City Council told to stand back

The Hood River City Council was advised on Monday not to take an official stand on three controversial land-use issues.

“Don’t do a pre-emptive strike on something that hasn’t happened yet,” said City Manager Lynn Guenther.

“I believe it would be best for the City of Hood River to let the processes work and then we will be able to proactively commit to a position.”

His words of caution centered on the following three concerns:

The pending vote for Measure 14-16, which seeks to preserve a large section of the waterfront as a public park.

An application for a Wal-Mart super center that is currently being reviewed by the County Planning Commission.

Deliberations underway by the City Planning Commission over the Columbia River Waterfront Mixed-Use Zone.

Although Guenther said the elected body should refrain from taking a collective view on the issues, he attempted to place no holds on the opinions of individual members.

And members of City Council didn’t hesitate to share their worries about the potential legal challenges that could occur with passage of the measure sponsored by the Citizens for Responsible Waterfront Development.

“When I talk to people they have no idea of the nuances of that initiative, I think it’s really destructive to the order of decision,” said Council Member Charles Haynie.

He said if the measure is approved at next Tuesday’s general election it will likely cost the city extra money for legal defense. He said the Port of Hood River could be expected to file a lawsuit for a “regulatory takings” when its industrial property was downzoned. However, he said if the city did not enact the new policy, it would likely be sued by CRWD for its inaction.

“I think there is a genuine misunderstanding of the situation,” said Council Member Scott Reynier.

Mayor Paul Cummings pointed out that the city had essentially taken a stand by rejecting the initiative when it was first presented by CRWD this summer, an action which had then sent it to the voters.

“Normally I try to be very proactive but this is one of those situations where I don’t think being proactive ahead of the vote is a good idea,” Cummings said.

Council Member Linda Rouches believed that the council needed to actively work to educate citizens within the next week about the complexity of issues related to waterfront development.

Guenther gave the nod for the elected officials to print their individual views in the newspaper or by e-mail distribution.

The city decided not to address the disputed planning commission review of the waterfront zoning ordinance.

The officials agreed that the appointed body should finish drafting its recommendation for consideration at a later date.

At the Oct. 27 meeting, Planning Commission Chair Jurgen Hess briefly outlined his objection to recent news coverage of the group’s deliberations.

He expressed worry that the article had focused on the discussion over a large park, incorrectly creating the perception that the issue had already been decided.

Hess pointed out that a vote to set aside Lots 6 and 7 as open space, the proposal most similar to the CRWD initiative, had failed by a 5-1 vote.

“I think we owe it to you to look at all sides, we owe it to the public,” said Hess. “As long as I’m the chair I pledge that we will give you the best recommendation that we can.”

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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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