Cheers: To putting economic development in east Clark County on a fast track. This week, the city councils in Washougal and Camas, as well as the port district, approved formation and funding for an east county economic development agency. The new effort will be headed by former Camas Mayor Paul Dennis and will work in concert with the Columbia River Economic Development Council and other local groups to woo new business. Dennis reports he already has about eight leads, half of which look initially promising. And that’s before the group has even had time to draw up its bylaws and strategic plan.
Jeers: To the news that flood damage may lead to prolonged closure of part of the Vancouver waterfront trail. Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation warned this week that approximately 400 feet of the trail near Tidewater Cove west of Wintler Park has eroded during the recent high water, and may be difficult, costly and time-consuming to repair. Apparently the flood-stage water appears to be naturally trying to cut into the bank to create a flatter slope of sandy beach.
Cheers: To fewer vacant cubicles in Vancouver’s Columbia Center. The iconic building near Mill Plain Boulevard and Southeast 164th Avenue is one of the largest commercial structures in the city, at various times home to Nautilus, Consolidated Freightways and Hewlett-Packard. Now with no single company large enough to use all of its 478,000 square feet, a number of tenants, including Nautilus and HP, are taking smaller pieces. In recent days, PeaceHealth and Lionbridge Technologies, a firm that works closely with HP, have also announced they will sign leases.
Jeers: To ongoing obstinacy by the owners and management of the Value Motel. Sheriff’s Commander Keith Kilian, the head of a task force appointed to make the business a better, safer place, said this week that he had offered a number of suggestions to the property owner, a disbarred Oregon attorney named Milton O. Brown, and the motel operator, Haresh Patel. All were rebuffed. After a recent state health department survey found a variety of problems at the decrepit motel, Brown and Patel were given a deadline to make repairs. Rather than hasten to clean the place up, they asked for — and received — a 30-day extension. Meanwhile, County Commissioner Marc Boldt has suggested tearing down two boarded-up buildings at the motel after Brown wasn’t receptive to Boldt’s request to clean them up.
Cheers: To the Washington State Patrol’s crackdown on unsafe trucks. Roadcheck 2011 took place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at locations around the state including the Ridgefield scale house along Interstate 5. Washington’s event was held in concert with law enforcement agencies around North America, including Canada and Mexico. Truck and driver safety is crucial in large commercial trucks, where the laws of physics alone dictate that a problem can escalate into something deadly serious. The good news: Through efforts like Roadcheck 2011, Washington is recognized as one of the top three states for truck safety, according to the state patrol.
Jeers: To economic stress. While The Associated Press reported this week that the nation’s economic stress is at a two-year low, Clark County’s remains stubbornly high. Our estimated stress index score for April was 15.71. Any rating over 11 indicates economic stress. That puts us worse off than Portland, Seattle and all of Washington state, and only slightly better than rust belt capital Detroit. The index is based on factors including unemployment, mortgage foreclosures and bankruptcy filings. At least the summers here are beautiful.