Letters - Dec. 17

‘Gold’ mismanaged

The beauty of Mount Hood and its National Forest depends upon one’s perspective; down looking up, or, up looking down.

The delegated yesteryears agency failed their appointed task of managing our gold mine to the best interest of Oregon’s future. The forest rangers of my youth wore pants, while today, pantyhose is a common attire; with a looming interest towards the “birds and bees,” instead of the trees.

Had we really valued this “gold” and kept it within bounds, we would still be blessed with funds for our schools, roads, airport, and other county/state coffers as were pre-1970s. But the lure of big money from the outsiders who could outbid the locals was more than our county and state government could resist.

Footnote: 1902 World Atlas shows lumbering as Oregon’s primary industry.

For those who see clear-cuts as a scar, need to make that journey through the Mount St. Helens catastrophe and admire the beauty of a properly managed timberless landscape after a 20-year recovery program, and also, the Tillamook burn of 1939 which is now a merchantable product which can provide funds for our schools, as timber did during my youth.

As to my viewing stance of Mount Hood, I am down looking up and I see a mountain that has been destroyed by an ugly fence-like structure, called a ski-lift.

My most admirable observation of the Earl (Blumenauer)/Greg (Walden) summit was that of two local men from different parties working together in an attempt to oil the biggest squeak.

Alan Winans

Hood River

Pay for takings

Gary Fields (letter to the editor, Dec. 14) is absolutely correct. Oregon has a constitution to guide and regulate our citizens, appointed and elected officials. The Constitution is there to ensure all citizens are equal under the laws of the state.

The part I don’t get is the fact that the “implementation” of SB 100 and the Scenic Act did strip many Oregonians of their property rights without compensation. Time passing does not make that right. Property rights are an integral part of our freedom in this country.

If we allow government to trample on our neighbor, we do not honor the principles of freedom. Admittedly, under the correct circumstances, government may take property and compensate the property owner. That did not happen with SB 100 and the Scenic Act. What was intended to be for the “public good” was not paid for by the public. It was paid by the property owner.

If Measure 37 is not the answer, what is? How do we compensate citizens who have been robbed of their property value? This abuse of property rights runs rampant in our state. I am not opposed to planning and even “taking,” but there must be compensation.

If we are to retain our freedom and respect for the law, government must pay for what they take.

Rita Swyers

Hood River

GOP works together

In the spirit of bringing Oregon Republicans closer together on the issues and for the common good, the Oregon Republican Party (ORP) has been taken up on its offer to the Oregon Senatorial Caucus to share some of the ORP’s space in its Salem office.

ORP Chairman Vance Day and Republicans across the state see this mutually beneficial sharing of space as a tremendous step forward in enhancing two-directional communication of the thoughts and issues of the Grassroots of State Party and the Republican Senators. In today’s political world of high-cost campaigns and complicated legislation tempered or sometimes dominated by judicial activism, the efficiency of thought, communication and financing brought about by this cooperative Party/Caucus effort is a bright and shining beacon for the future of the GOP in Oregon. As Executive Director Amy Langdon has said, the close proximity of the two bodies working together has created a tremendous synergy.

All Republicans should commend Chairman Day, Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli and ORP Executive Director Amy (Casterline) Langdon for their efforts and leadership in this collaboration.

Tim Smith

Harney County

Vandal’s apology

Hi, my name is Brandon. I’ve been issued by the Hood River Municipal Court to share a letter with you about vandalism. The past summer months I got in trouble for vandalism. Since then I’ve learned my lesson, and have a lot of respect for others’ properties.

My views on graffiti and vandalism have changed due to my punishments and learnings.

I’ve come to the understanding that painting, drawing, or creating damage to others’ property is called vandalism.

These offenses create a rush and produce a source of satisfaction to the offender. These crimes can be repeated multiple times by one offender and may never stop. The cost of cleaning up vandalism is expensive. The amount of cleanup in Oregon alone is overwhelming.

Because of the nature of vandalism crimes, the diminished tolerance for these crimes, and the cost of clean up, Hood River Court does not tolerate any conditions of vandalism crimes. The courts’ punishments are stern.

I have learned my lesson. I have respect, something a vandal does not have for themselves, others or, properties. I apologize for what I’ve done.

Brandon Phillips

Kennewick, Wash.

Casino menace

The building of a Columbia Gorge Casino is a big mistake.

This 500,000 square-foot monstrosity does not belong in the heart of a national scenic area. The Cascade Locks proposal would affect fish, water quality, air quality, cultural and historic resources, and natural resource based recreation.

The result of 3 million gamblers traveling through the Gorge each year would create traffic jams. The Hood River Bridge is already dangerously overcrowded.

Public safety would be at risk between Troutdale and Cascade Locks when this stretch of highway becomes solid ice in the winter. The addition of several hundred thousand more autos (from a projected 3 million patrons per year) would make our already documented poor air quality dangerously worse.

Cascade Locks and surrounding Gorge communities are already experiencing housing shortages and this proposed casino would create even more affordable housing shortages, and pressure to expand the urban growth boundaries into the surrounding Scenic Area.

The precedent of allowing an off-reservation casino in the heart of the Gorge would open the door to even more casinos in the Scenic Area. If the Warm Springs people want a casino it should be put on their reservation land. It only makes sense because of the large amount of traffic between Bend and Portland on Highway 26. The tribe could use their own people to operate the facility on their own land (there is a 50 percent unemployment rate there). All reasonable alternatives outside the Gorge must be considered in the Environmental Impact Statement for this proposal.

The chances of building a casino in Hood River are practically nonexistent, as the site is not accessible, not physically buildable, or legally viable for a casino.

The threat of a casino in Hood River if the Cascade Locks site is not approved is a complete smoke screen, and should not be used by anyone to justify supporting the state’s first off-reservation casino in Cascade Locks. Approval of an off-reservation casino would lead to other Tribes with Gorge interests demanding equal treatment.

Do we really want the Gorge to become the next Lake Tahoe? Oregonians support the status quo — one casino per tribe on reservation lands. This proposal would upset the balance that exists today.

Please consider this disaster that is being proposed in our lovely Columbia River Gorge.

Steve Andruss

Hood River

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