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Letter: Damage to the forest

To the editor:

How many of us would ever think that our land use laws could be circumvented with the help of the state and local government that is supposed to protect it?

Land bordering Mt. Hood National Forest, with all its beauty and wildlife overlays, was allowed to be destroyed and wildlife driven away from a recent WTF mass gathering of 5,000-plus people!

Canyon residents were kept awake round the clock for days with horrifically loud throbbing noise, pounding of bongos, bass & drums, screaming microphones, coming from 5 area stages. This succeeded in blasting out bikers, cyclists, hikers, or basically, anyone trying to enjoy this once pristine, quiet area.

Domestic animals ran scared and wild animals and birds are gone — will they ever return? Is this the end to our recreating this special east side of our National Forest? Can we allow this blatant light and noise trespass to take away the home and recreational experience we all love and come here specifically for?

OMG happens statewide, but Mt. Hood is the recent unbelievable heartbreak on strictly zoned wildlife overlay land that supposedly prevents this. Instead, laws were ignored and illegal changes were made to this land to accommodate such a gathering for personal gain.

Free speech mass gatherings laws, enacted decades ago, were not to circumvent zoning in areas where this would never be allowed. This commercially purchased property changed the land to enable access and held a for-profit mass gathering rather than what it really was, a for-profit simultaneous concert, which would never be allowed.

OMG was their choice, simply to avoid any noise or light zoning. In effect, the lighted sky above us resembled “Ski Bowl” slopes at night where stars used to be.

Wasco Planning set up the property to hold this venue with little regard to the affects it might have on those who recreate or live nearby, which by the way, they don’t.

We cannot move our mountain, but we can move OMG’s that disrespect the zoning we all abide by. No fee they have collected is worth what was taken away from all of us.

Call your legislators and make it clear: Money cannot take away the experience in our forests that we all treasure to live and recreate in. Stop illegal and law breaking mass gatherings now. Make county planning and these commissioners accountable.

Tom Edwards

Dufur

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