An April 10 letter from Barbara Sexton of Gorge Reality contained several factual errors.
First, the Columbia River Gorge Commission did not edit the tapes of the meetings of Dec. 12, 1989, and Feb. 27, 1990, provided to Gorge Reality. To address their concerns about the tapes, we offered Gorge Reality an opportunity to review the original tapes to ensure that their copies were accurate. In addition, we also explained that there may have been some conversation lost when the tape recorder reached the end of a tape. Furthermore, we provided Gorge Reality with printed copies of the minutes of those meetings that covered material missed when the tapes were changed or flipped over.
Secondly, the Commission did not dismiss any letters received from Gorge Reality that called for an independent party to review the Management Plan for the National Scenic Area. We received these letters before Plan Review began and used them in compiling Monitoring Reports. The original letters are on file at the Gorge Commission office.
Gorge Reality was also wrong in stating that the Commission received 124 comments about mining instead of "over 200" as mentioned in a Commission press release. As shown in a spreadsheet distributed at a Commission meeting on March 26, the Commission actually received 226 response forms, letters, postcards and e-mails with nearly identical language urging it to ban new mines in the Scenic Area. All these "form" responses were grouped together as one comment on the spreadsheet. The public is welcome to examine the original documents on this or any other Plan Review issue at the Commission office during regular business hours.
As a side note, Columbia River Gorge Commission decided on March 26 that new mines should continue to be allowed, subject to the guidelines that protect scenic, cultural, natural and recreation resources.
Public Outreach Coordinator, Columbia River Gorge Commission