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Letters - October 25

Yes on 14-15

I am a director of the Board of Crystal Springs Water District. I am also a Mt. Hood Meadows skier. While these two positions may seem contradictory, they do not need to be.

I doubt that there are many members of the RTRG group who have spent as much money and time at Meadows in the past decade as I have. I also believe that Mt. Hood Meadows plays an important role in the Hood River County economy.

That said, I support Measure 14-15. The north side of Mt. Hood, and the Crystal Springs watershed in particular, need the strongest protection available at this moment. To me, it is irrelevant who the prospective developer is. I don’t care whether it is Meadows, William Smith Properties, or even someone local. You cannot develop in a watershed without putting it at risk of contamination.

The charter of the Crystal Springs Water District mandates that it must avoid the political arena; therefore I speak here on my own behalf. I beseech all of you voters in the county who, like myself, enjoy skiing at Meadows, to vote for Measure 14-15. There is nothing hypocritical about skiing in Meadows current location and choosing to protect our drinking water. Mt. Hood Meadows is a profitable and well-financed enterprise — it will remain so without having to expand on the north side of the mountain. Please do the right thing and vote — it’s your water.

Gorham Blaine

Parkdale

What a footprint

I took Marvin Turner’s suggestion to drive up Highway 35 to look at the size of the Cardinal Glass factory. What a wonderful facility and addition to our community. I am impressed by the way the land use laws were observed and followed in establishing this “family wage” company.

It is amazing to me to think that the size of the Cardinal Glass structure is the same size as the proposed Super Wal-Mart. This isn’t even including the 12 acres of parking that will be necessary for this controversial footprint! I certainly hope that the county Planning Commissioners think long and hard about what this footprint will do to change our community and the character of our area.

If you haven’t driven up Highway 35 I urge you to do so. I am sure you will also be amazed to think that this gargantuan Super Wal-Mart structure may be greeting you as you try to drive into our town. My, oh, my what a footprint! County Planning Commissioners, why is this even being considered?

Linda Drew

Hood River

No on 14-16

City residents, please consider the following as you mark your ballot on the waterfront initiative.

The waterfront property is currently zoned light industrial. The Port is requesting a zone change to permit mixed use which will include public parks. The Port wants park space. The Port also wants other uses of this valuable property. It is very possible to have both. The waterfront property is not God given. It is land that was developed by the Port of Hood River. Doesn’t it stand to reason that if they developed this land they would care about its future? These people care very much about our community. They are not going to destroy the waterfront that they created.

Many of your friends are being disenfranchised by this proposed initiative. The waterfront belongs to ALL of the people living in the Port of Hood River district not only the people within the city limits of Hood River. I have lived in the Port of Hood River district for nearly 50 years and am not able to vote on this issue. This initiative is not fair. It is probably not legal.

Please don’t cast your vote based on some emotional ploy like “Save our waterfront.” Think as you mark your ballot.

Virginia Hosford

Hood River

Bridge too far

In early summer, the Lake Banch Road was closed so that the bridge across Divers Creek could be replaced. The end of September, the Lake Branch Road still had a barrier across it with a “Road Closed” sign on the barricade. It seemed absurd for it to take an entire summer to replace that bridge.

On Sept. 27, curiousity got the better of me and I decided to walk the three miles to the Divers Creek bridge to see how far along they were toward completion. When I arrived at Divers Creek, I found a brand new concrete bridge that replaced the old wooden structure. As I approached the bridge a car came up behind me. I flagged them down. I asked how they got past the barrier. The woman told me she had made local inquiry as to how to get to Wahtum Lake. She told me that the person she had talked to told her that she could drive around the barrier since the bridge had been completed.

When I see a barrier on a road with a “Road Closed” sign on it, I believe I’m breaking the law if I were to go around the barrier. As a result, I had to drive to the Lost Lake Campground entrance and go down the Lake Branch Road to get to Wahtum Lake. That means an 80-mile drive instead of the usual 54 miles (round trip) to get to my favorite lake.

In essence, the person who gave that woman permission to ignore the “Road Closed” was telling her it was okay to break the law.

If the bridge has been replaced, why don’t they take down the barrier? Is that too much to ask?

Melvin Kenworthy

Hood River

No on 14-15

I wanted to take a moment of time to address the current Measure 14-15 which we will be voting on very soon.

I attended one of the public meetings Mt. Hood Meadows held this summer regarding the expansion of Cooper Spur. I was pleased that the company was reaching out to the public prior to submitting an application to Hood River County or the Forest Service for expansion. It was apparent to me that Meadows was very interested in being forthright about its plans and doing the right thing for the community, its employees, and its owners.

