Saturday, September 9, 2017
Dear County Administration and Commissioners,
First and foremost, I am incredibly grateful to our county partners and agencies for stepping in so quickly to respond to the Eagle Creek Fire. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
My partner and I own Thunder Island Brewing Co. in Cascade Locks. As business owners that have been affected by this fire, we urge you to take the steps necessary to declare a state of emergency if that means that small businesses like ours would be eligible to obtain a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan due to the fire.
As we are going through this disastrous experience, I am reflecting on the incredible natural disasters we have experienced in our region this past year. Over the past 12 months, we have had to close our doors for business 11 days and counting. We closed a total of eight days due to the ice storms throughout this past winter. And now, we have closed three days and counting due to the Eagle Creek fire.
As a tourism-based business, we are concerned about the future impacts of this horrific event on our local economies. To give you perspective, the revenue that a small business makes from a typical summer weekend (Friday through Sunday) is about the same, if not more than what we would make during an entire month in the winter. That said, Labor Day weekend is typically a record breaker for many businesses out here. Losing revenue this past Sunday and Monday will have a compounding and painful effect as we enter the slow months and we work hard to keep our doors opened and our staff gainfully employed. The road to rebuild will be rough.
Again, thank you for your expedient response to this situation and we hope that our testimony may help you make the decision to declare a state of emergency in Hood River County.
Walden must work for planet
I received an email from Representative Greg Walden this weekend supporting his Resilient Forest Protection Act. Depending on your view, this bill is either an attempt to address threats from forest fires through improved forest management or a poorly disguised effort to increase logging on federal lands.
While his concern for this issue is timely, especially as Hood River sits in suffocating smoke from the Eagle Creek Fire, we need to address the other factor related to forest fires: climate change. More frequent and more intense forest fires are not solely a result of poor forest management or decades of fire suppression.
Studies have demonstrated that climate is a major driver of wildfire in the western United States. Warmer, drier summers mean a longer fire season and more large, severe fires. We’re not going to thin or clear-cut our way out of the forest fire threat any more than we can levee and dike our way out of threats from sea level rise and flooding.
I’ve heard Greg Walden acknowledge climate change as a major environmental issue. I just wish he would act on those concerns. His opposition to regulating carbon dioxide, tax credits for renewable energy, increased auto fuel standards, the Paris Accord, and his support for oil and gas exploration/production all undercut his stated position. He has voiced concern about coal jobs and used that to justify his opposition to the Stream Protection Act. This at a time when the number of solar and wind jobs in this country continues to grow and tops 473,000 while the number of coal jobs stands at just 160,000. His legislative record seems more like pandering to energy interests and the Republican base than any meaningful actions to prevent climate change.
As chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and as an Oregon representative following in the footsteps of Tom McCall and Mark Hatfield (both Republicans), he needs to do more for conservation and the planet.
Are you concerned about parking in downtown Hood River? If you are, please consider letting the city council know before they meet on Sept. 11. Our tax dollars have been used to commission three different professional parking studies and each has concluded that there is a parking shortage in downtown Hood River. Still, the recommended actions from these studies have not been implemented. Addressing downtown parking has not been a priority because city council has not heard enough complaints from constituents.
As downtown business owners, we often hear complaints about parking. We are told that the current parking situation discourages locals from visiting downtown. We have shared these concerns with city council, but they need to hear directly from residents who think downtown parking is an issue.
At the Sept. 11 meeting, the council will discuss, and possibly vote on, allowing a new 70-unit apartment complex at Third and State Street to be built without providing adequate parking. If you are concerned about how this will adversely affect parking in downtown Hood River, please contact city council.
Residents can contact Hood River City Council via email, phone, or letter. You can also attend the Monday, Sept. 11 City Council meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall (211 Second St.). We have included contact information below.
Paul Blackburn, mayor, Paul.firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate McBride, council president, Kate.email@example.com
Mark Zanmiller, Mark.zanmiller @cityofhoodriver.com
Susan Johnson, susan.johnson @cityofhoodriver.com
Peter Cornelison, Peter.cornelison @cityofhoodriver.com
Becky Brun, becky.brun @cityofhoodriver.com
Megan Saunders, megan. firstname.lastname@example.org
All can be reached at the city council message line, 541-436-0654.
Steve Wheeler, city manager, email@example.com, 541-387-5252
We appreciate your time and consideration.
Miko and Zed Ruhlen
Hood River Hobbies
Erica and Pepi Gerald
2nd Wind Sports
Andrews Pizza/Skylight Theater/Hood River Cinemas
6th Street Bistro
Hood River Stationers
Jenny and Muir Cohen
The Frame Gallery
Art on Oak
Scott Klein, Lac
Sophie’s Enchanted Alpaca