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Letters - January 15

Bless compromise

In reference to Michael Harrington, former chef, vs. The Hood River Valley Adult Center’s Board of Directors (Jan. 8), Harrington’s wife makes a point that we have “the right to openly worship.” Heidi Musgrave at the Adult Center makes a point that “it’s entirely untrue that people are censored in what they say” at the Center.

Another of life’s multitude of gray areas. Many arguments such as these naturally require compromise.

Just like running a good business or relationship or anything in life involving diverse interactions, there is nothing like compromise.

For example, Mr. Harrington could have written a generic blessing on the menu; such as, “Eternal Peace and Blessings to All.” Perhaps this would have satisfied him personally and satisfied all his admirers at the Center as well.

One overwhelming trait that makes the United States so extraordinary is that we are founded not only on Judeo-Christian values but on many cross-cultural values with freedoms for all. Yes, one of our many rights is to openly worship; but since the world is so richly diverse, it is our own personal responsibility to recognize appropriateness whenever exercising these beautiful freedoms.

Earning the right to exercise these freedoms is hard work. Having a right is one thing — how to go about expressing that right in a diverse world community is another thing entirely.

No doubt the Center will greatly miss Mr. Harrington and vice versa. I wish they could have compromised somehow.

Mary Jane Heppe

Hood River

Lost freedoms

A simple little “God Bless” has the H.R. Valley Adult Center executive director and board in such an uproar? Hard to believe we’ve come so far from our nation’s beginnings.

Heidi Musgrave apparently believes in evolution (tongue-in-cheek here) as she states: “Both holidays have evolved into cultural events.”

How sad — and how ironic that on page 2 of the same issue which wrote of this uproar, we read: “Well said: ‘A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know where it is today. Nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.’ Woodrow Wilson.”

Thanksgiving was (and is) a day set aside in order to give thanks — thus the name.

If the adult center does not wish this acknowledged, perhaps they should re-name the holiday to “An opportunity to dress up and share a meal” Day.

As for me, I will give thanks to God for his bounty, remember our past, and bemoan the loss of our religious freedoms.

I congratulate the Harringtons for taking a stand.

Marie Denney

Parkdale

Jobs are needed

I would like to express my support for the development of the Cooper Spur Resort and Ski Area. I believe that Hood River County would benefit from the expansion of the recreational facilities existing on the property and the Mt. Hood Meadows organization has the means and expertise to bring the plan to fruition.

As a resident of Hood River County, I feel there is a need for the jobs and additional tax revenue this project would create. I believe that there would be little negative impact to the surrounding area in providing these additional recreational opportunities. Hood River Valley and the Cooper Spur area in particular have a reputation for being a recreation destination and could benefit from a more diverse offering.

I have taken into account the opinions of the groups standing in opposition and find no basis in fact for their claims. I believe the local businesses would benefit from the additional tourist traffic.

Michael Hubert

Hood River

Not a great site

A destination resort at Cooper Spur is a bad idea for several reasons.

1. Hood River is presently the “destination” of choice. The atmosphere of a genuine town as opposed to an artificial town is much preferred. There is plenty of lodging, nice shops and good restaurants in Hood River. There are two golf courses in town.

2. Mt. Hood is much sought out by the recreational community because it is relatively unspoiled. The trends are away from “destination resorts” and there are a lot of them in existence already.

3. Let’s face it, the snow on Hood is not that great. The cost of putting in a world class golf course is astronomical. This thing could turn out to be a big flop and at the same time wreck the existing appeal of the mountain.

4. Real destination resorts have airports. Not that I want to see one built up on the mountain. I don’t.

Laurie L. Balmuth

Hood River

Healthy opportunity

I am inspired to write this letter by the recent comments in the paper regarding the expansion resort possibilities at Cooper Spur. Some comments inferred the Hood River area would be negatively influenced by “Portland outsiders” barging into this community simply to create economic havoc. On the contrary, the Hood River area is not a private serfdom getting overtaken by outsiders with some evil economic plan. As a permanent resident of Hood River for the last five years, I welcome solid and positive economic growth. The Cooper Spur expansion can only benefit the community for the following reasons:

The county economy will benefit from the increased revenue generated by the employment opportunities and influx of jobs.