In the 37 years of Mt. Hood Meadows existence there have been numerous projects that have been proposed such as lifts at the ski area, and all of the proposals have been fought by the Hood River Valley Residents Committee. It is very apparent by the HRVRC’s track record, that it was formed solely to combat anything Meadows proposes. I for one do not mind a system for checks and balances, however I do feel that there is such a thing as carrying a grudge too far, when checks and balances become obstacles designed to delay, at the expense of the taxpayers of Hood River County.

Mt. Hood Meadows in its history has not only grown to provide more and more jobs within our jobless county, but has continually striven to improve its efforts to include the county, and its residents in its decision making. Other businesses now benefit from this inclusionary thinking and the winter business Meadows creates for Hood River.

In addition, I’ve been up to Mt. Hood Meadows the last few summers. The area looks great, the employees and management are doing a good job as stewards of the land. I’ve been around Cooper Spur this fall, the area looks better than I have seen it in years. They have a beautiful base area all landscaped and have totally upgraded the buildings and have a brand new lift. Even the new signage is very rustic and attractive. I’ve even taken the opportunity to dine at the restaurant, a great experience.

Now Meadows wants to create a small quality expansion at Cooper Spur, outside of the Crystal Springs watershed. They wish to create more year-round jobs and continue to partner with Hood River businesses and promote local agriculture products to customers and suppliers of Mt. Hood Meadows and Cooper Spur as they have done in the past.

I believe that in the long run, Meadows will achieve its goal to expand Cooper Spur, and that’s perfectly acceptable to me.

Measure 14-15 is nothing but another attempt to delay Mt. Hood Meadows’ plans to expand Cooper Spur.

I’m voting no on Measure 14-15. I’m comfortable letting the Hood River County Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners evaluate Meadows’ proposal to expand Cooper Spur.

Eric Martinusen

Hood River

Yes on 14-15

Protect your water from special interests.

Opponents of Ballot Measure 14-15 have called supporters of the measure “special interests.” That turns reality on its head. Public interest groups working to protect domestic drinking watershed are working to protect the public interest.

On the other hand, a good example of a special interest is a real estate developer planning to make big bucks from exploiting both public and private land in a very sensitive area of our forest zone.

That type of special interest was evident in the land trade that Mt. Hood Meadows made to Hood River County. Exchanging 640 acres of county forestland, most of it in the Crystal Springs watershed protection area, to a development corporation planning a resort is notoriously poor public policy. This land trade was protested at the hearings on Aug. 6 and 20, 2001, by citizens and by representatives of Crystal Springs and was opposed by the County Commissioner representing the part of the Valley most involved. But those very real concerns were ignored.

Apparently Mt. Hood Meadows and the county had been working together on the resort idea for some time before the hearing. The public testified but was not heard.

Ballot Measure 14-15 would protect against such exploitation by setting up a public check and opportunity for public input to protect the forestlands and domestic watersheds from unsound development.

Kate McCarthy

Parkdale

Yes on 14-15

I thought it was almost funny to read the recent letter that Measure 14-15 was the work of some elitist special interests. When has protecting the water supply for farms and our drinking water been elitist or not in almost everyone’s best interest? Empty political rhetoric is bad in any election, but to see it in a county election is especially disappointing. Never mind substance — just make personal attacks and hope it turns voters off.

The fact that Measure 14-15 would give our community the right to democratically vote on major housing developments planned for the forestlands that provide our water makes the charge that Measure 14-15 is about the special interests of farmers or people concerned about water even more ridiculous. All Measure 14-15 does is give people the right to have a voice in deciding whether housing projects that are generally illegal in zoned forestland are worth the potential threats to farms and our drinking water.

I think it makes sense for us to have a real voice in making sure Hood River County farms have a reliable water supply and that our drinking water is safe — and that’s why I’ll try to ignore the politics of name calling and send in my ballot in support of Measure 14-15.

James Thompson

Mt. Hood

No on 14-15

Let’s say you are arrested for a crime. You go before a judge and jury and are found “not guilty.” The verdict is based on the facts and the law.

Then, the same decision is subsequently taken to a vote of the people. “Let the people decide.” The people decide you are guilty and you are sent to prison for life. These people did not attend the trial, they voted by mail from home.

Anarchy is defined as the complete absence of government and the law, accompanied by political disorder.

When an applicant applies for a conditional use permit to use his or her property in a manner that complies with state and local land use law, it’s wrong to say that “the people” can simply overrule the decision. A decision that has already been made by the Planning Commissioners and the Board of Commissioners based on hearings, public testimony, the facts, and the law.

That’s why I’m voting no on Measure 14-15. I believe in due process and fairness.

Elizabeth Whelan

Hood River

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