Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Face the ‘monster’
Lester Appel is right-on with his excellent “Pocketbook Vote” letter (June 11). Almost every local business should be plenty worried about a Wal-Mart Supercenter coming to Hood River. A recent Fortune article reveals Wal-Mart to be the “ultimate category killer” in the retail/services market. Wal-Mart is now the nation’s biggest seller of groceries, toys (more than Toys ’R’ Us), guns, diamonds, CDs, DVDs, apparel, dog food, detergent, jewelry, sporting goods, videogames, socks, bedding, and toothpaste. Not to mention the nation’s biggest film developer, optician, private truck-fleet operator, energy consumer, and real estate developer. The list goes on. In the face of this monster, please support our community’s small and mid-sized businesses.
One good cop
I had the pleasure of riding along with Officer Aaron Mason of the Hood River Police Department recently. What a joy to know that there are police officers in our town that are professional, firm and authoritative yet compassionate as they patrol the city. Officer Mason demonstrated an uncanny talent of working with people in the community. His communicative skills were noteworthy. Although he and others like him face danger every day while on patrol, it was evident he has mastered the art of community policing. That reason alone is why more police departments should follow Officer Mason’s footsteps. Many citizens waved to us and immediately recognized Officer Mason’s great sense of humor and personality. Yet, I also witnessed his attentiveness to a traffic stop or a DUII arrest in complete awe as he clearly knew the policies and procedure that governs the very essence of policy work. My hat goes off to Officer Mason and the rest of the Hood River Police Department along with the Hood River County Sheriff’s Department for doing an awesome job that is getting more difficult to do every day.
Program to keep
I am writing to ask that you save the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program. I believe that this is a great program and it shouldn’t be removed. It was cut through the end of the 2003 year completely and needs to be reinstated full in the 2003-2005 biennium.
I thought tobacco tax money would be used to educate teenagers like us and younger kids about the dangers of tobacco use and that smokers, who pay the tax, would have the services provided to them to help them quit.
Please make sure that the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program gets the funding that it needs to not only stop our kids from starting but also to help adults who want to quit. The Oregon Tobacco Prevention Program has been very sucessful. In Hood River County only 2 percent of eighth graders have tried tobacco and the number of eighth graders who smoke has declined by 47 percent.
I hope that the information that I have provided will make a difference and will help keep the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
Park at port
We would like to encourage all citizens of Hood River to ask their city council members, port commissioners, and the planning commission to protect and zone Lot 6 for a waterfront park! This parcel has been slated as a park in the waterfront plans since 1999, after the city and port spent two years of public input to design a plan that was agreed upon by both parties.
1. This action would protect windsurfing at the Event Site and on the Columbia River. Tall buildings on the waterfront will jeopardize it as the wind frequently comes from a west-south-west direction there. Since tourism is Hood River’s No. 2 industry and brings in substantial revenue, this is a critical issue.
2. The citizens of Hood River have asked for a park on Lot 6 for the last 12 years! They still want it!
3. The Port of Hood River does want to create jobs but they are also mandated by Oregon state law to protect, develop, market, and support tourism, recreation, and recreational businesses (285A.600 Port Policy, C.) This will leave five or six parcels for light commercial and hotel use.
4. This will protect the river views and property values of most of the city. As you know real estate in Hood River is one of the major industries driving our local economy right now. Real estate values in Hood River have gone up 12.4% (or more) in the last 10 years. According to local agents, a river view adds between $20,000 to $50,000 to the property values, not to mention the “quality of life” that views provide for all of us.
5. Since the Port Commission has already committed to a 2-5 acre park on the waterfront, we are just asking that they locate it on Lot 6. This would ensure that an outside developer does not drive the planning process based solely on his economic gain.
We would like to see a profitable AND beautiful waterfront that would create jobs and still leave us with a beautiful river to enjoy. We believe this can be done. Thank you.
Pat and Ann Frodel
Plan for bikes
All of us in Hood River have noted that the State Highway that is Cascade/Oak Street has now been resurfaced and striped. I am pleased that they included a strip of asphalt to the right of the “fog” line that actually seems to be a bike lane on the side of the road. I’d guess that it was obligatory for the state to do that. In fact I remember the county mandate in the mid 1990s to build a network of biking and walking paths connecting all the parks, schools and city areas. It was in writing, and we’ve been waiting for almost 10 years for this long overdue project to be completed — heck, even started! There were turnovers in the planning department, and the mandate was neglected.
