Cheers: Or is it jeers? We've heard plenty of mixed reactions to the renaming of Portland's Rose Garden — home of the Trail Blazers and part-time home of the Winterhawks. The arena is now the Moda Center, with naming rights being sold in a 10-year contract with Moda Health (formerly ODS).
Known as the Rose Garden since it opened in 1995, the building always has had a name that fit with the culture and tradition of the metro area. Moda Center will take some getting used to, and it's more than a little ironic that a franchise noted for having injuries cut down big-name stars — Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Greg Oden, Brandon Roy, etc. — sold naming rights to a health care company.
But team officials promise that the additional revenue will be used to enhance the fan experience at the arena, and that the move will help the franchise improve its product. If that's the case, any jeers will quickly turn to cheers.
Jeers: An upcoming audit of the apparently defunct Columbia River Crossing project will be limited by budget constraints. An item in the transportation budget passed by the Legislature provides $200,000 for a forensic audit, but Kelly Collins of the State Auditor's office said that, with that amount of money, "We may not be able to look at every transaction and go as deep" as critics wish they would.
The CRC spent about $170 million on planning, plus the awarding of preliminary contracts, but officials are in the process of shutting down after the Legislature opted not to fund Washington's portion of the plan. Some auditing will be better than none, but it would be preferable for a complete, no-stone-left-unturned examination to take place. Not only do taxpayers have a right to know where the $170 million went, but a full audit would go a long way toward restoring public confidence the next time a multibillion-dollar project shows up on the drawing board.
Cheers: To the Clark County Fair, which benefited from favorable weather and drew big crowds during its 10-day run. According to fair manager and CEO John Morrison, preliminary numbers suggest that total attendance was in the mid- to high-250,000s. And, Morrison added, the final Saturday of the fair saw a record for concession sales — about $250,000.
While good weather might have helped, other factors likely contributed to strong attendance at the fair: An excellent product, and an improving economy. County fairs long have served as gathering points across the country, and a strong fair only serves to enhance an area's sense of community.
Jeers: Preliminary numbers suggest that Clark County's turnout for the Aug. 6 primary — measured in terms of percentage of registered voters casting ballots — was the fourth-lowest in the state. The ballots in Clark County weren't the most compelling this time around, with relatively few local races, but the turnout could be viewed as keeping with tradition considering that the county had the state's lowest turnout in the 2012 primary. That's not the kind of tradition we hope is enduring.
Cheers: Students might not see this as a reason to cheer, but kudos are due to parents who are making sure their families are ready for the school year. The duties can seem endless: A desk-full of school supplies to purchase; new wardrobes to replace the now-outgrown ones; appropriate vaccinations and physical examinations. The preparations can be not only time consuming but expensive — a report in The Columbian showed that the supply list for one local sixth-grade class added up to $96.32.
In exchange we can offer only a little peace of mind for parents as their children head off to a new year of adventure: The kids are secretly excited about going back to school, Mom and Dad. They just act like they aren't.