. They will simply be the same impacts presented in a politically correct package. This proposed development puts a severe stress on the Crystal Springs Watershed, which provides clean water and irrigation to a large portion of Upper Valley residents and orchards.
There are so many more reasons that the Cooper Spur Development won’t and should not work: The ski terrain slated for “expansion” is not only one of the last remaining remote accesses for backcountry skiers and climbers to the north side of Mt. Hood, but also is windblown, has questionable snow-pack historically, and would sever a critical wildlife corridor. In private meetings, Meadows has indicated plans to place seven chairlifts and a mid-way lodge adjacent to the Mt. Hood Wilderness, historical Cloud Cap Inn and Tilly Jane trail. The jobs provided by Meadows would be short-term, seasonal jobs (aside from an elite set of year-round employees.) They are not a long-term solution to the employment crisis in this county.
The local economy and recreational beauty are the essence this valley and mountain’s unique quality of life. Let’s invest in that. Please talk with your county commissioners and visit www.cooperspur.org for more information. Thank you.
I have heard of another instance where a nation launched a fairly effective pre-emptive air strike against the weapons of mass destruction of the time which it feared would one day be used against it. It was called Pearl Harbor.
My recollection is that the militaristic clique which ordered it enhanced neither their moral reputation in the world nor the safety of its citizenry.
During the past several months, many members of this community have had the chance to meet and talk with our State Senator Rick Metsger. He takes the time to visit people in their homes and get their thoughts on important issues facing our state and community.
He was in the forefront in Hood River’s attempt to persuade the OSAA to stay in the Mt. Hood athletic league. As our senator, he works for seniors and agriculture, and is the kind of leader we need to represent us. He has earned my vote and I encourage everyone in Hood River to support Senator Metsger in November.
Attend the hearing
The Columbia River Gorge Commission, which is charged with walking a delicate line between protecting the scenic beauty of the Gorge and supporting local economies, will be the subject of a hearing before state legislators next Monday, Oct. 14, in Hood River. Sen. Ted Ferrioli and other legislators are seeking public input on how well residents feel the Gorge Commission has been functioning.
If you care about the beauty of the place we live, please come and demonstrate that Gorge residents support the Commission’s efforts to protect the unique environment of the Gorge. Ferrioli recently described their efforts to uphold scenic and environmental protections as a “pattern of abuse” and announced his intention to “rein them in.” (HR News, Oct. 5, p. A1) If you disagree, come tell him so.
Come testify that you support the efforts of the Gorge Commission to achieve balance in the inevitable tension between environmental protection and development, and that it needs to be funded adequately to do the job well.
You need to say no more than this, although you may want to. Come and speak and let our legislators know where you stand.
The hearing is at the Hood River Inn, between 1:00 and about 7:00 p.m., Oct. 14. (The hearing has been re-scheduled from June 24.) A second hearing is set for the afternoon of Oct. 15 in Cascade Locks.
If you would like more detailed information, please contact the local office of the Friends of the Columbia Gorge at 386-5268.
HR’s got soul
So, I was surfing around the Web, looking for information on an mp3 player, when I stumbled onto the Hood River News. I read a simple, honest little article about not taking your spouse for granted. Then, I looked at the gallery of photos, and took a look at what was happening.
I came away with a sense of timelessness about Hood River. I have no doubt that television and the fast food lifestyle affects Hood River just about like anywhere in America, but you folks present the place with soul and individuality. And that ain’t half bad, is it?
The city and county of Hood River are hurting for tax monies. They both need more income. Both are spending money to try to keep a potential large tax property from being developed. Letters to the editor highlight the fact that this battle is costing the local taxpayers money. None list the potential increase in tax monies if this development is successful. It seems that Wal-Mart is evil for seeking to increase taxable monies to the city and county.
I still believe that one of the main concerns should be the potential use of the present Wal-Mart location. I do not think that it should remain vacant. I think that the major block in approval of a Super Wal-Mart should be the anticipated use of the present Wal-Mart. This has never been discussed as far as I know. Why not?
The scenario that I dread most is that Wal-Mart would close their present location, leave the premises vacant, and locate a Super Wal-Mart in The Dalles.
This would remove a large tax income, jobs and customers. It would result in a great decrease in Hood Rivers retail sales, hurt ancillary businesses and leave a non-income bearing eyesore.
I think that Hood River, (city and county) need to adopt something that would tax empty retail property a heavy percentage in relation to its potential value as a retail property. Penalize empty retail establishments.
Here’s the rub
How do we send a message to our children that we should take our commitments seriously, without looking petty and vindictive? It’s a tough situation. We already know, of course, that there’s no room for religion in our schools, so teaching our children forgiveness and compassion is out of the question. Principal Ben Kolb’s decision to quit on a day or two’s notice is brutal and childish. That’s obvious.
