Letters to the Editor for August 11

‘Dog Poop Trail’

Hood River’s east and south-side Indian Creek Trails are truly neighborhood and community gems. The trails are popular with locals and visitors. Trails are designated for “multi-use” and are ideal for dog walkers. I enjoy seeing so many happy dogs and their owners on the trail. My observation is, however, that many dog owners disrespect the environment and the trail’s other users by not picking up their dog’s poop. Even though Hood River Parks and Rec provides free poop-bags and deposit cans along the trail, I just today counted several dozen smelly dog poop piles left by dog owners along mile and a half stretch of the trail. This is not only disgusting, but also unhealthy.

If being respectful to other users of the trails is not enough to motivate you to pick up after your dog, here are a few more reasons:

1.Storm water carries pet waste and other pollutants directly into waterways.

2.Animal waste adds nitrogen to water. Excess nitrogen depletes oxygen in water necessary for beneficial underwater grasses, wildlife and fish.

3.Animal waste may contain harmful organisms such as giardia, salmonella and E. coli that can be transmitted to humans and other animals by ingesting contaminated water.

4.Roundworms and hookworms deposited by infected animals can live in the soil for long periods of time and be transmitted to other animals and humans.

5.It’s the law! Many urban and suburban areas require you to pick up after your pet. Even if there is no restriction, cleaning up after your pet is always the right thing to do.

6.No one likes to step in pet waste and spread it into homes, cars and businesses.

7.Picking up after your dog will help prevent odors.

8.It’s easy to clean up by carrying plastic baggies in your pocket. Baggies can be secured and thrown in the garbage. The city has many stations with bags so you don’t have to carry them.

9.Your neighbors and your city will appreciate your good manners.

Please be considerate and remember, “If your dog poops but nobody is watching, you still need to pick it up!”

Michael Stroud

Hood River

Missed opportunity

The airshow in Osh Kosh, Wisc., sounds like it was a great opportunity for WAAAM and its volunteers. Kudos to all of you.

But I am confused by Russ Paddock’s letter to the editor of Aug. 8, 2018. I don’t know how he came to the conclusion that an uninformed woman’s decision to not take a brochure from Oregon is somehow the fault of “Portland, the Willamette Valley and spillovers” attacking Greg Walden. It sounds like she was the one giving Oregon a “black eye.” In the United States of America, we have people with varied opinions, beliefs and lifestyles. Conservatives and liberals; Catholics, Muslims and atheists; vegetarians and omnivores; city dwellers and country folk.

That is the strength of the U.S. If we all believed the same things, it would not only be boring, but there would be no need for elections.

For example, I live in Hood River County and will be voting for Jamie McLeod-Skinner because I believe in inclusiveness and I do not feel that Walden and his policies are good for the majority of his constituents or for our country.

It is unfortunate that this woman chooses to live such a limited life, and it is too bad Mr. Paddock didn’t take the opportunity to educate her about what makes Oregon such a great place to live.

Amy Wheeler

Hood River

‘Find courage’

In case you missed it, Rep. Devin Nunez has contradicted the White House’s denial of any collusion (but if there was, they maintain, it’s not a crime), by saying that it is illegal.

However, he believes that defending Donald Trump and the Republican majority in Congress is more important than pursuing justice for the American people.

I ask you, Republican voters, where did your courage go? How did you become so afraid of Democrats that you would rather vote for a lying, serial molester who is thoroughly in the pocket of the Russian government, a government that has been historically antagonistic to our culture, country, and way of life? A country that created and popularized Communism; where, according to Masha Gessen, there is no public opinion, no freedom of thought or expression, and certainly no such thing as a free and fair election. Yet 35 percent of this country would rather be Russian than a Democrat, which is just about the most un-American thing I can think of.

As for our Republican Rep. Walden, voters will not forget your complacency in this matter, but you already know that because the one place you won’t speak publicly is the place that knows you the best.

Find your courage.

Benjamin Sheppard

Hood River

Parallels

Lewis Sinclair’s “It Can’t Happen Here,” written in 1935, portrays a fascist Republican nominee who wins the presidency. As POTUS, he incarcerates immigrants, promotes corporate welfare at the expense of the populace, vilifies the press, lies, stacks the courts with fascists, quashes labor unions and subverts the constitution.

If Trump could read, I’d say he is using this as his playbook. What is most interesting is that his treachery is not carried out alone. The president requires minions willing to set aside their ethics and pledge to uphold the Constitution.

The parallels are staggering. Walden is Trump’s minion. We must all work to get Trump’s cronies out of office because it is happening here.