As a homeowner, I believe the tax base in Hood River is small. A destination resort will help the overall tax base and improve services for the entire county.

The economic impact will positively affect the Hood River and Parkdale businesses.

I am an avid recreationalist who enjoys the immense Mt. Hood wilderness. A destination resort at Cooper Spur will only enhance my ability to share this beauty with friends. I don’t think the small area development at Cooper Spur negates any wilderness experience on Mt. Hood.

A destination resort expansion will only enhance the already established facilities at Cooper Spur. Tourism is a viable and clean economic opportunity for the county.

Mt. Hood Meadows has established itself as a company of high standards and quality operations. The corporation has the experience to bring a destination resort of first class quality to the area with best understanding of blending the wilderness experience and recreational opportunities. Hopefully, this community will see the benefits of a destination resort and dismiss the unreasonable allegations aimed at “Portland outsiders” and a healthy economic opportunity for the county.

Elizabeth Whelan

Hood River

Come together

I appreciate many Hood River County residents’ belief that a recreational resort (Cooper Spur Mountain Resort) appears to be the best and most reasonable solution to the county’s shrinking tax base and job shortage problem. However, I ask them to consider the true offerings such a resort might provide.

Mt. Hood Meadows may not have come forward with a solidified plan, but its vision and whisperings of development follow suit with many of the larger corporate ski conglomerates, which are redefining the mountain and skiing experience — developing real estate and services that win greater profits for the corporation.

Anyone who has been a part of the skiing culture could see that a resort development on the north side of Mount Hood has little to do with the skiing experience. In my opinion, a resort on this side of the mountain doesn’t make a lot of sense. As an Upper Valley resident, I don’t get it: golf courses seem to fare best where there is a greater amount of sun and fair weather. Ski resort condominiums and entertainment retail villages tend to be quainter with fresh snow on the ground and trees.

The areas in consideration for resort development have questionable snowfall year to year, and this area’s forests are beautifully dense and damp, hardly the airy and bright alpine forests associated with the “alpine resort experience.” It’s hard to picture a sunny, snowy year-round resort there. The only way to change these basic hindrances that I see is to cut down a lot of trees (more sun) and pray for below freezing temperatures for snowmaking (more snow, less water.) There. Problem solved.

Regardless of these seemingly large obstacles, there are other issues that make this development so divisive and challenging to this county and its residents. For a county that is struggling financially, a resort seems to be a shortcut solution. Hood River County has one of the lowest per capita incomes due to the already high number of part-time resort, recreation and retail jobs. Another resort will only encourage low wage job trends. Corporate ski resorts today have had to change their marketing strategies from skiing to real estate to increase their profits. The number of skier days (ski tickets purchased) nationwide has been stagnant for over a decade. Encouraging a ski resort development will only take skiers away from other ski areas, and could lead to an irreversible real estate venture that has few, if any, statistics that indicate its success.

Most importantly, this development and its profits are ultimately about the bottom line for this ski/real estate corporation-profits.

If we encourage development to occur in our wildest and most beautiful places in the county, we are corroding that which sets us apart from other regions of Oregon. Let us be leaders in a trend of growing communities that stand together to value the natural gems they hold and seek sustainable alternatives. I’m trying to think of scenarios that would preserve the beauty of the county, yet provide higher, livable wage jobs. It’s not easy, but let’s take the time to seek alternatives to a resort. Let’s come together on this!

Alyce Pearce

Parkdale

‘Wonderful concept’

We support the concept of expanding the destination resort and ski area at Cooper Spur Mountain Resort.

The area already has numerous vacation homes, a small destination resort, a ski area permit, a good road, and now a new owner who has the ability and desire to make it happen. This is a wonderful opportunity for Hood River and Oregon.

Hood River has been established as a recreation mecca, as well as an agricultural wonder. We believe the two industries can co-exist. Cooper Spur is far enough away from the farms to avoid direct problems. Actually, the development of home sites at Cooper Spur will take pressure off of converting the commercial farms into hobby farms in our opinion.

The area would benefit from the increased spending from visitors to the resort. Downtown Hood River would see more business mid-week due to the fact that destination resorts attract people to stay for more than just one day or one weekend.

Mt. Hood Meadows should be applauded for their initiative to bring such a wonderful concept to the community of Hood River. Many other rural Oregon counties would love to have a company like Mt. Hood Meadows come in and propose a destination resort.

