Monday, January 16, 2006
December 28, 2005
Citizens on both sides of the Columbia River are mobilizing to stop a tribal gaming casino from being built anywhere in the Gorge.
John Randall, co-founder of Cascade Locks No Casino, said the group is broadening its support base. He has joined with Skamania County, Wash., resident Paul Smith to start a Mid-Columbia opposition movement.
“‘No Gorge Casino!’ formed out of necessity and common interest,” said Randall. “We who live in the Columbia Gorge are facing the biggest threat in decades to our families, our communities and the environment.
“We have joined hands with our friends across the river to make sure that the Columbia Gorge, our home and also a national scenic treasure, is not turned into a mecca for casino gambling. We support economic self-sufficiency for the tribe and believe that can be achieved without putting a casino in the Gorge,” he continued.
Smith said the 500,000 square foot casino/resort proposed by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs for Cascade Locks would bring both traffic congestion and air pollution. He said the projected three million visitors a year would also harm existing small businesses, introduce more social problems, increase the crime rate and generate urban sprawl.
“If a mega-casino is built in Cascade Locks, Washington residents get all of the costs with little of the benefits,” said Smith. No Gorge Casino! has drafted a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton requesting a consultation. The Warm Springs proposal to site a casino in Cascade Locks’ industrial park is currently under federal review. That project has been approved by Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and virtually all government leaders in Hood River County.
However, Smith and Randall believe that many Gorge residents and elected officials are not fully informed on the issues. So, they are spearheading a public campaign to educate as many citizens as possible about the environmental and social costs associated with a gambling facility.
For example, “No Gorge Casino!” contends that many officials have bought into the “misconception” that the tribe has the right to construct a casino near Hood River.
The Warm Springs own 40 acres of trust property, which has sovereign status and is exempt from regulation, just east of Hood River. Tribal leaders have stated the intent to build a casino on that site if the Cascade Locks plan is turned down.
Randall and Smith believe the tribal property east of Hood River sits on extremely steep terrain and lacks any road access. They also contend that land-use restrictions under the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act would bar the tribe from placing a casino in that location.
Proponents of the Cascade Locks project believe these arguments are flawed and cannot stop a casino from being placed in Hood River. Cascade Locks City Manager Robert Willoughby said anyone with questions can access:
No Gorge Casino! will soon have a new Web site and office to distribute information.
Meanwhile, Randall can be reached at (541) 400-9657 and Smith at (360) 837-2105.
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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