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Event Site Users- Make your voices heard
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CGW2



Joined: 19 Jun 2007
Posts: 179
Location: The Gorge

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:58 pm    Post subject: Event Site Users- Make your voices heard Reply with quote

The Port’s Waterfront Recreation Committee will reconvene on July 20th to consider public feedback received at their Monday meeting. Please submit your own comments, whether written or in person.

Written feedback should be addressed to all of the people below:
- Michael McElwee, Port Director (mmcelwee@portofhoodriver.com)
- Laure Borton, Operations Manager (lborton@portofhoodriver.com)
- Jon Davies, Commission President (jon@columbiariverins.com)
- CGWA (cgwa@gorge.net).

Port Waterfront Recreation Committee Meeting
Date: July 20th
Time: 2:30pmpm
Location: Port building by the bridge here

Here is what CGWA submitted to the Waterfront Recreation Committee:

Thanks for taking the time to meet on short notice again tomorrow to consider the feedback from yesterday’s meeting.

At this point I’m unclear on what decision is on the table for tomorrow’s meeting- will the committee discuss short term, high water plans, or longterm waterfront re-designations?

If longterm decisions are being considered, I’d like to strongly urge you to take the necessary time to adequately consider all public opinion, not just that which has been rallied on very short notice with little formal notification. Long term Event Site usage as an agenda item came as a surprise, frankly, after CGWA’s proposal for temporary shared use. We certainly weren’t anticipating it would be made into a permanent situation, without thorough evaluation in a public process. There are a lot of people with emotions, vacations, and businesses on the line, and it would be a rushed decision to make at tomorrow’s meeting. Consideration of long term changes to use-designations should be thoughtful and well researched.

As for this year, a usable sandbar has reappeared and continues to grow. I encourage the Port to return the Event Site to pump & dry as soon as possible. Per many comments from yesterday, the sandbar is indeed the preferred launch site, and returning the Event Site usage to no launching and landing would dramatically decrease the current pressure and overcrowding.

The CGWA board of Directors went out on a limb with its proposal to open up the Event Site temporarily to kite launching and landing. We are pleased that it went reasonably well prior to the return in full force of our summer visitors. The Board certainly stands to lose a lot of credibility with our membership if our temporary, emergency proposal, suddenly turns into permanent re-designation, in the middle of summer with very little opportunity for public comment.

A significant group of the windsurfers at the Event Site use it as a transition/intermediate level site, as well as a family-friendly place for intermediate kids to windsurf in a safe area in front of the beach. This is the ONLY beach in the Gorge that is suitable for this intermediate level windsurfer. The conditions here- easy windsurf launch, sandbar as a “buffer” for drifters, no swells or barges for people who stick to doing half-length reaches- are not reproduced at any of the other advanced launches along the river. Without it- or when it’s changed to a congested, joint-usage beach- there is no place in the Gorge for these windsurfers to go, and several individuals have told me that they are staying away from the Event Site for now due to congestion. Their other options are the Hook (very beginner level) or the river (world class advanced level with large swells, barges, big winds).

It is a unique site, and as such merits a thoughtful and thorough deliberation process.

Additionally, while it’s not always crowded or scary as joint-usage, when it is crowded it’s very crowded, very challenging, and very scary for the beginners/intermediates/families. The kiting community has said that the Event Site launch demands advanced skills for kiters; combine that with the many kids, families, non-wind-savvy spectators, and intermediate windsurfers at the Event Site, add congestion, and now it’s a very intimidating, challenging and potentially very dangerous situation.

I strongly urge the Waterfront Rec Committee to:
- Delay any decisions on long term use of the waterfront properties until a true public process can take place with adequate time for all perspectives to be considered; and,
- Consider the waterfront as a whole, not just focusing on the Event Site, for long term usage re-designations.

Thank you.

-Katie

_________________
Bart Vervloet, Executive Director
Columbia Gorge Wind and Water Association
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WEISDA



Joined: 01 Jun 1999
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some ideas/observations that may not be politically correct.

The CGWA spent over $70k for a 25 foot wide beach access west of the old Luhr Jenson building. The kiting community is about to get 200 feet of beach access for free.

The port needs to step up enforcement ( i believe they are trying this year) on parking at all areas on the waterfront, while still allowing free parking for users of the waterfront park.

The windsurfing access west of the old Luhr Jenson building should be improved to resemble the current event site launch and parking rules enforced, allowing even more windsurfers to launch there, and opening up more space for kiting at the event site. This would have to be paid for somehow, maybe the CGKA can put up $70k to enlarge this launch as a trade for the east end of the event site. Corporate sponsors?

Beginner windsurfers and kiters will continue to float downwind at the event site. Maybe a user friendly buoy line perpendicular to the beach dividing the event site can snag the floating windsurfers before they float int the kite launch/land/lesson zone.

