Localities: The chance to have a say on bridges, trails and streams

You see them around: bumper stickers reading “Don’t hassle me, I’m a local.”

Presumably, a car bearing such a message cannot be driven beyond the home jurisdiction of the driver, say across a certain bridge if you want to qualify for a discount?

To explain:

The whole “local” concept comes to mind with an element of the Port of Cascade Locks’ proposal for Bridge of the Gods bridge fare increases.

Suitably, the plan calls for keeping the $1 basic fare for passenger cars, and increasing revenue based on per-axle increases for commercial vehicles. Tolls for pedestrians and bicycles would stay at 50 cents – a nice touch.

Then there is the 25-cent discount for “locals,” a price break that would likely be identified and enacted in a year or two. The Port acknowledges it does not yet have a plan for who is a local and who is not. Is Wyeth or Warrendale local? Stevenson and Carson? What about Hood River? If anything, the conversation will be an interesting one. Attending the Jan. 23 meeting (details on A5) is a great place to start.

The counterpoint to “don’t hassle me” is the “I’m a local, this is what I have to say.” Of course, showing up in the process is critical to the local’s responsibility in Living Where You Do. That means either attending meetings or taking the time to put your comments down in writing at the appropriate time.

More such public opportunities abound in Hood River. Two cases in point, both taking place on the same night:

n The Port of Hood River Commission has developed a public process and meeting schedule in preparation for the design and planning of Nichols Basin’s west edge that will include a pedestrian/bicycle path, water access, and landscaping. The work will be guided by a Project Advisory Committee, and include four public meetings to obtain community input.

The first public meeting scheduled for Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. at the Port of Hood River conference room.

n Hood River Watershed Group meets on Jan. 28, 7 p.m. with a talk by Les Perkins, Farmers Conservation Alliance business development director, on his recently completed case study of watershed impacts of small-scale hydroelectric projects. (Perkins is also a Hood River County Commissioner.) It happens at the OSU Extension office.

The Watershed Group will also discuss the 2014 Hood River Watershed Action Plan update.

Oddly enough, a watershed plan sounds dry, and while it may be a topic of interest primarily to stakeholders such as farmers, that makes it a vital one to all of us.

All of us locals.

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