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Letters - Nov. 1

Councilors: no

The Hood River City Council awaits the Planning Commission’s report and the completion of public testimony on the Waterfront Overlay Zone Ordinance. The Ordinance will be the culmination of years of public testimony, negotiation and deliberation. The City Council strongly desires to enact a proper balance in the Ordinance.

Costs for the successful mixed use development of the waterfront include:

1. Modification of sewage treatment system to prevent odor.

2. Creation of an interface transitional area between mixed use development and existing industrial uses.

3. Infrastructure development.

4. Acquisition of land dedicated to open space, set backs and public access.

5. Ongoing maintenance of lands and facilities placed into public ownership.

Important recreational, open space, aesthetic, and economic assets reside within the Waterfront Overlay Zone. We are committed to a solution which ensures:

1. Convenient public access to the water’s edge that encircles the waterfront.

2. Architecturally and environmentally sensitive set-backs of new development.

3. Consideration of wind shadow effects to preserve wind sports at the event site.

4. A cooperative (Port/City) mechanism for development oversight.

5. Responsible, aesthetic and economically affordable development of mixed uses in the Waterfront Zone.

6. A proper measure of park and open space.

7. Avoidance of undue tax burdens and financial or legal risks to city residents.

The public should not miss another opportunity for reasonable compromise. The two sides of the debate over waterfront open space could not come to terms in 1998 when the difference was 20 percent vs. 30 percent park and open space. Continued inflexibility will only cause this important community resource to lay fallow, or worse, be developed as it is currently zoned.

We ask the city’s voters to carefully consider all the facets of the issues surrounding the Hood River Waterfront development as they vote on Ballot Measure 14-16.

Chuck Haynie

Carrie Nelson

Scott Reynier

Paul Thompson

Andrea Klaas

‘Shenanigans’

As reported in last Wednesday’s paper, Results Through Representative Government has filed a complaint against the Crystal Springs Water District with the Secretary of State claiming publishing material regarding Measure 14-15 in the Water District’s September “Water Connection” violates election law. This is a ridiculous claim and is nothing more than political shenanigans similar to calling themselves “a non-partisan political action committee.” The “Water Connection” is an excellent newsletter that has a tradition of informing and educating its customers on vital issues pertaining to the District’s service and their watershed. The material regarding Measure 14-15 published in their September newsletter was from the same “Let the People Decide” press release that was provided to the Hood River News and was part of the material that appeared in a front page article on Aug. 8. There are no statements in the newsletter either for or against the measure by Crystal Springs. RTRG apparently did not choose to supply any information for the “Water Connection” to inform the customers of why their watershed should not be protected.

Hugh McMahan

Mount Hood

Yes on measures

Please vote in the upcoming special election for Hood River County’s public areas. County Measure 14-15 monitors forested area development and 14-16 supports preserving our waterfront area as a public park. As voters, I think we owe it to ourselves and to future generations to continue to be part of the process shaping these beautiful areas for all to enjoy.

Thanks for voting Nov. 4.

Jules Burton

Hood River

Comparing costs

The letter of Oct. 22 by Brian Carlstrom comparing the Ford Explorer to a Toyota Prius is so right. It’s like comparing local supermarket prices to Wal-Mart. Any way you look at it, the working people and the people on fixed incomes get hit in the pocketbook.

Fahler Dunlap

Hood River

Preserve via 14-16

Preserve disappearing open spaces:

If you want to get a good idea of what the waterfront will be like when it’s developed with buildings 45 and 54 feet tall (!), just head up 6th street and stay on it as it turns into Serpentine. Pay attention to the view of the river. Yes, there are houses here and there, but at least you can see it. A hundred feet or so before the hairpin turn, take a left on Hazel and keep noticing the incredible view of the river. Oh, sorry, there’s a big ugly wooden fence blocking the view? THAT’S lovely. Walk a few feet down the stairway and stop. Which side do you prefer? The west side with a cramped in, closed up feeling with a great view of a wooden fence, or the east side with trees and vegetation?

It’s just an analogy, but think about it. Cramming a lot of buildings along the riverbank will be just like a wall, a 45 and 54 foot wall of brick and concrete, especially if as much property as possible isn’t reserved for open park space. Hood River collectively has some very wonderful river views. Unfortunately, everyone scrambles to get one at the cost of their neighbor and the neighborhood. This has never been more obnoxiously demonstrated than in the number of homogenous big box houses, townhouses and duplexes springing up all over the place, stuffed onto lots from property line to property line. In the waterfront scenario, tourists get the view, not you.

Don’t let the Port of Hood River fence us out. Vote yes on 14-16.

Lynn Jakle

Hood River

No fear in 14-16

In the upcoming General Election, the voters of the City of Hood River have the opportunity to have their voices heard and direct the future of the city’s Columbia River waterfront. Contrary to the politics of fear put forth by the opponents of measure 14-16, a YES vote simply sets the policy for the continued public use and accessibility of the waterfront area north of Portway Avenue.

This initiative was brought to a vote by a direct petition from the voters of the City of Hood River. The initiative process is an integral part of our democratic system. It is in place to allow the citizens to vote directly on legislation that elected officials are unwilling to pass. It is the ultimate way for the voters to have their say.

The Port of Hood River has time and time again failed to listen to the voices of their constituency. In the face of massive public opposition to their “economic development” plans, the Port has continually said that they know better than the voters do. Even when their own advisory committee recommended the development of a park along the Columbia River, the Port did an about face and once again said they knew better than everyone else.

A yes vote on Measure 14-16 protects our waterfront from unwise commercialization and sell-off and preserves the land for future generations to enjoy. The Port’s selected developer has said that the best commercial use of the land along the Columbia River is retail, with office use being second. So what will we end up with if the Port of Hood River is allowed to develop the shoreline without limitation? Perhaps the Columbia River Outlet Mall is on the horizon?

I urge all voters in the City of Hood River to vote Yes on Measure 14-16. Yes for parks. Yes for the future.

Brian Robb

Hood River

14-16 is ‘crazy’

What is going on here?

Land use for the Port property is going to a vote of the people in the city. Why such a select voting constituency? The Hood River County voters elect the Port officials so why would any land use restrictions be limited to city voters?

This surely is not legal. When challenged, our tax dollars will pay the bill. How crazy is that? Our city and county have very limited resources. Let’s use them wisely. Vote NO on 14-16.

Rita Swyers

Hood River

Policy reminder

Please forgive my forgetfulness, but what became of the position of the U.S. Forest Service that I once understood was to protect the watershed of domestic municipalities such as Mt. Hood for Hood River Valley residents?

Clifford Lester

Odell

Front page magic

Thank you for the coverage of Daniel Dancer’s and the May Street Elementary students’ dragon art (Oct. 25). It was nice to see some magic on the front page news.

Jean Cypher

The Dalles

Not there yet

Both Bob Montgomery’s letter and Richard Lee’s Another Voice column tell us that ballot measures 14-15 and 14-16 are not the way to handle our concerns. They would have us rely on representative government, a system that has obviously fallen into a sad state of decay in not only our region but throughout the entire country we are all fortunate to call home.

While these measures aren’t as exciting as tossing crates of tea into a harbor, they are getting the attention of many citizens and, hopefully, our representatives. Perhaps if we continue to push the envelope and explore new ways to further involve each and every voter in these processes our representatives will once again care about what we think and we can all go back to the way things were. Personally, I’m not there yet.

Don Stevens

Hood River

Clean after dogs

I would like to thank Juan Badillo, J.R. Loredo, Cody Sprague, Max Farris, Kera Thomsen, Mr. Tom Kost and Mr. Greg Snider for the box of plastic bags to be used for picking up the dog waste at Hood River Middle School. As a dog owner I agree with them that dog waste can be a problem at the school, but now we owners have one less excuse for not cleaning up after our dogs. Most of the dog owners I know do clean up after their dogs, but all it takes is one or two people not cleaning up after their dogs to create a small problem. Admittedly it is not a pleasant job (especially in the rain) but we all need to keep the area clean. It would be a shame if we were ever banned from bringing our dogs there due to our failure to clean up after them.

Peter Fridel

Hood River

Bigger is better

On October 22 there was a letter printed that really made me mad. The letter was titled ‘Ban big box,’ it was about banning the Wal-Mart superstore from coming to Hood River.

I think it is stupid because 185,000 square feet isn’t really that big – ok, so it is big, but it gives them more room for inventory! So I think the people that want to ban the Wal-Mart superstore should just be quiet and let them build the Wal-Mart superstore.

I mean I live in Cascade Locks, and I have to go all the way to Troutdale to at least go to a Wal-Mart with decent selection. The reason for that is, because the Wal-Mart in Hood River has a very limited selection, because they have very limited space.

Ricky Telfer

An 8th grader

Cascade Locks

Give and take

Felix Tomlinson (Our Readers Write, Oct. 22) suggests that citizen initiatives lead to anarchy. However, the citizen initiative is a legitimate part of Oregon state law. To benefit from the lessons of world history, consider Switzerland. Citizen initiatives and voter referendums have been a faithful and steady copilot to representative democracy at both the local and national level for centuries in Switzerland. The city of Geneva boasts, “Switzerland is associated worldwide with stability, economic prosperity and unbeatable quality. Stability comes from a political system based on consensus and grassroots democracy. Every new law and most major decisions are subject to approval by the people. Switzerland enjoys economic prosperity, consistently low inflation and one of the world’s highest standards of living.” Switzerland has low unemployment, low taxes, high wages, and not a single Wal-Mart. Tourism is one of their major industries. In addition, it’s been almost 500 years since Switzerland fought a war against another country. Does this sound like anarchy?

Both Tomlinson and the Hood River News (editorial, “Flawed Measures,” Oct. 22) bring up the issue of “legal takings,” without looking at the big picture. The Port owns a bunch of land that is zoned “light industrial.” That land has a certain value with the current zoning. The Port has asked the city to change the zoning of this land to “mixed-use,” which would likely raise the value of the Port’s land by at least 300 percent, with the stroke of a pen. This sounds more like a “givings” issue, rather than a “takings” issue. If the City Council decides to zone a small portion of this land for waterfront parks (which would benefit our county’s second largest industry, tourism), it could be that they are only giving the Port a 250 percent increase in the value of their land. That is still a pretty big “givings” if you ask me.

Spencer Berry

Hood River

Squeaky door?

Recently you had a letter that stated that any building that does not conform to the bulk, scale and scale of buildings in the surrounding area is illegal. This letter stated that this was directly involved with the Hood River Urban Growth Ordinance, Article 17.10. It goes on to state that this makes any proposed Wal-Mart building illegal.

Now, I do not know when this ordinance was approved, nor do I care to research this matter in order to get the answer. I do know that if it was passed after an application had been made then it does not affect that application. There seems to be a belief that this is some sort of underhanded work. WHY?

If this ordinance has been in force for a extended time period and relates to the entire County, as is stated, then how did the various packing houses get approval for HUGE buildings in agriculture or residential areas?

I do not know when the proposed Wal-Mart site was designated a flood plain. I do know that there has been some concern about drainage. I believe that this same concern should be expressed about the developments on May Street. There seems to be a huge increase in construction on the section of May Street that is almost directly above the proposed Wal-Mart site. I think that this will also affect drainage, but have not heard any concerns about this.

I believe that we elect people to facilitate decision making. The fact that we may disagree with some of these decisions is important only in future decisions about reelecting these same individuals. It is not appropriate that we arbitrary decide that they are acting in an illegal manner if we do not agree with their decisions. If we believe this to be true then let the courts decide.

In conclusion, I have read many letters that use emotion concerning the proposed Super Wal-Mart. I have spoken to many people who are in favor of this proposal. It seems to me that the vocal group in opposition is actually in the minority. I think that this is another example of “the squeaky door getting attention.”

Leonard Hickman

Hood River

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