Clarification

Hello from your newest Port of Hood River Commissioner. I ran my campaign on transparency so I would like to clarify my comments quoted in the Sept. 7 edition of the Hood River News.

The Lower Mill Grading and Paving project is the most recent stage of a complex project that has been underway since 2015. Since then, the port has successfully cleaned up the brownfield with an EPA-funded grant, installed a new water line, and is now finishing up site prep for the lots to create jobs and opportunity.

HRK Engineering has been involved in the project since its inception. In the estimate for this stage, HRK made an error in the project budget, miscalculating the prevailing wage line item.

However, this error was not the sole reason the estimate was off, and not a major reason. The major factor related to market price increases for materials, and challenges of ensuring fair bidding conditions for all contractors. As a public agency, the project budget estimating process is lengthy, and, particularly in material pricing, surprises can happen.

The quote was made during the third meeting in which I and my colleagues worked to approve a direction forward that was in the best public interest. I made other statements that acknowledged the challenges of pricing development projects, and concern that the cost would increase with delay. However, to move forward required changing budgets of several other capital improvement projects planned, and I agreed that was not optimal. That is why I reluctantly voted to cancel all bids and postpone the project to enable planning to take a different approach.

The gist is, the port has worked well with HRK Engineering in the past and I’m certain will welcome bids from their firm in the future. Carlos Garrido is a consummate professional, a generous local service provider, and an engineer that has provided our port with creative and practical ideas on project delivery.

After such a great track record, it’s unfortunate that my comment was not quoted in the full context, and do not reflect his performance on this complicated project completely.

Kristi Chapman

Commissioner

Port of Hood River

Reconsider transportation

Transportation throughout our valley is a hot topic, buzzing with a new ride-share program called Forth. Forth has secured eight potential spots in Hood River for their program (a stretch of Oak Street has eight spots per block). Forth, a Portland based group, is now looking to use Hood River as a three-year test run in the rural sphere.

As parking is already a problem in Hood River, it seems the parking issues will only escalate:

1. Removing prime parking spaces to designated them for Forth-only vehicles takes away spots from tourists and locals.

2. The spaces are fixed, so if you live near one, great! If you are not close to one, you first must tackle the issue of getting to the parking space. Will these spaces be scattered around the city, or focused on downtown?

3. A lot of weekend tourists come with gear. All the gear. So much gear. Which is why they drive their own vehicles to town. How many tourists would actually be using this service while recreating?

4. With a valley that boasts some incredible wineries, cideries and brew pubs, it would make more sense to push for car services, rather than more drive-yourself options. In 2018, there were over 150 alcohol related traffic incidents.

Shouldn’t our city first look to Uber and Lyft as a solution in concert with expanded CAT services? Uber reached out to our city a few years back, interested in expanding to the Gorge. No response. Services like Uber and Lyft would benefit tourists and locals alike, in all degrees of weather and distances, also creating jobs for locals, without taking parking spaces from a town that has a parking problem. Uber and Lyft styles services would also decrease the number of impaired drivers on the road, offering safe rides homes for those drinking, and those abstaining.

It is time to introduce safe transportation to our local and tourists alike.

Gretchen Goss

Hood River

Climate Strike

I am taking part in the Global Climate Strike this week to show government leaders that we demand action in the midst of the climate crisis.

We need to transition away from fossil fuels and switch to 100 percent renewable energy or else the global temperature will continue to rise to dangerous levels.

Our future generations are depending on us. We need to take responsibility and keep our planet safe. The time to act is now!

Lyric Emmons

Hood River

Clear forests

Hunting season begins Sept. 28. I encourage all users of the forests/woods to be aware of each other and the safety of each. Especially dirt bikers and quad users.

Last year on the final day of deer season in the Kingsley area, two dirt bikers circled my stand, then wildly ripped through my target area, scaring out two deer (one doe and a young buck). This effectively ended my hunting as I was unable to fire due to safety concerns.

Hunters pay a high cost for licensing and tags. I am not aware of fees for dirt bikers. So, bikers and quaders, please stay out of the woods during deer and elk season. You have all the rest of the year to tear around and have fun. I want to believe those young people were just unaware of me and not harassers.

Also, I would like to see more pictures and articles and features in the Hood River News.

Many hunters reside in the area and are not being served, indeed being ignored.

Steve Curtiss

Hood River

‘No-fault killing’

In keeping with his “A” rating from the NRA, Rep. Greg Walden has signed on to a legal brief asking the Supreme Court not to hold the gun-maker Remington financially responsible for the Sandy Hook massacre.

Remington manufactured the AR-15-style rifle used to kill 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012. Victims’ families sued Remington, and the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in the families’ favor last March. Remington has appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This week, Walden and 21 of his Republican colleagues in Congress filed briefs with the court arguing against any liability for Remington, arguing that a manufacturer does not have responsibility for downstream use.

I disagree! It’s both logical and supported by historic precedent that manufacturers do indeed have some responsibility because they produce products for which an owner may not fully understand the ramifications and potential for harm.

U.S. manufacturers have purposefully modified products in the past to protect consumers from themselves. For example, in the mid-’80s, Buick/GM made a consumer vehicle called the Grand National. It looked like a typical four-door car but had the same or more horsepower than the Corvette. Because of the potential for harm, the manufacturer purposely built in a speed limiter that could only be overridden by a computer chip added to the system. Only police cars were permitted to have the chip because of the safety feature.

Walden is among the top 20 lifetime recipients of cash from the NRA serving in Congress. When it comes to shooting the general public in schools, theaters, stores and churches, Walden can muster thoughts and prayers, which are apparently still compatible with NRA cash.

It’s time to use common sense and start protecting the innocent victims of gun violence — not the profit- making industry.

Deborah Chenoweth

Hood River

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