It puts an incredible amount of stress on our already over-burdened intellectual resources at the high school. The co-principals, who are way above the curve in ability and compassion, were already behind schedule each and every school day the moment they walked through the door — and that’s without trying to accomplish GOALS and make long term PLANS for growth and inspire our young adults. And now they have to put out the daily fires and try to build self esteem, and deal with the facility and budgets, too? They’re impressive people with incredible passion and skills but we’re asking an awful lot.
Don’t think for a minute that it isn’t going to burn up some very valuable energy. Sentiments at Wednesday’s board meeting favored teaching Mr. Kolb a lesson by pursuing some career tarnishing legal action to teach our kids that if you mess with the bull you get the horns. Fair enough. If it prevents another district from coping with this type of scenario, I’m in. But doing it to set an example for our students is shameful. Most second graders already know about doing their chores and the associated rewards that come with fulfilling a commitment. And they certainly understand the consequences of doing something poorly.
Think of Mr. Kolb as cancer. (Sorry, Ben) If I had cancer, and all of a sudden it wanted to become benign and leave my body, I’d say “later, dude.” Would I really want to waste valuable resources, time and money on chemotherapy for a cancer that was gone? Do I need that additional pain and the possible infection? Move on, people. I saw the co-principals’ presentations and they’re right, it’s going to be a good year. The kids are into it and with the support of a lot of parents this crisis can be a learning experience.
The loss of some dedicated administrators is a severe blow. And setting an example is paramount. But be careful about what example you want to set. The decision by Dr. Sessions to compensate Mr. Elliott was handled poorly and there have been tragic consequences. Dr. Sessions has devoted his career to kids and done a lot for our schools. He was not a loose cannon; he was your big gun, playing hardball in the real world, solving problems fairly.
In my opinion, not standing by his decision sends a worse message to our kids. It makes the whole affair seem seedy and under-handed. And that’s not the way it should seem in a town where they still pass school levies.
Fill the hearing
The long awaited legislative over sight hearing for Hood River is back on. It will be at the Hood River Inn on Monday Oct. 14 from 1-7 p.m. This is the legislative subcommittee that is taking testimony on the National Scenic area. There was one session held in The Dalles in March and the last two were canceled because of the Oregon special sessions. The third meeting will be in Cascade Locks on Oct. 15.
Our elected officials can make some changes with the management of this scenic act. They need to hear from everyone — whether or not you live in the Scenic area.
Are you aware that the Gorge Commission is trying to add key viewing areas?
Are you aware that they have been working for two years on strict air quality — which means this is not just in the scenic area?
Are you aware that the Columbia River Gorge has been placed on United Nations Protected areas list? We are not talking about “just” the gorge, this designation includes all of the counties — except of course Clark and Multnomah.
Our committee called “Property Rights advocates” will be giving a report from the surveys we sent out to property owners in the scenic area.
If you received a survey and didn’t fill it out — please do so and also contact your elected officials.
It is very important that we have a large turn out for these hearings.
Bobby Miller, Columbia Gorge United
Janis Sauter, Gorge Realty
Rita Swyers, Oregonians in Action
On infant swimming
After reading the article on “Infant Swim” in the Oct. 5 newspaper, I felt compelled to write this letter. I am a certified specialist in sports physical therapy and a certified athletic trainer, and I frequently swim at Hood River Aquatic Center. I have been there to observe most of the Infant swimming lessons that this article highlights. I commend the goal of teaching youngsters to be safe in and around the water.
I do, however, feel that it is necessary to relay some observations about this particular method of teaching when trying to meet this goal. I observed some very radical teaching methods that induced extreme fear and distress in some of these very young participants. I fear that although the goal of “swimming” to the side of the pool may be met with these youngsters; damage to their trust of swimming instructors, the security of their parents and their fondness of the water may occur.
Some of the participants responded well, but many had to be considerably soothed at poolside following a stressful session. Rare were the laughter, smiles and fun that I have seen in other aquatic youth programs.
I have observed and participated in other infant swimming experiences and do not recall nearly the negative emotion and fear observed in these sessions. There are other means of instructing water safety and swimming and I hope that this newspaper would highlight and inform the public of these programs as well. I also encourage any parent considering this radical approach to observe these sessions for yourself and then consider your youngster’s personality. Matching the personality of your child to the type of water instruction given is imperative to maintain a healthy relationship with the water instead of creating a phobia.
Again, I applaud the goal of teaching our youth to swim and be safe around the water. I will choose to teach my young daughter to swim but I will not choose this method because of the extreme/radical teaching methods employed that I sincerely feel would harm instead of help my daughter’s relationship with the water. I hope to foster the enjoyment, respect and fondness of the water in her that I have enjoyed throughout my youth and adulthood. I feel that the risk of damaging these things is too great with this method of instruction. Thank you for the attention given to this matter.
Teresa L. Schuemann
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