Letters to the Editor for Aug. 25 edition

Become a CASA

I am a grateful new member of The Gorge community. The people here are generous, kind and are continually trying to make it a special place.

As a photographer friend of mine recently told me, “It’s the most beautiful place I have never heard of.” Because I wanted to be a contributing member of my new community, soon after my arrival I enrolled in training to become a CASA volunteer.

Those training weeks were challenging as I adjusted to my new home and navigated the snowy, winter roads. I will always be grateful for my CASA teachers who listened to me whine about driving in the snow!

Since becoming a CASA volunteer, I have learned so much about the foster care system, children and trauma, and local services that support children and families. My first case closed when the child was successfully reunited with his parents. I was so impressed by how hard the parents worked to overcome their challenges and to provide their child with a stable and routine life — something we often take for granted. It was a gift to be a part of the process of reuniting a family and now watching them buy their first house!

My wish is that we see all children in the community as our own. Small efforts can have big, positive impacts and becoming a CASA volunteer is just one way to support children who are going through a traumatic time in their short lives.

If you want to help your community and are curious about CASA, call Columbia Gorge CASA at 541-386-3468. There are 40 kids in the Gorge waiting for a CASA volunteer. The next CASA training begins on Sept. 20.

Billie Curry, CASA Volunteer

The Dalles


How many fingers would it take to count the number of Rs who would protest and want an investigation into “questionable” election results that gave them very surprising victories? And are Trump and Putin above taking the most anti-principled and dishonest steps toward getting what they crave?

So, argue me out of what will seem at first a paranoid, and unhinged fantasy: Is it paranoid and completely unhinged to think that what Putin and Trump have planned is an election fraud that has been perfected?

If strategic hacking into paperless systems in the right places were to occur, even a 60 vote Senate and retained control of the house is possible (without any shots fired … before the immense and assured stability threatening protests, that is).

Is King Kongski above such a thing if he thought it can really happen? Is Putin above it?

Are a large number of Republicans beyond wanting to keep control, even by such means? (What if they’re in the dark on the hack, the election seems completely “businesslike” and the results are not unbelievable, just “too good to be true,” “beyond our wildest dreams”, etc.?)

The good news is people in my bracket will pay even less taxes, English will once again be all you hear, people WILL stand up and not talk during the National Anthem, NFL players might have spikes on their helmets, China will be contained by new alliances and peace with “Russher” will be secure as our two great armies might do joint war games in New Mexico and Eastern Oregon and California (even further west if protests continue).

Is Donald Trump beyond this?

Will his base support it, even believe it was all legit and that counter stories are fake news put out by enemies of the people AND attempts to uncover the truth (which is not really Truth anyway) by our Intelligence agencies is just Deep State interference with genuine democracy?

“So, paper ballots now, everywhere!” is a completely rational demand, I think — at least that, whether I am right or off my rocker on details.

Bob Williams

Hood River

PCT off-limits to bicycles

I went to Timothy Lake with my husband, my horse, and my barn family to trail ride earlier this August.

Members of my party learned that a bicyclist startled a horse on a technical portion of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The horse fell to its death off of a cliff. I do not know what happened to the rider. I do not know what the process is for removing the equine’s body. We had ridden through this stretch two times the day before.

Here is one synopsis of trail etiquette that I condensed from my dad, a fellow trail rider, and REI literature:

  1. Horses get the right of way from both hikers and mountain bikers.

  2. Talk to a horse and rider that you meet on the trail as you approach, whether in front or behind, and especially if you have a backpack.

  3. If you (as a hiker or a mountain biker) meet horses on a trail, step off the trail on the downhill side.

In our local forest trails and wilderness, let’s tread softly and respectfully as to all our fellows, and pay attention to any trail signs that designate, or prohibit, horses or bikes. On the PCT, watch for horses, and remember that bikes are prohibited.

Bridget Bailey

Hood River

See play

“If you like it, tell your friends ...”

That is what Tom Burns, the director of “You Can’t Take It With You,” said to the audience in his introduction to the play Saturday evening at the Columbia Center for the Arts.

