The bullet points below are as they were on this website in 2018. I am part of a citizen group that came together in 2019 to pass an initiative to require a city-wide vote before a park can be sold. Even though 72 percent of voters expressed their strong desire for parks to be protected, there is still work to do. There are no (none, zero..) parks planned for the Westside of Hood River as it is developed to accommodate needed housing.
If elected, I will work to establish incentives for property owners and developers to include open space and trail infrastructure in their Westside projects.. I will also propose we divert a portion of Transient Room Taxes to a fund to help pay for future parks and trails.
o More, Not Less
o Divert Portion of Transient Room Tax to Parks
o Credits / Concessions to Developers for Including Open Space
o Requirement of City-Wide Vote Before Sale of Real Property
Our park system is under pressure. I believe that open space is an historically significant component of what contributes to quality of life and sense of community in Hood River.
Early in 2018, an agreement was made to sell Morrison Park for one dollar, to a private entity. This was done to expedite a private, affordable housing development favored by activist groups and the Mayor – the husband of the current mayor (then city councilor), sits on the board of the group that would have owned the project.
The Morrison Park debacle resulted in the passage of parks protection Measure 14-67 in November 2019. I helped to organize and manage the collection of signatures that put 14-67 on the ballot.
The parks protection measure did not prevent affordable housing from being built. Soon after the passage of 14-67 the City was able to use CET (construction excise tax) funds earmarked for affordable housing to help fund a piece of property for that purpose – without sacrificing a park. If the City had acted to protect parks without forcing a citizen initiative, rather than fight the will of the people, affordable housing would have been expedited.
The challenge in the future is that there is no funding source or plan for the acquisition of future parks, as there is for affordable housing – I propose we change that. If we had lost Morrison Park, it would not have been replaced.
Parks are a valuable commodity and increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to replace. As our population grows, pressure on our parks will grow as well – we need more parks, not less.