By next year, kiters should be allowed to launch at the east end of the event site all season. The extreme crowding is only for about 8 weeks in the summer and on good wind weekends either side of the summer months. This is no different than trying to get a campsite midsummer.

Long term, the area west of the waterfront park will need to be used for a joint windsurf/kite launch. There is certainly a good chance that the whole waterfront will fill with sediment like the old marina swimming beach. Imagine one huge sandy beach extending all the way to well's island and beyond. This may certainly happen sooner than people realize, even the silt from Northwestern lake may cross the Columbia and impact the Hook/Wells island.
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Mulekick84



Joined: 18 Mar 2006
Posts: 406

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We witnessed several close calls with kites at the Event Site this summer. Its only a matter of time before some beginning kiter causes a serious injury. Kiters were being coached from the beach which seemed like a recipe for disaster, and I kite!! That's not to mention the pressure kiters are under to quickly set-up, launch, or land in a rare opening. Its like they need a traffic controller!

I think another consideration is to shift kites to the marina launch. I saw numerous kiters launching there this summer and the combination of the "Spit" launch and Marina launch should provide kiters plenty of hassle-free access to the Columbia.

As for the Jenson launch, there was no remaining parking there or on the street most windy days. This has been a hugely successful venture by the Port and CGWA!!

If you have sailed the event site this season, its been insanely busy!! Which is GREAT!!!
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ericandholly



Joined: 20 Jun 1999
Posts: 276

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Might be interesting to see how many former windsurfers and CGWA members like myself were involved in the event site construction who have now crossed over to kiting?

For my money the issue is increased access for all

Eric Cohn
Hood River
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katosandog



Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Posts: 94

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's assume the sandbar re-appears in all its former glory AND the Event Site is opened up to all users. What's the outcome?

Simple - one group of users - beginning and intermediate windsurfers - have had their access adversely affected as a result of what was to be a temporary solution kindly offered up by CGWA.

In what world is that fair?
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ericandholly



Joined: 20 Jun 1999
Posts: 276

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not really sure why you would assume that? At the meeting I attended the clear path was one of consensus. To that end, the path appears to be that when the sand is exposed sufficiently kiters have real estate from which to launch and the Event Site can be scaled back.

What we are really dealing with is a resurgence in wind recreators, regardless of their method. Just as the ski vs snowboard deal is over, I think it's time to move beyond the sail vs kite.

There was a general consensus at Monday's meeting that nobody can lose. As one who comes from a mixed use family--kites and sails-- I could not agree more

Regards,
Eric Cohn
Hood River
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phazle5499



Joined: 06 Oct 2015
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ericandholly wrote:
Not really sure why you would assume that? At the meeting I attended the clear path was one of consensus. To that end, the path appears to be that when the sand is exposed sufficiently kiters have real estate from which to launch and the Event Site can be scaled back.

What we are really dealing with is a resurgence in wind recreators, regardless of their method. Just as the ski vs snowboard deal is over, I think it's time to move beyond the sail vs kite.

There was a general consensus at Monday's meeting that nobody can lose. As one who comes from a mixed use family--kites and sails-- I could not agree more

Regards,
Eric Cohn
Hood River


I don't see the analogy between kites/windurfers and snowboards/skiers. Snowboards don't have long lines attached to a kite flying over a skiers head or launching and landing in the same space as skiers. I think it is a false analogy to say otherwise. Yes, we all love watersports but so do water skiers and fishermen. What's next, launching and landing water skiers at the event site?? Why not??
Most of the sites along the Columbia River were developed (paid for and
worked on) by windsurfers. Why don't kiters pay for and develop their own sites along the river? For example, the CGWA was instrumental in developing a crossing at Doug's. This took money, negotiations with the railroad and hard work. As I remember, when Lyle was closed to kiting because of the railroad, kiters threw up their arms and looked for another solution for acess instead of stepping up, raising money and doing the hard work to develop Lyle for kiting. Time for the kiters to step up, raise the cash and do the hard work instead of poaching on sites already developed and paid for by windsurfers.
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ericandholly



Joined: 20 Jun 1999
Posts: 276

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your argument of kiting is too dangerous is old, tired, and not supported by incidents in The Gorge. As a former windsurfer of 25 years here, I am in no way willing to concede access to sites that I helped develop, when they are the only viable alternative--period. The times
are changing. There are a lot of kiters now. They are no longer the fringe cousin who sleeps out in the shed. That's the analogy between ski/snowboard

You can either embrace the change and work on compromises that allow everyone on the water, or you continue down the "I was here first path" and be bowled over by it, bitter, and throw gravel at the approaching wave of new recreational users.

