Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Protect a gem
I own the property at 10734 Cooper Spur Road, across from the Cooper Spur Inn, and I am against the development of a destination resort at Cooper Spur. My parents, Ken and Kathryn See, bought that property in the early 1940s. Over the last 60 years I have seen a lot of development in the area — some good, some bad — but I have to say that my biggest concern is for water.
Since the water system for the Snowbird Development went in just next to our property, our beautiful Doe Creek has dried up every summer. This had never happened before. (When I was young, there were beavers and the beaver dams created ponds we “swam” in!) We have never placed a formal complaint about losing Doe Creek every summer, but now I regret that, as it would have been on record as an absolute fact that there is not enough water in the Cooper Spur area to develop much more extensively. If a creek disappears when an 11-site tract goes in, what on earth will happen when a destination resort goes in? My drinking water comes from a spring — is it safe? I have to imagine that it could easily get sucked dry to fill the needs of the resort and the ski area. For that matter, parking lots and structures placed above our water resource could possibly cause it to shift course. I have lots of concerns, but water, or lack of it, is my main concern.
On a less personal basis, my other concerns include noise and traffic and too many trees cut down, and fire danger from so many people just being there. I am concerned for the animals and the wildlife corridors. I don’t feel that million-dollar homes on a golf course is the appropriate use of the land in question. Henry David Thoreau said, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” The Cooper Spur area is a truly wonderful gem that should be preserved. I am sad to think that Oregon’s carefully constructed land use laws are being so manipulated, and that Hood River County and the U.S. Forest Service seem to be in the mood to be so helpful to a wealthy land developer.
Carol See Kading
Don’t use muzzles
We do not want muzzles on our dogs in Hood River County! This would bring bad Karma to all of us, we must show reverence for all living things.
I would like to inform M.D. Castle (letter, Jan. 25), and anyone who may be influenced by the suggestion to muzzle dogs by his letter, this action would be extremely cruel. Dogs cool themselves by panting and it’s a necessary function to have their mouths unobstructed. Please do not try to alter natural, useful, and valuable physical needs in any animals.
The greater majority of dogs are affectionate and accepting of each other by nature. Treat your dog with kindness and affection and the dog will be gentle. Dogs who are territorial or overly protective can be dealt with possibly with soft cloth muzzles on rare occasions but definitely not left on the dog for any length of time.
Please! We want a kind, gentle, and tolerant society! It starts with how we act in all situations, especially in our treatment of other living things including animals and plants, too.
The best way to deal with dogs is to pretend you’re the dog and see the situation from the dog’s point of view, as much as possible, and you will make a wiser decision in all cases as you, yourself, will have a broader perspective.
We need to have reverence for all living things. It starts at the bottom. Be tolerant, don’t think you’re better than or more deserving of a good life than lower animals. Your own life will be better if you make the life better for all the animals who are naturally dependant on us. Your life will be happier and more rewarding. Seek and provide for each living thing what is best for their needs.
Water, winter pears
What is going on up there on Cooper Spur? The answer is: Water, Wilderness, and Winter Pears.
This isn’t about skiing, or jobs, or even Trophy homes. This is about conserving and preserving the abundance that has sustained all the residents of this beautiful valley all these millennium.
The bottom line is: Are we willing to protect the source of our drinking water, our treasured Wilderness Areas, and the orchards that have defined and sustained five generations?
This whole Goal 8 Destination Resort scheme is a sham; let’s go back to the basics. We do not need another layer of bureaucratic red tape on top of the already mystifying labyrinth of land use regulation.
If a citizen has forest property zoned F-1 and he or she wants to change the use of their land, let them go to the County Planning Commission just like you or I have to do. Do the math, study the environmental impact and let the chips fall where they may.
The controlling partner of Mt. Hood Meadows Inc. is a Portland builder/developer. He has swapped land with the County for pennies on the dollar and then requests a Goal 8 mapping process.
To no one’s surprise, an independent consultant and the county planning staff determined that there are no suitable locations for a destination resort in Hood River County. Is that the end of it?
No, now Mt. Hood Meadows Inc., read —- Drake Construction — wants to change the rules, and the facts.
I do not have anything against Dave Riley, General Manager of Mt. Hood Meadows Inc.
In fact, I have visited the Cooper Spur Ski Lodge twice in the last month. It is a delightful, family oriented facility that fits the scale of the surrounding area and provides healthy entertainment at an affordable price. If Mt. Hood Meadows Inc. can operate Cooper Spur consistent with its current configuration and make a profit, my hat is off to them.
