Wild and Free Bulletin

of the Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition

Number 2        May 7, 2003

Mt Hood Meadows assaults Oregon's land use laws

With the help of friendly senators and representatives in the Oregon State legislature, Dave Riley, the general manager of Mt. Hood Meadows, has testified, offered an amendment, and introduced new legislation in an attempt to turn his ineligible destination resort site at Cooper Spur into an eligible one.

Under the current guidelines in Goal 8, the statewide planning rules for destination resorts, a minimum of 160 acres is required. Hood River County is in the process of creating a destination resort zoning ordinance and has created a draft map of areas eligible for a destination resort. Such a map is required to apply all of the Goal 8 criteria, including (most importantly) a three-mile buffer between high value crop lands (orchards) and any destination resort. Out of more than 600 acres owned by Mt. Hood Meadows at Cooper Spur, the draft map shows that less than 100 acres meet the criteria for siting a destination resort, falling short of the 160-acre requirement. Dave Riley's approach is to ignore the local Hood River County Planning Commission process - which is still in progress - and force an end run on the 160-acre requirement by introducing special interest legislation.

Quotations below are from the audio archives of the Oregon State Legislature, Environment and Land Use Committee.  Click the link and slide the player to the time indicated.

House Bill 3213

A bill to change phase-in requirements for overnight lodging for destination resorts. This bill allows vacation homes to count as overnight lodging, greatly reducing the number of overnight accommodations that a resort is required to have. In addition, HB 3213 allows nursing homes, assisted living facilities and residential facilities in a destination resort. Taken together, this bill changes a destination resort to a retirement resort community and reduces requirements that need to be met. 

Dave Riley tried, but failed, to get an amendment to this bill that would have allowed Meadows the use of land within the required three-mile buffer around high value crop lands (for 90 of their needed 160 acres) if under a conservation easement. The amendment was introduced by State Senator Atkinson, who explained the lengths he went through to help his friend,  "When I started looking for ways to help on this particular project there were several other bills that we looked at and the timelines had passed, but we introduced this today as a completely friendly amendment."  But all the other developers present at the hearing testified against the amendment, and in the end, Chairman Garrard said "This is what I'll refer to as an unfriendly amendment . . .so therefore the Chair will not recognize the amendment."

House Bill 3213, without the amendment, has passed the house and in now in Committee in the Senate.

(Reference Environment and Land Use Committee, 4/1/2003, 0:05:00, 0:37:00, 1:09:40)

House Bill 3626

Another bill sponsored by Senator Atkinson along with three members of the House Environment and Land Use Committee is unabashed special interest legislation that seeks to change the 160-acre requirement to 40 acres.  Co-sponsor and committee chairman Rep. Garrard acknowledged that the bill targets a single proposed development, "I know this bill is basically about what Dave is involved with."

Dave Riley and Senator Atkinson gave testimony in support of the bill and six others testified against it.  Speakers from the Oregon Natural Resources Council, 1000 Friends of Oregon, Oregon Farm Bureau as well as individuals all gave different reasons why this is bad legislation.  [Ed: this is recommended listening.  Follow the link below to witness the hearing yourself.The committee seemed surprised by the degree of opposition and asked very few questions of any of the witnesses.  Even Senator Atkinson characterized his testimony as “taking a bullet” for a friend.

(Reference Environment and Land Use Committee, 5/1/2003, 1:06:15)

House Bill 2860

The original wording of House Bill 2860 would remove one of four requirements to apply for a "Reasons Exception" under the Goal 2 Guidelines.  This is the process Mt. Hood Meadows must follow to apply for destination resort zoning if it cannot gain approval under Goal 8.  The requirement is to demonstrate that areas which do not require an exception cannot reasonably accommodate the use.  In other words, there must be a study of alternate sites before an exception can be considered.  In his testimony, David Riley argued that landowners should not be burdened with an alternate site study to be granted an exception for any use on their land.  "If a business is requesting an exception, it is on a site specific basis.  A business may not own or control the other site . . ."  The next speaker, Don Schellenberg of the Oregon Farm Bureau, objected to Dave Riley's remarks explaining that "the concept of land use planning is to identify and protect land resources and amenities that for one reason or another should be protected."  The requirement to conduct an alternate site analysis was restored in a later amendment to HB 2860.

