Emily Fitzgerald’s article in the Jan. 11 issue of the News about liability concerns by the Port of Hood River directs needed attention on a critical issue for the Gorge region. The issue of recreational liability is a critical one for public bodies and private sector businesses in our area. Recent court decisions have found the state of Oregon liable for accidents that occurred in the ocean and at a state-owned lake simply because surfers and swimmers weren’t notified that accidents may happen when you choose to surf of dive into lakes.
Ski areas have already been successfully sued by patrons who had unfortunate accidents while performing risky maneuvers on the slopes and in terrain parks. Left unchecked, this issue has the potential to drastically curtail outdoor recreation in the Gorge, or at least make the sports much more expensive as businesses boost their liability insurance. By the way, Meadows weekend day pass is now 99 bucks … hardly an affordable activity anymore.
The problem is language in Oregon law related to liability and inherent risk is very weak. Other big outdoor recreation states like Washington and Colorado don’t have this problem, as they have stronger language in statute. A few years back, Mark Johnson worked on this issue in Salem along with the Pacific Northwest Ski Association to try to get a bill passed that would remedy the problem. They were stopped cold by the Oregon Trial Lawyers who love the status quo and who have great political strength in Salem.
Now we have a new representative, Anna Williams. Her party has super majorities in both chambers of the legislature. They have the power to fix this issue so that public bodies like the Port of Hood River won’t have to worry about frivolous and costly lawsuits. And companies that serve skiers, boarders, bikers and sailors won’t be priced out of business.
Will Anna show leadership on this issue? The complication is that she took in over $43,000 in campaign money from the trial lawyers in her campaign to get elected. Will she listen to them or her constituents in the Gorge on this issue? We’ll be watching.
Bias to the left
The front-page article in the Jan. 16 issue of the News about opening ceremonies and swearing in day at the Oregon Legislature was informative but also lacking critical information. While the writer focused on Anna Williams and her first day in the legislature, what the writer neglected to cover was that at the same time, the Oregon House was convening and swearing in its members like Williams, at the opposite end of the Capital building the Oregon Senate was doing the exact same thing. We find it appalling that the News would bother to cover this event but completely ignore the fact that Chuck Thomsen was also sworn in to office that day. The fact that Chuck will be serving his third term representing Senate District 26 is no minor accomplishment and certainly a newsworthy event for his home town paper. Especially after being subjected to hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of misleading and negative advertising by his opponent in the last election. While the Hood River News constantly shows their bias on the editorial page with cartoons against conservatives and Walden bashing from the editor, the far left agenda should be left on the editorial page and report the news fairly and equally for all of our elected representatives on the other pages.
How about a little balance in your reporting Hood River News?
Jon & Debra Laraway
I am a professional, hardworking individual with extensive skills, experiences, and have a college degree. My salary can barely support my rent in Hood River. I am constantly looking for satisfying employment, however, the jobs in the Gorge can’t support my monthly rent or even the dream of being a homeowner. I have no children ... mainly because I wouldn’t be able to support any. Something has to change soon.
I appreciated the update on local recycling in the last Hood River News (Jan. 16) and the efforts being made by Hood River Garbage Co. and our local governments to fix the broken recycling system.
One important note to remember is that beverage containers with a 10-cent refund value are now going to the landfill when they are placed in the home recycling carts in Hood River or the blue recycling boxes throughout the county. These plastic, glass and aluminum containers that held pop, beer, water, juices, sport drinks, etc. continue to have excellent recycling markets here in the Pacific Northwest when returned to the stores where they can be purchased.
Or, please consider donating these containers at the LEOS collection the first Saturday of every month at Rosauers, the Hood River Lions Club trailers at Columbia Bank and Hood River Supply, or the recycling depot at the Mt. Hood Town Hall. These non-profits recycle the containers and also recycle the container refunds back into the community.
