In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Patients give hospitals a healthy score; Mariners’ gripe whiffs of self-interest

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Cheers: To Clark County’s hospitals, which compared favorably with other Portland-area hospitals in recent consumer satisfaction rankings. The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems collected data from 2 million patients at 3,800 U.S. hospitals. Locally, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center scored 7.34 in overall patient satisfaction on a 1-to-10 scale. That was the best among 15 metro-area hospitals. PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center scored 7.19 and finished fourth. Both stood out for good communication with patients, particularly about what to do at home after leaving the hospital.Of course, it’s better not to end up in the hospital. There’s cheer-worthy news on that front, too, as a new report ranking the relative health of U.S. places finds Washington better than most states, and Clark County better than most Washington counties. In fact, we ranked as the ninth-healthiest among Washington’s 39 counties.

Jeers: To the Seattle Mariners. The Major League Baseball team has some major objections to plans for a professional basketball and ice hockey arena being built in its neighborhood. The Mariners’ management insists that it isn’t opposed to more competition in Seattle’s professional sports market. It just doesn’t want the traffic around its neighborhood. We suspect the local barkeeps, souvenir hawkers and other associated businesses in the district don’t share the “not-in-my-backyard” opinion.

Cheers: To new property acquisitions in the Columbia River estuary by the Vancouver-based Columbia Land Trust. The land trust has acquired 560 acres near the mouth of the Columbia River on the Washington side of the river, to be conserved for Northwest fish and wildlife habitat. The land lies in three parcels. The first, 117 acres near the mouth of the Wallicut River near Ilwaco also has historical value as a camping spot for the Lewis and Clark expedition. The other two locations are 378 acres at Knappton Cove across from Astoria, Ore., and 65 acres at the mouth of the Deep River at Grays Bay. The purchases are funded by the Bonneville Power Administration as part of its required mitigation for hydroelectric dams.

Jeers: To a new metro-area trend of stealing household items and setting up illicit “stores” in which to sell the merchandise. The theft ring works like this, according to The Oregonian: An organizer employs “boosters” to go out and steal a list of goods -- Tide laundry detergent is apparently a favorite -- and bring it to an apartment or other location where the store is set up. Then customers trusted not to call the cops visit and buy the stolen goods for much less than their true value. It’s far from being just a small problem. Just one of these operations in east Multnomah County defrauded Safeway, Albertsons and Fred Meyer of more than $200,000 a year.

Cheers: To the cleanup taking place at the scene of a Dec. 7 armed standoff in Washougal. Summoned to court to face felony sex abuse charges, Steven Stanbary instead killed his wife, his sister-in-law and finally himself after setting his house on fire and shooting at a police officer and a Samaritan. The resulting wreckage, including the ruins of a house, a trailer and several vehicles, has been a fenced-off eyesore since investigators wrapped up their work. Now the Bank of America, which holds a lien on the property, will clean it up so that it is no longer a macabre tourist attraction and neighborhood eyesore.

Jeers: To Scotch broom. Allergy sufferers are familiar with this invasive plant, which will soon be in bloom, causing antihistamine sales to spike. There’s good news, though: Another invasive species -- a microscopic insect -- shows promise of reducing or killing Scotch broom.