Letters to the Editor for April 2

Change is inevitable

In response to Kevin Herman’s March 19 letter “Locals have seen change”:

I appreciate your thoughts but believe you missed the point. If we take an honest look back through history, the only group of people that could be considered as true locals are descendants of Native Americans who inhabited the land in the Gorge long before Europeans even knew this area existed. From accounts of the earliest European explorers there were thousands of Native Americans living in this area before European “outsiders” decided to “move in.”

Kevin, you state that outsiders “have only sought to change our economy and way of life to one of tourism and the like. They never really accepted us and our culture, only forced us to accept them and theirs.”

It’s pretty clear that the first wave of European outsiders to move into this area didn’t accept Native Americans or their culture either. In addition, they forced a whole new culture on a group of people who were perfectly content with the way of life they had.

The point is, change in this area began with the very first wave of “outsiders.” Each successive wave of people after that has brought more change and future generations will continue to bring change.

I’m not saying the changes are good or bad or right or wrong. What I am saying is that we are all connected in a variety of ways and I believe it’s important for all of us to consider how our actions impact others. As long as we continue to label, judge, blame and divide ourselves we can never hope to form a truly vibrant and strong community that everyone feels they can call home.

With that ideal in mind, I invite you to join me for a beer at Everybody’s. (They still let me in even though I might be considered an outsider.)

Mike Gundlach

White Salmon, Wash.

Not fair

I am concerned that our “government entities” are getting out of control. This year I received a bill in the mail from Farmers Irrigation District for $209.30. I own a 0.17 acre lot on the west side of Hood River. My water right assessment is $9.30 a year, but my account fee is $200 per year. I have a friend that has irrigation rights for over an acre and he pays about $10 more.

I am now paying more for five months of undrinkable water than I am paying for good clean water from Ice Fountain. Hmmmmm?

I spoke with the irrigation district about the issue. Their opinion is that they are only water rights. They don’t care if you get water, sit on the end of a severely insufficient private line, or even pay more for rights to their dirty water, that I may or may not get, than my regular drinking water. Their statement is, “The farmers have been subsidizing all the small lots. Odd.

However you slice it, the statement is crazy. Our development now pays over 10 times more for water than the regular farmer assessment for the same acreage and we have to continue to maintain the water lines. Why?

The $200 account maintenance fee per lot for $10 of water rights. Really. It costs $200 to maintain my account. No, not really. It is just another way to sock it to a group of people who are not represented by the district. The only ones who benefit from the account assessment are the large acreage owners.

Really, who is subsidizing who? They should be ashamed of themselves.

Herb Freeland

Hood River

Why wait?

Concerning the possible one-year delay of allowing a medical marijuana dispensary to open in Hood River, I feel that to not allow people access to their legal medicine is just wrong. All you would be doing is continuing to stimulate the black market, and all people have to do is drive to Washington state (after June or July) where ANYBODY over 21 years old can purchase marijuana. Why would you shoot yourself in the foot and miss out on those tax dollars?

In the next five to 10 years I predict marijuana will be legal in most of the 50 states. Next on the list is a free bridge between Oregon and Washington, just like Astoria.

Stephen J. Curley

Hood River

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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


Farquar1000 says...

I agree with Herb Freeland’s April 2nd letter. During last year’s FID board meetings which were attended by interested, residential representatives, we learned we had been “subsidized” for years. No logical explanation was given of the subsidy. If the residential users were a financial burden to the system, why were we originally allowed into
FID in an “unfair” basis? The “F” in FID is for “Farmers” and it is primarily for the benefit of our agricultural friends and neighbors. I believe the intent of the regulation FID used is to be applied per acre of use. Despite the size of one’s lot, the current implementation subjects each covered homeowner to an account fee for one acre. The end result, as reflected by Mr. Freeland, is an account fee equivalent to 2,150% of the water fee.

ORS 545.381(1) states "each acre of irrigable land in the district shall be assessed and required to pay the same amount". ORS 545.381(3) states "For operation, maintenance, and drainage, each irrigable acre in the district shall be assessed the same..." All charges are required to be based on lot size - there is no provision in this ORS for Farmers Irrigation to charge a fee that is not based on lot size.

I call upon the appropriate city, county or state regulatory entity to confirm the propriety and conformity to regulation, of this increase.

As a residential user, the water I received from FID was an exceptional value. I am not averse to my water fee being raised from $9.30 /yr to 2-5 times this amount, in consideration of the agricultural users. I believe my account fee should be apportioned to the percentage of one acre my lot occupies as per county records. I have already remitted my payment for this year’s levy. I am hopeful that I and all similarly impacted residents will receive a rebate for this account fee overcharge. If not, I am sure FID will guarantee me adequate water pressure for my needs consistent with all other users throughout the season.

Posted 7 April 2014, 4:54 p.m. Suggest removal

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