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Letters to the Editor for July 18, 2012

Huge loss

For the last eight years I’ve been the trail adopter for Seven Streams in Post Canyon. In that time, I have, along with many other volunteers, helped to maintain what has become, by its immense popularity: a multi-user community trail system, international tourist attraction and forest memorial.

Sadly, a section of this wonderful and sacred place is going to be clearcut on Monday.

So why would a town like Hood River clearcut one of the most popular recreational trails in Oregon? Well there are a lot of good reasons: ice storm damage, bark beetle plague and money.

But for me, the biggest reason for managing a forest park with a clearcut is perception. The prevailing perception here is, the 30,000-acre county forest is simply a tree farm to be cut and sold to write checks to pay the bills. That perception is established and valid, as the Hood River County Forest Department has functioned successfully in that role for over 50 years.

But this forest is more than a checkbook. The Seven Streams/Post Canyon area is where the pavement ends. It’s where many members of this community walk, run, trot and ride. To simply move in her grandeur, refresh the collective mind and walk the dog.

She also calls out to tens of thousands of tourists who travel to recreate here and directly thereafter stumble around town in a blessed-out fog of credit card-swiping delirium. It’s All Good in The Hood.

There is no doubt: Perception takes time to change, and in this case, it took too long.

Next week, when we take a look at what’s not there anymore, it would be a good opportunity to take that lost, empty feeling and decide, once and for all, to set aside a small section of the tree farm for what it really is: A Hood River County Forest Park. Or at least begin to perceive it that way.

Jim Skakel

Hood River

More than blockbuster

I was surprised to read that the conflict between committed citizens who are using their right to participate in democracy and those whose purpose it is to represent them is labeled a as a thrilling summer-blockbuster.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy thrilling blockbusters, but making sure that the unique Hood River waterfront, the shoreline of Columbia River’s Nichols Basin and the basin itself is used in a way that is sustainable for humans, wildlife and vegetation is far more serious than summer entertainment.

While it might be cumbersome to read through the publicly available documents outlining the city’s approval of the hotel project — which tactically was separated from the proposed cable park project — it will become clear that the decisions made by the city council are drafted to serve unthoughtful development instead of providing thoughtful analysis of the multiple state and federal regulations.

Mayor Babitz, unfortunately, is under the impression that the project’s opposition (Friends of the Hood River Waterfront) abuses land use laws and federal environmental protections to restrict economic progress. I disagree.

For my part, I have made it through the public documents available for this project, and I am afraid that the city’s response does not grasp the importance of land use and environmental regulations that are in place to serve all citizens and the environment.

I believe Mayor Babitz and the council members share their concern for citizens and the environment. Is there time to correct the course and join our capacities to make it right?

Patrick Hiller

Hood River

Library rules too lenient

I do not have an adequate response to Paula Friedman’s “Protection” letter (July 11) in which she defends the right to openly view pornography in our public library. I thought perhaps someone from the conservative talk shows might be better able to handle it.

Just as I was about to hit “send” on an email to a list of 10 very public, national talk show hosts, I decided against it. I love Hood River. I love the people and I love the healthy lifestyle. I would never want to potentially bring unwanted national attention to our slice of nirvana.

But Pamela’s letter is over the top. Insinuating that pornography is just as innocent as literature on opposing religions isn’t even an argument I can wrap my head around. It has no place in our public library.

Pornography is a huge issue that destroys healthy relationships, promotes violence and supports a marketplace for trafficking children. Little did I know that my tax dollars were paying for all this, rather than providing a safe environment for healthy learning.

I was told that the “library is its own district” so it can make its own rules. I can’t wait to find out about their policy on illegal drugs and excessive alcohol. Woo-hoo!

Lisa Evans

Hood River

Helmets do save lives

Thank you for your recent article titled “Helmets on?” (July 14). It was very timely; or perhaps slightly late.

I had been thinking about writing a letter about this very subject after the recent accident a friend of mine had while riding her bicycle in Hood River without a helmet on. She had serious head injuries and spent several days in intensive care in the hospital in Portland. Shortly after hearing about that I was riding on the Twin Tunnels trail and noticed many people riding bicycles without helmets on.

Most surprising to me was that the vast majority of them were women, who I have always considered to be the safer, saner more careful of the sexes. I felt like stopping every one of them and asking them if they really wanted to risk dying, or spending the rest of their summer in a hospital or recuperating at home from a serious head injury, if they were to take a spill on their bike ride simply because they refused to wear a helmet?

For those of you think “It won’t happen to me because I won’t let it happen,” believe me when I say, “When it does there probably wouldn’t have been anything you could have done to prevent it.”

In over 20 years of almost daily bicycle riding, I have had at least six spills that could have caused serious head injuries or death, including one that required 26 stitches in my face. Only one occurred while I was doing something that I could have done something ahead of time to prevent.

If I had not been wearing a helmet when each one of those accidents occurred I am sure I would not be here to write this letter today. So please, people, for the sake of your family and other loved ones, if not for yourself, wear a helmet every time you get on your bicycle.

Darrell Roberts

Mosier

More focus

on food

My husband and I just finished a(nother) great vacation in the Gorge. We were first enticed by the wind, but have realized there is much more to keep us coming back.

As outdoors enthusiasts, the pickings are endless. As a personal chef, the food scene delights with every visit. I am not talking Portland; I mean Hood River, Mosier, White Salmon, Bingen and the Fruit Loop.

Even though your ground freezes each winter, folks seem overwhelmingly committed to supporting and promoting local farmers and food producers. It’s impressive to see four-plus weekly farmers markets in this small population center.

The myriad of (affordable!) restaurants crafting dishes to feature local items and detailing ingredient sources is mouth-watering. Plus all the beer, wine and ciders!

Where I live, local produce abounds year round; yet too many folks are sadly unaware. Thus I savor even more this vibrant “eat local/Gorge-grown” ethic.

I am surprised that the enthusiasm on the streets is not mirrored in the food section of local papers. You really have something special going on and I think that your subscribers (and us vacationers) would appreciate more emphasis on this broad-ranging and delicious subject.

Marianne McCarroll

Stockton, Calif.

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