‘You don’t say?’

Apparently sticks and stones do break bones. Ironically enough, guns with bullets do kill people. At least Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, seems to think so.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

‘Don’t die, Streets Alive!’

I was so saddened to hear that this year’s upcoming Streets Alive! street festival was canceled (hopefully only postponed) due to a few vocal opponents. The Heights can only benefit from these sort of family friendly, safe streets events that help build healthy community. Many of us currently (or aspire to) ride bikes as a way to commute to work, do our errands and transport kids. Bike lanes, safe pedestrian crossing lanes and driver awareness are critical.

Last year’s festival was so inspiring that our family actually drove to Portland and Corvallis to participate in their much larger versions of the festival. In Portland this past spring, my 6- and 12-year-olds biked 8 miles of city streets with ease soaking up the dancing, cultural events, delicious food and awesome vibes from the crowd. It was so amazing and such a fun way to explore a Portland neighborhood.

Those of you who enjoyed Streets Alive! here in Hood River last year, please let your voices be heard. Everyone can enjoy and benefit from the joy and freedom of safe biking and walking for a few hours on a weekend afternoon. It doesn’t feel like too much to ask. Let’s support the organizers of this event and help get it back on the community calendar.

I’d like to encourage everyone who can to get on a bike and ride whenever you can (doing our part to tread a bit more lightly on this earth) and if you do drive to be mindful and safe when you see bikers on the road (especially our kiddos biking to school!) Let’s make sure Hood River is safe for everyone on the road! Hurry back Streets Alive!

Nicole Goode

Hood River

Return to normalcy

SharpieGate is emblematic of the Trump presidency. It folds the well-recognized lack of knowledge, maturity and ethics of this president into a sequence of events esoteric enough for a Twilight Zone script.

The press has publicized and analyzed those events extensively. A multitude of memes ensued where sharpies alter reality — ranging from the creatively funny to the predictably disgusting.

America is once again wondering whether to laugh or be terrified. In the process, a venerable agency (NOAA) seemingly sold its soul to defend the indefensible explanations of the president. In doing so, it threw under the bus NOAA’s own National Weather Service — together with robust science that “provide(s) weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.”

None of this is normal. None of it is reasonable or sustainable. In the midst of real crises, we have a dangerously unfit leader, who is small and petty rather than effective and reassuring. Yet, somehow, we are fixated on him, perhaps even becoming our own versions of him.

How do we return to normalcy, to responsible adulthood strengthened by glimpses of irreverence and diversity of ideas? How do we bring back reality, data and science, in support of vision, daring and compassion — to ensure the sustainability and prosperity of the human race in this Earth we all share?

The answers are not likely unique or simple. But perhaps we can agree on the following:

Step 1: Let’s not re-elect this president — or anyone, at any level of office, who overrides (physically or metaphorically) reality with sharpies.

Step 2: Let’s restrain ourselves from being part of the problem. Starting by getting informed, learning how to listen, and throwing away our own reality-altering sharpies.

Step 3: Let’s become part of the solution. Starting by committing to building consensus and acting constructively.

Step 4: Let’s remember to enjoy the simple things in life. Being at peace with ourselves does not solve all problems, but is a step in the right direction.

Antonio Baptista

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

‘True believers’

How can anyone in the Trump administration say he has not or does not lie? His many press secretaries have used euphemisms or flat out said he does not lie. Well, anyone who says this is wrong by over 12,000 accounts. The man is a pathological liar and there are no ifs ands or buts about it. What is really sad is there are too many people who don’t see any problem with him lying and believe in him anyway. It is a sad state of affairs for this country.

Gary Fields

Hood River

City zoning response

I’m writing in response to Russ Hurlberts’ letter (“City zoning,” Sept. 7) concerning the zig-zag zoning in the Henderson and Bowe Addition neighborhoods.

I know exactly why that happened: I did it. I built the “Stella Lane” project at the first turn on Belmont. The city wouldn’t let me or the “Barrel Springs” project to the south proceed without annexing into the city. To accomplish this, we both had to first annex property owners to the east so we would then have what are called “contiguous” parcels. We had to hire land use attorneys and spend about a year doing this. Taking the path of least resistance through those neighborhoods resulted in the situation Mr. Hurlbert is referring to. 

Now one might wonder, why didn’t the city just annex the whole chunk for the public good, and be done with it? Well that’s a pretty good question, we were wondering the same thing. I’d estimate the Stella Lane homeowners paid at least an extra $10,000 per house directly linked to this.

The result of the city being unable to work with developers in these situations is a major reason that it costs about a half a million bucks to get almost anything livable in this town right now. I hope this clarifies things.

Mike Kitts

Hood River

‘Tribute to public service’

On Aug. 26, Mayor Paul Blackburn’s last city council meeting, everyone in council chambers gave him a standing ovation. Why? Because of his outstanding public service career over the last 20 years. Please consider: Paul was first elected to the May Street Elementary School Local Committee then to the Hood River Middle School Committee. He was then elected to Hood River City Council and was a founding board member of the Library District.

He was elected mayor twice, his elected record is 9-0. His volunteer service includes over a decade as president of both the United Way of the Gorge and the Teacup Lake Nordic Club. He also served for many years on the Hood River Education Foundation Board. For the last 17 years, he has hosted house concerts in his living room.

I also want to appreciate Hood River Council President Kate McBride, whom I worked with for over 10 years and served with on council for four years. Kate is from a pioneer Hood River family and is the most common sense, level headed person I know. She worked for Friends of the Columbia Gorge as its first Land Trust manager until her retirement in 2018. During this time, she helped to preserve and secure 10 land trust properties, including public trail access at Mosier Plateau and Cape Horn, Wash. In her spare time, she was on the City of Hood River Planning Commission, then elected as a Hood River City Council member and is now our council president. She has recently filed as one of two candidates to become Hood River’s next mayor. These are two records of exemplary public service in our beautiful community. Thank you Paul and Kate!

Peter Cornelison

Hood River

Bicycle lane unpractical

I understand that there is a push to convert one lane of 12th and 13th streets on the Heights to a bicycle lane. This would effectively make these roads a one lane, no passing, road for about four blocks.  

I believe that if this is under consideration, that first a trial should be tried. In effect, I think that the people pushing this should attempt to enter either 12th or 13th street from May street or any street from May to Rosauers! I think that the only way this would work is to install at least two traffic lights on each 12th and 13th streets.

If you have driven these streets recently, you should have noticed length of automobiles for both streets. Using only one lane, cars will be backed up to below the hospital and to Rosauers on the Heights.

This idea sounds great in theory, but will cause chaos in practice. Please run some checks before attempting this action. I think that public input should be asked for before this action is implemented.

Leonard Hickman

Hood River

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