In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Little Free Library truly priceless; port officials compound earlier mistake



Cheers: Carla Schreiber is the kind of community-building neighbor we all should have. The east Vancouver resident — along with her husband, Bob Whitt — has a library of sorts in her front yard. The Little Free Library — a handcrafted, weatherproof bookcase that holds three shelves, invites passers-by to take a book or leave a book or add to the collection.

Earlier this year, Schreiber was honored with a Vancouver Sparkles award from the city in recognition of her makeshift library. She told reporter Eric Florip of The Columbian that her home long has been a neighborhood attraction, as she used to maintain a lush garden that drew visitors. But as she found less time for gardening, Schreiber turned her attention to the book exchange. We wonder if this is how Ben Franklin got started in the library business.

Jeers: Port of Vancouver commissioners acted too hastily in again approving a lease for a terminal expected to handle as much as 380,000 barrels of oil per day — bringing dozens of trains through the city. The deal, which involves 42 acres and is worth at least $45 million to the port over an initial 10 years, was reopened for discussion after commissioners originally botched the process. In July, they held an executive session on the matter that was closed to the public, likely in violation of open-meeting laws, before approving the plan. Facing a lawsuit over that issue, they opted to reopen discussion and take another vote, again unanimously approving the terminal in an act that appeared more ceremonial than deliberative.

The plan is far from etched in stone; it still requires state approval. But port officials have erred on two counts. First, they thumbed their nose at appropriate due process. Second, they approved a plan that is bad for Vancouver and the region.

Cheers: For a couple of decades, to much of the nation Don James was the face of not only the University of Washington but the entire state. The legendary football coach, who guided the Huskies to a share of the 1991 national championship, died this week at the age of 80, leaving a remarkable legacy.

When James arrived in Seattle in 1975, Washington hadn't been to the Rose Bowl in 12 years. The Huskies proceeded to earn a trip to Pasadena six times over his 18 seasons, achieving a level of sustained excellence they have not approached since.

Jeers: Battle Ground City Council members voted to not approve a long-proposed 264-acre annexation — by accident. Although a majority of council members were in favor of the annexation of land beyond the west edge of the city, they mistakenly thought they were voting on a procedural matter to table the vote. With two council members absent, those present intended to delay the annexation vote but instead voted against the move.

The Battle Ground council has been marked by strife and tension in recent months, since Councilman Mike Ciraulo criticized colleagues for passing a vote in his absence. Now it seems as though the council is beset by confusion as well. It will have an opportunity to correct the procedural error as soon as Nov. 4.

Cheers: You know that a dog has done good work when he receives a retirement party. Dingo, a 9-year-old police dog with the Washougal Police Department, was honored recently before heading off to a life of relaxing on the couch. The event, which honored four retiring police dogs, was hosted by DOGPAW, which also raised $15,000 to cover the cost of purchasing another dog — plus food and veterinarian costs — to replace Dingo.

Dingo, a brown-and-black-brindle Dutch shepherd, worked strictly in narcotics detection and was deployed in the field more than 500 times. We'd say he has earned a rest. And maybe a dog biscuit or two.