Mount Hood's unique economy

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
0611_MountainEcon_07
Mount Hood National Forest once provided more than 300 million board feet of timber every year.
Although logging’s demand on the forest surrounding Mount Hood has dropped off precipitously, few other pressures have or will anytime soon.

For starters, the Portland metro area’s population is expected to nearly double to 3.8 million people by 2060. Similarly, Government Camp as it exists today could be an entirely new place in the not too distant future. After a coalition of Hood River Valley residents and environmental groups blocked Mt. Hood Meadows’ proposed resort on the north side of Hood in 2004, an agreement tentatively traded 700 acres of Meadows’ property on the north side for 120 acres of developable land in Government Camp. If the Forest Service approves the land swap — and if the economy eventually warms back up — Government Camp, an unincorporated village of about 135 registered voters, could see a wave of new residential development.

In addition, Timberline Lodge has proposed a lift-assisted mountain bike park, which would provide a sanctioned area for riding. Portland General Electric and other utility companies have expressed interest in exploring areas of the MHNF for geothermal energy sources. Ten thousand people already try to climb Mount Hood every year.

More people visiting the mountain will likely mean more revenue for small businesses like Joe’s Doughnut Shop in Sandy and more hotel tax dollars for county services and tourism efforts around the mountain. More people living or vacationing in Government Camp would certainly spur new retail and commercial endeavors.

But more people and greater demands will do more than stimulate the surrounding economy. They will use more water. They will clog the roads, the campgrounds and trailheads; they will create longer lift lines and fill parking lots at places like Timberline and Meadows, which already turn people away on busy days. Kohnstamm and others have long lobbied for improvements to the transportation system around the mountain — wider roads, mass transportation, possibly even an aerial tram — in vain.

“We’ve always suffered from underfinanced and under planned transportation systems,” he says. “That, I think, is the biggest challenge facing the mountain today.”

Fixing the transportation system around the mountain would not, of course, come cheap. And not only is there little funding available for major upgrades, but the money that may be in the state’s budget often gets allocated to projects in more populated areas. That’s an issue that has long plagued — and united — businesses out in the rural shadows of the mountain.

“I think there is still a little sensitivity toward the Metro area in terms of its political clout,” says McArthur, of the Mt. Hood Economic Alliance. “Rural communities still have to pay for infrastructure upgrades, but how do you fund those when your rate base is not large but you have a user base that is?”

 



 

More Articles

Big Trouble in China?

Guest Blog
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
0818-wellmanthumbBY JASON NORRIS | CFA

Earlier this month, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) announced they were going to devalue their currency, the Renminbi. While the amount of the targeted change was to be roughly 2 percent, investors read a lot more into the move. The Renminbi had been gradually appreciating against the U.S. dollar (see chart) as to attempt to alleviate concerns of being labeled a currency manipulator.


Read more...

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

Ranking the airlines that fly PDX

The Latest
Friday, August 14, 2015
airlinesthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

17 airlines make stops at Portland International Airport, but not all are created equal when it comes to customer service.


Read more...

Photo log: Murray's Pharmacy

The Latest
Friday, July 17, 2015
OBM-Heppner-Kaplan thumbBY JASON KAPLAN

Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner.  The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.


Read more...

Business partnerships: taming the three-headed monster

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 06, 2015
070615-businessmarriagefail-thumbBY KATHERINE HEEKIN | OB GUEST COLUMNIST

Picking a business partner is not much different than choosing a spouse or life partner, and the business break-up can be as heart-wrenching and costly as divorce.


Read more...

The Private 150: From Strength to Strength

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Revenues in Oregon's private, for profit sector maintained solid growth as the economy continued to rebound.


Read more...

10 Innovators in Rural Health

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Telemedicine, new partnerships and real estate diversification make health care more accessible in rural Oregon.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS