Letters - September 3

Lacking compassion

Why is only Patti Smith’s picture on the front page of the Aug. 27 Hood River News? Is it because she opposed the income tax surcharge passed by the Oregon legislature? Why wasn’t Senator Metsger’s photo published for his support to pay for badly needed public services for seniors, people with disabilities and schools? It is pretty obvious where the News publisher stands on tax issues and state provided services.

Smith complains about no stable school funding, yet she attended this year’s record long regular session and last year’s five special sessions called to solve this very problem. How much more tax payer’s money did each legislator take home because of their inability to deal with the state income problem?

I would wager few members of Citizens For a Sound Economy and the Taxpayers Association of Oregon are single parents with minimum wage jobs, living on Social Security and Medicare, have incomes at or below the poverty level or have been unemployed for any length of time during this recession. I suspect a vast majority of members are upper-middle or upper income class individuals. To them, everyone should pay his or her own way, irrespective of recession, the lack of jobs, or the availability of public services for those in true need.

The complete lack of social conscience and compassion in today’s Republican Party has driven me from that party after 38 years. I became too embarrassed to call myself a Republican. I did not expect the party to change so I had to.

Gary J. Fields

Hood River

Back ‘Re-Build It’

I am writing to voice support for the Gorge Re-Build It Center. Friends of the Columbia Gorge has contributed $100 to the Gorge Re-Build It Center to launch its sustainable rebuilding center, and we encourage others to do so.

The Gorge Re-Build It Center is more than an economic boost for Hood River, it is a shining example of the second purpose of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area: supporting economic development consistent with the protection of the scenic, natural, cultural and recreational resources of the Gorge.

Hood River is a natural site for building businesses based on reused and recycled materials. In fact, in 1998, the Center for Watershed and Community Health wrote a report entitled “Creating Closed-Loop Economies through Reuse, Recycling and Bioproduct-Based Economic Development” for Hood River, Wasco and Sherman counties:

(http://cwch.uoregon.edu/ReportsFolder/hoodriv.htm). The report created a roadmap for increasing the sizes of existing businesses and starting small businesses based on the waste stream that travels through the Gorge.

The report was sponsored by the Hood River Chamber of Commerce and the Hood River Watershed Council. To my knowledge, none of the recommendations have been carried out. Perhaps the launch of the Gorge Re-Build It Center can reinvigorate those interested in pursuing economic development that will not only coexist, but benefit, the natural beauty of the Gorge.

Kevin Gorman

Executive Director

Friends of the Columbia River Gorge

Hood River

No waterfront hotel

I am writing in support of a park on the waterfront in Hood River. I understand there are plans for a 6-acre facility, which would provide public access to the waterfront. I am a homeowner in Hood River (815 Cascade) and have been visiting the town regularly for over 10 years.

In addition to my property taxes, I spend a considerable amount of money in the town every time I visit, supporting the local restaurants, bars, bagel and coffee shops, in addition to the windsurfing shops. I visit Hood River because it is a place that I love, and because it is one of the best windsurfing spots in the world. I choose to go to Hood River and not Hawaii or Baja due to the ease of access into the water in Hood River and the surrounding area.

By cutting off the current benefits of the Event Site, rather than expanding the public access, you will make Hood River a less desirable place as a windsurfing and all around destination, and will lose a considerable amount of the tourist activity that currently visits the town.

I am in the hospitality business, and have spent many years trying to figure out how to make a new hotel work in Hood River. I have spent five years working as a feasibility consultant with Big Six firms, and the past 10 years involved in hotel development. There is no way that Hood River can support a new hotel, and any developer who tells you otherwise has not done his homework. If a new hotel is built at the expense of a public park, it will be a double disaster.

The only way to make a new hotel work in Hood River, is to get more tourists to Hood River, and that means providing more public facilities, not LESS. The waterfront in Hood River is one of the area’s many wonderful assets, and it would be a shame to squander it and destroy one of the key attractions for thousands of people from around the world.

Simon Hallgarten

Corte Madera, Calif.

Pay scale weighed

Dave Harlan’s Another Voice piece in the Aug. 31 Hood River News brings up the question of unmentioned numbers in regards to the future of our waterfront. One of the numbers he points to is the average annual salary for the year 2000 in Hood River County being approximately one-third lower than the state average.

Interestingly, Mr. Harlan fails to mention another number that should be of some interest in this debate. What will the average annual salary be for the housekeepers in the new hotel that will play such a prominent role in many, if not all of the potential scenarios currently being dicussed? Will it be closer to the $32,776 state average or the Hood River County average of $21,493? If it’s the first number, please let me know so I can start practicing my hospital corners.

Don Stevens

Hood River

Road talk needed

This beautiful town needs a light or a stop (four-ways) on the crossing of the Rand Road and Cascade Avenue. Understandably, Cascade is old Route 30, however there is an accident waiting to happen at this intersection. I am sure there is already a dialogue in this regard. I will appreciate feedback if there is already one on the pros and cons of having one.

Prashant Gupta

Hood River

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