Can anyone really expect the county to operate with the same tax rate of $1.41/M (ninth lowest in the state) that was adopted in the 1990s? Don’t you want to share the cost of the sheriff’s services in patrol, search and rescue, and the health department among the myriad of tourists, who currently use those services we offer, but at our expense?
The county has come up with a shared solution to answer the above questions and give the county a basic level of operating sustainability into the future. Ballot Measure 65 increases the county’s operating levy by $.89/M of assessed property tax value. Ballot Measure 66 is a 5 percent prepared food and non-alcoholic beverage tax to gain some of the needed operating revenue, from the tourists, who heavily use our county’s services. All costs have gone up; the county’s tax rate has not. All our costs of living have gone up, as well as, the price of peace of mind in knowing that our law enforcement team is available 24/7. If we need them, their voices on the scanner are certainly reassuring.
We are fortunate to have the quality county commission we elected. They have worked with all due diligence to find a way to bring us the best services possible, and they found an equitable solution in spreading the cost between property owners and the tourists who visit. Vote “YES” on 65 and 66, and help create a sustainable level of services for our county.
I am writing to show my support for Loran Ayles for Hood River County School Board Position 1, coming up on the May 21 election.
The Loran I know is honest, devoted, smart, understanding, dependable, transparent, and compassionate. He is a family man who has raised his kids in the Hood River County school system, he wants to see it continue to thrive in a positive direction. Loran has concern and dedication for the kids and the future of Hood River County. He is a hardworking small business owner, who cares about Hood River. When Loran is not at the keel of his small business, he is working for the International Union of Operating Engineers, as a heavy equipment operator.
With the recent resignation of a school board member, maybe it’s time to bring in some new perspective to the board. I hope you will join me, by letting your voice be heard and voting in the May election. I also hope if you live in Hood River County School District 1, you will choose to vote for Loran Ayles!
Kristi Chapman has the business skills, community and family values we expect in port commissioners. She brings important civic and port policy experience to the job. She is well-prepared to assist the port in finding the proper balance between development and open space; between business and recreation, and will openly and transparently seek the best approach to serve our community’s quality of life, healthy economy and the long-term public good. Thanks to Brian Shortt for his service and leadership. Kristi Chapman is my choice for the new Position 4 Port of Hood River Commissioner.
‘Vote for taxes’
I know it can be easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to increased taxes. I don’t like paying taxes, either. But living in a safe and sustainable community is important to me. That’s why I’m voting for the two proposed county tax measures on the May ballot.
I’ve followed the county budget issue for a year and find the existing budget numbers convincing — and very frightening. I attended a workshop hosted by the county sheriff, and among other things, he explained that without adequate staffing his department would find it nearly impossible to respond to potentially dangerous incidents if they occurred at both the south end and the north end of the county at the same time. I’ve heard the argument that increased taxes means, “I won’t be able to live here anymore.” But without more funding to keep open the public health department, county parks, the extension service, 24/7 law enforcement, and to provide for an adequate reserve fund, I’m not too sure I would WANT to live here.
My experience has been county personnel are extremely helpful and forthright about providing answers to the public’s questions. If you have questions about these tax proposals, I urge you to ask them, or visit www.co.hood-river.or.us. Hyperlinks right on the home page will lead you to lots of information about the county budget and the tax proposals. As I said, I’m voting for both measures. I hope you do, too.
Vote for 65/66
As Hood River County residents receive their May ballots in the mail, it is important the public understands that the county is at a critical turning point. Will we continue to have services provided by the county, which have been available since we were kids? These valuable services include OSU Extension/4-H, Veteran’s Services and school health services. Can we provide a stable funding source for public safety and public health including law enforcement, emergency management, school resource deputy, juvenile crime prevention, jail operations, prosecution of criminals, and courthouse security? Should we provide a funding source that includes sharing the expenses with the tourists who have added significant costs to the county over the years? Services such as Public Safety Recreational Response (including Search & Rescue, ATV, and Marine Patrol), parks, buildings/grounds upkeep, the History Museum, public health and county roads maintenance all make Hood River County a stronger and better community.