(Reference Environment and Land Use Committee, 3/25/2003, 1:07:20)

Dave Riley is not alone in presenting special interest legislation to whittle away at Oregon's land use laws.  The Oregonian covers the problem in a May 5, 2003 article.


Award Winning author Hal Clifford shares thoughts on development at Cooper Spur

Author Hal Clifford, flew in from Telluride, CO to speak about his book Downhill Slide, Why the Corporate Ski Industry is Bad for Skiing, Ski Towns, and the Environment in Portland, March 22nd and Hood River, March 23.  Clifford's presentations had the unfortunate coincidence of happening at the same time the Iraq War began.  Even so, the turnout was respectable and those that were present had the opportunity to hear Clifford apply the carefully researched information in his book to the Cooper Spur situation.  And, Clifford himself stated that "if people are out protesting the war instead of attending my presentation that is cool with me."     


On Sunday morning, prior to Clifford's Hood River presentation, Coalition members Mike and Kate McCarthy took Clifford and a reporter from Forest Magazine on a tour of the Hood River Valley, the Cooper Spur Inn, and the Cooper Spur Ski Area.  Mike showed Clifford where the golf course and trophy homes are proposed to be built.  Clifford stated numerous times how familiar it all was.


During the book readings, Clifford read passages from Chapters that directly related to what is happening at Cooper Spur: Chapter 1 which sums up all the issues from real estate, to the exploitation of public lands, to the destruction and fragmentation of wildlife habitat; Chapter 7, about "Smokey the Bear" (the Forest Service), the ski industry's best friend; and Chapter 6, "Potemkin Villages and Emerald Cities," the building of fake villages to take the guest away from their work and the daily stresses of life complete with 19th Century mountain men and maple veneer around the gas fireplace - making one "long for something, anything, authentic."   


When asked how to stop the development and ski area expansion, Clifford said that we were doing everything right, to keep it up, to keep demanding answers and information, and to never back down.


To obtain a copy of Downhill Slide email info@cooperspur.org


Daniel Dancer's Art for the Sky Program teaches 1000 Hood River children 

On May 8, 2003 join 1000 kids from two Hood River elementary schools and members of the community to create a "living" version of Mt. Hood on the Westside Elementary School athletic field. All participants will be wearing one of 6 colors of t-shirts to form the design and color. This "living children's mountain" will even feature an eruption as the team dressed as hot lava will run through the top with all the interior lines following. The event will be video taped and photographed from a helicopter above. During the week, kids will learn about the history of art for the sky and Mt. Hood ecology in an interactive slide presentation.

All Cooper Spur Wild and Free supporters are invited to experience BEING Mt. Hood with all the children! The event will take place at 12:15 p.m. at Westside Elementary School in Hood River on May 8th. T-shirts are $6 each. They are beautiful 100% cotton shirts which say "Wy'East Dreaming" over an image of Mt. Hood supported by a flying condor. Below this it says: "It takes a whole village to raise a mountain." Below that in smaller print is info about the schools, date, etc. For more information, please contact Daniel Dancer at daniel@zerocircles.com or visit his website at www.artforthesky.com.

Slide Show - "A Celebration of Mt. Hood: Past, Present, and Future" written and produced by Daniel Dancer

