In Oure View: Cheers & Jeers

Cruisin’ for fun (and fundraising); WSDOT gives opponents reason to be paranoid

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Cheers: To the Beaches Summertime Cruisin.’ Sponsored by the Vancouver-based Beaches restaurant, the cruise-in can draw thousands of classic car fans to Portland International Raceway on a warm Wednesday summer evening. That alone is enough to cheer. But the net proceeds go to charities that benefit children. As of this week those donations have topped $1 million, proving that when we band together for fun and a good cause, everyone emerges a winner.

Jeers: To the Washington State Department of Transportation for apparently misfiling public records requests made by vocal Columbia River Crossing opponent David Madore and his agents. Four different requests made between March 4 and July 5 went unanswered, and when questioned by The Columbian, CRC project director Nancy Boyd said that the bureaucrats had misfiled them. Apparently the requests have been found and now will be processed. But for a project that needs to demonstrate its transparency, the delay only feeds the paranoia of those sure the government is out to get them.

Cheers: To a new smartphone app that shows smartphone users images, maps, audio and video about a portion of Fort Vancouver. The application was developed by students in Washington State University Vancouver’s creative media & digital culture program. So far the app covers only the area outside the stockade known as the village, but assistant professor Brett Oppegaard, who oversaw its development, hopes it will be expanded. (While you’re at it, check our interactive map of the Fort Vancouver National Site at http://www.columbian.com/barracks.)

Jeers: To lax oversight of carnival rides in Oregon. The Statesman Journal newspaper in Salem recently reported that the state requires rides to be certified, but the process consists of submitting a form certifying the ride was inspected, offering proof of insurance and paying a $28 fee. Unlike in Washington, no one from the state actually inspects the ride. Furthermore, Oregon doesn’t require independent ride inspectors to have any credential, nor does it require ride operators to be trained. And if there is an accident, the state doesn’t investigate. It’s hard to know how many problems there are, because Oregon doesn’t track that, either.

Cheers: To state regulators for cracking down on the Value Motel. The situation at the Hazel Dell hotel of horror has gone from bad to worse. After the state Department of Health found numerous violations, the Department of Labor and Industries moved in and issued its own citations for multiple violations, including unsafe equipment in a laundry room and tool shop, lack of proper safety prevention programs, improper handling of bloodborne pathogens and what was delicately called “other potentially infectious materials.” Finally, when cleaning up the mess identified in previous inspections, the staff was improperly exposed to rodent droppings. The state needs to be vigilant until the motel closes or the owners demonstrate they will operate in a clean, safe and lawful fashion.

Jeers: To sloppy justice in Skamania County, where an evil man named Michael Collins had most of his prison term set aside after an appeals court ruled that he had been convicted of a crime that does not exist. Collins and his son attacked and beat a cross-country skier, stole his car and wallet, and left him for dead. Then-prosecutor Peter Banks charged him with attempted felony murder, and he was tried and convicted before former Judge E. Thompson Reynolds. However, case law already had determined there was no such criminal charge; the actual charge should have been attempted murder. Luckily for Skamania County citizens, both judge and prosecutor are no longer in office.