Cheers: To more growth in the wind energy industry. Though Clark County isn’t an important supplier of this clean power, the Port of Vancouver is a major gateway for turbines and their components manufactured in China and Europe and destined for wind farms in the Columbia River Gorge and points east. Unfortunately, efforts by economic development officials on both sides of the river thus far have failed to land major manufacturing plants, but more local firms are finding niches nonetheless. A spinoff of Christensen Shipyards is building turbine blades; a company called EnergyWorks will focus on installation and maintenance of wind farms.
Jeers: To four-legged cemetery troublemakers and their two-legged owners. As The Columbian’s Kathie Durbin reported this week, neighbors are using Park Hill Cemetery on McLoughlin Heights as their own off-leash dog park, defying posted signs that require all pets to be restrained. In one case, a young mother grieving the recent loss of her stillborn child was confronted with dogs upsetting the flowers placed on the fresh grave. Though police can write citations if they catch violators, let’s hope that the guilty parties recognize themselves from the publicity and voluntarily adopt more respectful behaviors.
Cheers: To a new banner honoring thousands of deceased service veterans from Clark County. The 25-foot banner, unveiled just after Memorial Day, hangs in the new offices of the Southwest Veterans’ Business Resource Center at 16505 S.E. First Ave., Suite H, in the shopping plaza anchored by Parkrose Hardware. The banner is unique in that the vast majority of the veterans did not die in combat; many of them returned from their military obligations to serve their families and their communities in myriad peaceful ways. The banner is a nice way to remember the names and service of these heroes.
Jeers: To increasing auto prowls and residential burglaries. Summer months, when delinquents are out of school, hoodlums are outdoors and windows are left open, are prime months for property crimes. So a 10 percent increase in burglaries through April is a warning sign of a bad summer ahead. You can greatly lessen your chance of being a victim by not leaving valuables in plain sight in cars and making sure your home’s doors and windows are locked, particularly when you are not at home.
Cheers: To the Columbia River Crossing staff, which has jumped two important hurdles in the past two weeks. Last week the project received the blessings of Metro, the Portland regional government and planning agency. The Metro council approved a resolution stating that CRC officials had properly addressed the elected body’s 3-year-old concerns about the project. This week, C-Tran Director Jeff Hamm told the board that most of his agency’s concerns with the CRC have also been addressed. There are lingering concerns to be sure, but these will be addressed as the lengthy, complicated planning continues. The important takeaway is the project remains on track.
Jeers: To inadvertent budget cuts. As the Washington Legislature dealt with $4 billion in spending cuts needed to balance the 2011-13 budget, the Columbia Gorge Commission took its share of lumps and possibly more. Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed moving the small agency into the Department of Ecology as a way to streamline administrative costs, so the budget was reduced to account for saved overhead. The merger never happened, but the appropriation wasn’t revised, leaving the Gorge Commission with an extra $200,000 reduction. The commission will plead its case for some of the money to be restored, but will have to wait until next year.