As of Tuesday, December 1, 2015
A significant number of scientists proclaim that manmade global warming, or “climate change,” is the real deal. However, there are also a significant number of scientists who proclaim just the opposite: That manmade global warming or “climate change” is pure fiction with powerful political overtones. These two differing scientific opinion people should hold a T.V. debate, but I doubt that will ever happen. So, in the meantime, choose that “large as a barge” group of scientists that make you feel the most comfortable … then go out there and enjoy your day.
No ‘glossy facts’
In his Nov. 24 letter, Ed del Val continues to show his complete disdain for, or ignorance of, the reality of the water resources of Hood River County. From his statement, “… breweries are completely different from the bottled water industry; they use municipal water (not cool public spring water) …” it is clear that Mr. del Val is not aware of (or chooses to ignore) the fact that Hood River County (except for Cascade Locks) sources all of its potable water from springs.
This is not one of Nestlé’s “glossy facts” (Mr. del Val’s words), but fact as presented in the 2013 report “Hood River Basin Water Use Assessment,” prepared for Hood River County by Niklas Christensen and Ed Salminen, Watershed Professionals Network LLC. This of course means that the customers of the municipal water districts in Hood River County (except for Cascade Locks) are using “cool public spring water” to make beer, wine, spirits, and juice, to wash and can fruit, wash vehicles and equipment, water lawns and gardens, and for all the other uses that we have for water.
Mr. del Val is also intent on making an issue of the proposed 0.5 cubic feet per second of Oxbow Spring water diversion as being detrimental to the salmon in Herman Creek and the Columbia River. Any threat of raising creek or river temperatures is mitigated, in this case, by the fact that the City of Cascade Locks will replace, gallon for gallon, all of the water diverted from Oxbow Spring with cool public well water.
Well water that is almost identical to Oxbow Spring water, and has in fact, been used by the hatchery to successfully raise young salmon smolt. Again, this is not one of Nestlé’s “glossy facts,” but the reality of water bottling plant proposal.
The bottom line: there are no facts to support the del Val’s fanatical position against a water bottling plant in Cascade Locks.
Like many, I am tracking the STR (short term rental) issue. I believe STRs and affordable housing are absolutely connected, and the council that we elected has work to do.
STRs cannot be permanent homes for the community work force. Owners of these properties support their mortgage with rental income, without which ownership may not be possible. It is likely this property is an investment and a personal retreat producing income, thus making it probable it will never hit the real estate market. Two things happen with a shortage of marketable homes: first, a deficit in the lower market range resulting in inflated prices; and second, lower priced homes become a forced commodity, highly desirable investment-producing property. First time home buyers cannot compete in this market.
An average, low price listing in Hood River is roughly $250,000. That calculates to a $50,000 down payment at 20 percent, requiring over a $50,000 annual income. A second home buyer, or recreation home investor, may buy a $250,000 home with cash, and plan to support it with rental income. These are the affordable homes that sustain the community workforce — the medical workers, teachers, technology teams, coffee shop and brewery employees. The coworkers who want to make Hood River their home, and hometown-ers who want a permanent home. Our local wage earners cannot compete.
I believe STRs strangled affordable housing. The council has a multifaceted job to do for our residents. The pressure is on: limiting STRs, regulating STRs, securing revenue from STRs, rights of property owners and interest of developers. What to do? Do we want the square footage of Hood River to be become a trade good for investors? I think not!
Limit the STRs. Keep our land for our residents. It needs to be done.