It is amusing to see a Republican claim Democrats are massive liars (Our Readers Write, Jan. 16). Republicans have the King of Lies. He sits at the top office in this country. Donald J. Trump has lied 7,645 times in 710 days in office (FactCheck.org). In 2018, he averaged 15 false or misleading statements per day! Republicans in Congress care nothing about this. In the letter “No Lie Too Big,” the author claims Democrats want to put in place a one party system. No, Democrats want to break up the one that has been in place for the last two years. Thank heavens we now can. Republicans still have a dictator in the Senate in Mitch McConnell, who can and does deny any discussion on bills not in line with the far right agenda. There is no way at all a Democratic agenda can “produce the greatest divide between U.S. citizens since the Civil War.” Today’s Republicans have already done it. Trump was elected by 304 people. Those people canceled almost 3 million votes going for the other candidate. Trump is the fifth person to be elected by a tiny few over the wishes of the vast majority. If I change every word “Democrat”in Mr. Neufeld’s letter to “Republican”, I believe it would better represent the truth.
Face the truth
Climate denial comes in more than one flavor. Those advocating for climate action too often deny the reality that we are past the point of stopping destabilizing changes to the environment and society.
The history of climate action has been a history of promises made too late and follow through too often delayed or canceled. Actions by individuals and nations are critical to limiting the damage, but won’t be enough to stop it. We have a moral obligation to our children and the planet to both reduce emissions and mitigate the worst impacts. Hoping to meet goals we won’t achieve is not a plan. We need plans that address the futures our children are likely to encounter.
Actions aimed at reducing emissions, capturing carbon, adapting to climate change and mitigating harms will be expensive. Hard choices will need to be made in the face of limited resources and uncertain commitments from others. Best to be truthfully facing those choices now.
What is the STOP Act Grant (Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act)? This is a federal four-year grant, which is awarded to only 80 communities annually nationwide. The goal of the grant is to prevent and reduce alcohol use among youth ages 12-20, and strengthen collaboration among community entities to achieve this goal.
The Hood River Media Club will be doing the seventh annual sticker shock to prevent youth drinking and provide adult education. The event will take place on Jan. 30 in local retail stores that sell alcohol.
This is a late response to the Dec. 11 letter “Planning Like All Our Kids Live Here.” Despite the evident sincerity and passion of the writer, neither she nor any recently-elected politician can make basic economics vanish. She wants housing for “the people who draw my blood, gas my car, sack my groceries...”
Gas station attendant: House affordability based on annual income: $68,340
Sterile Tech at Hospital: $131,369
Grocery clerk: $118,074
Those were with generous assumptions about other debt. While the goals of “creating” affordable housing are noble, someone has to pay for it.
Building a home that can be sold for between $68,000 and $132,000 in this area won’t happen unless existing taxpayers pay a substantial portion of that development.
I found a few condos in the Portland area at 700 square feet, and larger homes in Rhodendron. The Dalles had one home that matched, at 580 square feet. Upzoning doesn’t guarantee anything, and we shouldn’t “sell” that plan as though it guarantees affordability. It doesn’t. Our land prices are high, construction prices are high. And interest rates are rising. Ms. Watson should do additional budgeting to see how much the city would need to raise to build this cost level of housing. Words alone won’t build it.
It’s time for Mitch McConnell and Republican senators to stiffen their backbones and vote to open the government. Our government is based on a system of checks and balances, with the Executive, Legislative and Judicial sharing equal responsibilities and duties. The House has already passed bills to open the government, one of which is similar to the one approved by the Senate before Trump was ill-advised against it. McConnell, however, will not even bring the bills to a vote.
The Senate has the ability to vote to pass the bills and if a veto occurs, they can override the veto. McConnell does not have the right to hold up the governing process because he thinks the president has more power than the other two branches.
Think to the future — how great will the Senate look if they represent their constituents and not the president. They were elected to represent the majority of the country. Urge the GOP to vote to open the government today!
This is a letter to the businesses of Hood River. There is a large group of federal workers who patronize your establishments throughout the year. Currently, those workers are not getting paid due the government shutdown. I’ve called many restaurants and businesses to see if anyone is offering a discount to furloughed workers. Not one! I’m hoping this will change because the community is watching.
Editor’s Note: See the Jan. 19 edition of the News for businesses and organizations providing discounts and services.
I heard an interesting report on the news yesterday that most undocumented people in the U.S. right now are from Asia. My source the: Pew Research Center, a non-partisan American fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.