I liked it very much and I am following up with this call to readers of the Hood River News. The play was a hit on Broadway and on the screen when first produced in 1938. The writing of Moss Hart and George F. Kaufman is as funny and insightful as it was then. In fact, many of the subjects and situations have come around again. Good writing doesn’t get creaky with age.

If you need a night of comedy relief get to the CCA and see YCTIWY! Three performances remain ... Friday, Aug. 24 and Saturday, Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m., and a Sunday matinee Aug. 26 at 1:30 p.m.

Sharp-eyed theater-goers may spot a certain editor of a local newspaper as an IRS agent who looks very much like Robert Mueller III.

Dick Swart

Hood River

Walden ‘our voice’

Wildfires, our new normal; It seems we have a worsening “new normal.”

Congressman Greg Walden shared a letter with me this week. In it he told about a mom in Southern Oregon who feels like she and others are “…hostages in our own homes.” The mother described what communities in Southern Oregon and across the west are enduring yet again: A summer filled with smoke and fire. She told Greg, “My children are robbed of being able to play outside. I absolutely hate that nothing is done to prevent this from happening.”

Greg told me that in recent weeks, he has traveled through Southern Oregon which has been getting much more smoke in their towns than we have had in the Gorge. However, I know that we are having the same concerns.

It is obvious to me that we cannot accept this as our “new normal” and as Greg says the only way to fix this problem that impacts us all is to change the broken policies that have led to our overstocked forests that cause these unnaturally catastrophic wildfires.

As chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Greg is going to hold a hearing this fall to examine the health consequences of the smoke from these fires and explore the various contributing factors, from climate change to overstocked forests. For example, in some parts of Oregon, our forests are packed with nearly 1,000 trees per acre on land that historically had 20 trees per acre — a clear sign that our forests are beyond their natural balance.

Greg said a recent study by The Nature Conservancy, the Forest Service, and others found that fuel management projects can reduce the size and intensity of fire up to 70 percent and reduce carbon emissions from the fire by up to 85 percent. He says that’s why we need to give our forest managers additional tools to remove the excess fuel loads that have built up in our forests.

Thank you, Greg for listening to your constituents. We need you to be our voice in Washington D.C.

Tom Yates

Hood River

Money talks to Walden

Greg Walden was back in Oregon on July 30 — at a closed fundraiser for wealthy donors — in Portland. If you wanted to talk to him, it set you back $2,500 to $25,000 plus your travel to do it. We need someone who isn’t going to be beholden to big-money donors. We need someone who will listen to us and represent our Oregon values. Jamie McLeod-Skinner is running for U.S. Congress, and she is the change we need. Vote for Jamie, a leader who will work for us.

Sam Murillo

Hood River

‘Greg is working’

I have seen the recent letters and articles in the news, and while they do a pretty good job of advertising for a California democrat (McLeod-Skinner) to represent rural Oregon, they were missing some facts. While they would like to claim the Greg Walden isn’t here, he is here — working. It seems as though they would much prefer for him to be here to get yelled at.

First off, whenever Greg comes back to the district, he is met with protesters that focus on disrupting his work. It is very difficult to meet with families hurt by the opioid crisis when there are protesters outside the room, ready and willing to scream in their face. Secondly, from what I can tell, he spends every weekend here in Oregon to meet with his constituents and learn what Oregonians need to see happen in D.C.

Those articles and letters are just proof that the media and Portland democrats would like to see Greg in order to yell at him. But fortunately for the rest of us, Greg is working. Just like he was elected to do.

Doug Arnell

Hood River

Thanks, HR

As long-time visitors to Hood River who are able to spend long periods of time in summer because of the generous nature of people willing to share their homes through STRs, my family and I would just like to say thank you. Your community is as wonderful as any in the world, the recreation opportunities are unparalleled, and if we could live there we would. To all the people we’ve met over 25 years, and to the friends we’ve made, may the best of everything come your way. And last, but not least, to the people and dogs we see so many mornings in summer on that godsend known as the Sandbar — same time next year?

Rick Porter and family

Calgary, Canada

Walden has lost this vote

I am a Parkdale native and third-generation orchardist who left the valley to work in sales in the Pacific Northwest for 25 years. I returned to manage my family’s orchard business. Those years away gave me the opportunity to see and experience the big world and gain perspective on what is important in life. I am low-key and understated in my political opinions, but feel strongly that now is the time to speak up.

