What makes Hood River special? To me, it’s the stunningly beautiful surroundings, the compact/walkable footprint of the city, the diverse community, and the balance of many things: Alpine/aquatic, wet/dry, liberal/conservative, urban/rural.

I initially opposed the re-zone of Morrison Park as a homeowner in the Wasco Street neighborhood. Watching the debate unfold, however, a few factors have turned my opinion 180 degrees:

First, the existing affordable housing on Hope Avenue gives the neighborhood a richness of diversity I haven’t found elsewhere in the city. Children are constantly playing, and neighbors regularly get together.

Second, the design proposals include a much-needed public playground area and options for connecting the historic highway bike path through the neglected north plot of Morrison Park to the Hook, providing more recreation opportunities.

Third, the attempt by “Protect Our Parks” to reframe the debate as an assault on all public parks is disingenuous, at best. This is a single plot of land that was explicitly set aside with the intent of providing affordable housing. To protect our special balance, let’s preserve the area’s natural beauty by increasing density within the city limits rather than sprawling out into the surrounding countryside.

Let’s avoid infecting our politics with NIMBY-ism that benefits the few at the expense of the many. And let’s put our people ahead of our property values.

Tres Spicher

Hood River

Back to work

Dear Chuck Thomsen,

Get back to work!

Senator Chuck Thomsen and his Republican colleagues have failed to show up for work, yet again. Did they all get food poisoning from a bad restaurant while planning their next legislative move? No, it wasn’t their stomach, it was their spine.

In May, they had a tantrum and decided to skip work because they just couldn’t bear to spend more money on schools. They were given candies and treats in the form of abandoned vaccine and gun bills, and they promised they wouldn’t skip work again.

But now they’ve left Salem — while still getting paid by taxpayers — because they just can’t stand the idea of future generations having a nice place to live. What if the rest of us could just skip work whenever we felt like it and head over to sunny Washington? Oh yeah, nothing would get done. Adults show up to work and do their job, even when they don’t like it.

Chuck, you’re hanging out with the wrong crowd and dodging your responsibilities. Isn’t it bad enough that your grandkids will ask why you didn’t do more for them? Now they’ll question your basic work ethic. So, here’s a simple message for you — get back to work, now! People in Hood River County won’t forget all those absences or selfish votes on your next performance review.

David McKay

Hood River

City park

In search of a city park. Will pay going rate of $1.

Alan Bailey

Hood River

‘Magic of storytelling’

The original colonists in the south were too lazy to do their own work, so they made people from Africa do it for free. Within a few generations, through the magic of storytelling, they came to believe it was the people from Africa who were lazy. Apparently, most of them still do. If you can do that through storytelling, what else might we be able to do?

David Warnock

Hood River

‘What the ...?’

Apparently, we were ten minutes from starting a war with Iran days ago. This should not concern the average American, given we had a highly qualified Secretary of Defense. Except we had no one in the position to advise the President. Some would consider that important, given President Trump had zero military and no foreign policy experience prior to assuming office.

Our most recent qualified Defense Secretary, Army General James Mattis, resigned recently supposedly because the President was unwilling to consider his knowledgeable advice.

President Trump’s choice to replace the highly regarded General Mattis may surprise some patriotic Americans concerned about our national security. His name was Patrick Shanahan. Mr. Shanahan recently withdrew his nomination, but not because he had zero military experience and zero foreign policy experience. He did so because his background includes domestic abuse issues.

I find domestic abuse reprehensible, but the position of Defense Secretary requires a great deal of expertise in order to keep 350 million Americans safe. The President either does not understand the job duties of the position, or simply believes he has a greater knowledge about defense than anyone he appoints. 

Both of these possibilities are scary to me as someone who is pretty sure the President cannot always be the most knowledgeable person in the room, and one who openly dismisses virtually any dissent or alternate point of view. 

Perhaps supporters should consider things like this recent appointment when they realize world order is truly at stake under his volatile leadership.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Wrong side of history, Chuck

On Jan. 14, 2019, Chuck Thomsen took the following oath of office as an Oregon state senator: “I, Chuck Thomsen, do solemnly swear, or affirm, that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Oregon, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of State Senator according to the best of my ability.” This week, Chuck Thomsen has shamefully failed to discharge the duties of State Senator by leaving his post at the capitol in order to deny Oregonians a vote on the Clean Energy Jobs bill. Not only is he on the wrong side of history in his opposition to effective climate legislation, but he is on the wrong side of democracy by abandoning the people he is sworn to represent. He deserves to be recalled from office.

