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Letters to the Editor for January 11, 2012

Why the hurry on the casino? Walmart divides and conquers, Blown away by EA performance, more...

What was

the hurry?

The decision by the Port of Cascade Locks to not continue its relationship with the tribes of Warm Springs was sudden and strange.

In the minutes from their meeting on or about the 15th of December there is mention of the port attorney preparing the paperwork for the continuance of the lease or the sale of the Port property. Then suddenly with no warning or notification to the tribes this was broken off with a unanimous vote of the port commission.

The port, which has recently built a new spec building to the tune of over a million dollars with no current tenant, now is throwing away a perfectly good source of income from the tribes; again with no visible source of replacement income.

The lack of notification to the tribes after a 10-plus-year relationship seems shabby at best. The port has yet to offer a rational reason for its sudden about-face. If there were an alternative waiting in the wings it would make sense to end the relationship they had with the tribes.

What they did could be interpreted as a slap in the face to the tribes and a warning of how the port might treat others interested in doing business in Cascade Locks.

The port industrial property has mainly sat vacant since Bob Montgomery brought in the spoils from the second powerhouse at Bonneville Dam to create the industrial park; what was the big hurry on the port's part to shut down a project that so many had invested so much in?

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Divide and conquer

In your Dec. 3 "Land Use" editorial you state, "Walmart's expansion ... is a land use decision, not a political one." And, "Businesses' decisions ... are based upon market forces."

Respectfully, I disagree with your position. I might agree that your perspective applies to any state other than Oregon. However, in Oregon land use decisions are governed by state laws that are quite explicit about what's "germane" to a land use decision such as the Walmart expansion.

Every arm of Oregon government - state, cities, counties, special districts - is bound by Oregon's land use laws, including its goals.

In the early 1970s I participated directly in formulating our pioneering land use law, and in the late '70s and early '80s participated in applying it. Legislative intent (Senate Bill 100), the extensive citizen participation, the Statewide Land Use Goals, the numerous decisions by the Land Conservation and Development Commission to the courts show that the purpose of these laws is clearly to assure that land use decisions are not governed primarily by market forces and corporate decisions.

Though allowing economic growth is a stated goal, such decisions must go beyond corporate economics to consider the diverse forces that shape a community's health and prosperity. Whether we choose it to be so or not, major land use decisions are political. Certainly this is the case with Walmart.

Across the country I've seen this predatory corporation divide and conquer one small town after another, leaving much damage in its wake. Such harm is documented in the documentary movie "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price." Such political tactics are Walmart's signature.

So also are threats such as their statement to renege on the legal requirement that they must help finance necessary changes at the intersection of Cascade and Rand unless they're allowed to expand. Such action undermines the whole political process, forcing the city either to cave in or go to court to enforce a law.

As far as community solidarity is concerned, we've done Walmart's work for them: We've done a fine job of dividing ourselves.

David Hupp

Hood River

Blown away

Sunday, Jan. 7, a friend and I attended the first Hood River Valley High School Extended Application performance to be done on stage. This was a group of performing arts-based projects done by the students, which in previous years have been judged by a panel of judges rather than shown to the public.

We were completely blown away by the range and quality of the pieces, from dance to music. This was by no means what one would expect from high school students. These had depth and superb talent!

The complexity of the songs written and played by these students, and the delicious visuals and little surprises of the very expressive dance really made us appreciate the school's outstanding performing arts department.

I encourage the school to do future EAs on stage, as this is excellent exposure for the students as well as a delight for the audience. I really hope these students continue in performing arts fields, and if so, we'll see some of their names for many more years to come.

Julie Blenn

White Salmon, Wash.

Mutual aid reinstated

To Paul Koch, Cascade Locks City Administrator: The county fire chiefs at their regular meeting held Jan. 5, 2012, effective immediately, voted unanimously to reinstate the mutual aid agreement between Cascade Locks and the other county fire agencies.

In addition, the county chiefs wave any reciprocity at this time. When Cascade Locks Fire Department determines they have the capability to respond to mutual aid events as per dispatching protocols, their response will be accepted and appreciated.

Thank you and the City of Cascade Locks for the dedicated work to resolve this trying issue.

Jim Trammell

Hood River County

Fire Chiefs Assn.

Corrected statement

Scott Haanstad's letter to the editor ("A closer look," Jan. 7) called out a false statistic that was reported in the Dec. 17 news story, "Walmart opposition plans appeal." I was quoted as saying, "The average grocery store sees profits of approximately $466,000 per week, or more than $24 million per year."

He is absolutely correct in questioning that statement. I meant to say, "The average grocery store sees SALES of approximately $466,000 per week, according to the Food Marketing Institute."

I regret the error and still feel it's a strong statistic that shows the impact of a new grocery store in Hood River.

Becky Brun

Hood River

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