October 8, 2005

The old song goes, “The bear goes over the mountain,” to see what he could see.

It’s a song about what one might learn in the normal course of life’s travels. And the normal course for hundreds of Hood River Valley High School students includes participating in athletics and activities; those endeavors include travel to other schools.

What the students and others can see, in the case of the Oregon School Activities Association league alignments, is the wrong side of the mountain for Hood River Valley High School athletic teams.

Three years ago, the OSAA moved HRVHS from the familiar territory of the Mt. Hood Conference, and its Portland area schools, reassigning it to play on the other side of the mountain, against eastern and central Oregon teams including Pendleton, Hermiston, Crook County, Redmond, and Bend.

Adam Lapierre’s report on page A9 spells out the strong and numerous arguments put forth by the School District in favor of returning HRVHS to one of two potential alignments in the Portland area and northern Willamette Valley.

We support the district’s recommendation that HRVHS be placed in the 5A-District 2 league with Sandy, Milwaukie, Woodburn, Silverton, Parkrose, and Wilsonville.

In a way, it’s too bad the realignment plan can’t bring The Dalles-Wahtonka into the same District 2 arrangement. It would sustain the rejuvenated Hood River-The Dalles rivalry and create an eight-team league, yet still leave the former IMC alignment — where The Dalles-Wahtonka seems headed — at seven teams.

The district’s second choice is to opt up to 6A, District 3, against familiar rivals David Douglas, Reynolds, Centennial and others from the former Mt. Hood Conference. Those rivalries are still fresh enough to matter.

Previously in this space we have urged a return to a Mt. Hood-greater Portland arrangement, and away from the gerrymandered IMC grouping that forced excessive travel costs and loss of instruction time on our local youth. The drives to Wilsonville and Sandy are safer ones than to Bend and Pendleton, and it will help keep and attract good coaches who also wish to limit the amount of time they must spend away from home and family.

Moving HRVHS back to an MHC-oriented arrangement is needed for many reasons having to do with academics, finances, and family life.

It’s impossible to ignore one simple factor that is unlikely to change anytime soon.

In three words: $2.67 per gallon.

Talk about a high price to bear.

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