The ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government has entered its third week. As a recently retired 36-year employee of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), I can say from experience that government shutdowns cause a waste of resources far beyond what some might imagine. And, locally, we had best hope that Mount Hood does not choose now as the time to awaken from its slumber and threaten a violent eruption, because the furloughed employees of the USGS are not on duty to respond.
Government shutdowns come and go, but the current shutdown is unlike any that have preceded it. On Dec. 11, 2018, before a national television audience, President Donald Trump proudly proclaimed personal ownership of the shutdown. Like a fuming toddler, he has to have his way. He insists that he will perpetuate the shutdown until Congress agrees to his demand that American taxpayers shell out more than $5 billion to pay for a wall on our southern border — a wall intended to defend our country from an enemy that doesn’t exist.
In all likelihood, Trump doesn’t really give a whit about border security. (If he did, he would consult experts on the matter rather than following the urgings of amateurs such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.) Instead, like Chinese emperors of the distant past, Trump wants a Great Wall as his personal legacy. What monument could be more fitting for a man so adept at dividing our country?
Have you considered the order of succession to the presidency? After the president and the vice president, then it’s Nancy Pelosi.
A wish supported
It was so good to read the recent Hood River News “wish list” editorial (Jan. 2, headlined “Hopes and Toasts”) calling for a meeting of the minds to discuss using the West Cascade ODOT yard property for affordable housing instead of sacrificing Morrison Park. Add it to my 2019 wish list as well! Others have brought this option up numerous times and the public deserves to know if this is possible or not. And if not … why not? And yes, such a meeting absolutely should happen before any further efforts are undertaken to turn an existing park into a bunch of houses when a seemingly perfect option lies less than two blocks away.
Why does the Housing Authority continue to turn a blind eye to the large number of vocal and articulate park supporters? Why are they so resistant to looking at other options? Turning a protected natural area into a development (and proposing to sell it to the developer for $1!) runs in the face of common sense and everything we cherish about the Gorge. Something feels pretty fishy here and this Gorge resident would like to know what’s really going on!
‘Yard’ makes sense
“Can the West Cascade ODOT yard property be transformed for use as affordable housing and how do we go about it?”
I would love to see this transformation just a block away from the skate park and Frisbee golf park. This serious discussion should happen before any further efforts are put into taking out Morrison Park and turning it into housing. Taking the long view on the both the park (aka Lot 700) and “The Yard” makes sense. Our parks should be here to stay and all other options should be exhausted.
Some people claim that man is causing sea levels and ocean temperatures to rise. But there is some evidence that this is not the case.
Sea level: Climatologist Judith Curry found that rising sea levels are not abnormal, nor can they be pinned on human-caused climate change. She states that they have been in “slow creep” for the last 150 years, before the post-1950 carbon dioxide emissions. She states that sea levels were actually higher in some regions about 5,000 to 7,000 years ago.
She said that an approximate estimation of rise would be six inches to five feet and that anything over two feet is “increasingly weakly justified.” In most of the cases where entities are suing, half of the sea level rise is really more from the land sinking than what the ocean is doing.
Ocean temperatures: According to the journal Paleoceanography, current North Atlantic surface temperatures are well below those of the Medieval Warming Period, 950-1200 AD.
Stories to cover
As we start a new year, there are still some stories that need to have more coverage and investigation. In 2017, we had a story about the Hood River-White Salmon Bridge being vandalized. The vandals were never identified. The story covering this crime identified the fact that the vandalism was meant to shut down the bridge. But key questions were absent from any other discussion about this event. How could individuals commit the vandalism without being seen? Why did they do it? And what steps has the Port of Hood River taken to prevent this from happening again?
In May of 2018, we see a report of a Hood River County Parks employee stealing $125,000 from the county. The county wants to propose a sales tax to support current budget needs. Shouldn’t someone be asking the county what steps they have taken to account for the money they have already been entrusted with?
In May of 2018, a young child died while in the care of an illegal daycare. I had to research other news outlets to find out that a child care licensing compliance specialist helped keep this daycare open illegally. It’s a shame we haven’t seen any more articles that would follow up this story with important questions. Maybe we should ask if there were any other illegal daycares within the county this compliance specialist helped break the law.
And finally, in October of 2018, we had a shooting in Hood River that resulted in a man being shot and being flown to Portland for medical help. This man is not from Hood River. The shooter(s) have yet to be identified. The motive for the shooting was never identified. Is this gang violence taking place in our community?
