Public Service: Elected office and planning commission offer opportunities

The long days of early summer might be a time to sit on the deck and ponder such things as the sunset, the price of gasoline, your vacation plans, or the MLB All-Star roster.

Or how about public service?

The time for such a ponderance is now.

Aug. 25 is the deadline to file for positions on elected bodies including city councils of Hood River and Cascade Locks, at both city halls.

Sooner still, July 20, is the date to apply to serve on Hood River Planning Commission – details on page A1.

Think it over: if you have thought of volunteering for local government, but are not sure about running for elected office, this is an excellent opportunity. It can be a challenge: there are complicated questions and, not infrequently, controversy develops such as the sticky question about the Naito development proposal (also on page A1).

But as elements of public service go, planning commission is a highly important one, just right for someone with a concern for the community, a medium-to-high capacity for attention to detail and patience with process, and, yes, a fairly thick skin. And, planning commission can be a proving ground for those who might choose to move onto elected office after getting some experience in that process.

Questions of density, zoning changes for commercial and residential development, and affordable housing are just a few of the major issues facing the Planning Commission as well as the city staff and City Council.

The All-Stars will have their game, gasoline prices will keep oscillating, and when you get back from vacation, you can think about throwing your hat into the ring, be it elective or appointed.

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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge

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