I’ve often said (to the poor souls too slow or too polite to escape my opinionating) that how we use our land is the great Western issue of this time.
What does that mean, precisely? Well, that depends on how you ask the questions. If you ask, “What will have left if we allow everyone to build anything anywhere?” you’ll get a different take than if you ask, “What right does the government have to tell me I can’t use my land?”
Hood River’s own Columbia Gorge Earth Center has taken a stab at this most-pressing debate: “How much control should the public have over the use of privately held land?”
That’s the topic for a CGEC-organized debate between Steven B. Andersen and Jeff Hunter coming up on Monday, Feb. 26.
The talk is free, open to the public and will be held at Dog River Coffee (411 Oak Street, Hood River). Starts at 7:30 p.m., and promises to be considerably more substantial than most coffee-house chatter.
For one thing, Hood River and the Gorge is Ground Zero for land use, what with the community’s popularity and the mass of Measure 37 claims in the valley. (There are more than 230 of them to date, totaling about 14,000 acres. See a map of them here..) For another thing, Andersen and Hunter are hip-deep in the issue; Andersen is a Mosier-based property consultant who helps most area landowners shepard their Measure 37 development claims through the process, while Hunter is a longtime member of the watchdog group Hood River Valley Residents Committee.
No Salem bureaucratese here — just two neighbors with a (neighborly?) talk on the great Western issue of our time.