The Threat of the Development of a 4-Season Destination Resort

Resort Plans

The destination resort plan as presented by Dave Riley, General Manager for Mt. Hood Meadows, is essentially the outline for an upscale real estate development:

  • 450 housing units (combination of motel, duplex, condo and single-family). The housing would be mixed-density, with condos most likely in village core and around golf course, single-family homes on view lots off road 3511.
  • amphitheatre
  • covered ice-skating rink
  • groomed X-country ski trails
  • 18-hole golf course
  • swimming pool
  • paved and unpaved hiking trails
  • “village core” with upscale shopping/appearance, to be sited on plateau above current Dillard property
  • expanded parking lots and access road

Opposition (click here for print version of Public Testimony Opposing Development)

During the 3 public hearings held in Hood River during January and February of 2003, over 80% of the Hood River Valley residents offering public testimony vigorously opposed the concept of this type of development high on the mountain. Resident's concerns were wide-ranging :(not listed in any particular order)

  1. The area is of beneficial value WITHOUT development; it is very the LACK of development that makes it desirable.
  2. The economics of a destination resort are not always favorable; investigate faltering resorts (eg., Elkhorn, ID).
  3. Meadows does not have a credible history of concern for the environment.
  4.  Upscale developments increase land values in adjacent area too much; farmers and small landholders cannot afford to keep their property.
  5. The proposed development would create an "instant" town, equal in size to others in the county. What would be cost of services to county as the population of a small town is housed at Cooper Spur?
  6.  Large-scale recreation is not economically viable at Cooper Spur: the snow is too variable  in winter, and a golf course at 3500’ would be too cold and wet to compete with other courses within driving distance
  7. A destination resort is not compatible with an historical district at Tilly Jane and Cloud Cap
  8. Using forest service land for some of the resort services is an odd switch in focus; recent concerns by the forest service have centered on overuse of area and possible restriction of access
  9. Increased traffic on Clear Creek and Cooper Spur roads
  10. Resort development tends to draw visitors who often protest necessary agricultural practices (eg., spraying, mowing, use of wind machines, etc); farmers always lose out in this type of dispute
  11. One of few wilderness areas still reasonably accessible
  12. How appropriate is the whole idea of development on forest service land where the primary beneficiary of public land use is a private company?
  13. Big game IS active in area and will be impacted by development.
  14. Upscale developments increase housing costs beyond ability of local residents to live and work in area.
  15. Deschutes County (from which draft destination ordinance is taken) protects areas that provide the attraction and new destination resorts have NOT been built in sensitive areas; Why kill the goose that lays the golden egg?
  16. This is a “done deal”, arranged behind closed doors.
  17. Meadows North LLC's estimates about number of jobs, annual payroll, increased property tax payments, etc., appear as unsubstantiated numbers.
  18. What about noise -- from increased density of housing, traffic, amphitheater? Is this compatible with a wilderness area next door?
  19. Previous experience with handling traffic on the south side of Mt. Hood with Hwy 35 and 26 is not encouraging...
  20. The diversion of a precious water resource to maintain a golf course in agricultural area often strapped for water is not right.
  21. Wildlife areas are impacted far beyond the immediate boundaries of development.
  22. What are the effects of physically re-arranging the land to accommodate things like a golf course, parking lots and other large sites?
  23. What about the visual appearance of clustered development at 3000 – 4200 ft up side of mountain? What about the light pollution?
  24. The increased property value is not a bonus for people who didn’t purchase land for speculation.
  25. Can the Crystal Springs Watershed supply both existing users and a new development of this size with its high-water needs (e.g., golf course)?
  26. The proposed revenue gain to the county of 5% annually is heralded when drawn from resort revenues but dismissed as not significant when comes from agricultural sector.
  27. Other water districts like the East Fork water district will be impacted.
  28. The city of Hood River is the "destination" resort of the county; develop existing areas and support local businesses first.
  29. Deschutes County and Bend in particular have been cited favorably for economic development; many people may not interested in that model of development.
  30. A destination resort can be sited in many different areas, but Cooper Spur, Tilly Jane and Cloud Cap are areas not replicated elsewhere in Oregon.

updated: 02/10/2005

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