Final county meeting on Barrett Park set for Dec. 2

31.4-acre Barrett Park, if completed, would include open playfields, space for radio-controlled flyer areas, a mountain bike skill development area, picnic shelters and trailheads for the Indian Creek trail.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
31.4-acre Barrett Park, if completed, would include open playfields, space for radio-controlled flyer areas, a mountain bike skill development area, picnic shelters and trailheads for the Indian Creek trail.

The Hood River County Board of Commissioners has set Monday, Dec. 2 as the date it will hold a public meeting to make a final decision on Barrett Park.

Commissioners made the decision at the end of their regular meeting on Monday with the provision that this is not a de novo hearing and no new testimony will be received either for or against the park. The public will not be allowed to testify at all, in fact, and lawyers will not be able to make arguments for either side.


Monday, Dec. 2, 6 p.m. at the County Business Administration Building, 601 State St.

The decision will solely be made on the record provided from the last public hearing held on Barrett Park — a Land Use Board of Appeals, or LUBA remand hearing that occurred Oct. 9 — as well as findings of fact submitted by each party’s legal counsel.

The Dec. 2 hearing represents the last of what have been many hearings that have been held over the years to address the status of the controversial park located near the intersection of Alameda Road and Barrett Drive on the west side of Hood River. After the Hood River County Planning Commission originally approved the conditional use permit in April 2012 to develop the park, the decision was appealed to the county commissioners by local orchardist Fritz von Lubken who argued that the high-value farmland on which the park was situated should be used for agriculture, not recreation.

The county commission ruled in favor of von Lubken and that decision was appealed to LUBA by the applicant, Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District. In May 2013, LUBA determined the county erred in its judgment and remanded the decision back to the county with instructions to only assess whether or not the implementation of the park would significantly impact or raise the cost of farm or forest practices on surrounding lands.

The planning commission held a well-attended public hearing on the matter Oct. 9, which resulted in a 3-2 vote that the park would not significantly impact farm practices on surrounding lands. However, since two commissioners recused themselves from the seven-member commission due to conflicts of interest, and since at least four votes are required for a majority on the planning commission, no decision on the park could be made.

In a later interview, Hood River County Administrator Dave Meriwether said a situation like the one that occurred during the most recent planning commission meeting on Barrett Park will not occur at the county commission, as only three votes are needed for a majority and any commissioners who might recuse themselves from the meeting due to conflicts of interest can be called back to vote. State law requires the county to render a decision by Dec. 16.

Though this will likely be the last meeting regarding Barrett Park, Meriwether confirmed that the case could once again be appealed to LUBA if procedural missteps were made. He explained that LUBA could decide to affirm, reverse or remand the issue, although he added that “rarely does LUBA substitute the judgment of local agencies.”

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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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