Rick Brockway

Mellanie Lambert

Tualatin, Ore.

The following individuals also wrote letters expressing similar support for resort expansion: Dan and Jeannie Hummel of Elgin, Paul Post of Portland, Tere Maurer of Lake Oswego, Tom Templeton of Government Camp, Terry Jondahl of Government Camp, and Dr. Michael Gregg of Sunriver.

Help on Hanford

Tonight, Wednesday Jan. 15, a very important meeting is taking place at 6:30 p.m. at the Hood River Inn. It is a meeting of the directors of Hanford and Washington Department of Ecology with the local public. It is to exchange thoughts and desires and concerns with the very people who make the final decisions.

Hanford is the most contaminated site in the North America, and the single largest threat to the Columbia River.

Yet the deer and rabbits of Hanford reach are so contaminated that they should not be eaten. If you fish, drink, swim, or play in the river, it is your concern. For someday it may be a wasteland to be avoided, not cleanable.

Despite all previous agreements, radioactive plutonium wastes have, quietly and unannounced, started traveling up the I-5 and I-84 highways during Christmas preoccupations, transporting plutonium to store at Hanford. Are our emergency services or are we as citizens prepared to respond to the eventual vehicular accident? Of course not. Who broke all the agreements and started shipping radioactive waste from California and points east?

Hanford is so contaminated that the over 100 single walled tanks that contain unknown radioactive materials are time bombs. Some of them have heated up, warped, and are leaking. They were concerned about removing the material for fear of creating anknown nuclear reactions. Other radioactive waste material has been poured into cribs of decades. A crib is a ditch in which liquid radioactive waste is poured. And this has occured for decades. Magic! It disappears — into the ground and down to the water table. So now they are tracking the plume as it moves toward the river. Citizen watchdogs have asked for years that this horrible situation be remediated before it reaches the river. Nothing has been done about this. When it reaches the river, the fish, the plants, the water, and the ocean will be radioactive for tens of thousands of years. One former Department of Energy spokesman said, “Everytime my phone rings in the middle of the night, I think, ‘has Hanford blown?’”

Hood River’s Columbia River United, local native Americans, fishermen, and many other concerned citizens from both sides of the river have been attending meetings and testifying for decades. And the mid-Columbia region has been so involved with this problem that they hold meetings/hearings in Seattle, Portland, and Hood River!

But this meeting tonight is one of the most important. Clean-up has gradually started, and the directors, the ones who make the final decisions, are going to be here. The directors of ecology and the director of Hanford will be here to meet with anyone who cares.

The earth and the river and the air cannot speak for itself. It needs your help.

If you care please care enough to attend. Is there any other choice?

Judy Nelson

Hood River

Peace the answer

I find it interesting that Dorothy Mathison wants us to pray for the soldiers heading to a possible war in Iraq (Letters, Jan. 8).

I propose this: Why don’t Dorothy and company pray for peace.

Saddam Hussein didn’t invent those chemical weapons — he got them from us, the United States (CIA) government in the 1980s when we didn’t like Iran, because they took our hostages, remember? But during the Reagan and Daddy Bush years (Daddy Bush was the head of the CIA) we were giving Iraq and Saddam both money and weapons (including chemical weapons). Now this is all coming full circle to bite us in the wazoo, only Saddam hasn’t done anything to us — he’s not linked to Al-Qaeda or Afghanistan. It’s George W’s buddies in Saudi Arabia who were behind 9/11, remember?

There is a reason the rest of the world has a negative view of the U.S.A. lately. The Bush administration is acting like the school bully. Nobody likes a bully. You catch more bees with honey, Georgie.

Old and young, religious and non-religious have turned out in Portland for peace rallies. In October there were 6,000 people. In November there were 12,000. Peace and open dialogue with other countries around the world are the answer. We are a great country — but we are not the only great country in this world. It’s time to stop the senseless killing around the world, especially when a lot of it comes from the greed of the United States of America.

Saturday, Jan. 18, (Martin Luther King Day) is the next peace rally in Portland, at 1 p.m. at the south park blocks (9th and Salmon.) Carpool in with your friends and call 503-236-3065 for information. Being a bully is not the answer, peace is the answer.

Steve Curley

Hood River

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