Whether you live in Parkdale, Cascade Locks, Odell or downtown Hood River, these services affect you, your family, your friends and neighbors. Trying to fund all these services with a tax rate set 25 years ago will not work. Trying to provide these basic public services after losing a substantial portion of our federal timber receipts further exasperates the financial dilemma. Attempting to provide the same programs with the same dollars and employee base as 25 years ago is not sustainable. Our county’s population has increased by 50 percent and the tourist industry has ballooned over the same time period. We care deeply about this county and the amazing people who call it home. We need to provide the support for our public safety officers. We need to support our veterans. We want you to feel safe, be healthy, and have the same opportunities that we have enjoyed in our lifetime.
Measures 65 and 66 will provide the base for a healthy and safe community. We owe it to the next generation.
Former county chair
Current county chair
The port faces a major challenge of replacing a local landmark, the Hood River bridge, while continuing to develop local resources and protecting the exceptional beauty of the Gorge. I may be uniquely prepared to help the port commission do that. My 45 years of proven experience in managing multi-billion dollar projects and with my deep respect of the area I deem one of the most beautiful places anywhere in the world is a natural fit.
Our Hood River bridge is recognized as being at its end of service life. Current replacement efforts have been underway for nearly a decade. Significant efforts remain (identifying funding, completing permitting, design and construction) on this likely $350-plus million project. The pace of replacement appears too relaxed. Our local economies would be severely impacted should further bridge load restrictions be required. Can you imagine not being able to haul fruit or timber across our bridge?
In the summer of 2017, I retired to the valley after a very successful 45 year career with a recognized primer engineering/construction company that designs and builds mega projects all over the world. I advanced through the company, was elected as a vice president, with worldwide responsibilities for planning, budgeting, cost engineering, estimating and risk management. These multi-billion dollar projects include Liquid Natural Gas plants in Australia, Airports in Qatar and Oman, Combine Cycle Power Plants in the U.S., Motor Ways and Bridges in Romania and Albania, a major sea port in the United Arab Emirates, as well as Environmental Restoration efforts in Washington and Idaho.
Ties to this valley run deep: My great grandfather came to the valley in the 1880s and members of my family have been here ever since. Early summers were spent picking Bartlett pears on my uncle’s orchard, fishing on Tony Creek, Clear Creek and East Fork, as well as hiking the timberline trail. I recognize that the bridge replacement effort is a single project within the port’s multi-faceted portfolio. The bridge will be magnitudes more complex than anything the port has faced thus far. I believe I can help navigate these issues and expedite getting the replacement in place.
Please vote for me in our upcoming election.
‘Get over it’
I am not sure what qualifies the writer of “Little Boxes” in the April 24 edition of the Hood River News, as an architectural critic. If his problem is houses that look alike, he might want to visit many of the world’s great cities to see streets lined with identical residences.
Just because houses are similar or even alike, does not mean they are “ticky tacky.” Maybe his real problem is he doesn’t like to see change in Hood River. Maybe he doesn’t want those who need affordable housing to have a new home to call their own here. Perhaps he is bemoaning the loss of a lovely orchard. Owners of that property were not interested in maintaining the orchard and exercised their freedom to sell their property as they wished. The fact that some cottages, not at all identical, were built around a square on what used to be an orchard, is really the problem? Get over it. Very likely, Mr. Hupp’s home is built where old growth forest used to be. And since architecture is a matter of taste, not everyone would see his house as a thing of beauty, either.
Let all the owners of custom homes on large lots celebrate their good fortune, but not deny those who are not as wealthy a well-constructed and livable home as well.
I guess as Mr. Hupp was driving by the Stella Lane houses, he was so enamored about having a friend who wrote a song that he failed to see the park that takes up over 30 percent of the neighborhood. I guess he also didn’t stop and ask any of the teachers, firefighters or nurses who purchased those homes whether they want to live in an honest trailer park. Hopefully, he is simply uninformed and not as mean spirited as his letter.
