Saturday, August 24, 2013
The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs voted during a recent Tribal Council meeting to officially end its pursuit of the Bridge of the Gods Resort and Casino in Cascade Locks. For all intents and purposes, the casino was a dead deal in 2010, when Gov. John Kitzhaber took office for a third term.
The proposed 600,000-square-foot facility on 60 acres of Port of Cascade Locks land was a lightning rod of controversy during its decade of life — which never matured from its planning stage to its implementation stage. The casino would have been located on a subtly beautiful tract of land between Interstate 84 and the Columbia River, near the Forest Lane exit.
A couple of years ago the casino’s environmental impact assessment was approved by the federal government and sent to the Department of the Interior for review. That’s where it sat for a year. Then, in January 2012, the Cascade Locks Port Commission allowed the deadline to expire for an option agreement on port land the tribes had wanted to purchase for the casino and resort. In the meantime, the tribal council built Indian Head Casino on Highway 26 in Warm Springs.
Recently, tribal council members voted to withdraw the state and federal applications they had submitted to build the Cascade Locks casino — apparently due in part to mounting expenses associated with the proposal. The Spilyay Tymoo newspaper reported those expenses to be almost $30 million over the project’s lifespan.
Proponents argued the casino would be good for business, bringing jobs and tourists to the Gorge. Opponents countered that the gaming facility had no business being built in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. From the start of his latest term in office, as well as years prior, Gov. Kitzhaber said he would refuse to sign any order that would allow the casino’s construction.
Though the casino dream is over, Port of Cascade Locks Interim Port Manager Paul Koch noted the port is still looking for parties interested in developing the parcel of land and is still willing to work with the Warm Springs tribes.
“The door is open to anybody who would want to purchase the land — especially Warm Springs, given the relationship the port has with them — but it really doesn’t make sense to pursue a casino at this point,” he said.
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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