Letters to the Editor for Oct. 21

Thanking the helpers

When the Eagle Creek and Archer Mountain fires were burning through the Gorge, I have to say that I was deeply disturbed. I was disturbed by the magnitude of the damage being done to the beautiful place we all call home. I was disturbed by the threat suddenly presented to homes, businesses, families and friends. I was disturbed by the overwhelming sense of helplessness that tends to overtake us all when the unthinkable happens in our own backyard.

But then I remembered a quote by Fred Rogers that I have found comforting in the past. “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping … In times of disaster, I remember these words and am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in the world.”

It is in the spirit of recognizing the “helpers” who protected the Gorge that Insitu has organized a Community Celebration for First Responders on Oct. 28. We wish to honor the brave men and women who worked so hard to fight the Eagle Creek and Archer Mountain fires and have sent the organizations involved an open invitation to the event.

I extend that to all community members and hope you will join us as we celebrate the efforts of all our emergency responders and volunteers. Admission is free with food and drinks available for purchase, and we’ve arranged for local musicians Family Man and Tony Smiley to perform, so we hope to see you on Oct. 28 between 1-4 p.m. at the Hood River County Fairgrounds.

Ryan M. Hartman

Insitu President and CEO

Hood River

WACP flawed

I recently attended the last Planning Committee meeting for the Westside Area Concept Plan (WACP) and left both uplifted and with a sunken heart. It was great see 75-plus citizens there to learn more and express their opinions. Unfortunately, a majority of opinions expressed, including mine, were of deep concern for Hood River’s future and safety should the WACP move forward. My biggest concerns are that the research and process on which the WACP is built is foundationally flawed, and our city infrastructure dire. Think about a house — we rely on a solid foundation before we overlay and build the structure so that it does not collapse and fail. If something in the foundation was adjusted and the building process was flawed, wouldn’t you revise your plan and fix it before continuing to invest and build a structure on it? A major input, the population growth rate, adjusted significantly during the process, yet WACP planning moved forward without adjustment. Applying the 1.4 percent adjusted growth rate shows a very different goal to strive for — we need less than half of the 1,800-plus homes planned for in the WACP. That’s the difference between 3,000- plus additional cars in Hood River or 1,500.

Picture these cars parking on streets, the likely result of the proposed code incentives. Picture them added to our already failing, jammed intersections. Picture our daily safety: delayed emergency response services, cyclists and pedestrians, our wildfire evacuation plan ensured to fail. Picture our recreation hubs. National studies on creating equitable, healthy and sustainable communities through smart planning all advise “infrastructure first,” yet it’s secondary in the WACP to high density, which doesn’t guarantee affordable housing (what high density was meant to solve). All the bells and whistles mentioned (schools, parks, preservation of natural spaces, etc.) have no plan nor funding behind them. The WACP foundation needs correcting and plan rebuilding, using the good workable components from where it lies today.

Meaningful community involvement is essential. The time is now to get involved and work with our city to best manage growth for future generations before it’s too late. Let’s go!

Kathryn Huhn

Hood River

Fallen fruit

As the world’s human population increases, so does the need for food production. How sad that it is more lucrative for an orchardist in our area to cut down his trees and sell his land rather than grow fruit.

Julie Trantham

Hood River

‘Not hard’

First there was the Mnuchin vow of “no tax cuts for the rich.“ Now that the Trump Administration has a tax plan that gives 80 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent, he tells us that “it’s very hard to not give tax cuts to the wealthy.”

How about 1) cutting corporate taxes, 2) taxing capital gains and pass-through income as ordinary income, 3) retaining the estate tax and 4) making all income subject to Social Security taxes.

This would improve the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, reduce inequality, shore up Social Security and reduce the deficit.

Not so hard!

Richard Davis

The Dalles

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