If the Hood River Planning Commission wants to foster economic development in the Upper Valley, fine.
I say, draw a circle three miles around the Crystal Springs Water District; draw a circle three miles around public lands designated as Wilderness Areas; and draw a circle three miles around high value orchard land.
Call the land inside the circles buffer zones. No new development in the buffer zones.
There is plenty of privately held land left to fill with Trophy homes, hobby farms, overnight lodging, or whatever. I personally like the idea of a hockey rink.
We need to ask ourselves why it is that Iraq and North Korea are so motivated to develop weapons of mass destruction? Why are there many other economically and militarily weak third world nations that are quietly pursuing nuclear research programs? Could it be because there is at least one nation in the world which has thousands of such weapons and has shown a frequent willingness in the last decades to militarily attack nations which do not conform to its ideas of proper behavior — attacks which ultimately cannot be resisted because they are backed up by such weapons? I believe that human nature is such that as long as one of our neighbors arms themselves and says they are to be the deciders of right and wrong, the temptation will be to find equivalent means to defend ourselves no matter how benevolent the neighbor considers themselves. I used to think the U.S. was the main facilitator of such weapons proliferation by being No. 1 in the world in arm sales, now I fear we encourage them even more by our mere possession of them.
Why anyone would want to put a destination resort in a watershed is beyond me. Is it not self-evident that the quality of drinking water trumps all other concerns? This whole debate seems like something out of the twilight zone. It’s a fairly simple proposition, what’s more important a destination resort or the integrity of the water supply for the eastern half of Hood River County? Do the Bull Run and The Dalles watersheds rate higher than the Crystal Springs watershed? The fact that local taxpayer dollars are being spent to consider locating a destination resort where it could, even potentially, compromise local taxpayers’ drinking water is not only a waste of everybody’s time and money, it’s outrageous! Whether or not the planning commission will use simple logic when considering Mt. Hood Meadows’s plans remains to be seen. However, one thing is certain, their decision will define, for all to see, their ablility to reason and plan for the future.
More to the Man
Measure 28: I was long undecided on this one. I care a lot about the schools, the programs, and the rest of it, but I just don’t want to pay the Man any more (always more, more, more he wants). And I don’t appreciate the threats and fear tactics. Our government takes a lot of my money and often seems to spend it on what I care about least first and what I care about most last. And when they’re 1 percent short, it’s the schools that will suffer, they say. (I care about schools.)
So here’s what I’m doing: I’m voting NO on Prop 28. If it passes, I’ll pay my taxes. If it doesn’t, then I’ll walk up to the school district and hand over the amount I saved straight to them.
There’s a definite possibility that this tactic won’t end up raising the same amount for the schools as the “temporary” tax hike would, but I really don’t know what will happen if it passes or if it fails. That is, if it fails, I think folks will rally somehow and get the funding to the programs they care about; and if it passes, the Man will probably still spend most of it in ways of which I don’t approve.
Keep it clean
Is pumping up the local economy really worth degrading the livability of our county? Residents I know prefer clean drinking water, safe roads, access to public lands, farm-fresh food, historic preservation, and a sense of community over economic gain. The county needs to create a vision for long term economic growth that will enhance, rather than degrade that which we cherish about this valley. The Planning Commission should not be pressured into making a prompt decision regarding the destination resort zoning ordinance. Clearly, there are numerous issues connected with the ordinance that require further research. Conceding to Meadows’ high pressure and at times questionable business tactics is is no way to serve Hood River County residents.
Bus of spies
Your Jan. 24 article on the public hearings regarding Cooper Spur was fair and informative. Except that it left the wrong impression that Mt. Hood Meadows was the big bad guy bussing people in from Portland. The truth is quite the opposite.
The extremist “obstructionists” had bussed in a lot more people, but in secrecy, making sure that they came early and occupy all the available seats. The 10 of us on the Meadows bus couldn’t even get in. We are the ones in your photo, standing outside.
I was on that Meadows bus, and I can tell you who was on it: two Meadows employees, 10 people representing various Oregon ski clubs (only one or two people from each club) ... and 3 “spies” from the obstructionist camp.
The obstructionists had an “earthy” look and wore hippie clothes, though some of them were better disguised, to blend in more easily. They refused to say where they are from, or vaguely said they were from “Mt. Hood.”
