City, Parks board talk Morrison Park, housing

Council passes resolution for ‘Indigenous Day’

Parks use and city planning policy, both dealing with affordable housing, dominated business this week before both City Council and the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District.

The city held a hearing Monday on a proposed change to city planning code, known as Title 5, which sets out specifics for licensing and regulation of short-term rentals. No action was taken on Title 5; the council gave revisions to staff to present in an updated report at either the Oct. 11 or Oct. 24 meeting. (The meeting takes place Oct. 11 because Oct. 10 is the Indigenous Peoples Day holiday.)

Support was mixed, with speakers representing both the Liveable Hood River group, which favors regulations, and Loveable Hood River, which has generally opposed them. Council approved a resolution declaring the second Monday of October as Indigenous People’s Day, a local change from the federal “Columbus Day” observance. The city will hold an Indigenous Day event at Second and State at 5 p.m. on Oct. 10 that is open to the public.

City planning director Cindy Walbridge briefed the parks board on the Morrison Park rezone proposal, identified by the city as a key step in helping meet the needs of affordable housing in the city. The board heard opposing comments from four people, including three members of the Klaas family, whose home neighbors the property. They said they oppose the loss of recreation opportunity and open space, and said the land should be maximized for use in pedestrian, bike, and auto connectivity, including as physical access to future trail access north to the waterfront.

The Morrison rezone goes to hearing before Planning Commission on Oct. 17, and the deadline for public comment is 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7. Testimony can be delivered to City Hall, 211 Second St., or emailed to

The session was the final one for long-time District executive director Lori Stirn, and the first for her successor, Mark Hickok.

In other action the parks board approved the city’s request that $5,000 of Parks District Systems Development Charge funds be used for the Nichols basin trail project completed this summer.

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