Support SB3

The Oregon senate has passed a bill, SB3, which would allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees. The Oregon House of Representatives is currently debating the bill. If this bill were to pass and become law, it would be an economic benefit for the Gorge. Communities with bachelor’s degree issuing institutions have access to more private, state and federal resources. Please contact Anna Williams and Kate Brown to voice your favor for this bill. I would include Chuck Thomsen, but he is a chief sponsor of the bill. Thanks, Chuck.

Robert Kovacich

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

Aqua park?

Re: Proposed aqua park in Nichols Boat Basin.

I have four questions about this proposed use:

1. How many Hood River County families think $15 is an “affordable” entrance fee for one hour of usage? Is this per person or per family? Either way, it will price many families out of the activity.

2. How can one to two employees realistically and safely operate and oversee such a large, water-based program  — especially if there are large inflatables blocking the lifeguard’s view? I’m assuming at least one of these positions is a certified lifeguard.

3. How is paying for your kids to play in this aqua park better than playing with them at the swimming beach (for free)? Either way, kids need parental supervision, so I don’t see how this helps the stated problem of kids “sitting on the beach” while their parents do traditional water sports.

4. How does privatizing an open public-use water area benefit the community as a whole?

Cindy Yoshimura

Hood River

Extension Services

Over the last several months, readers of the Hood River News have heard many opinions about the food and beverage tax and operating levy being proposed for voter consideration in 2019. While opinion writers have voiced many valid concerns both for and against the proposed tax measures, I’d like to encourage voters to consider what we stand to lose should the measures fail.

One of the programs that would be lost is the Hood River County Oregon State University Extension Service. And I am willing to bet that you or someone you know would be affected by the loss of the programs that fall under the Extension Service’s purview. The Hood River County Extension Service includes 4H, Strong Women, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, Small Farms, Horticulture, Open Campus, Juntos, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, Forestry and Master Food Preservers,  to name just a few.

If you feel that these are non-essentials, please consider the fact that Master Gardener volunteers alone provided the community with 3,747 hours of in-kind volunteer service in the last year. The value of this time is about $90,000! And that’s just one of the many programs coordinated by the Extension. An investment in this program is compounded by the investments of its participants.

The Extension Service programs offer residents affordable education that strengthens the local community and economy, sustains natural resources, and promotes healthy families and individuals. These investments impact nearly everyone in the county.

Please join me in supporting the county’s tax proposals in the upcoming election.

Jordan Kim


‘Business as usual’

According to Rep. Greg Walden: “No collusion.” “Time for partisans to move on.” (While ignoring likely obstruction of justice, as noted in Robert Mueller’s report.)

In other words — nothing to see here. Let’s get back to business as usual. Where “usual” is condoning, with nary a whisper, the vulgar, lying, racist behavior we witness from Donald Trump on a daily basis, or tolerating his willingness to conspire with Russia in order to leverage an advantage in the 2016 election.

And how about payoffs in violation of federal election law to cover up his affairs? No cause for concern with that? Or no problem overlooking his threats against the media and political opponents?

So many more examples ... maybe not illegal, but at a minimum revealing the ethical bankruptcy of this president.

Again, “Time for partisans to move on.” Business as usual, where the wealthiest get their tax cuts and deficits no longer matter. Or when corporations are relieved of pesky regulations, we can take comfort in their profits at the expense of polluted air and water.

These are your choices Mr. Walden, soon to be part of your legacy. Its party trumping patriotism, now.

In the past, as a thoughtful moderate, it may have been an awkward position for you to assume. But perhaps it isn’t so difficult now, if you are unencumbered by a moral compass or a spine.

Larry Jacoby

Hood River

Editor’s note: Rep. Walden released an official statement on April 18 regarding the full release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative report: “The special counsel’s full report confirms what we already knew from Attorney General Barr’s summary: President Trump and his campaign did not collude with the Russian government. I supported making sure Mr. Mueller had the unfettered ability and resources to conduct a thorough investigation, which he did. I supported releasing as much of the report as allowed by law, which the attorney general has done. Now, it’s time for the partisans to move on and for Congress to get to work on issues such as border security and immigration reform.”

Mueller’s report is publicly available at

Support 4-H

I am Hailey Harjo and I am a sixth grader at Wy’east Middle School. I enjoy 4-H because it teaches me responsibility and how to work hard. 4-H also builds relationships with human kind and animals.

I always enjoy the feeling of getting new animals and getting to name them. This year, I am doing a goat, lamb and duck. Every day, my sister and brothers talk about how they can’t wait to be old enough to show a big animal in 4-H. All my siblings love doing the Cloverbud program in 4-H!

If the county decides to no longer fund Extension Services, which 4-H falls under, then who is going to teach youth in our community how to love animals, cook, sew, public speak, and the list goes on, more than their x-box, Nintendo switch, or PS4? All I am trying to say is if 4-H is taken away from us, then the question is, when will we get this program back or will we get this amazing program back?

We live in an agricultural community. Without farmers we would not have food. Taking away 4-H is taking away the opportunity for kids to learn about agriculture and possibly furthering a career in this field, which will impact our community.

I hope you decide to help fund the 4-H program so kids like me can continue to have a place to learn and grow.

Hailey Harjo

Fat, Feathers and Fur 4-H Club

Hood River


“Give us more money or else.”

