Since sea lions don’t speak human languages or have lawyers, I will speak up for them. The recent death of the sea lion at the Hood River Marina is unacceptable and unjustified and amounts to nothing more than a sea lion killed for being a sea lion acting within the norms of its species. Speciesism and all of its inherent ignorance is the ultimate culprit when it comes to a lack of will to coexist with non-human sentient beings. The article in the Hood River News made no compelling case that this intelligent, sentient being was a danger to anyone. Grumpy because he was in heat? Not compelling. Guilty of eating fish? Also not compelling. Bit the sheriff’s boat when harassed and defended itself? Not compelling. A supposed danger to selfie-taking gawkers? No evidence and not compelling.

Bryan Wright with ODFW apparently believes it is acceptable to drown while unconscious after being darted with a tranquilizer. I strongly disagree and consider this an outrage. An opportunity to engage the community with a rare opportunity for education and increased aptitude for coexistence was robbed from everyone, especially our community’s youth who will be in charge of related future decision making when it comes to similar wildlife encounters. If capture and relocation cannot be done safely and ethically in a case like this, then it should not be done. RIP Leo.

Nathan Smith

Hood River


Growing up, my family were store clerks and bookkeepers, guidance counselors and teachers. Nurses. Students. But none of that mattered. It didn’t matter what we did or who we were. All that mattered was where we lived.

Affordable housing.

Rent controlled housing.

Worker’s housing.

Government subsidized housing.

Government housing project.

The Projects.

The PJs.

The Ghetto.

The other side of the tracks.

The wrong side of town.



Crime Central.

We lived “Over There.” We lived “You Know Where.” There were so many names for where we lived. So many words people used. We used those words too because it was easier. It cut the confusion.

But there was another word we used in secret, away from the rich people who would ridicule us and wished we’d disappear. Away from those who’d never stepped a single foot in the place we lived, yet talked as if they knew everything about our lives. As if they knew everything about us.

When the only ones around were people who knew what it was like to live where we lived, we called it by a different name. When it was just us, the word we used to describe it was “home.”

John Metta

Hood River

Support HR 763

I recently attended Congressman Walden’s town hall in Cascade Locks on July 3. I’m grateful he organized this event and appreciative of the many efforts he’s made on behalf of our Gorge community. The latest is his effort to secure federal funding to help construct a safer bike/ped pathway along the Bridge of the Gods. The specific reason I’m writing is to add some context to a response he provided to a question regarding climate change and carbon emissions. He seemed to downplay the urgency of addressing carbon emissions, noting that the U.S.’s carbon emissions in 2017 were lower than they were in 1992. While this is indeed a fact, what was not acknowledged was why this has occurred and why the U.S. should be anything but complacent with regards to this challenge. One of the primary reasons the nation’s carbon emissions have stayed flat/slightly declined in recent years is the replacement of coal fired power plants with natural gas. This transition, while dramatically less carbon intense, does not acknowledge the tremendous increase of methane emissions that comes from fracking.

Methane is another greenhouse gas, but it is 30 times more potent than carbon alone, and there is no comprehensive measure of our emissions here. So, carbon is down a little, but methane is way up … In addition, the carbon emission reductions the congressman showed us do not reveal that the U.S. is still the second highest carbon polluter in the world, coming in at 18 tons per person per year. The U.S. is not successfully leading in addressing climate change and the public should know this. For the U.S. to truly lead on this issue, I would urge the congressman to support the non-partisan HR 763 Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. It very simply puts a price on carbon pollution, puts all energy solutions on a level playing field, and delivers the proceeds of this carbon fee directly to every household in America. It’s one of the few proposals that really reduces our carbon emissions but in the most efficient way possible. To learn more, visit

Bernard Seeger

Cascade Locks

Latino Advisory Council

I am writing about the Latino Advisory Council of the City of Hood River that was created by Paul Blackburn shortly after he started office with the goal of outreaching to, building a relationship and creating inclusivity with our Spanish speaking and Latinx community members. The council benefits both the Latinx population and the city government by providing information, listening, and empowering all to communicate well and work collaboratively. I have the pleasure of working closely and being friends with many members of the Latinx community and I can tell you that the Latino Advisory Council has had impacts beyond its original intention.

Many of my coworkers speak of feeling like a part of government, having a connectedness to decision makers and having a voice. We have seen an increase in native Spanish speakers on boards and in positions of power throughout our community, and I believe some of that is due to the existence of the Latino Advisory Council. A few weeks/months ago, when the notice that Mayor Blackburn was resigning came out, a Latina friend of mine, who is a leader in the community, came with tears in her eyes, speaking about how she hopes that the Latino Advisory Council would continue to exist after his departure and how important it was to her community.

I have urged the Hood River City Council to ensure that during and after the transition to a new mayor that they require that the Latino Advisory Council continue be regular standing meeting of the government in our wonderful city. It has been a great gift that Mayor Blackburn has started, and its impacts go well beyond the walls of city hall. I hope they’ll recognize the importance of ensuring its existence. Should the city council elect a new mayor who is not a Spanish speaker, there are many resources available in our community to continue to hold the meetings in Spanish, and I would be happy to point them in the right direction to utilize translation and interpretation services available. Diversity benefits us all. Keep it up Hood River! Somos Uno!

Suzanne Cross

Hood River

When do we go to work?

As a public employee for 30 years in Oregon, I was expected to go to work, do my job, and take care of business. I confess to being asked to perform several tasks that I did not feel were in the best interests of my students. This was my opinion, however, and I was expected to perform my duties for the public good, on the public dime.

Have the rules changed? Can public employees now come to work on days they agree with their assigned tasks, and skip days in which they do not? If so, I want that job!

Eric Cohn

Hood River 

Ends justifying the means

“If you send the state police to get me, hell’s coming to visit you personally. Send bachelors and come heavily armed.”

If you said this in an airport or on an airplane, would you be considered a threat? What if you said it in a school or a mall? If you said this to police while black, would they shrug their shoulders and consider it just witty repartee?

Apparently, Oregon Republican State Sen. Brian Boquist, who is known to carry a permitted concealed weapon, thinks this sort of comment is an appropriate part of representing his constituents. And the Republican half of the Senate Special Committee on Conduct did not seem to find in these words much menace or credible threat. I find them appalling.

They are just another example of the end justifying the means: This ever more common practice of employing and condoning aggressive, distasteful, unfair, excessive or dishonest behavior in the service of a goal.

Jennifer Ouzounian

Hood River

Rolling coal

A huge thanks to all the volunteers and organizers that work to make the Fourth of July parade and fireworks a great event in Hood River!

Unfortunately, the otherwise fun parade celebrations were marred by the Rose City Mobbing Car and Truck Club. Repeatedly during the parade, I saw the last vehicle in their group decided it would be cool to “roll coal” and blast people that had lined the sidewalks with diesel exhaust. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it is a practice some diesel truck owners of modifying their trucks so they can dump excess fuel into the engine and spew out a thick cloud of diesel exhaust.

The owner somehow thought that it would be a good idea to blast the people sitting on the curbs a face full of his truck’s exhaust. It wasn’t an accident and was done multiple times along the parade route.

I hope that the Rose City Mobbing club is not invited back nor permitted to enter any future Hood River parades.

Peter Rutkowski

Hood River

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