Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Don’t delay port
I read with dismay the plans of CRWD (Citizens for Responsible Waterfront Development) to submit initiatives for a “final say” on the waterfront plan. How many years are we going to be subjected to the delaying tactics of this group in their attempt to get their version (recreational use) of the waterfront plan passed? And cries of “unfair,” “give citizens a voice,” sound a little ridiculous after 47 public meetings. And we don’t need another vote at public expense. Enough already!
Thanks to Mr. Harlan for supporting those of us who don’t want all the waterfront for the recreationists — hang in there!
Zoning for jobs
The Port is requesting that the city rezone the waterfront, so that commercial and residential buildings can be densely-spaced along the water’s edge (a new “mixed-use” zone is to be created). A 50-foot strip along the river would be reserved for public use, similar to the strip of lawn in front of the Hood River Inn. This plan erases the past 15 years of waterfront planning, particularly the work done two years ago by the Port’s blue ribbon lot 6 panel. By this method, the Port hopes to import high-paying jobs into Hood River.
I personally am an example of importing high-wage jobs into the county. I can report that shoreline condos and hotels did not contribute to my decision to relocate jobs to Hood River, nor to the relocation decision of anyone I know. In fact, condos and hotels along the shore will decrease Hood River’s appeal to me. In 11 years, I have often visited lot 6, but have never ventured onto the “public” strip of lawn in front of the Hood River Inn. I wouldn’t want to intrude upon the privacy of hotel guests on their bedroom patios.
To most people escaping the cities, an urban development next to the river is as unappealing as the neighborhoods they are leaving behind. Rather than lure jobs to Hood River, the Port will cause them to go elsewhere. This will not be the first time that a group of well-intentioned public servants achieves the opposite of their intent.
Andy von Flotow
I would again like to commend the Hood River News for reporting the story, “Teens charged with meth use at HRVHS” in the May 31 edition. As a nurse in the community, I am aware that crystal methamphetamine continues to be a serious health threat to our youth. The principal was quoted as saying “The adults who are doing this to our kids have to be stopped.” He is so right.
Unfortunately, the adults that need to be confronted are the principals, teachers and ancillary staff. If the high school is interested in discouraging drug use, a priority needs to be set for monitoring changes in the behavior of our students and evaluating the root causes. Our kids are not being supervised if the only way the adults know about illicit drug use is when they collapse “on the track with heart palpitations.”
As a Master’s prepared, advanced practice nurse, I cannot imagine not knowing whether a patient in my care is high on meth. I interact with them while I’m offering the nursing service they require. I am educated on the signs of an impending problem and proactively work toward its avoidance. Nursing is a serious profession just as educating our youth is. I take full responsibility to see that all of my patients over the years have received my personal best and am accountable when things go awry.
The kids of Hood River are our most valuable asset. They deserve to be cared for by adults who display the same excellence and professionalism that I give my patients. Persons in leadership roles are ultimately responsible for what goes on in our high school and should be held culpable when our kids get hurt.
Carol Taft RN, MS
In his letter to the editor (June 4), Richard Lee got a couple of groups mixed up. The group that he described in his letter (the C.A.V.E people — Citizens Against Virtually Everything) are actually the C.A.V.E.D people. (Citizens Against Virtually Everything Dumb.) The C.A.V.E people is the group that is against the sign code, they were against Urban Renewal, the open burn barrel ordinance and everything else that keeps our community beautiful.
Keep dock open
I have heard about our community docks being closed to all visitors, and if you go to the docks then you will receive a fine for $250! I don’t see why it is such a big deal. They think that if you go there, and get hurt, then the family of the person who got hurt will sue the community for it.
I think that if the person gets hurt, then it’s their fault, because they took a risk of jumping off and getting hurt. And now they have made it clear, and made a law that you may not swim or hang out on the docks! The docks are where all the teens hang out in the summer, and now it finally becomes summer (the season schools out, everyday hanging out with your best friends, and having fun, and getting ready to jump off the docks everyday) and they’re going to take it all away from us? We think that the law should not pass.
As you know, Hood River does not have a lot of places to hang out, or go, because it is such a small town. And now they are taking away our favorite place to be in the summer?
I know parents, friends, relatives, care about their children or grandchildren, or friends a lot and want them to be as safe as they possibly can. But if the parents or guardians let their child go to the docks, with the risk of them getting hurt, then I think that the whole community or town should not get involved.
