There’s a deadline coming next Tuesday that local residents should be aware of. June 30 is the cutoff to comment on proposed changes to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Management Plan.
Some 500 pages of marked up propose changes on the plan are posted on the Gorge Commission website. Some of those changes could affect people who live in urban areas like The Dalles.
One change would lock The Dalles inside its present urban area boundary forever except for a one-time expansion of no more than 20 acres. Thursday night the commission held a listening session for stakeholders of all sorts to comment.
Proponents of the lock-up-the-urban-areas movement easy The Dalles can expand all it wants to across the river in the Dallesport – Murdock peninsula, because even though there are no towns in it, it was declared the largest urban area in the Gorge when the act was passed. Here’s part of what The Dalles Mayor Rich Mays told the commission:
“In order to grow and prosper, our city – any city, really – needs to grow economically. The most effective way by far to develop economically is to grow and expand our tax base. Any economic development across the Columbia River in Dallesport Washington is not going to add a dime to our property tax revenue nor benefit our schools, our county, our parks system or any other local government on the Oregon side of the river. Please treat us like true stakeholders and partners in not making this painful process as one-sided as it appears to be going.”
Another proposed change would affect people who have property in the Gorge with a stream on it. Currently, there are 100-foot stream buffers in place. The proposal would double that to 200 feet on either side of the stream, reducing what can be done with the land.
If you missed the listening session, which had a number of comments on both sides of the issue, you listen to it below.
Again, Tuesday June 30 is the deadline for comments, which may be submitted online. Details are on the gorge commission website HERE.