Welp, the sailboarder set in Hood River threw themselves a big party at a local watering hole to celebrate their crushing defeat of a plan by the small town of Cascade Locks (population: ~1200) to sell Nestle a portion of water from Oxbow Spring (which is within the Urban Growth Boundary of the town and nowhere near Hood River), which would have generated 50 full-time jobs in the town and - due to construction of a $50 million water-bottling plant - doubled the town's property tax revenue. But the sailboarder crowd up in Hood River wasn't having any of that, so they put a measure on the ballot to ban the plan. It passed handily; a prime example of the tyranny of the majority. Thus, their big party.
But they seem to have jumped the gun:
While highly successful in the arena of public opinion countywide, 14-55 still faces legal unknowns, according to county officials.
“We know there are questions over the authority of the county to impose the measure,” County Administrator David Meriwether said.
Several county commissioners told the News this month they opposed the charter amendment on legal grounds. They argued it would leave the county responsible for defending the measure in court, and they anticipated it wouldn’t be defensible because Oregon water rights are held by the state.
Meriwether said some challengers who might bring forward a lawsuit against the county were Nestlé, municipalities, or water management districts. County Chair Ron Rivers said the county would likely ask the Oregon Department of Justice to overturn the measure if it passed.
For one thing, the town of Cascade Locks has its own city charter, which Hood River County can't override. So the fate of the measure remains unclear, but the sailboarders vow to fight on, citing "the will of the people". It may not be their town or their water, but they're going full-on dog in the manger.