By PERCY JENSEN
Special to the News
In reading the Hood River news the past few weeks, I notice the group calling itself “Citizens for Responsible Waterfront Development” has reared its head once again and are telling the City Council and the Port Commission how to develop our water front.
This time the CRWD are attempting to place the remainder of the Port property into a non-revenue producing park. Already the entire waterfront, stretching from the Hood River bridge to the western end of Port property, is over 50 percent in recreation use. Now they are saying 50 percent is not enough we want 100 percent.
While this group is advocating another park and proposing a ballot issue to do the same, I must ask of them, who is paying for the ongoing maintenance of a park that will be used for only a few months and maintained for a whole year? Also, the several thousand dollars required for a ballot issue, not to mention legal fees. Certainly not the proposing group! Are they being responsible as their name implies? In my opinion, and the opinion of many, the answer is no.
When the Port of Hood River was formed in 1933, its primary goal was to create jobs. This commission has never wavered from this goal but has changed from seeking manufacturing jobs to one of accommodating recreation interest such as boating, swimming beach, a world class windsurfing site, a park and other recreation opportunities.
These changes have been beneficial to our community through enhanced livability and community jobs have been created along the way because of these changes. While parks make a community more livable and are needed, they create only municipal-type jobs. Our waterfront development can create jobs and greatly enhance our economy and add to our tax base. Parks will not.
The CRWD would do more good by simply fading into the sunset and let “representative democracy,” in the form of our City and Port governments, do the jobs they are elected to. The CRWD is elected by no one. While our democracy has some inherent flaws, it is still the best form of government the world has ever known and our system is the envy of the entire world.
Let the system work! We certainly don’t need additional legal fees and strained feeling in a community that has had far too much of this in the past and far too few jobs created because of it.
Percy Jensen of Hood River served on the Port Commission from 1973 to 1993 and was a business owner for 30 years and county fair manager for 20.