Wish List: Looking to 2017

New Year’s Eve is here, and with it plans to celebrate.

The advent of the new calendar year is also a moment to contemplate.

What will the new year bring? Forget resolutions. In no particular order for 2017 — let’s talk best wishes:

Wisdom and patience to newly elected officials Megan Saunders on Hood River City Council, Rich McBride on the County Board of Commissioners, John Harvey as Justice of the Peace in Cascade Locks.

And to Rich McBride in his dual role, at least for the first part of the year, in what is probably the unprecedented doubling up as a County Commissioner and Port Commissioner.

Clear horizons to all those in private and public positions planning regional transportation options, including the exciting prospect of regular bus service on Highway 35 south. Options for getting around are ever-more important for us as residents and commuters, and for visitors to our area, to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and relieve congestion.

Similarly, to the planners and elected leaders at the City of Hood River as they continue the challenging task of integrated planning of streets and pedestrian ways, parks, housing and other services and amenities on the growing west side of the city.

To county, city and regional housing officials facing the massive and complicated task of identifying sites and funding sources for affordable housing projects.

To friends and neighbors of the Morrison Park site, controversially tagged as a potential place to build 50 to 100 such housing units. To quote retiring county commissioner Maui Meyer (interviewed in this edition): “You can’t have everything you want. You can have some of it, or would you like none of it, because if you keep pushing, you’re likely to end up with none of it. So everyone take a deep breath.” He was talking about a different public issue, but the rule can apply to many situations.

To Sheriff Matt English and his department, who are stretched thin by the demands of a county growing too quickly in popularity, some relief this summer including some form of revenue to cover the costs of numerous rescues, the vast majority being visitors to the area. Adding to the demands of the department are plans to expand and improve the facilities at Kingsley Reservoir, which will just make that popular location all the greater demand on resources.

To Lynn Orr and the volunteers at The History Museum of Hood River County, as they continue to raise their profile as a multi-faceted community place (they hosted jazz concerts and speakers in 2016) and plan an exciting series of exhibitions in 2017 and 2018, including an important one on Hispanics in the community.

To Sen. Chuck Thomsen and Rep. Mark Johnson as they work with fellow lawmakers to make critical decisions on the budget, PERS, transportation and infrastructure funding and other vital matters in what feels like a watershed Legislative session in Salem in February.

The people of Hood River Shelter Services, as they devote themselves to providing shelter and outreach for the homeless, in the often difficult system of shifting the site once a week – may 2017 be the year a permanent home is found. It is past time for local government as well as other non-profits to take an active role in the search for a solution.

To all who make things happen, publicly or privately, here are the words of coach Bobby Bowden:

“To have the kind of year you want to have, something has to happen that you can’t explain why it happened. Something has to happen that you can’t coach.”

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