In Our View: Cheer & Jeers

Coho recovery goes swimmingly; loss of top-two primary in Oregon disappoints



Cheers: This fall has brought about a plethora of welcome news regarding fishing throughout the Northwest. The Columbia River coho run is shattering all expectations, and the coho sport catch in the lower part of the river has about doubled the previous record. Coho counts at Bonneville Dam have been the highest on record since counting was started in 1938.

Yet the most remarkable part of the story involves the revival of the fish in Idaho’s Clearwater River system. Coho there were declared functionally extinct in the mid-1980s, when counts dropped to zero. Thanks to the Nez Perce, who used surplus lower Columbia coho eggs to rear fish for the Clearwater beginning in the mid-1990s, the species has made a comeback in that part of the region. It has been said that you can’t fool Mother Nature; but, apparently, sometimes you can give her some assistance.

It doesn’t directly impact residents in Clark County or anyplace else in Washington, but the fact that Oregon voters overwhelmingly rejected a top-two primary system is disappointing to those of us who are wonkish about politics. Advertisements emphasized that voters could end up choosing between just two Republicans or two Democrats for a particular race in the general election, ignoring the fact that all parties are welcome in the primaries.

Washington voters have learned over the past several years that the top-two primary system has extensive benefits, among them allowing independent voters to have a voice in the primary. Oh well, this will just be chalked up as another way in which Washingtonians are more innovative and thoughtful than our neighbors to the south.

Kudos go out to The Children’s Center and to a couple of big donors who are helping the organization fulfill its mission of providing mental-health services to low-income children and their families. The Meyer Memorial Trust has contributed $300,000 and the Firstenburg Foundation is adding $250,000 as The Children’s Center moves toward construction of an expansive new building.

Having been founded 25 years ago, The Children’s Center now serves 1,600 clients a year, and officials estimate that about 95 percent of those live in poverty. In addition to mental-health services, the organization puts together a food drive and a toy drive each year, contributing to its role as a vital community institution.

The notion of Clark County being without a Nordstrom store came a little closer to reality this week as the outlet at Westfield Vancouver mall filed notice of impending layoffs. Earlier this year, company officials announced that the store would close in early 2015, and now they have notified the state that they will lay off 142 employees.

Founded in Seattle in 1901 and still headquartered there, Nordstrom long has been a Northwest institution. The planned layoffs come as no surprise, but the thought of Clark County shoppers having to drive to Portland or go online to shop at Nordstrom is a bit of a shock to the system.

Cheers: Columbian reporter Justin Runquist’s update on construction of a new Woodland High School serves as a reminder that cheers are in order for voters who approved the facility in 2012. The results of a $52.8 million bond — which was supported by 63 percent of the electorate — are being brought to fruition with a school scheduled to open next fall.

The current Woodland High School originally was designed to house 350 students, and these days it serves twice that many. Many a study has demonstrated that improved facilities can enhance academic performance; for generations to come, Woodland students will have the opportunity to validate that thinking.