I voted for Greg Walden when he was a newly-elected Congressman. He was enthusiastic, credible and eager to listen to his constituents and represent them in Congress. The Walden of today is an entirely different individual. He is all about the dollar and special interest groups that fund his re-election campaign, without ever making a public appearance, participating in a debate or returning phone calls, emails or letters.

Greg is more concerned about moving up his party’s hierarchy than focusing on the issues. Immigration, the environment and healthcare are all priorities for me as an orchardist. Instead, Greg supports building a wall to keep out my workforce and has not acknowledged, or made efforts to combat, global warming, which yearly affects our crops. These are not the views I want from the person who represents me and my community in Congress.

I have decided to support Jamie McLeod-Skinner, an advocate for rural communities who has an impressive resume of accomplishments. She supports a path to citizenship for the workers in our agriculture community, rewarding immigrants who contribute to our communities, earn degrees and pay taxes. She supports safeguards in our environment with sustainable management of water and air quality on public lands and for cultural resources. In healthcare, she supports financial and regional access to a full range of physical and behavioral healthcare for all.

Most impressive to me is her ability to listen to both sides of the issues, and to work to solve these concerns in a nonpartisan manner. Truly a genuine candidate.

Greg Walden has reached his “term limit” and it is time for a change. I hope you will join me in voting for Jamie McLeod-Skinner for U.S. Congress.

Gordy Sato


Walden hurts farmers

Congressman Greg Walden has long been a strong supporter of hardline immigration policies, both during the current administration and in prior ones, and he is hurting Oregon farmers.

This past June, he voted in favor of HR 6136, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, which, among other provisions, would have provided $25 billion — yes, BILLION — for Trump’s border wall. (Fortunately, the measure failed.) Walden remained silent on parent-child separations and conditions in ICE detention centers until the public outcry became too strong to ignore; finally in July, he visited a detention center in Texas. His statements have been carefully crafted to appear to support keeping parents and children together, while still supporting the administration’s hardline policies on the issue (and blaming past administrations and the legal system).

Walden rarely speaks publicly about the impact of these policies on the loss of labor for agricultural communities — understandable since his constituents are the ones who are being hurt. When he does, he spins the administration’s actions to sound pro-ag, even though they will clearly hurt Oregon farmers and orchardists.

For example, he says he voted for HR 6136 “to help provide Oregon’s agriculture community with a stronger labor force.” Tightening border security in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform only ensures there will be too few hands in the field and too many farmers unable to grow and harvest.

Walden is out of touch with the needs of his constituents, and he needs to get out of the way. Jamie McLeod-Skinner listens and is committed to real immigration reform to help our orchardists and farmers work their lands.

Janette Skarda

Hood River

Civics 101

Abuse of power: Malfeasance in office.

Collusion: A secret agreement between two or more parties to deceive, mislead, or defraud.

Corruption: Dishonesty for personal gain.

Money Laundering: Mixing dirty money with legitimate income and then integrating into the businesses’ cashflow.

Obstruction of Justice: The crime of obstructing prosecutors or other officials.

Organized Crime: Groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals who engage in illegal activity for money and profit.

Treason: Betrayal of country.

Unindicted Co-Conspirator: A person that is alleged in an indictment to have engaged in conspiracy, but who is not charged in the same indictment.

High crimes and misdemeanors: Perjury of oath, abuse of authority, bribery, intimidation, misuse of assets, failure to supervise, dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct, and refusal to obey a lawful order.

Constitutional Crisis: A problem or conflict in the function of a government that the political constitution or other fundamental governing law is perceived to be unable to resolve.

This situation has evolved into something way past name calling. Where is the Republican Party? Why isn’t country more important than party?

What happened to their oath, their vow to uphold the constitution? Why hasn’t Walden renounced the actions of he who should not be named? The Republican led congress renounced Nixon’s conduct. It is time to do it again. Quickly. Before any more real damage is done.

No one is above the law.

David Michalek

Hood River

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