“Or else we will withhold access to public lands.”

“Or else we won’t provide minimal services to demonstrate control.”

The county wants to raise property taxes again rather than re-evaluate budget priorities. Saving money by closing Panorama Point surely won’t solve any meaningful budget shortfalls.

Through extortion, the county is forcing citizens to succumb to poorly managed, higher-cost government or else be deprived of easy access to our neighborhood park.

I guess the supervisors think they learned something from the library closures. Or from the Trump government.

David Evans

Hood River

Unfair sales tax on meals

This coming May election, Hood River County voters are being asked to approve a 5 percent sales tax on meals at our county’s restaurants.  We encourage county residents to vote ‘no’ on this proposal, which amounts to a sales tax on residents. The tax unfairly targets restaurants to provide a source of income for county services that all residents enjoy. The tax will adversely target and impact restaurant employees and their families by depressing restaurant sales and reducing worker tips and income. With the extreme seasonality of restaurants in the county, this will make wintertime employment and affordable housing even more challenging for restaurant employees. Our local and family owned restaurants, who will be most affected by this tax, are also some of the largest customers of local family-owned farms and other craft purveyors. This tax will have negative consequences across the whole farm to table supply chain in the Gorge.

At a time when restaurants and breweries face incredible competition and are adjusting to ever-increasing costs, it’s a terrible time to target our industry with a sales tax. The tax has been pitched as a tax on tourists, but please be clear, the year-around residents of Hood River will fund the bulk of this tax. Higher restaurant prices compared to other destinations will drive tourism away from Hood River County. Due to the seasonality of restaurant sales and the negative impacts of this tax, the income stream for the County will be unstable and at risk for the future.

We need a sustainable and balanced way to address the county’s financial problems, but targeting just one industry and the income of it’s hard working staff is not the way to do it. The county still has three years of budget reserves, so we have time to find a better way. Let’s not make it harder to work and live in Hood River. Please vote “no” on this sales tax on meals.

Matt Swihart

Double Mountain Brewery

Ken Whiteman, Rudy Kellner, Josh Pfriem

Pfriem Family Brewers

Chuck Hinman

RiverSide, Hood River,

BridgeSide, Cascade Locks

Mark Fellows

Director of Culinary Services, Mt. Hood Meadows

Andrew McElderry

Andrew’s Pizza, Skylight Theater, Hood River Cinemas

Chris and Stacie Creasy

Sixth Street Bistro and Pub

Lori Keller, Doug Caveny

Saw Tooth Roadhouse

John Hitt and Jason Kahler

Solera Brewery

Greg Knutson, Lisa Merkin

Full Sail Brewing Company

Tom Ogawa

Wicked Weed and Crazy Pepper

Susan and Randy Orzeck

Big Horse Brewing Company

Xani Petros

Divots Restaurant

Caroline Lipps

Thunder Island Brewing

‘Not right’

School boundaries. Why now? Slow down. Be transparent. Talk to families, AKA, “data points.”

The district is considering a boundary change to fix capacity problems at our schools. At the same time, the district’s consultant (Flo Analytics) predicts decreasing attendance overall, and the district is adding capacity at HRMS in summer 2020 using “leftover” bond money (see School Board meeting minutes from April 10, 2019.)

There are many problems with the boundary change proposal as it sits, including transportation/traffic problems and breaking-up of established neighborhoods. This is not an easy task. The bigger problem that has come to light is the process.

The superintendent, who resigns at the end of this school year, (1.) is attempting to complete the boundary changes in one month — our county is over 500 square miles and contains eight schools; (2.) has declared all committee meetings private rather than following Oregon public meeting law; (3.) refuses to publish public comment on the proposed changes; and (4.) declares any result presented by the well-qualified consultant and the hard-working volunteer committee modifiable, at whim, by himself alone. These are ethical and legal process problems.

When administrators power-trip, good intentions are punished.

Slow the process. Consider alternatives. Be transparent. Talk to affected families — AKA “data points” — in English and Spanish. Two open houses attended by a dozen families is not adequate. Do not awkwardly separate neighborhoods in exchange for a small net capacity change and increased commute times. Think long-term rural and semi-urban planning.

I admire our school staff, their patience to involve parents and care for our children. I am excited to send our young children to public school, to the arms of loving and intelligent teachers, principals, and staff. The current school boundary revision process is, however, not right.

Claudia Munk von-Flotow

Hood River

History is critical

Thanks, Gorge Owned and Amanda Lawrence!

I’ve been so impressed with the concept of the “Sense of Place” series and the variety of the 53 talks presented over the last nine years. I tried to attend as many as possible.

This year, I was honored to be selected to present my own talk, No. 54, on the architectural heritage of The Gorge on April 10 at the CCA. I truly appreciated the sell-out crowd and the enthusiastic response to my stories about the people who designed, financed and built our communities.

And believe me, I just scratched the surface of what can be told. Beyond the obvious reminders to “Keep Looking Up” and to appreciate the uniqueness of our built environment, I also emphasized the need to support history museums everywhere, especially the small ones of the Gorge. 

Some great ideas for my talk came from the archives of the Hood River Museum. Please, take the time to visit, volunteer if you can and give generously to secure their future. They are critical cultural institutions.

Happy ArchiTouring to You!

Ellen Shapley

Hood River

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