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Tag Archives: hood river

Heartwarming Art for a Cold First Friday

The Hood River First Friday Artwalk might be a bit chilly tonight but the subject matter should make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Columbia Center for the Arts has joined with PROD (Promoting Responsible Ownership of Dogs), to bring to the Gorge a series of art events featuring local pets Yes—our beloved local pets! Now, it is no secret that Gorge-folks are gaga about their dogs or that Hood River’s predilection for whimsical, off-beat art consistently sets the tone for local flair. So, it was only a matter of time before someone combined these two fanciful tendencies of Gorge life. And that someone was Judie Hanel, former director of the CCA and now curator of the “Paw Prints” art show, a month long series of events celebrating pets in art and pets at art.

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Hood River Council Candidate Sees Future in Blogging

We here at New West Columbia Gorge are, for obvious reasons, very keen on the idea of an online community in our region. Although there are numerous websites, Gorge bloggers are still a rare breed. One exception is Arthur Babitz. I first met Arthur several weeks ago at an impromptu gathering he had organized in our neighborhood as part of his campaign for Hood River City Council. Since then, I have been following his blog, vicariously living the “excitement” of being a first time politician. Arthur is also encouraging current City Council members to create a community forum online in an effort to "improve the quality of the discussion" of issues facing our town. Today, I asked him a few questions about his blogging experience and to expand on some of his ideas for a City Council blog...

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And Now, the Main Event: Measure 37 vs. the Gorge Commission

There’s a court case quietly underway that may affect everyone who lives in or has a stake in the Columbia Gorge. At issue: The future of the preserving — often irritating, sometimes stifling — land-use rules that have kept ambitious land owners from turning the Oregon side of the river into a vast entertainment and housing development. The case on the docket of the Oregon Court of Appeals is titled the Columbia River Gorge Commission vs. Hood River County, and it’s scheduled for oral arguments on Dec. 7. We might more accurately call the case Oregonians In Action vs. the Gorge Commission, for those are the real actors here. In the court case, two Hood River-area property owners say that Oregon’s Measure 37 supercedes the National Scenic Area rules developed by the Gorge Commision. The men, Stephen Struck and Paul Mansur, want to build a few houses on their land; under current rules designed to protect the Gorge from sprawl, they don’t meet minimum lot sizes. Land-use rules have unarguably preserved the Gorge from hyper-development. They do so by frustrating many property owners’ wishes, though. Land rules are at the heart not just of this case but of Oregon’s future in many aspects...

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Gorge Property Rights Activists Stick Together As GLUE

The Dalles Chronicle has reported that the usual activists, the property rights rebels against the crushing might of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, have transmogrified. That’s right, Gorge Landowners United is no more. Now, the activists rally under the banner of Gorge Land Use Equity. GLUE. As in, sticks like. As in, they’re all over the property rights front, struggling to right the wrongs foisted on hapless property owners by the over-weaning Gorge Commission, and they’re not going anywhere, thank you very much. Heroes, really. That’s how I think of them. Each has a story to tell about standing up to The Man. (Or, really, since the Gorge Commission’s most recent and past executive director have been women, and since the patron saint of the pro-planning Friends of the Columbia Gorge is also female, The Woman.) And now, they’re telling them loud and clear. (Okay, actually, they formed GLUE back in July and didn’t really tell anyone in, like, the media.) But they have a common voice. From GLUE’s Internet manifesto: “Regulatory power has exceeded its authority and has established land use prohibitions and restrictions that have deprived affected Gorge landholders of the reasonable use of their property without compensation and adversely affected all Gorge residents by inhibiting reasonable economic development necessary to their future.”...

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Good Deeds By The Truckload

The Columbia Gorge’s fall charity events began to blip on the radar screen about a month ago for me. Little did I know how they'd all come together. First, Sharla Weber, a board member of Helping Hands Against Violence, reminded me about their annual Auction Gala benefit on Saturday, Sept. 30. Not long after, I received an email from do-gooder extraordinaire, Susan Hess, about the Forest Service’s annual “Pick up the Pinchot” scheduled for the morning of Sept. 30. Also in my mail box was an evite to the Columbia Gorge CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) “Art With A Heart” art sale and benefit. The date was, of course, September 30. So many worthy causes, so little time! Happily, the timing worked. At 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, I packed three boys (two mine and one borrowed — see photo) in the car and headed across the river to Panther Creek Campground in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, not far from Carson, Wash. The volunteers — more than 20 of us — were greeted by Forest Service employees Jon Nake, Nancy Ryke and Byron Carlisle and sent out with bags to scour the area for any trash left behind by campers...

