In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

PeaceHealth finds a new home; Value Motel needs to clean up



Cheers: To PeaceHealth, which is moving ahead with relocating its headquarters to Vancouver. The regional health care provider, currently based in Bellevue, has chosen the gigantic building near Mill Plain and 164th, also home to Nautilus and soon to Hewlett-Packard, as its new headquarters. An estimated 617 people will be employed at the Columbia Center site, including 150 currently based at Southwest Washington Medical Center. PeaceHealth also considered a downtown site, which, take it from us, is a great place to work, but employees preferred East Vancouver’s access to freeways, restaurants and amenities (and plentiful parking.) Regardless of PeaceHealth’s address, the important thing is that the headquarters and the jobs are coming here.

Jeers: To foot-dragging at the Value Motel. Faced with a May 25 deadline to correct dozens of deficiencies noted in a recent health inspection, the owners instead asked for a 30-day reprieve. The Hazel Dell motel has long been noted for its signs promising cheap rooms, but the March 30 inspection found that they come with a price: dozens of problems ranging from unsanitary bedding to rat feces to used hypodermic needles. Inexpensive lodging is a benefit to the public, but motel owners need to offer safe and sanitary premises at all times.

Cheers: To adults who take time to nurture the next generation. There are many, many examples — check our Neighbors section almost any Wednesday. One of the most notable is the STEM program, which teams engineers with students interested in technology careers. Another recent example would be Dr. Todd Borus and his team at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, where a team of very sharp high school students used a very high-tech robot to perform a mock knee replacement surgery. These sorts of opportunities help ensure that when Borus — or any of us — need our knees done in 20 years, there will be a highly skilled surgeon to do it.

Jeers: To an increase in violent crime in Vancouver, as reflected in FBI preliminary statistics for 2010 released this week. Vancouver reported 671 violent crimes, though no murders, last year, compared with 656 in 2009. Property crimes were up, too, from 5,944 in 2009 to 6,544 last year. We bucked the national trend of decreasing crime, perhaps because of the lingering recession, police force cutbacks or the continuing scourge of drug addiction. Still, it’s important to realize that the crime rate here is still well below Portland, Seattle and Tacoma.

Cheers: To county commissioners for putting an end to the home rule charter process this year. Inspecting methods of government is always a good idea, but there was no demonstrated need to elect a slate of freeholders to, in essence, draft a county charter that would replace the current system. A series of meetings produced no discernible public interest in the process outside of the same handful of activists who have promoted a county charter for years, only to lose at the polls. Better to save the staff time and the estimated $100,000 it would cost to sponsor an election.

Jeers: To Ronald McDonald-haters. America’s foremost spokesclown has been on the job for 48 years, but a pressure group is now comparing him to Joe Camel and asking McDonald’s to retire him. The fast food chain rightly points out that it offers healthful alternatives in addition to some not-as-healthy traditional burgers and fries, and that Ronald also promotes children to be active. It’s also important to note that Ronald has been busy after work, with Ronald McDonald Houses around the country that offer lodging and support to families whose children are hospitalized with cancer and other serious health problems.