Letters - August 23

Muchas gracias

I would like to commend the Hood River Fire Department, Odell Fire Department, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital and County 9-1-1 Dispatch Office for their willingness to meet and answer questions with the Adult English as a Second Language Class from Migrant Summer School.

The Adult English Language Class pinpointed these agencies as places they would like to visit and learn more about as well as practice new vocabulary in English. They readily recognized their need to better communicate in emergency situations and had many questions.

All of these agencies went out of their way to provide information, tours, pamphlets and answer questions of the class participants. Most importantly, they made face-to-face contact with members of a community they regularly serve, but may typically see only in difficult or stressful situations.

The class greatly appreciated the information they received and especially the respect they were shown. It was wonderful seeing these diverse groups working together in such a positive way. Thank you to all who met with us!

Kim Yasui, Adult ESL Instructor

Hood River County School District

Hood River

Check the figures

On Wednesday, Aug. 6, the city council of Hillsboro, followed the lead of its planning commission by unanimously rejecting Wal-Mart’s proposal for a large store. The council’s reasons were many (9), but they focused on the impact of traffic on the roadways around the proposed site, and they seriously questioned Wal-Mart’s numbers.

In my testimony before our planning commission on July 24, 2003, I spoke of how many communities (large and small) around our state have fought or are preparing to fight the intrusion of giant Wal-Marts into their livability and infrastructure. Among them are Salem, Central Point, La Grande and Lebanon.

Traffic numbers are significant in terms of a small town’s livability. For a “Super-sized Wal-Mart” the corporation projects about 9,000 new vehicle trips per day using the standard traffic engineers’ manual. In Hillsboro they estimated 9,000 trips for a store 40,000 square feet smaller than the one they are proposing here. In reality those numbers should be over 12,000 car trips a day. This does not include the number of Wal-Mart and other delivery truck trips per day.

Here in Hood River we too have taken a serious look at their numbers and find that Wal-Mart grossly underestimates the impact of thousands of cars and large delivery trucks coming and going on our city streets, not to mention the streets around the west side which will then be crowded with cars trying to avoid the traffic near Wal-Mart — Belmont, May Street, Country Club, Post Canyon and Frankton.

These are extremely important issues for our planning commission to consider. I hope they give them the analysis they deserve.

Maureen Regalbuto

Hood River

No to Wal-Mart

Give us a break — there is a Wal-Mart in Hood River! The largest corporation in the world, having passed ExxonMobil for the top slot, hauls off only $220 billion a year from the people. And they want a bigger store than the present one here in our small town?

The average employee makes only $15,000 a year for full-time work. Most are denied even this poverty income, for they’re held to part-time work. While the company brags that 70 percent of its workers are full-time, at Wal-Mart “full time” is 28 hours a week, meaning they gross about $11,000 a year. You get health-care benefits only if you’ve been there two years; then the plan hits you with such large premiums that few can afford it — only 38 percent of Wal-Marters are covered.

They moved their purchasing headquarters to China in 2001 and today is the largest importer of Chinese-made products in the world, buying $10 billion worth of merchandise from several thousand Chinese factories. Workers in China’s Guandong Province work 13 to 16 hour days molding, assembling, and spray-painting toys 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, with 20-hour shifts in peak season. And although China’s minimum wage is 31 cents an hour these production workers are paid 13 cents an hour!

Do we really want the world’s largest corporation that has the above reputation to build an even bigger store in our beautiful town? An interesting word comes to mind: Compatibility (Item 8 on the list of requirements that Wal-Mart must satisfy to build the Big Store.) The definition of compatible is: harmonious, congenial and consistent. And the definition of harmonious is: pleasing to the ear or eye. (An 186,000 square foot building plus big parking lot is pleasing to the eye? Right!) And the definition of congenial is: kindred, like, sympathetic. (I’m sure Wal-Mart is all of those.) And the definition of consistent is: fixed, uniform. Gee, a definition that actually sort of fits most all Wal-Mart’s stores.

