Group files appeal against city on Walmart decision

January 25, 2012

According to Cindy Walbridge, city planner for Hood River, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals has received a notice of intent to appeal filed by the nonprofit citizen's group Hood River Citizens for a Local Economy and Becky Brun.

The notice of intent to appeal is the first step Brun and HRCLE are taking to bring legal opposition to the recent city council decision which approved a 30,000-square-foot expansion to the Walmart store on Cascade Avenue.

At its Dec. 27 meeting, the city council ruled 5 to 2 to overrule a Nov. 22 city planning council decision that had originally denied the expansion.

Attorney Kenneth D. Helm filed the notice with LUBA on behalf of the petitioners against the City of Hood River - the governing body that made the final local decision on Walmart's application. Brun is the director of GO! Gorge Owned Business Network.

In its LUBA appeal HRCLE is challenging the legal sufficiency of the local government's decision based on the evidence that was before the local government. The city serves as the "respondent" for the appeal. LUBA's decision can then either support, modify or nullify the city's previous final order.

According to a link on the GO! website, "HRCLE is a nonprofit corporation incorporated in the State of Oregon that is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of a prosperous, localized economy in Hood River that protects the health, safety and welfare of the people who call Hood River home."

LUBA is the only forum that can hear appeals of local land use decisions made by local governments. The circuit courts no longer can hear such appeals.

According to the LUBA website, LUBA functions like an appellate court. It is not a political body. LUBA's procedures are more formal and its role is more technical than the role of local government decision-makers. LUBA is staffed by three governor- appointed attorneys who are experts in land use planning law.

The only evidence that LUBA can consider in its review is the evidence already in the record of the decision - which includes both the city council deliberations and those of the previous city planning council.

Once LUBA issues its ruling, any party including HRCLE, the city or Walmart, can forward the LUBA ruling to the Oregon Court of Appeals for final appeal.

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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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