Big issues on ‘small’ ballot

The Nov. 4 General Election ballot may be small but the two proposed land-use issues are stirring up a large controversy.

Pro and con citizen activists have launched a campaign to influence the decision of 10,500 registered voters on a measure regarding development in a forest zone. These groups are also seeking to sway about 2,900 voters within the city limits about the proposal to preserve a large sector of the waterfront for a public park.

“This is definitely not a typical ballot,” said County Elections Supervisor Lee Shissler.

On Friday, the mail ballots were posted but Shissler said it will be difficult to predict the return rate this year. He said off-year elections with no major candidate races do not usually attract as many voters. However, he believes that a growing community debate over the two local issues could prompt more residents to action.

“I suppose it depends upon how the campaigns are going, if the voters get really excited about these issues within the next week or so it will definitely boost the turnout,” he said.

The county-wide measure has been proposed by the Let the People Decide political action committee. The draft ordinance seeks to give voters the right to affirm or deny any county approval of 25 or more homes or overnight lodging units on property zoned for a forest use. LPD contends the measure was “inspired” by Mt. Hood Meadows’ plan to build a major housing development on land that provides water to the Crystal Springs Water District. However, the group reiterates that the measure was put forth simply to protect natural resources and not to target any one company.

About 2,900 city residents are being asked by the Citizens for Responsible Waterfront Development to decide whether the city should set aside most of the waterfront for recreational use. The proposed area would include all Port of Hood River property along the Columbia River from, and including, the riverside jetty known as the Hook to the site referred to as the Boat Basin and from the water’s edge of the Columbia River to the centerline of Portway Avenue. The CRWD contends the park will attract more tourists and businesses into Hood River and increase the quality of life for all county residents. The group said the issue was brought only before city voters because the municipality has the jurisdiction to enact zoning for the waterfront.

Both CRWD and LPD are being challenged by the Results Through Representative Government, a group which believes that neither initiative is legally enforceable. According to RTRG, both measures seek to circumvent statutory zoning rules and taxpayers will bear the cost for expensive legal challenges.

In addition, the RTRG objects to the waterfront issue being decided only by city residents when the port district is supported by taxpayers within a much larger area who could foot the bill for a park.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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