In response to David Hupp’s letter criticizing my development on Belmont:
Dude, you pushed my buttons at exactly the wrong time. Your rude and snobby diatribe is an insult to me and all the new home owners in “Stella Lane.” Over the last 20 years, I’ve built over 450 homes in this town. Ninety percent were sold for well under market value to local teachers, public employees, waitresses, nurses, single moms and young families. No one else has even tried to build for this demographic. I spent three years and millions of dollars on that project. Demands from the city drove up the home costs to way over our target price. We still sold them for under market value.
Your prized “productive” orchard was a major money loser and should have been removed years ago, along with all orchards around neighborhoods and schools, when they are in residential zones. Sure, I have my critics, but no one can say that when it comes providing workforce housing, I haven’t done my part. Or that my heart isn’t in the right place. While I’m on a rant, I’d like to say to whoever kept calling the sheriff on me and DeHart Construction for making too much noise during the building process, you’re into the nimby morass as deep as Hupp is. Also, I’m tired of getting blamed for the clear cutting across from Walmart, and on 13th and Eugene Street. It’s not me. So, Mr. Hupp, back to you. I respect your right to express your opinion, and I claim my right to respond. Maybe from now on, if driving by “Stella Lane” offends you so much, you should find other ways to get to where you are going.
Okay, I feel better now.
Editor’s note: Mike Kitts and Doug Beveridge are partners in the Stella Lane project. Their letters both reference David Hupp’s letter “Little boxes,” which ran April 24.
In response to David Hupp’s letter on April 24:
My wife and I were fortunate to buy a home in this new neighborhood located at the first Belmont curve heading west. These “little boxes” are well constructed, energy efficient homes built by long-time Hood River locals Mike Kitts and developer Mike Beveridge. It is very common in new construction residential building today to have similar homes to increase building efficiencies and keep the costs affordable. We are very thankful we found this home and hope to live in it for years to come; we have views of Mount Adams to the north and Mount Hood to the south, we have a neighborhood park and surrounding orchards. David Hupps, we invite you over to come visit our home and enjoy a glass of Ice Fountain water.
No meals tax
I own two businesses in Hood River County that will be unfairly targeted by Measure 14-66. I fully support our county employees and understand how important their services are; however, the sales tax on prepared food singles out one local industry. I’m afraid that at a glance this will sound like a good idea without looking at the logistics of this measure.
At my country store, a single cinnamon roll is taxed as ready to eat but a package of six isn’t? Simply put, the verbiage and details of this measure are not feasible to daily operations in this industry. Training seasonal high school employees to calculate taxes for the county is inappropriate, not to mention that over half of the 5 percent remittance of fees that each business retains is eaten up by credit card fees, leaving just a fraction to cover labor, training and administrative costs of collecting taxes for the county.
We also cater BBQ from our restaurant in Parkdale, some tourist weddings in the summer, but mostly local weddings, family gatherings and company parties, all of which would be taxed. A catering company from Portland, catering in Hood River County, won’t be paying any taxes. Also, I can save local companies thousands of dollars if we cater for them outside of Hood River County.
How much will this cost the county to enforce this? The unintended consequences of this measure will drive business out of Hood River County and will negatively impact both of my local businesses.
Apple Valley BBQ and Apple Valley Country Store
Chrissy Reitz is running for school board. I’d like to recommend her. She’s done a great job. She’s now chair of the board and, as you probably know, the district is a top 10 in our state and has rebuilt or improved many of our sites. The board is improving and closing the gap between students, and starting early education. Please join me in keeping her there.
I’d also like to ask citizen’s support for measures 65 and 66. Matt English, our sheriff, has done wonders with very little. As we get more and more visitors and residents in the area, we need better coverage for search and rescue operations which are very costly. Many of our deputies are no longer able to afford to live in the areas they cover, isn’t it up to us to ensure our own safety in our towns and on our highways?