Editorial: LUBA ruling leads to a new opportunity

Barrett Park amenities have been limited to a trail installation. With the recent LUBA ruling, expanded development may be a possibility again.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
Barrett Park amenities have been limited to a trail installation. With the recent LUBA ruling, expanded development may be a possibility again.

The steps and bridges that help make up Indian Creek trail are a reasonable allegory to consider with this week’s news that LUBA has sent back to Hood River County the matter of Barrett Park’s future.

The LUBA legal decision, rather than a divisive moment, provides an opportunity to come together over Barrett Park. No one at the county level, or in the community, is averse to parks in general. The concern in this case is over what is appropriate for a park in this particular place. Barrett Park is a beautiful spot, and it already exists as a park. Signs direct pedestrians on a path linking Country Club to Alameda. It’s a simple restricted use at this point, but worth visiting just for that use.

It seems reasonable that, as LUBA puts it, the county’s evaluations of the Barrett Park proposal should not have been conducted on the impacts of farm practices on the subject property itself, given that the park will have no remaining farm use on the property.

On the other hand, the county and citizen opponents felt they had legitimate cause for contesting it. With the force of the LUBA decision in place, there is no reason that all parties can’t come to a conclusion that can benefit the community as a whole.

What are already in place are bridges on the Indian Creek trail and hand-made steps linking Barrett Park to that trail. The work by the Parks and Recreation District, and its volunteers, should be honored. The District and the County Board should work together now to help Barrett Park become an even greater public amenity.

As it stands now, even with minimal development, Barrett is a link between the urban and rural areas that generally coalesce well in the Hood River area; with Barrett, it is now possible to walk, with little exposure to vehicle traffic, from built-up areas of Hood River to the pear orchards on the southwest outskirts of town. One day soon, that path will stretch unimpeded all the way to downtown Hood River, as described in the May 15 Kaleidoscope feature.

The trail connects town and country, and the county and parks district now have a new opportunity to assess how to embellish that linkage. It may take time, but it’s a new opportunity for compromise, especially when you go out and see what is there now, for an appreciation of its potential as a place to meet rural and urban needs.

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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

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