Meet a horse on Aug. 24
Thank you to the Hood River News for the wonderful Kaleidoscope article featuring the Hood River Saddle Club. They did a great job of summing up all our members’ love for horses and how each of us bring horses into our lives.
We are excited to host our first Meet a Horse Day Saturday, Aug. 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at our beautiful Saddle Club at 4383 Belmont Drive. This is free to the public and we want everyone to come to meet horses and learn more about them. We will have lots of fun activities to learn more about horses and interact with them.
If you want to ride a horse, bring a helmet. I will be there with my wonderful horse Lady for kids to ride, as well as other sweet gentle horses. Hope to see you there!
Ben Mitchell’s denunciation (Aug. 17, “Lot 700 fight brought out worst in Hood River”) presents an excellent example of the ugly and divisive rhetoric against which he rails. He says, as a former journalist, “Out of every land use squabble I covered, this was the ugliest.” He laments “personal attacks” and “the war waged against this affordable housing project (smacks) of NIMBYism and entitlement.” He further claims, “Hood River doesn’t have a park problem. We essentially live in a giant park (the Gorge).”
I support the preservation of Morrison Park (a place the Hood River News and park opponents have cleverly renamed “Lot 700”). In my work life, I served as a public official in one of the nation’s most prominent local park districts. In my view, we can never have enough parks and open space as room to breathe in the spatial oppression of urbanization.
Mitchell shows no indication that he has read or even seen Darryl Lloyd’s outstanding study of the natural qualities of Morrison Park. I’ve never seen mention of this study in the media. Thus, many citizens of Hood River do not know the values of this park we must preserve.
But it is Mitchell’s hypocrisy that bothers me most. He has the right to his opinion, but I’m calling him out here for his personal attack on Jim Klaas and for calling us supporters of Morrison Park moneyed, “entitled” NIMBY people (“Not In My Back Yard,” for those who don’t do acronyms). I resent the label, as I have never been a NIMBY and don’t like such attitudes, especially NIMBYism against poor people.
What Mitchell conveniently ignores is the clever, and intentional, strategy that Morrison Park opponents have used, an ancient one called “divide and conquer.” Throughout their campaign, Morrison Park opponents have pitted against each other citizens who often would be allies: Supporters of the environment versus supporters of fair housing and equality.
A core issue in the fight to save Morrison Park is that the city broke statewide land use laws, and the Oregon Court of Appeals agrees with us.
Cost derailed housing
CCHC’s proposed development on Morrison Park/Lot 700 was never going to happen and the zoning issues had very little to do with it. The project was never getting the funding/tax credits from the state because the cost per unit was well over the recommended cost per unit.
The proposed development cost per unit of the 65 units ranging from studios to 3 bedrooms per the application submitted by CCHC was $451,308. The rural limit for a 3 bedroom is $308,000; the urban, $374,000; with the caveat that, “Most Project units should have cost well below the listed limits.” NOFA No. 5002 issued Jan. 11, 2019 version 1.0, pages 19-20. A 71 unit project in Multnomah County came in at $311,067/unit; a 54 unit project in Beaverton at $398,570/unit.
Yes, Hood River is expensive, but something does not seem right about the cost. Does CCHC shop around the same was NASA does for toilet seats? Do the developers just see easy money with this project and over charge? I adjust my fees depending upon my client’s overall financial and living situation, but it appears that those involved in building affordable housing do not.
The application for the funding was due March 29, 2019, so CCHC had to know at that time it was not going to get the funding but those in favor of the project still continued to vilify those of us who want to protect our limited open space for our future generations. Was this so they would have a scapegoat for when the project did not get funded rather than deal with the real reason the project did not get funded?
In the city council meeting, Mr. Madsen indicated that there was an “urban bias” in the way projects were scored which contributed to this project not getting funded. I agree that Hood River is just as expensive as Portland, so the urban cost should be used; however, this does not explain why the proposal was $77,000 per unit over the recommended urban amount. I did email Mr. Madsen regarding this issue, but he did not respond.
Enough harm to river
Congress designated the White Salmon River “Wild and Scenic” 30 years ago and its management was handed over to the Forest Service. Since then — to our knowledge — they have only purchased about 150 acres of the approximately 1,800 acres within the management boundary. Furthermore, the Forest Service has failed to complete a land exchange that they admit was central to their river management plan and, as a result, most of the forests within the Wild and Scenic boundaries were clearcut. The Forest Service has likewise done little to nothing to prevent the short platting of properties within the management area, leading to inconsistent residential development. For these reasons — and others too numerous to list — the Forest Service deserves a failing grade for their management of this river.
Weyerhaeuser Corporation — a company that is “Certified Green”— is offering for sale 240 acres that are sensitively located within and along the boundaries of the White Salmon river. Weyerhaeuser acquired this land from Longview Fiber, who early on had apparently asked that their land be excluded from the Wild and Scenic boundary based on a handshake agreement that the land would continue to be used for forest resource. At that time, this deal was criticized to be short-sighted at best, but the Forest Service went with it anyway. Now, Weyerhaeuser appears to be offering this land for sale, and the Forest Service’s ill-conceived deal has come back to haunt us.
Copper West real estate company is now accepting offers on Weyerhaeuser’s land along the White Salmon Wild and Scenic River. Copper West is offering this land with lot size options and for “highest and best use,” two trademarks of forest land soon to be converted for residential development.
The White Salmon Wild and Scenic River had suffered enough indignity and harm. We are asking Weyerhaeuser and Copper West to stop this sale, to work with the Forest Service (and possibly other agencies) to bring this land into public ownership. No doubt there will be “issues” and “complications,” but if a billion dollar corporation, the U.S. Forest Service and Copper West all genuinely try, how can we not get this job done?
Columbia Gorge Audubon Society
I do not know Kaylee Jacobs. However, her Best Editorial Cartoon in the July 31 edition of the Hood River News was outstanding! You should offer her a job before Disney/Pixar snatches her up!
‘Heroes’ to ‘Zeros’
There was a time when immigrants to the United States were viewed as courageous — persecuted or starving, seeking a better way of life for their families. Our history books describe these brave souls in glowing terms — as “Heroes,” in fact.
What happened? Invaders? Criminals? “Bad Hombres?” As liberal as I am, I will admit that open borders are not going to work. That said, a wall will not either. If there are large disparities on either side of a border, there will be a net flow towards the side that provides the promise of a better life. In the science world, we would call this an osmotic pressure differential across a membrane.
So, as we debate this very important, emotional and recently controversial issue of our borders, can we please remember that the vast majority of folks are simply seeking a better way of life, or fleeing persecution? What would you do in their shoes? When did they become “Zeros?”
I suspect there is a grave cosmic irony that contains the truth of the Transhuman movement. The more time I spend here, the closer I come to believing we killed off all the true humans when Homo Sapiens became the last humanoid standing. These culturally myopic intellectuals are so blinded by their blazing white privilege, they believe the world just keeps getting better and better because they keep getting more and more clever. They are convinced they are so clever that they will one day soon outsmart death, and we will live forever. Along the way, they’ll fix those pesky little problems our planet is having. Yup, they’re making us a snowy white cocoon and one day, we’re all gonna emerge as beautiful eternal butterflies. We can all thank their faultless lucky stars they are so much more clever than the cult of the grange buffoon.