John Christensen


No on HB 2020

House Bill 2020 “Cap & Trade bill” is causing much controversy in our state. Many people maybe haven’t even heard of this bill until now. Governor Brown claims this bill will set a historic standard for stopping climate change. The Oregon Global Warming Commission has reported that we have already reached the goal of reducing per-capita carbon dioxide emissions to levels that are 20 percent below 1990 emissions by the year 2020. That accomplishment was without this bill.

Senator Chuck Thomsen opposes this bill for good reasons. This bill is going to destroy the State’s economy by raising costs on fuel and energy for everyone. The agriculture, manufacturing, mining, logging, transportation, utilities, education, health services and tourism industries will all see a large increase in operating costs. Businesses will leave Oregon and take their jobs with them. Businesses will have to reinvest in technologies that don’t even exist yet, while companies across the river will be able to operate at much lower costs. Washington State voted down this same proposal. How many people are coming to Oregon for tourism with increase costs just to get here? Wasn’t tourism going to be the basis for increased revenue to pay our county debts this last election? Operating costs for running school buses will go up bringing a need to increase our county taxes. Let’s ask our local leaders how much it will cost to have the city and county vehicle fleets changed over to electric.

The “Cap & Trade” bill is projected to cost an average family of four $600 per year. So far this session, $1,800 in new costs to an average family of four has been passed. Cap and Trade would bring that total to $2,400 per family of four. Does this sound like a plan for affordable living in Hood River County?

And if electric cars are still the most attractive thing about the future to you, then I suggest reading about the mining operations destroying Chile to find all that Lithium needed to build the batteries for those cars.

Ken Ebi

Hood River

‘Get back to work!’

I would like to express my profound disappointment in the actions of Oregon Senate Republicans to derail democracy in America. You all have a job to do and should be at the capitol doing it. This childish stunt to delay the passage of House Bill 2020 is not an acceptable response to not having enough votes to change or kill the bill. By deserting your post, you are acting like a spoiled brat on the playground who in response to not getting his way, says, “Fine. Then I’ll just take my ball and go home!” This is not the action of dedicated public servants such as yourselves, and I would hope that you will reconsider and return to your duties. Whether you agree with the contents of the bill or not, it is your duty to show up for work and vote according to your beliefs, regardless of whether you have enough total votes to kill the bill or not.


Jeff Mitchell

Hood River

Is this okay?

Evidently, Republican state senators get to walk off the job when they don’t like a bill. Is this okay?

Republican Party ideology is consistently pro-business. It is common belief that business owners can fire employees that don’t do their job. Does this mean we can fire State Senator Chuck Thomsen? What say you, Chuck?

Will the Republicans support the next strike by the Teachers Union? Or the Nurses Union. Or any union? Hmmm?

For the record, I don’t like the bill in question, either, because it doesn’t work. Bad legislation. But that is no reason to walk off the job and is no justification for the threats of violence posed by Senator Boquist and others.

David Hupp

Hood River

Garden Tour success

The Central Gorge Master Gardener Association would like to thank everyone who helped make the 2019 Master Gardener Garden Tour a great success!

First of all, thanks to all of our garden guests who came to learn, gather ideas and enjoy the nine spectacular gardens on the 2019 Master Gardener Garden Tour. You are the reason we continue to present this bi-annual event!

Without the splendid vision and dedicated work of garden owners, there would be no gardens to tour. Special thanks goes out to the Columbia Gorge Hotel, Marie and Len Borucki, Colleen McMonagle and Anthony Peters, Dawn Elle, Robin Thornton, Jo Ann Harris, Norma and Lee Curtis, Jana and Dennis Castañeros, and Diana and Lee Caryl.

We would also like to thank our media partners for their contributions in promotion and publicity of the 2019 Master Gardener Garden Tour: The Hood River News, White Salmon Enterprise, The Dalles Chronicle, The Gorge Magazine, and Bi-Coastal Media.

Thank you also to our ticket outlets: Waucoma Book Store, Good News Gardening, the Hood River OSU Extension Office, Klindt’s Bookstore, Dickey Farms, and Bloomsbury.

I would like to personally thank the OSU Extension Central Gorge Master Gardener volunteers for their dedication to this project in serving on planning committees and making sure the event ran smoothly. In addition, I would like to thank all of the Master Gardener volunteers that served as garden leaders and docents on the day of the tour.

The Central Gorge Master Gardener Association plans to present our next Master Gardener Garden Tour in June of 2021. We hope that you can join us then!

Reneé Taylor

President, Central Gorge Master Gardener Association;

Chairperson, 2019 Master Gardener Garden Tour

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