That’s a pretty decent view, don’t you think?
This is the view of the western Columbia River Gorge from the summit of Wind Mountain. Here the Columbia meanders between the towns of Cascade Locks, Oregon (on the left) and Stevenson, Washington (on the right). It’s a beautiful scene in spite of all of the human development in the area. The Bonneville Dam is barely visible in the upper left of the image, and the towns themselves are modestly sized.
Looking at this view, it might occur to you that the area’s greatest resource is it’s scenic beauty. It’s a place worth protecting for the sake of the wildlife, for the sake of a place of respite for humans, and for the sake of the tourist dollars that keep these two towns alive.
So why is the city of Cascade Locks so anxious to further blemish this scene by building a 600,000 square foot casino along the banks of the river?
Of course, they think that such a move would bring extra dollars to the city, and they might be right. But we stand to lose so much more if the casino project is allowed to proceed.
Consider: Not only will the casino be a daytime eyesore, but the bright lights of the facility will ruin stargazing. The casino will increase traffic in the region and inevitably require further urban growth, which will reduce green space and decrease air quality (an already significant problem for the gorge).
Though public opinion in the state of Oregon (and even in Hood River county, where the casino would be located) is against the casino project, our current governor supports the plan. We should never give Gov. Kulongoski the opportunity to see the project through. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar has the opportunity to dismiss the casino proposal, and those of us in the opposition camp are hoping he avails himself of it.
I want to encourage you to help the opposition campaign in three ways. 1) Write and/or call Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and tell him that the proposed Gorge casino is a bad idea and that you value the Columbia Gorge for it’s natural splendor. 2) Visit the Friends of the Columbia River Gorge website and fill out their form to notify your representative regarding your position. 3) If you are so inclined, make a donation to Friends of the Gorge so that they can afford to continue to fight.
Please help me ensure that all of photos in the posts about this area that I have planned are filled with natural beauty and not gaudy neon lights and miles of traffic-laden roads.