We live on Post Canyon, and have to get to town via the west end of May Street. That no child on a bike, woman with a stroller or person of any age walking along these well used routes has not been killed or seriously hurt is a miracle. Actually there is no safe non-vehicular means of travelling east to west and back again in this town.
The “fog” line might be there, but often there is an inch or two of asphalt and then a slippery slope of gravel leading down into the ditch. To let your bike wheel slip there you will fall for sure. Why couldn’t the asphalt be widened a foot or two? How about a culvert for the ditch and a proper pathway on top of it?
Bike and walking paths: it’s the law, it is attractive to tourists, it is common sense, and the life it saves could be your kid’s.
There was a lawsuit filed recently to remove the words, “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. A U.S. Congressman, in commenting on this suit, said we should not have the right to alter something “put in place by our founding fathers.” I found his statement amusing because I remember exactly when those words were added and it was during President Eisenhower’s second term — quite a distance from the time of our founding fathers!
But I also wondered, “Where did the Pledge of Allegiance originate?” It turns out that it was the creation of Francis J. Bellamy, editor of a magazine called “Youth’s Companion.” Bellamy wrote the Pledge to honor and promote the dedication of The Columbian Exposition better known as the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. He asked that the Bureau of Education send copies to every school in the country so that children throughout the United States could recite the Pledge in unison “to offer something to their nation” about the Fair.
Obviously, the Pledge struck a patriotic chord and it has remained a part of our schools and patriotic events despite its commercial roots. But for all that, it should not be elevated to the status of The Declaration of Independence or The Constitution which were indeed the work of our nation’s founders.
Losing ‘Big Air’
Like Hood River, Arlington, Ore., has one of the best windsurfing locations in the Gorge. It is a much more advanced location, as the river swells get quite large, and the wind is often the strongest of anywhere in the Gorge. Like some of the leaders of Hood River in the early 80’s, Arlington’s leaders have chosen to encourage river use along their waterfront. They built a great, protected beach area for families.
Recognizing the potential the Arlington peninsula offers to windsurfing, the city and port of Arlington are working together to improve their windsurfing launch site. They hope to have it completed by the end of June.
Just after the ribbon cutting on the new river access, the “Big Air” finale will be held at the Arlington site. This contest will take place at three windsurfing locations around Oregon: Pistol River (Oregon Coast), The Dalles, and Arlington. It will draw many competitors and spectators, and will take place from July 5-18.
In addition to the launch site improvements, The Port of Arlington has upgraded the RV park adjacent to the new river access site. In the future, they hope to expand the launch site and further enhance the public waterfront.
In sharp contrast, the current Port of Hood River officials have chosen a much different route. Our elected officials plan to sell out to developers, who will most likely hire out of town contractors, and then will sell their vacation condos to the highest bidders. Most of these condos will be second homes for people, and will be empty for much of the year. Who will benefit from this sell-out of our waterfront? You can bet that it won’t be the residents of Hood River.
Hood River Valley High School should be commended for their drug prevention efforts to address this serious issue. The leadership has shown a strong commitment to addressing drug use head on from implementing proven prevention curriculums and zero tolerance policies to sharing the situation with the community.
Drugs affect our whole community. They have ruined and even ended many lives. Drug use is a societal issue. Schools cannot be effective by themselves. Everyone must join efforts to teach our young people about the dangers and drawbacks of drug use and expand our efforts to provide positive activities promoting leadership skills and community involvement and belonging.
Hood River schools work closely with law enforcement, community agencies, parents and businesses. They want each student to be successful. Everyone can take a role in drug prevention and intervention. We can set good examples for our children. We can attend parenting classes to learn better parenting techniques. We can volunteer at youth activities, become a Big Brother or Big Sister, hire a young person, seek youth opinions and participation.
We owe our schools our strong support. They are not hiding their heads in the sand. They are working hard to help our children grow to be productive citizens. They can’t do it alone. Collectively, we can make a difference.
Director, Hood River
County Commission on Children and Families