Another voice: Beware the CAVE people

April 14, 2012

My fellow citizens, here we go again, another chance at an economic boost to our local area being squandered by yet another group of "CAVE people - Citizens Against Virtually Everything, as we call them - a lot of whom do not even live in our local area.

Since moving here in the 1960s I've seen many lost opportunities, starting with a tramway here in Cascade Locks, going to the top of Ruckle Butte and since then, a world-class destination ski resort at Cooper Spur, a Walmart super store, a Nestlé bottling plant, a wind mill farm, a Warm Springs Indian casino-resort and a water recreation cable park resort and many more that escape my memory, I'm sure.

Best of all, these projects would come from private money with no government stimulus.

I can't help but think how much better our place here in paradise would be if we would encourage, promote and welcome these types of economic developments. These missed opportunities in my opinion would have been clean and green (in more ways than one).

I remember 40 years or so ago when the Port of Cascade Locks tried to build a tramway to the top of Ruckle Butte; just imagine the jobs and the economic boost to our area, not to mention the millions of memories that would have been created if just this one project hadn't been scrapped due to the environmental groups.

Just what damage would this project have done, I ask? Gondolas and trams operate in some of the most pristine sensitive locations safely throughout the world; heck even Portland has one!

I have a vision of a county where our schools are fully funded, emergency services and fire departments do not face the budget ax annually, libraries that are open and fully staffed, our roads safe and maintained, plowed and graveled, children and senior services for those in need, parks that are clean/safe/well-maintained and kids that don't have to catch a bus at 6:30 a.m. to travel across our county to go to school every day. A place where people don't have to commute to work 50-100 miles a day to support their families.

But this vision I have is literally being blocked by these CAVE people. If agriculture and tourism are going to be the driving force of our local economic activity here, we all need to unite and get aboard this train before it leaves the station - again!

I can't help but believe the economic climate would be different if these mentioned businesses were here now and the thousands of jobs were enjoyed by all of us. Millions (or billions?) in economic activity and revenue tax dollars.

We need new businesses so our children and grandchildren will have the opportunity to stay, work, live and enjoy our piece of paradise for generations to come just as we have and not find themselves all living in caves somewhere.

Marvin Hansen Jr. lives in Cascade Locks.

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