I am a citizen of Hood River and as such am a part owner of the port. Moreover, if one wants to equate port ownership with dollars invested then most of Parkdale or orchard and valley timber get first rights. Wonder if those folks care about strings vs masts? I have been buying Event Site passes for years. I was very involved in the early stages of the Event Site development. I will continue to pursue my right to access, regardless of my mode of wind enjoyment. I am not interested in taking over anything. What I need is a piece of real estate to get my kite in the air. I prefer the sand, but when that's under water I need a plan B.

For me, and many, many, many other former windsurfers who now kite, it's that simple. For folks who do not come from a windsurfing background, a number which will soon overtake us crossovers if it hasn't already, this debate seems pretty pointless. They see 4 to 5 times the number of kites at the Event Site as compared to sails and wonder what's up with restricted access. I do not agree with unrestricted access to the Event site for kites, as I think that does not spread benefit out equitably. However, if one were to base access on sheer numbers of users I can assure you that the "kite launch line" would continue to march steadily westward. I don't want that.

Eric Cohn
Hood River
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phazle5499



Joined: 06 Oct 2015
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ericandholly wrote:
Your argument of kiting is too dangerous is old, tired, and not supported by incidents in The Gorge. As a former windsurfer of 25 years here, I am in no way willing to concede access to sites that I helped develop, when they are the only viable alternative--period. The times
are changing. There are a lot of kiters now. They are no longer the fringe cousin who sleeps out in the shed. That's the analogy between ski/snowboard

You can either embrace the change and work on compromises that allow everyone on the water, or you continue down the "I was here first path" and be bowled over by it, bitter, and throw gravel at the approaching wave of new recreational users.

I am a citizen of Hood River and as such am a part owner of the port. Moreover, if one wants to equate port ownership with dollars invested then most of Parkdale or orchard and valley timber get first rights. Wonder if those folks care about strings vs masts? I have been buying Event Site passes for years. I was very involved in the early stages of the Event Site development. I will continue to pursue my right to access, regardless of my mode of wind enjoyment. I am not interested in taking over anything. What I need is a piece of real estate to get my kite in the air. I prefer the sand, but when that's under water I need a plan B.

For me, and many, many, many other former windsurfers who now kite, it's that simple. For folks who do not come from a windsurfing background, a number which will soon overtake us crossovers if it hasn't already, this debate seems pretty pointless. They see 4 to 5 times the number of kites at the Event Site as compared to sails and wonder what's up with restricted access. I do not agree with unrestricted access to the Event site for kites, as I think that does not spread benefit out equitably. However, if one were to base access on sheer numbers of users I can assure you that the "kite launch line" would continue to march steadily westward. I don't want that.

Eric Cohn
Hood River


I don't believe I said anything about "Kiting is too dangerous" being the issue here. Those are your words, not mine and are often draged up in these conversations. The issue is access to launch and land for windurfers and kiters. My point was that kiters should get out and raise the money, negotiate and do the hard work necessary to obtain access. If you have done this before in years past then you know what I mean.
Another worn out aqrgument, I'm afraid, is the assumption that kiters are increasing in huge number compared to windsurfers. Show me the numbers, please. It seems like a bit of excessive exuberance to be making that well worn claim over and over again. We all know kiting is going to level off, just as snowboarding did, and some kiters may even return to windsurfing. "4 to 5 times the number of kiters at the event site compared to sails"??What?. Do you mean on lite wind/no wind days or in the middle of winter or what?.. You know and I know that the total number of windsurfers in the gorge far out number the kiters and the reason it may seem otherwise to you is because all of the kiters are clustered in2-3 places on the river. There are a lot of numbers being thrown around, but that's easy to do and doesn't mean much. My point is simply instead of getting defensive and raising cliches and paper thin arguments, kiters need to step up, raise money, negotiate and put in the hard work that has been done by the CGWA over so many years. Windsurfing is not going away, despite the hype, so "embrace the reality".
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kmf



Joined: 02 Apr 2001
Posts: 503

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are fewer and fewer windsurfers at the Event site because many of us have chosen to abandon the site completely instead of risking our selves in the zoo that is now a daily happening there. I used to buy season passes every summer, or paid by the day. No more. CGWA gave away the best launch in Hood River, so I don't use it anymore. End of story. Actually I rarely sail in Hood River anymore, preferring places like Swell, or Stevenson that limit kiting to other launches.

And don't get me wrong, I have nothing against kiters, I sail around them everyday. I just refuse to be around their launching, landing, beginner, training sites. No offence intended.

And don't talk about the Port actually enforcing its own rules, Dog leashes??? Kite practice in the Waterfront Park??? Dogs in the swimming area??? Illegal parking??? There are no rules, the Port doesn't want to make the Chamber of Commerce mad.

KMF
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