In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Local intersections will become safer;'Clash of the Titans' fizzles



Cheers: To improvements coming to three dangerous Clark County intersections. The Washington State Department of Transportation has awarded money to the projects as part of $25 million set aside by the Federal Highway Administration.

In central Vancouver, $360,450 will be spent to upgrade five crosswalks along a one-mile stretch of Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard in the vicinity of Grand Boulevard. Last year, a woman was killed in one of the crosswalks, at Neals Lane, and there have been many other accidents and near-misses.

In east Vancouver, stop signs will be replaced with traffic lights at Southeast 136th Avenue and Seventh Street, near the site of a July 9, 2012, fatal accident. In 2009, a Wy’east Middle School boy, 13, was critically injured at the intersection. The grant is for $250,000.

The third project will replace old, dangerous concrete guard rails along roads in north Clark County, near the East Fork of the Lewis River. The $988,000 project begins at Northeast Hayes Road and Cedar Creek Road, near where a motorist died in 2010.

Jeers: To the promised “Clash of the Titans.” The only thing titanic about this promised blow-up at Monday night’s Vancouver City Council meeting was the size of the egos involved. Professional initiative king Tim Eyman aligned with the usual anti-Columbia River Crossing suspects to wage an email campaign promising to demand answers from the city council, if not a reversal, of its denial of a petition that would force some sort of vote on light rail.

The city has long tried to convince project critics that the project is jointly administered by Washington and Oregon state governments, not the city, and thus the council only takes public comments from these citizens at meetings set up in advance for public comment on any subject.

Monday’s meeting wasn’t one of those, so the opponents were essentially shut out from making their arguments one more time. And Eyman was a no-show. The critics say they aren’t done; they’re trying to collect money to hire an attorney and sue. Their attorney is experienced in high-profile causes; he was on the losing end of the same-sex marriage fight and wrote a book claiming President Obama is a British citizen. Perhaps his lawsuit will trigger a titanic clash.

Cheers: To promises of minimal or no tuition hikes for community college students. Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, and Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, were among those who recently told Clark College students that they don’t see tuition hikes coming in the next two years. That would be good news for students, who have seen prices increase 55 percent since 2006-07. Tuition now averages $4,000 per year for a Clark student.

Of course, promises made by legislators in January and February have a way of being forgotten in April and May, as the legislative session nears its close. With the state budget already in the hole, even before legislators grapple with a court order to fully fund basic education, this could be a tough promise to keep. But thousands of students — and their parents — will be watching.

Jeers: To a shortage of available slots for kidney dialysis patients. End-stage renal disease can’t be cured without a transplant, but many patients sustain their lives by going to one of two local dialysis clinics for two or more treatments every week. As the local population grows and ages, the slots have filled. The result: Some patients have to go as late as 3 a.m., or find clinics in Portland or its suburbs. A third clinic is planned, but for various reasons hasn’t received the necessary bureaucratic approval. For the good of the patients, the permitting process needs to end and construction to begin.