Recently in Hood River, Ore., the coal interests, with the help of a public relations firm, held multiple sessions at a local hotel. There were 10 to 12 participants per session for what appeared to be an attempt by them to understand why we don't want 1.5-mile-long coal trains going through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It appeared as though it was an attempt to find the things people would support such as jobs and the build-out of ports, never mind the noise, dirt, diesel emissions and health hazards created by the trains carrying coal.
The session I attended had people from Cascade Locks, Hood River and The Dalles participating. They paid $100 cash for my time. People were not informed in advance as to what the purpose of these sessions were, but it was obvious from the questions. When you consider the costs of the food, the public relations staff, hotel rooms, and $1,000 to $1,200 per session to the participants, it would appear that the coal companies will do and spend what ever it takes to open the Columbia River Gorge for their dirty business. Let your state, federal representatives and the governor know that we don't want coal trains spoiling our home.
Cascade Locks, Ore.