Who is kidding whom? We already have a WAL-MART. That says it all!

Tom Day

Hood River

Cardinal questions

Concerning the Cardinal Insulating Glass plant:

I am very happy to see that the Cardinal plant is on schedule. I think that the addition of 60 jobs to the community is very good. I do wonder how many of these jobs utilize local people.

Has there been a report concerning how many of these workers are going to be local? Are these workers going to be paid a “living wage”?

I was shocked to learn that they were going to utilize a building of about 185,000 square feet. I thought that both the city and county had passed legislation that prohibited buildings of this size. Obviously I was wrong.

Now that this size has been approved for a business bringing in 60 new jobs, how is it possible to prohibit a similar size business that would employ around 200 people? In case this is not clear, I am referring to the “Super Wal-Mart.” I think that it is very “self serving” for certain people to be against Wal-Mart, primarily because of size, but not give a second thought to the Cardinal construction.

I read that considerable tax breaks have been given Cardinal Glass for locating in this area. Is the county and state considering these same breaks for Wal-Mart? I realize that the jobs involved with Cardinal Glass should not cost jobs in other sectors, but I do not know if Wal-Mart jobs would either.

How many people will the Cardinal glass business pull into Hood River? I doubt that they would have the same effect as a “Super Wal-Mart.” Is this good or bad? Will these people spend more money in Hood River? Do we want progress or do we want to keep a “Status Quo?” I think that the answers to this depend on whether or not you perceive that this would affect your livelihood.

Personally, I welcome competition.

Leonard Hickman

Hood River

Big thank you

We don’t go down south very often — south of the Canadian/U.S. border that is. This is a big year for us, my partner Dave and I have planned all year to travel down south on our Honda Valkryie motorcycle. We made our way down the Washington, Oregon and Northern California coasts — Wow, what a beautiful coast line you have here! We had a great time, enjoying the sites!

We then made an easterly trek over to Reno for the night and sadly just after we checked into the hotel my wallet was stolen. I was devastated and early the next day we hightailed it northward. Putting the incident behind us we were determined to enjoy the rest of the trip through the Oregon and Washington interior, both with great scenery to enjoy. Lo-and-behold, we were again struck with a bit of bad luck with a large hole in the tire. Off to the side of the road with no services in site we hoped to patch and limp to help.

With patch quickly in place, a man on a Honda GoldWing toting his fishing rod stopped to help, thank goodness. Mr. James Glenn of Hood River guided us into Odell for quick repairs, helped us find a replacement tire in The Dalles and came with us to ensure we got to the motorcycle dealers (Fun Country, Inc.). During that trek the plug blew and James went all the way back to Odell to get a new plug and carried a bottle of air to fill the tire and followed us all the way to The Dalles in case we had more troubles. Luckily Fun Country had a replacement tire and we were back on the road within a couple of hours. James Glenn restored my faith in people that day. A big thank you from Kelly and Dave from Victoria, British Columbia, James.

Kelly Knister

Victoria, B.C.

Damage done

I feel compelled to write because something disturbing and disappointing happened to us on Saturday, Aug. 16, some time between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. My car, a small white Geo Metro, was parked at the bottom of 3rd Street at the corner of Wasco, facing uphill, in a well-marked parking spot.

While we attended the wonderful party for the Columbia Gorge Center for the Arts, somebody, obviously driving too fast and out of control going up on 3rd Street, clipped the left rear corner of my car, destroying the left turn signal, the bumper and part of the body. The vehicle must have been aqua green in color, but this is all we know. No note or ID was left.

If anybody saw anything happen, or if the driver, whoever they are, is honest enough, I urge you to please contact us at 386-1373. The damage on my car is minimal compared to the frustration caused by someone who is not responsible enough to face the consequences of their action. Thank you.

Mady Blackburn

Hood River

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