Yesterday, Congressmen Greg Walden and Earl Blumenauer unveiled a joint plan to simultaneously protect Mt. Hood and open it up to more recreation. The plan
would put 75,000 new acres of wilderness permanently off limits to development. It also seeks to improve recreation and transportation options on the mountain, and cull overcrowded forests that are turning more and more flammable.
It would expand wilderness protections on Mount Hood across roughly 40 percent more acres. While it's less than many environmental groups have pushed for, the congressmen said it offers a better chance at success in a Congress cautious about new land protections.
Blumenauer and Walden are poster pols for their respective parties--a civic-minded urbanite and a rugged, rural individualist. Their sole overlapping purview--both metaphorically and geographically--is towering Hood-san, which is a paradise for the vegan and logger alike. The proposal they have produced is a genuine compromise--constituencies of neither man will call this a home run. Yet particularly when Democrats have so little influence in Washington, this will advance serious protections for the environment.
Does this kind of bipartisan compromise represent the future for liberal legislation, or its death-knell?