Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Why were three important public meetings scheduled in three different towns on the exact same night and the same time? On Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m., I had to choose between attending an important meeting about toxic waste shipments and leakage at Hanford (in Hood River), or one about the issues involved with Condit Dam (in White Salmon), or one about an estimated 30 tons of toxic emissions of sulfur dioxide annually from a planned smelter (in Goldendale). How is it possible that these three meetings just happened to get scheduled at the same time on the same night? If this was a “quirky coincidence,” I implore the staff of our public services and agencies to communicate with one another when setting up meetings of public interest. It is absolutely vital that citizens be able to attend meetings on local issues in order to be a part of the decision-making process. I would argue that these meetings were especially important, as the decisions will likely impact the health and wealth of local citizens. Public governmental agencies have a duty to coordinate meetings in a way that makes public education and participation possible.
Those who choose to support business profits, without considering deeper implications, like to disparage the various progressive organizations, like the HRVRC, by saying they are against “everything.” The reality is, when one is against something, one is automatically FOR something else. Progressives (read: those for progress), in my experience, are for things like a healthy, functioning environment, (Remember, it’s where we live.) healthy communities, democracy, living wages, comprehensive planning and progressive development.
Another common complaint leveled at real progress is that Oregon, and Hood River County in particular, have too much of a restrictive attitude towards business. The keepers-of-the-corporate-status-quo scourge progressives as NIMBY’s (not in my backyard). A term made up by the “keepers.” Well, you know what? There are things that shouldn’t be in anyone’s backyard — anywhere! If the full cost of business-as-usual were truly factored in, we would have a civilization nothing like the one we have. We could not, would not do business the way we do it! The progressive spirit, for which Oregon is so well known, should be the beginning point, not the end point, on the longer road to intelligent progress.
Why is it some believe business should always come first? Consider the hourly business and market report. How about an hourly report on the welfare of our elderly, our children, families, people, communities, the condition of education in America, an air, water, total environmental health index? What are our real national values? There’s a chasm between the rhetoric and the reality!
Instead of everything being subservient to business ideas, no matter how one-sided or bad for our communities and the world, how about business fulfilling our highest, most noble aspirations? Fortunately, there are great minds, hearts and business people the world over who are pioneering a saner world. Let’s not blindly accept whatever junk jobs come down the road. Let’s work for and encourage sanity in this very beautiful place we call home.
Flora, fauna first
Nature offers a unique atmosphere that cannot be attained elsewhere. Driving up to the mountain, alone or with a friend, is an experience unlike going to the mall or working out at the gym. The unmarked territory of the natural world offers a place of purity, a place where one can breathe, and feel at peace. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput stated, “Each year we get more and more disconnected from nature and its sacramental message. Remember that nature itself is a kind of sacrament, a sign that points to God.” My point is not that ski resorts or massive real estate developments are wholly bad. But the elimination of priceless, scarce and sacred natural environments is deeply unpleasant. Imagine living in an area that is so developed and congested that one’s only escape from the concrete jungle is to tour the housing developments that inhabit the Mt. Hood area. Rather than a detoxifying jaunt in the woods, it is more of the same houses, streets, business. The sacrifice of flora and fauna for development doesn’t sound even slightly attractive.
Locals get scraps
By now it is common knowledge that the Cooper Spur destination resort developers are picking up the cost to bring bus loads of their “friends” to Hood River to pack the Jan. 22 hearing on the Goal 8 mapping.
Their plans for a destination resort at Cooper Spur are not truly intended as a means of aiding Hood River county’s economy by increasing its tax base. No indeed. Any money coming our way from such a resort will be merely a peripheral benefit, written off tax-wise by this Portland-based partnership as the cost of doing business here.
What the developers really anticipate from their proposed resort is the maximum cash flow possible from here to their Portland bank accounts. Like other absentee owners, their only interest in our county is how much money we can make for them. They get the meat — we get table scraps.
