Gov. Ted Kulongoski is in town today. His visit fulfills the wish of numerous local officials, and this newspaper, that the newly-elected Oregon chief executive visit Hood River within his first month of office.
The governor is doing just that, and it should be the start of a positive conversation about Hood River County’s long-term economic development needs. See page A1 for an article about local officials’ new plan to change state land use regulations so that unused industrial property can be converted so that other enterprises can invest and create jobs. This effort should be encouraged, and it is perfect timing that the governor will be in town to hear about it while he looks at the lay of the land.
We welcome Gov. Kulongoski, and wish him a dry walk up Oak Street as he meets and greets local merchants and citizens.
Economic development will be the focus of the governor’s visit, and that is as it should be. The governor cleared his schedule to make the trip, and he will be short on time.
Notable, too, is that the governor has chosen to visit this high unemployment county on the day after Tuesday’s fateful Special Election (see www.hoodrivernews.com for results) on Measure 28, the income tax surcharge proposal.
Though jobs and the economy are the main focus, there are certain other questions the governor should expect to be asked in his time in Hood River.
Such as, “What do you plan to do about a casino in the Columbia River Gorge?” The question is bound to come up, if not about which site he favors — Hood River or Cascade Locks — at least how he intends to proceed.
No matter what your point of view on the casino issue, the fact remains that it is an economic development issue, and we encourage the governor to find whatever facts he can in his first official visit to this county.
Another question is “How’s your bowling game?” It’s not simply sports small-talk. The governor ran for office with a fun-loving bowler image; why not encourage him to keep in touch with that sensibility?
With all of the tough and painful choices in the offing (as in the possible results of Tuesday’s election) it’s important for the governor to remind us all to have a little fun sometimes.