These stories are not small events. Hopefully this year, we can see some active investigative reporting into issues and events that are related to our community’s safety and local government corruption.
Editor’s Note: In recent months, Hood River News has published several articles on the daycare defendants, reporting on the topics mentioned by Kenneth Ebi.
Explore lands for housing
I appreciated your “wish list” for 2019 (Jan. 2 editiorial), particularly the request that the city explore the possible use of the ODOT site for building affordable housing instead of taking over Morrison Park. We should explore not only that option, but the availability of other state-owned properties in the county that could be entirely appropriate for the same uses as the current ODOT site on Cascade or for use for affordable housing.
We need affordable housing for people with low incomes, and also for the “missing middle,” in order to provide a diverse housing base that keeps our community attractive and lets people at various stages of their lives find homes here. But once we’ve lost our “green belt” areas, we won’t easily get them back again. Let’s “grow in,” not “grow out” by consuming park and green space at the borders of our community.
We’re sharing the same struggles other communities across the country have with housing prices and availability, but we can use some of the creative solutions others have found to help preserve open space while helping to provide homes for people who need them. The state’s Housing & Community Services department funds a variety of grants and tax credits to support homes for those in need. Let’s see if they can pony up and consider applying the costs of moving the current facility to another available site as part of the “funding” for affordable housing.
Other sites exist — a parcel of about four acres near the high school; another of more than 34 acres at the edge of town. Browse the county’s GIS map and you’ll find other parcels in and around town, and on the borders, that the state could use and already owns (hrccd.co.hood-river.or.us/county-webmap). Ninety minutes of dialogue between state and city with the mindset that we’ll leave with four alternate sites, costs and solutions would be a fine start to 2019.
Thanks for staying focused on this!
Full info needed
Your Jan. 2 article, “Global warming impacts: Legislature receives ‘urgent warning’ in new report,” should concern all citizens.
Unfortunately, the report on which it is based from the Oregon Global Warming Commission uses information that is seriously flawed and underestimates the carbon emission impacts of forestry.
The error occurs at the highest levels internationally and affects research at lower levels, including the federal Forest Service and EPA, the state Departments of Forestry and Environmental Quality, and local work, such as the county’s Energy Plan.
The problem is shown clearly in another recent report to the legislature from Portland’s Center for a Sustainable Economy, Oregon Forest Carbon Policy: Scientific and technical brief to guide legislative intervention (sustainable-economy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Oregon-Forest-Carbon-Policy-Technical-Brief-1.pdf).
This research shows that carbon emissions from logging are greater (33 percent of Oregon’s total) than those from either the transportation (23 percent) or residential/commercial (22 percent) sectors.
Unfortunately, the government agencies have chosen to ignore this report and keep making the same error.
The consequences are severe. Because it uses such a low figure (based upon Department of Environmental Quality research), the Global Warming Commission does not even show a separate emissions category for forestry, and shows instead transportation (39 percent), residential/commercial (32 percent), industrial (19 percent) and agriculture (10 percent).
Because forestry is estimated so low and not made a separate sector, it is hard to see the impact in this report to the legislature.
It is worse locally. Last year, the county adopted an Energy Plan that doesn’t even mention forestry.
This error is quite serious for a county whose land area is roughly 75 percent forested, where the logging industry is so important, and where the county derives half as much of its annual revenue from its tree farm as it takes in property taxes.
How can we plan for future controlled carbon emissions if official work is based upon such erroneous information?
Here are some real numbers for those keeping track of the president’s financial plan to resurrect the U.S. economy:
1) $12 billion in government handouts to farmers hurt by the tariffs;
2) Every penny I earned and saved in 2018 vanished from my retirement account because of the poor stock market and economy; and
3) The federal government raised interest rates FOUR times in 2018.
People can create conspiracies about witch hunts, Clintons, Kennedys, or any other nonsense they choose. These things happened in the real world in 2018.
Thank God the Hood River News is served by a stellar, thoughtful, objective, independent editor: Kirby Neumann-Rea.
His “wish list” for 2019 includes “taking the long view” by not rushing to destroy Morrison Park for development.
There are many other alternative lands that could be used. His recommendation of the West Cascade ODOT Yard is a prime example.
We urge our three new city councilors to keep our legally protected parks safe, and unite our community.
Morrison Park may not be gentrified, but it is precious.
Jeanine Wehr Jones