Thursday, November 3, 2005
September 24, 2005
Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski is advocating for Congressional approval of a historic agreement to protect the north face of Mount Hood from development.
He has praised the Hood River Valley Residents Committee (HRVRC) and Mt. Hood Meadows for reaching a compromise after 14 months of mediation. In August, both parties reached a settlement that could resolve decades of conflict over land use on the mountain.
“I am gratified to learn that your efforts have resolved longstanding conflicts over land trades, proposed developments and natural area protection on this special mountain. All parties to the agreement are to be commended for their efforts and the fine solutions achieved,” wrote Kulongoski in a recent letter to the former opponents.
Under the proposed plan, Meadows has agreed to not pursue further development on its Cooper Spur holdings in the southern section of Hood River County. However, the existing ski area and resort will stay open – but be managed by the U.S. Forest Service – and no expansions will be allowed.
In exchange for that concession by Meadows, the HRVRC will not contest the company’s proposal for 480 housing units on property near Government Camp in Clackamas County that is already zoned for that purpose. If an independent appraisal of the 140 acres in the neighboring county, currently held in federal ownership, does not meet the same value as Cooper Spur, then Meadows will require some form of compensation. Dave Riley, Meadows general manager, said the forest service could adjust the boundaries to equalize the value differential, or conservation groups could help offset the monetary loss.
“I am very pleased that our governor has seen the wisdom of protecting the historic backcountry on the north side in and around the Cloud Cap Tilly Jane recreation and the Cooper Spur areas as wilderness. We are very excited to be in a position to permanently protect a vast swath of the Crystal Springs drinking watershed,” said Mike McCarthy, a local pear farmer and HRVRC member who participated in the mediation process.
“Since we announced the settlement agreement we’ve heard a great deal of support from all corners. Having Gov. Kulongoski’s assistance and support validates that we are doing the right thing,” said Riley.
However, in spite of local optimism, the deal is far from done. The plan cannot succeed without help from Oregon’s congressional delegation. Not only is Meadows seeking a land exchange with the forest service, all parties want additional acreage given a Wilderness designation. They have asked U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, who makes his home in Hood River, and his peers to place 1,000 acres in the Tilly Jane and Cloud Cap areas under greater protection as well as the undeveloped Cooper Spur lands. Congress would also have to sign off on the land exchange that would grant Meadows the desired Clackamas County property.
The complex agreement between Meadows and HRVRC was reached after about 20 negotiating sessions had been held, both in person and via conference calls. The Portland-based mediation firm of Resolve, Inc., helped the conservation group and the corporation work out an acceptable compromise. HRVRC wanted to protect the watersheds and forest lands of Mount Hood and Meadows to meet a rural housing and recreation demand.
After reaching consensus, the two sides personally met with the governor’s office to explain the proposal. Oregon’s lead official has now offered his full support for federal legislation that can turn the plan into a reality.
“I am confident that the model of problem-solving and dispute resolution created by the agreement will inspire the early support of Congress,” wrote Kulongoski.
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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge