Letters - October 15

PROD can help

Many thanks to PROD (Promoting Responsible Ownership of Dogs), to Lisa Willis at Gorge Dog and Lori Stirn at Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation Pool.

Lisa sponsored a doggy wash at Saturday Market that was a great success. All proceeds went to PROD. Lisa is a dedicated source of support to PROD, providing her time, talent and services to our community of dogs.

For those of you who have never witnessed the “Doggy Paddle,” you’ve missed an event that would make even the most serious of us smile. To see a gym full of dogs jumping in the pool and swimming their hearts out is pure joy. They lunged, they dove, they fetched, they shook water on everyone ... they ruled. And, not one went home unhappy, crying or asking what comes next. Thank you to Lori and all her staff for making this contribution to PROD. Thanks again to Lisa who supplied cookies to all the hungry swimmers.

PROD has spayed/neutered more dogs/cats than ever before. The organization is fostering dogs, preparing an education program to be introduced to the schools, providing low cost dog houses when Deputy Becky Hoffman calls, staffing a small office in downtown Hood River and in the process of planning a Christmas fund raiser. These are only a few of the projects being worked on and PROD would welcome help from the public.

PROD volunteers are from all walks of life throughout Hood River and surrounding counties. With the help of organizations such as Gorge Dog and Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation we’re making a difference. Our office is located at 209 Oak Street, upstairs, above “Frolik.” Office hours are from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The office phone number is 541-387-DOGS. Call us: we’re waiting for you. All donations to PROD may qualify as tax deductible contributions.

Susan Kent

Hood River

Safe motoring

Last week I noticed some very good driving tips from one of your readers. I would like to add a few items to the list. Harvest season is upon us and tractors, long-bed trucks and harvest personnel are working all hours of the day and night to bring in fruit. Please have patience when sharing the roadways with our fellow farmers. Keeping a safe distance is important, as well as a little courtesy.

In addition, winter driving is only weeks away. Common sense should tell you that it is wise to slow down and add more distance to you and the driver ahead of you, and plan your route carefully. The beautiful hills of Hood River can also be very slick in three inches of fresh snow! It is wise to prepare your car for winter with proper tires, extra water, blankets, flares, snow boots and an ice scraper. Enjoy the seasons! Happy Motoring!

Sharlene I. Carney

Mt. Hood

Hail ‘Walmartia’

Many gallons of ink have been spilled on the Wal-Mart issue. I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen anyone propose a simple, yet elegant solution which would have the same effect as building the Super Wal-Mart without the endless public hearings, consideration of scientific data (or reasonable facsimiles thereof) name-calling and general teeth-gnashing.

Here is my modest proposal: rather than erect an enormous building west of town, which would create traffic congestion, probably exacerbate storm water runoff problems, and, most important, further drive a stake through the heart of existing businesses, why doesn’t Wal-Mart just buy out these existing businesses? The storefronts are already there. The parking is already there. And so is the waste water treatment capability.

Instead of Franz Hardware, we’d have Wal-Mart hardware. Instead of Les Schwab tires, we’d have Wal-Mart tires. Hood River Stationers would become Wal-Mart Stationers, and Waucoma would become WalComa. It would be simple for Wal-Mart to identify themselves in these new locations, since all that is needed is a few gallons of red, white and blue exterior paint.

Wal-Mart could hand out free blue and red smocks to anyone entering Hood River, complete with do-it-yourself name tags. (Haven’t many people said that nametags make us friendlier?) Hood River could become a showcase for how a small town should submit to the inevitable lure of low prices over local business. In time, we might even consider going along with a name change: WalMartia would replace Hood River.

What do you think? It’s not too late.

Bob Davis

Hood River

FISH thanks

A heartfelt thank you to all the caring people who have donated food to the Hood River Fish Food Bank this summer.

Vegetables from their gardens: tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, squash, onions, cabbages, cucumbers, boxes of apples, pears, prunes, nectarines were very welcome.

The Fish Food Bank moved across the street in July to half of the building that was a school a few years ago. It has a lot more room for food and is not crowded for a large group of people.

We’re open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 4 to 5.

If you are in need of food feel welcome to come or phone 386-3474.

Irene Best

Hood River

Keep water safe

When I was growing up I used to spend parts of my summers at my grandparents’ cabin on a lake in upstate New York. There I got to experience first hand the effects of a nonexistent watershed protection policy. When my family had first purchased this property around 1900 they used the deep waters of the lake as their water source, but by 1920 the lake was becoming too polluted, so with nearby residents my ancestors teamed up to dig the first of a series of wells. The earliest well would last a bare 15 years before it became suspect and a second and third dug farther inland would last only an additional 20. By the time of my boyhood we had to travel a couple of miles to a spring on a nearby hill to find drinkable water, but alas by 1970 this spring too had been damaged by farm chemicals and animal waste seeping into its source. For the following several decades my family, like other local residents, has usually carried potable water drawn from the municipal systems in nearby towns.

A visitor to the same parts of New York State today, in 2003, would find that even these public water systems have also become tainted. Industrial waste, fertilizers, run off from feedlots, and failed septic systems have caused these small towns to have to install expensive treatment systems that leave their water almost unpalatable.

Many of the communities are even choosing to spend tens of thousands of dollars per household to bring in water from far distant watersheds, watersheds that years ago luckily received long term protection by forward looking citizens.

I don’t think that Hood River County residents want to go through what my family and the other residents of that far away part of New York State have gone through over the past century.

By voting Yes on ballot measure 14-15 we can help keep Hood River County’s springs, rivers, and municipal water systems clean for our own and our children’s use and enjoyment.

Now is the time to look after our own future, nobody else will do it for us.

Jim Denton

Hood River

‘Monster’ building

Re: The Planning Commission Hearings on Wal-Mart.

While attending the last two planning commission meetings on the supersized Wal-Mart I have been impressed and depressed at the task before our neighbors sitting on the panel of commissioners.

These guys do not get enough credit or thanks from the rest of us for putting up with years now of technical, demandingly complicated, and tediously repetitive testimony. Frankly, they appeared a little beat up last week by the process, and stressed by the weight of the decision before them. It is a vote that will affect the future of this town and our quality of life so completely forevermore. Add to the commissioners’ anguish the threats that lawsuits will follow no matter how they decide. These are courageous men among us being asked to do a service above and beyond the ordinary call. And I want to shout to them from the audience: “Be strong, follow your hearts, or at least follow your guts.”

Because, gentlemen, you know from your very senses and basic common sense what is “compatible” and what is too damn big. This monster building cannot be tucked behind a few trees or a berm. Breaking up the facade into many angles and planes or adding multiple roof lines still will not change measurable facts and the reality of its overall dimensions. Even if “compatibility” is defined as a “visual” determination, a blind man could see this does not fit.

The Wal-Mart attorney spoke with pride about the unique “Hood River style” design and referred to the architect’s elevation drawing to see how un-Wal-Mart-like the finished building will be. Well, try a different view before you decide. For a different angle, try the one from above. Remember the aerial view depicted in three places in Bowe Theater the other night. From that angle, it is clear the space the building and parking will take up of the neighborhood belongs on the open spaces of the Midwest, not shoehorned into that lot or plugging the drainage of Mt. Davidson. This is a Godzilla of a building and that photo shows it. Do not deny what you know in your gut.

John Lovell

Hood River

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