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Walden’s Votes Speak: Thank-You Sir, May I Have Another?

If only my Congressman, Greg Walden (R-Hood River), made as strong a stand for the Constitution as he has for trees and mountains. If only he’d fight for 800-year-old limited government ideals as he will for Mount Hood. Despite his consistent Republican Party voting record — or, if you prefer, his rubber-stamping — Walden’s bipartisan push to protect a modest 77,500 acres of Mount Hood wilderness with the Legacy Act (along with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland)) has run into hurdles from the Bush Administration. Loyalty with Bush and friends apparently runs along a one-way street. Walden, though being stymied on a signature piece of conservation, continues to toe the party line — even voting in support of historically bad legislation. Twice in recent weeks, he’s sold out Oregonians in favor of GOP bills with unmissably gross flaws. First, he cast his vote for torture...

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Gorge Farmers Rally To Sustainable Agriculture

As America’s conscience slowly shifts toward concepts of sustainable agriculture, farmers’ markets are reestablishing themselves in Oregon communities large and small. The Sierra Club’s recent film and lecture series “The True Cost of Food”has been a motivating force nationwide in raising awareness of the hidden costs of massed-produced food and the import/export food industry.   "True Cost of Food" played a year ago August in Hood River. Part of the diverse group that had gathered were several Columbia Gorge agriculturists who took the message to heart and then took things into their own hands. During the discussion that followed the film, attendees were inspired to create a local organization that would pool resources and, hopefully, make a difference. Gorge Grown Food Network was born on the spot. ...

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Hood River SEAL Killed During Major Iraq Operation

You’ve probably read or heard about the former Hood River man, Marc Alan Lee, 28, killed in Iraq last week. A SEAL team member, Lee fell in battle. The local news stories have been appropriately eulogistic. A military blogger, Blackfive, was even more so (“Greater love hath no man...”), but with a few additional details. ...

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Climbing A Higher Path

The first time I stood below the soaring andesite columns, I felt like an ant in a hall of Titans. The cliff face rises as high as 200 feet from the hillside and, being vertical, appears to loom over you as you stand at the base. The band of cliffs is called Pete’s Pile. It’s a local rock climbing area located not far south of Hood River. Climbers who visit approach the routes with a traditional ethic, which means few established lowering points, no preplaced bolts — just a climber, a sling of protective gear, a rope and the rock. Pete’s intimidated me. It’s been five years ago since I first stared up at the columns, with their thin cracks and dihedrals and imposing roofs. I was a sport-climbing punk then; if the route wasn’t in the gym or heavily bolted, I was lost. Placing protective gear on lead? Climbing more than 60 or 80 feet at a time? Casting off the ground up into the unknown without a guidebook? Forget about it. So, for a time, I forgot about Pete’s. Some years later, I returned, and found myself slinging together a hanging belay anchor 150 off the ground, just below a darkened, narrow chimney in the rock...

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Thousand Friends Wants You … To Talk

Okay, so no-one ever actually said that the Big Look task force was going to engage Oregonians on their home turf, hold town-halls around the state, ask for input. Most assumed they would – it’s the way it was done in 1974, when 10,000 Oregonians weighed in during initial development of the statewide land use planning program. But the 10-member task force has decided against it. So 1000 Friends of Oregon are doing it instead. “For now, we are the dialogue," Friends director Bob Stacey said during a break at last week’s “Envision Oregon” forum in Hood River – the second of seven public meetings the land-use watchdog group has planned around the state with cosponsors the Coalition for a Livable Future, Oregon Business Association, SOLV, League of Women Voters, and the Bus Project. “We want to create statewide buzz. That’s good for the task force, and good for planning,” said Stacey...

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