David Michalek

Hood River

Consider salmon

My Daddy watched it happen. Luhr Jensen Sr. bemoaned the growing number of dams on the Columbia River and its tributaries. Since my birth in 1936, we have seen many dams on our beloved river (furnishing needed electricity) for our growing Northwest population.

One of the major dams (Grand Coulee, 1936) completely blocked salmon passage from the upper parts of the Columbia, which constituted a major portion of the upper Columbia that traveled deep into Canada, furnishing large (quantity and size), very plentiful salmon runs in our beloved river.

Yes, it’s true that a great many people didn’t give much of a rip about salmon. However, salmon are a resource that mean a great deal to many, including the Native Americans, who come from many parts of western America to augment their food supply for the entire year.

Flash forward, we now have 10 or more dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers that very effectively block the necessary spawning grounds for these fish. Of course, we can argue that our states and country has sponsored huge amounts of mitigating taxpayer dollars to build hatcheries that do their best to supplement the more natural population of our beloved salmon. No argument! However, we all know about the shrinking runs that we have that our fishermen have endured for many hears. The dam counts and the “annoyed” fishermen will vehemently attest to that.

Perhaps the removal of the dams on our smaller steams will have a positive effect on spawning abilities and growth of the runs. (God willing.) And that is one contributing factor that we can be thankful for.

We should not go further without a word of gratitude for the many fishing clubs and other organizations that positively contribute both time and money towards the preservation of this valuable resource.

Please, my friends, consider the efforts of many to protect our land, our trees, our historical homes, even seals, from becoming simply ancient history. Our beloved salmon, a Northwest icon, need your help. Consider!

Phil Jensen

Hood River

McLeod-Skinner is in touch

When Greg Walden was first elected, he did, to a great extent, represent the people in the district. Now, it truly isn’t so. Not only does Greg no longer represent us, he even works his summer vacation gaining campaign donations from folk not living in his district — or even Oregon!

Greg just had a dinner where he had Speaker of the House Paul Ryan present and invited some “fat cats” to dine with him at the tune of $2,500 or more, with the top ticket being some $25,000. This great dining event wasn’t even in our district as it was held in Wilsonville. Walden no longer represents Oregon; he is in the hands that support the insiders of the Beltway of Washington, D.C., like Ryan, at the expense of his constituents, the voters of Oregon’s Congressional District 2.

But we have the opportunity to change all that with Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who is spending her time this summer in our region, talking with Oregonians about support for the development of good paying jobs for working families, affordable and comprehensive health care and financial security for those who have retired. We know that true livable wages support not only the earner, but the local economy because the discretionary income is spent locally. We need more of this type representation in D.C., not swamp rats who take the money and run.

Greg has lost his touch with eastern and southern Oregonians and hopes the money he raises will help fund a big campaign to hide the facts. But Oregon voters shouldn’t be fooled. Let’s retire him with a vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner on Nov. 6 and restore Oregon for Oregonians.

Paul Zastrow

Hood River

Support recommendation

I am writing regarding the issue of short-term rentals (STRs) and the related issue of affordable housing which are currently being discussed by the county commissioners and citizens here in Hood River.

I’m operating from two premises:

1.That affordable housing is positive; it encourages diversity and helps people who provide valuable services to the community (trades people, retail workers, home healthcare providers, etc.) with the ability to live here without commuting long distances.

2.The county has a financial problem which may result in a reduction of county services, i.e. a smaller police force, less snow removal from roads, closing of city parks, etc.

Based on the county commissioners minutes from their last meeting, there may be as many as 170 STRs operating in the county, of which 17 are permitted. Assuming the permitted STRs are paying the Transient Room Tax and some fraction of the unregistered STRs are not, then a source of income for the county and city is being lost. Numerous studies in other cities have illuminated the effects of unregulated STRs on average housing costs. Higher short-term rents increase the value of the houses in the community, making purchasing difficult for first time buyers. Increasing rental costs often outpace income growth by a factor of two. The progressive inability of renters to pay escalating rents can increase the frequency of homelessness, which further strains local communities.

Communities around the country are making efforts to regulate STRs because of the numerous negative impacts stemming from lack of policy. Of the proposals mentioned in the county commissioners’ minutes, one has the best potential for increasing revenues and protecting our community. The planning commission’s recommendation to the board of commissioners focuses on defining residency as one’s “domicile” and is consistent with Oregon statutes.

Proof of residence such as an Oregon tax return, a driver’s license listing residence at the site of the STR and voter registration would simultaneously provide revenue for the county as well as mitigate again the cycle of remote ownership, increasing rents, loss of diversity, and homelessness.

Kirk M. Lalor

Hood River



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