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Tag Archives: columbia river gorge

Gorge Windmills Make the Washington Post

A Washington Post columnist, Anne Applebaum, is tilting against anti-windmill activists who are resisting wind-power projects around the country. Some of them say wind-powered generators are unsightly; others, the old saw that they kill birds. Applebaum's recent column includes a photo of the gorge’s own windmills, near Wasco, east of The Dalles (site of its own future wind-power project), though the anti-windmill movement appears to be an East Coast phenom. The attitude is not NIMBY, says Applebaum, but BANANA — Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything... Read More »

Broughton Hopes to Transform Lumber Mill Into Windsurfing Resort

With a recent purchase of property above Cape Horn, the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge may get its own equivalent of the Crown Point viewing area ... Now, it has its own casino-like project, too: A large proposed development that would bring tourists and jobs to the heart of the Columbia Gorge. All it would cost, say opponents, are serious compromises to gorge scenic protections. The proposed project is actually a re-development: The Broughton Lumber Company of Skamania County hopes to create a windsurfers’ resort and condo community on what is now its long-dormant lumber mill along State Route 14 near Underwood, west of Bingen/White Salmon. The proposed "Broughton Landing" resort plan would resurrect the site,transforming it from a rusting ghost-town of empty mill buildings into a Sunriver-like destination resort. ... Read More »

Never a Dull Moment When Jack’s in Town

Editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman scribbles, scribes and charms an audience in The Dalles. (Photo by Susan Hess.)

The Dalles is a plain-speaking sort of place and the perfect venue to host Jack Ohman, a straight-shooting political cartoonist. In the cozy comfort of the "Fireplace Room" in The Dalles Civic Auditorium Wednesday night, Ohman tickled the audience with impromptu caricatures, waxed philosophic on topics such as immigration and Watergate, and bantered cheerfully with a 96-year-old gentleman who gave as good as he got. While still in college, Ohman became the youngest cartoonist ever to be nationally syndicated. He now serves as editorial cartoonist for The Oregonian and is one of the most widely syndicated political cartoonists in the U.S. But Ohman is, first and foremost, a funny guy... Read More »

View From the Director’s Seat

Martha Bennett has been at the helm of one of the newest, most controversial and singularly important local governments — the Columbia Gorge Commission — for nearly five years. Next month, she’ll be gone, leaving the executive director chair and taking a new job as Ashland’s new city administrator. The Gorge Commisson heads up land use planning for scenic, cultural, natural and recreational resources in the 300,000-acre National Scenic Area of the Columbia River Gorge. (Maps here and here.) The Commission’s budget is about $830,000 per year. It has a staff of ten people, and 12 voting commissioners (six from Oregon, six from Washington). Area newspapers have run short articles articles about Bennett’s resignation, but nothing extensive. Bennett, 38, of Hood River, recently took some time to answer a number of questions from New West Columbia Gorge. Those are reproduced below, almost entirely unedited... Read More »

Gorge Air: Many Pollution Sources, Small Steps Toward Cleaner Air

If there’s one thing more vital than commerce, more important than jobs, it’s air. And in the Columbia Gorge, the air is so-so; it’s cleaner than downtown Vegas, say researchers, but haze from dust and pollutants cloud the Gorge in winter and summer. The result is what one researcher calls "medium" quality air, though another has said Gorge air is "a very polluted soup." Slowly, jumping hurdles like a lack of significant funding, state environmental officials are piecing together the causes — and, eventually, potential solutions — in a study called "Causes of Haze in the Gorge," or "CaHaGo." CaHaGo research in conducted jointly by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality and Washington’s Southwest Clean Air Agency, plus private contractors. Together, they’ve compiled a draft CaHaGo report (available for download), which they presented to the Gorge Commission last week.... Read More »

“Big Look” Takes Off, Treading Shifting Sands

by Sam Lowry A scholarly Frenchman, once asked about rap music, said he thought it would be the savior of creativity in language ... or something like that. It’s clear what he was saying: Get used to it. Adapt. Oregonians of a certain stripe are having to do a whole lot of adapting right now as the entire state’s culture, the very spirit of the age, rounds the corner into the post-Measure-37 era. The property-rights initiative, passed by 61 percent of Oregonians in 2004, dealt a body-blow to the state’s 30-year-old land use planning program. These fans of statewide planning grapple with grief, disorientation, and disgust. And they hang their hopes for a bright future on a new ten-member task force, charged with finding new direction now that Measure 37 has had its constitutionality recently affirmed by the state Supreme Court. There are good reasons for hope – but it’s not that simple... Read More »

The Secret, Lost Lives of Farmers

An aerial view of the author's childhood farm home in Chandler, Ariz.; the silvery rectangle in the center is an old Quonset hut. To the left, a soulless desert development. To the right, a couple of faux-Tudor McMansions, set in orange groves with large swimming pools.

by Tomi Owens Mark and Rhonda Fischer own an orchard in the Hood River Valley near Parkdale, Oregon. Like the orchard, skiing is a Fischer family tradition. Mark’s parents taught him and Rodney and Jeremy have been skiing and snowboarding since they were five. Rhonda is a snowboarder, too. They spend the winter on the Mt. Hood snow pack and when spring thaw comes the same snow will melt into the Hood River, flow into the valley and irrigate the orchard. What should I say to Mark and Rhonda? To Rodney and Jeremy? Something blithe like "Enjoy it while you can?"  I am the outsider in this valley, in this county, in this state. I am not from here yet still I must cry out some kind of warning. Measure 37; the Warm Springs casino proposed for Cascade Locks; the sale of 730 acres of Forest Service Land in a National Scenic Area? It's a three-ring act. The circus has come to town, blowing horns and banging the big drum of Progress. And, just as in Ray Bradbury's dark classic Something Wicked This Way Comes, this circus comes promising to grant you your dearest wish... Read More »

A Big Week for the Cascade Locks Casino

It was a big week for the proposed Warm Springs casino in Cascade Locks: A number of local officials, including Hood River County Commissioner Carol York, traveled to testify at a Senate hearing; and meanwhile, the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs released a scoping report for the casino project. Oh, yeah, and this issue of Portland Monthly magazine includes an article, "The Gamble In the Gorge," that looks at the controversy, the tribal community, the proposal — and casts it, in part, as a struggle not just of Indian tribes trying to prosper in a white man’s world, but pitted against one another for that prosperity. Unfortunately, since the magazine’s papercentric editors don’t put their content online (except for the first few paragraphs), you’ll have to track down a paper copy to read the piece... Read More »

Railroad Plans Will Run Us Over, Say Windsurfers

A railroad company will be constructing a mile and a half of siding this year near one of the Gorge’s primo windsurfing and kiteboarding spots, Doug’s Beach, just east of Lyle. So reports the White Salmon Enterprise. The paper says that windsurfers are worried that construction will further reduce Doug’s Beach State Park’s already-cramped parking on peak summer days — perhaps cutting as many as 80 out of 220 parking spots... Read More »

“Death of Celilo Falls” Offers Look At Pivotal History in the Gorge

When it comes to a top-shelf history of American Indians in the West, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee is the perennial classic. And for those in the Northwest, particularly on the east side of the Cascades, the Thunder Over the Ochoco series is hard to top. There’s a potential new addition to the canon: Katrine Barber’s Death of Celilo Falls. I haven’t read the book (yet), but its subject is our Columbia Gorge history; in particular, the history building up to that day in March 1957 when the gates of The Dalles Dam closed, and the Columbia River engulfed Celilo Falls, the spiritual and communal center of Columbia-area tribes... Read More »