George W. Earley
I enjoy recreating on Mt. Hood frequently and I am very interested in the prospect of having a destination resort at Cooper Spur. With all the negative publicity this issue has gotten over the last few months, it is my hope that the community is able to overlook the “emotional stuff” and focus on the facts and benefits that a resort such as this would bring Hood River County.
Tourists staying at the resort would stay and spend their money, both in the upper valley and downtown Hood River. The businesses in the county would benefit by having a year-round tourist season, not just a summer period. With the lumber and farming industries very unstable right now, it seems the residents of the valley would be welcoming a change such as this with open arms.
Recreation is a viable part of our community both present and past. It seems to me that a year round destination resort is a natural progression to what a lot of our visitors are looking for. I’m very willing to hear what Meadows has planned. Please consider joining me in supporting them with their endeavor.
HR is the resort
I thought I had heard everything in the way of slimy shenanagins with regard to the destination resort the Mt. Hood Meadows Development Corporation is trying to force upon the historic and still wild Cooper Spur area. Illegal land swaps potentially worth millions to Meadows, unexplained map changes and Forest Service timber sales adjacent to proposed resort lands that just happen to make good potential ski runs were bad enough. However, the corporation’s latest tactic shows just how low it is willing to stoop to ram its gigantic real estate venture down our throats. Dave Riley is paying to bus skiers from Portland out to testify in favor of the proposed resort at the public hearing on Jan. 22!
If you love Mt. Hood then I hope you are as outraged by this as I am! If you do not want old WyEast to become another beautiful lost place, like Celilo Falls, then please show up in mass and stand up for our mountain. Please come to the Hood River Inn, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. and show your support. Talking points for letters or testimony will be available. Bring a sign. Tell Meadows and the County that a destination resort is a bad idea.
If the resort is allowed to be built, not only will the mountain’s wildness be dealt a death blow, but the resulting real estate speculation (this venture is about selling real estate at high prices, NOT skiing) could likely lead to the end of the rural quality and beauty of Hood River Valley that we all love.
In the end, as Thoreau said, “the wealth of a community will be judged by what it can afford to leave alone.” Certainly we can afford to leave the rest of Mt. Hood as it is, with more resorts around it already than any other mountain in the country. I think future generations would give thanks for leaving a bit of wildness for them to enjoy. And besides, we already have a destination resort. It’s called Hood River.
Last, best chance
O.K, let me get this straight — the “newly formed” “Friends of Cooper Spur Mountain Resort,” is a “grass-roots” effort that has a membership of 95,000 people that want to see development on the north slope of Mt. Hood.
It’s not April first, so I guess this isn’t an April fools day joke, but even so, it’s more frightening than funny. The recent Hood River News article about this so-called group is scary for two reasons; first, it shows the lengths to which Mt. Hood Meadows will go to get what it wants, even if that means apparently manufacturing “friends.” Secondly, it illustrates how uncritical reporting can distort reality — RaeLynn Gill’s article read like nothing more than a paid advertisement for Mt. Hood Meadows.
So the questions I would like to see answered are: Who are these “95,000” people? How many live in Hood River County? Why is it that no one has ever heard of this huge group before now? What is Mr. Templeton’s relationship with Dave Riley and Mt. Hood Meadows? Was it just a coincidence that Meadows “Friends” popped up just before the Commissioners meeting to amend the county rules for destination resorts?
C’mon, Hood River County — wake up! Meadows is now a hairbreadth away from getting what they want — permission to go ahead with a massive development that will forever alter the wildlands in our backyard. Is this really what you want? Does it really serve the needs of our county, or just the needs of Mt. Hood Meadows Ltd? Show up and let your voice be heard at the Commissioners meeting at the Hood River Inn on Jan. 22. This may be your last, best chance to have a say in preserving the quality of our forest environment for future generations.
You can be sure that Meadows will be bussing its “friends” in — from wherever they live.
There has been a lot of debate recently regarding destination resorts in Hood River County.
Why is this important to us, the residents of Hood River County? Economics and natural resources.
As most letters I have read address the natural resource issue, I have selected the economic subject matter.