We can see how if the officials monitor us to see if we are doing drugs or getting drunk every few hours, then that would be alright. But banning everyone from the docks? Also I heard that people are afraid that there might be rocks stacking up on the bottom of the river, and we might jump onto them and get hurt, but we trust the cruise ships (like the Queen of the West) dock up there, and the bottom of the ship doesn’t get mangled up. And think about it, a cruise ship is HUGE. It doesn’t just glide along the surface of the water, when it is traveling. It sinks down a lot. I doubt that we could even touch the bottom of a cruise ship.
I don’t see why they are so worried about us, if it hasn’t even happened before (well maybe once, I’m not sure). Thank you for listening, and I hope that we can get this thing worked out.
So what’s new?
Nothing seems to change with the Port Commission regardless of who we elect to serve. About every five or six years on average, they spend public dollars to hire “consultants” to tell them what to do. After presenting some conceptual artist’s renderings, these “experts” are paid and they leave town. These proposals go nowhere. And after 50 years, and with the same song and dance of “family wage jobs,” there have been none created and several lost.
The reasons for this dismal record are many, but at the core of these failures is the lack of input from: a) current tenants, b) citizen’s groups, and c) local business expertise, early and throughout the planning stages of proposals to be considered. Much energy is spent by well-meaning folks in executive and work sessions where “outsiders” are locked out of serious input. It is only after a plan is put on the “table” that interested and affected parties can voice their concerns and/or support.
An example of this closed process is the current request by the Port to the City of Hood River to allow an RV park on a portion of the waterfront property. The two senior and stable occupants of the area are Hood River Distillers and Luhr Jensen. It may be noted that these two businesses employ over 400 local workers, and both even pre-date the formation of the Port District itself!
Neither of these entities have been involved in the discussions and planning of this venture with the Port relative to traffic, security and general safety issues that may affect their operations.
It should not be a surprise if one or both of these affected parties will be vehemently opposed to such a plan, and city planners and officials will hear of these displeasures and understandable resentment. Obviously all of this could have been avoided.
It would seem that the succeeding commissions would have learned that it would be best to obtain broad consensus rather than creating boondoggles that backfire. I served on the Port Commission in the early 1960s as the land in question was created with dredged fill from the river. I recall that we decided that within and part of the fill project we would have pilings driven adequate to accomodate larger vessels for the purpose of shipping fruit to domestic and foreign ports. You might guess that not once was a fruit shipper or orchardist questioned as to whether this would be a viable way of transporting fruit in the future!
So what’s new?
Greg Walden’s been in town again, dispensing pork-barrel and graduation-day platitudes.
He didn’t explain (and your reporter didn’t ask) why he voted for Bush’s $350 billion tax cut, which mainly helps the wealthiest Oregonians. Low-income folks don’t even get the $400 credit per child. This piece of class legislation is so blatant it was even criticized by billionaires like Bill Gates Sr. and Warren Buffet.
How does it help people in the Second Congressional District? Not much.
Nor does the Congressman speak of the further mass media monopolization by the Federal Communications Commission. The Bush administration continues to gut and destroy environmental regulations. Walden supports this, as well as the pre-emptive and unnecessary war on Iraq. Where are those weapons of mass destruction?
Some people in eastern Oregon expect more than colorful photo ops in the Gorge. We need some solutions for the cuts in education, social services and health care. Isn’t this why we have a Congressman?
Service by many
In these times of worldwide violence, we’ve come to associate the phrase “Service to your country” with only one thing: the military. Thank goodness that people like Linda Short, representing the Columbia River Fellowship for Peace, are visiting local high schools to present an alternative to military service. Service should mean much more than joining the Marines, Army, Navy or Air Force. We should congratulate and celebrate all young people who choose service: whether they become part of the military, join AmeriCorps, build homes for Habitat for Humanity, become teachers, fight fires, or perform other equally important services for their communities. Conscientious objectors should not be denigrated; their decision to be peaceful is as courageous as the decision to fight.
The military has unparalleled access to our young people through high school recruiting, advertisements on Channel 1, and ASVAB exams. Although these exams are administered by the military, high school students are told that they are tests to help determine careers in general, and are not made fully aware of the connection the tests have to military recruitment. Students should have equal opportunities to learn about alternatives to the military. We congratulate HRVHS for allowing the Peace Fellowship access to their student body, and urge the school’s administration to be equitable with such contact in the future.
Jim and Peggy Kelter