In effect, lots of them came from Portland, Eugene, and other areas. They behaved as if they were some cult that believes that any devlopment anywhere is bad. And they called us skiers “the enemy” and “the devil.”
Hood River’s proposed Destination Resort Ordinance is flawed in that it requires too few restrictions on commercial development associated with resort use, and it allows land designated as golf course use count for open space.
By placing no brakes on the construction of gas stations, convenience stores, service and specialty businesses of all kinds, and even movie theaters, resort development would be of limited benefit to existing businesses in nearby communities. Such commercial development would effectively create another town wherever it was located.
The way the ordinance reads, land dedicated to golf course use would count as open space. However, golf courses do not offer the same level of wildlife habitat, and may not be compatible to siting on watershed areas due to intensive fertilizer and herbicide use. Also, a golf course would dramatically increase the water demand for resort development. Golf courses should not be considered equivalent to other types of open space.
With these considerations adequately addressed and remedied, resort development in concept is not at all incompatible with the tourism-based, outdoor recreation draw our community has become known for. Controlled expansion of amenities and facilities already in place to serve skiers and snowboarders is entirely consistent with our community and the businesses that serve other outdoor recreation users.
Our county is economically depressed, with unemployment the number one problem. Resort development is the most consistent and effective way to help regain the balance between a stable economy and retaining our quality of life.
Resort as it is
As a long time member of the Friends of Cooper Spur Mountain Resort, I would like to go on record as saying that most of my fellow members, informally polled, prefer the resort to stay the way it is now, with no further development. Many of us were present at the hearing on Jan. 22 and were astonished to discover that all the proponents of the resort who testified were upper management of Meadows but did not admit it!
We are not happy to have been misrepresented by the resort, misled by its management, and potentially facing a development that not only would not meet our needs as skiers, but also would harm our local lodging and recreation businesses, as well as harming the county water supply and increasing the seasonable unemployment of the county. It’s time for Mt. Hood Meadows to count its blessings for the permit we have already granted it to use our forest service land and back off from this very bad new expansion, which would even go against what its supporters desire.
Not another Bend
I was one of the many that wasn’t able to speak at the Jan. 22 Planning Commission hearing on the proposed destination resort zoning hearing. I heard a lot of “economictalk” about Wasco County, and what great things destination resorts were doing for Bend. I wanted to cry out, “Whoever wants Hood River to become the next Bend please stand up and tell us WHY?” Is Highway 35 to become the next Highway 97? (“Sorry Orchard family, but today we need your land for the new bypass that is going to solve all our traffic woes.”)
Speaking of Wasco County, those buses bought and paid for by our developer friend sure reminds me of the time when another corporation bused folks to their county to influence the commissioners over there. As we all know, Wasco County not only threw them out, they threw the bosses in the slammer! Of course, that was in the old’n days when people stood up for right rather than the Almighty Dollar.
A legal remedy
Raelynn Gill’s front page story of the Jan. 15 edition of the Hood River News raised concerns regarding a $10.3 million shortfall in the state fund used to hire court-appointed attorneys. I have a solution. Why not pass a law requiring anyone wishing to practice law in the state of Oregon be subjected to being called up to serve defendants requiring court-appointed attorneys, just like us ordinary citizens are subjected to being called up to serve on juries?
Under this plan the attorneys would be selected in some random fashion and be compelled to take time away from their busy schedules of doing nothing of much benefit to society anyway, and actually serve the public good for a change. I think this is a really good idea. Forfeiting $10.3 million of my family’s household income to pay attorneys to defend drug dealers, drunk drivers and shoplifters is not a good idea.
I’m voting NO on 28.
Sight for sore eyes
I am so sick of all you people who oppose the new Wal-Mart and every other opportunity that comes our way.
Wouldn’t it be horrible to drive by Hood River and not have to look at that wonderful mobile-site that I’ve looked at for 30-plus years, with its dilapidated trailers and country hillbilly plywood add-ons, or its giant dumpsters overflowing with trash, or to drive by the old logging shop and see the trees growing between the bunks of an old log truck. Wouldn’t it be horrible?
And as far as potential loss of habitat, I would hope that these college-educated engineers and environmentalists are competent enough to figure it out!
To those of you who want your cake and to eat it too, wake up!
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Planet Fly at Pfriem
The band Planet Fly plays at Pfriem in an outdoor concert. Enlarge