The tourism industry is highly desirable from an economic standpoint due to the influx of investment and employment into a region.
By definition, a destination resort creates a destination that attracts tourism, which would not otherwise be captured by the local area.
Destination resorts present the most dynamic growth component to the tourism industry. The main aspect of destination resorts and their economic success is the fact that destination resorts place little to no demand on county, school district, and service provider resources, while generating largest property tax, fee, license and service revenues to the municipality.
Destination resorts create above average wage employment opportunities, through first the development process. Development creates short term (10-20 years) employment opportunities within the construction industry, jobs which pay on average 20-25 percent more than the median wage jobs within the similar Oregon communities. The process of operating a destination resort provides the second and third employment opportunities. With management and marketing jobs providing long-term above average wage opportunities while service level jobs provide improved opportunities to the under-employed as well as un-employed. A fourth component to the employment equation is long term opportunities created on the fringe, in areas such as realty, retail and service industries, Hood River as a prime example.
With the long term ramifications of the Goal 8 map it is imperative to not be overly restrictive. I myself would be for a destination resort, if planned, and implemented in a way that would not be obtrusive to our natural resources. I just don’t want Hood River County to cut off the foot because we’re afraid the shoe might not fit. We may need that foot in the future.
‘Glory of choice’
Where there should be a loving camaraderie and a sharing of our bounty, there now is an unhappy atmosphere. I find that the Adult Center’s vision of “dressing-up” is an odd concept of Thanksgiving.
Why, even a threatened civil-liberties visionary would admit the word means giving thanks — to God.
In the U.S.A. we have the glory of choice. No single citizen has the right to impose or decree authority for their own selfish purpose. Nor should the minority of votes dictate. The injustice of such power is not what Lincoln intended.
What is fair to civil-rights activists? Haven’t they gone too far in their demands? Must we refrain from “God bless you,” the Pledge of Allegiance, “In God we trust,” and “God bless America?”
Although I’m sad about human misbehavior I’m not worried. God is still in control. For none of the unbelievers can change the weather.
The recent “flap” about the words “God Bless” being on the menu board at the Adult Center may appear trivial to some, but I believe it underscores how the courts (and ACLU) have changed the manner in which religion and public life interact. Church leaders are reluctant to encourage or participate in patriotic events. Even prayer for our armed forces emanates from church members, not pastors. Lawsuits remove the words “Christmas Holidays” from school calendars.
When our country was formed, and for many years thereafter, I believe that America and Christianity were uniquely connected. On Sept. 6, 1774, the first Congress opened with prayer — a three-hour prayer! Twenty-seven of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence held seminary degrees. Can you imagine almost half of our current Congress being pastors?
Many today use Thomas Jefferson as a basis for erecting a wall between religion and public affairs. While he was president, he was also Chairman of the Board for education in Washington, D.C., and he required that two books be taught in our schools: the Bible and Watt’s Hymnal. Imagine that! The man many hold up as the guru of separation of church and state, the man who would never permit having Bibles in school — he mandated it!
Charles Malik, President, United Nations General Assembly, 1958, said, “Whoever tries to conceive the American word without taking full account of the suffering and love and salvation of Christ is only dreaming. I know how embarrassing this matter is to politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and cynics; but, whatever these honored men think, the irrefutable truth is that the soul of America is at its best and highest, Christian.”
It is this soul of America that I see changing. If it continues, I fear for our country’s future.
Love and kindness
We would like to take an opportunity to thank a lot of people who helped make the recent benefit for Noah Smith, a tremendous success!
The musicians who played that evening were: Tobias Ammon, Kevin Kingrey, Ron Delano, Larry Wyatt, Mark Daley, Dieter Nachman, Peter McGrain, Rick Williams, Randy Bell and Dennis Williams. Special thanks to Tobias for lining up the best music for four solid hours. And to Annette Santacroce-Dowd for putting on the apron again along with Bonita Mcginnis. And best of all, the love and kindness exhibited by every single person that attended. May Noah use this love to heal.
Margaret and Richard Santacroce