A Celebration of Mt. Hood: Past, Present, and Future takes the viewer through the historical uses of Mt. Hood, the environmental devastation that has occurred as a result of much of this use and the most recent encroachment on the mountain - a proposed 4-season massive destination resort development and Cooper Spur Ski Area expansion on the north side of Mt. Hood. The photos take one on a 360 degree tour of the mountain from the air and on the ground, completing the tour on the northeast side of Mt. Hood. On this journey, one learns about the breathtaking high alpine meadows, the rare high alpine white bark pines, the Hood River Valley's unique agricultural community, the Cloud Cap Tilly Jane Historical District, the Crystal Springs watershed, the big game migration corridor, and the precious backcountry recreational experiences one has access to on the North side of Mt. Hood. Unfortunately, these beautiful and extraordinary features of Mt. Hood are followed with a lesson on Mt. Hood Meadows Corporation's environmental record, its Cooper Spur development and expansion plans, numerous timber sales planned for the areas directly adjacent to the Cooper Spur Area and the likely impacts of the development, expansion and logging on the Crystal Springs watershed, wildlife, historical district, orchards, and pristine backcountry experiences.

Two showings in May, see Calendar below for times and locations.

Regular Features

  1. You have already completed the most important part of your homework by staying informed about Cooper Spur.  Thank you for your interest.
  2. Forward this Bulletin and encourage friends and colleagues to subscribe.  See Subscription Information below.
  3. Attend one of the May showings of the slide show, "A Celebration of Mt Hood: Past, Present and Future."
  4. Volunteer to host the slide show at your home.  You choose whom to invite and the refreshments, Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition provides a dynamic speaker and breathtaking images.  Contact info@cooperspur.org for more information about this volunteer opportunity.
  5. Join the Portland or Hood River Volunteer Teams. Contact info@cooperspur.org for more information on how you can get involved.

Wednesday, May 14, 7 -9 p.m.  Slide Show - "A Celebration of Mt. Hood: Past, Present, and Future," written and produced by Daniel Dancer.  See above for details.   Location: Mazamas Clubrooms, 909 NW 19th Ave, Portland.  Sponsored by Adventurous Young Mazamas.  Questions: Mazamas office 503 227-2345

Thursday, May 15, 7:00 p.m.  Bark’s Annual Timber Sale Review Join Bark (Cooper Spur Wild & Free Coalition Member) as it presents its 3rd Annual Mt. Hood Timber Sale Review, hosted by the Cascadia Forest Revue. Find out about the current “State of Mt. Hood,” recent victories, looming threats, and what you can do about it! Being informed is the first step in protecting our public lands. Featuring beautiful new slides, information on fire ecology, restoration logging, the Cooper Spur controversy, and live music by Sweet Juice! Music begins at 7pm. Show starts at 7:30 pm sharp. Sliding Scale $3-5 to benefit Cascadia Forest Alliance. No one turned away for lack of funds. Bake & beverage sale to benefit Bark!

Monday, May 19, 7 -9 p.m.    Slide Show - "A Celebration of Mt. Hood: Past, Present, and Future," written and produced by Daniel Dancer.  See above for details.   Location:  Audubon Society, 5151 NW Cornell Rd, Portland.  Sponsored by Audubon Society of Portland .  Questions: Audubon office 503 292-6855

Friday, July 25.  SAVE THE DATE!  Save the Spur Summer Fest.  More details coming soon.


Cooper Spur Index

Number of house bills or amendments for which Dave Riley, General Manager of Mt. Hood Meadows, testified in the Environment and Land Use Committee


Number of these bills or amendments that contained language which would effectively benefit only Dave Riley and Mt. Hood Meadows


Number of these bills or amendments that were sponsored or co-sponsored by Dave Riley's local state senator or representative from Hood River County


Median size of all destination resorts in Oregon today

640 to 1200 acres

Typical size of an 18-hole golf course

150 acres

Minimum destination resort size as supported by Dave Riley in HB 3626

40 acres

(Sources: Oregon State Legislature, Environment and Land Use Committee public hearings on HB 2860, HB 3213, HB 3626.  Follow links above to audio archives.)


This issue of the Bulletin was edited by Mike Bruns, bulletin-editor@cooperspur.org.

For questions, more information, or to volunteer, please contact the Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition at info@cooperspur.org.

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The Bulletin of the Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition is published periodically by e-mail to registered subscribers.  It may be forwarded in integral form to anyone.  While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information presented here, mistakes are possible.  Please forward requests for corrections or clarifications to bulletin-editor@cooperspur.org.

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