I was very skeptical about doing energy exporting from our port. But opponents have treated the job-creation issue by offering either unpractical or even whimsical alternatives. The turning point for me was when The Columbian published the Jan. 12 letter, “Evaluate options other than oil,” written by Michael Piper, calling for a portion of the port to be converted into a wedding venue.
Have we learned nothing from a 40-year process of de-industrializing our region’s economy? Countless communities in this state have gone from being small mill towns offering simple, but stable blue-collar jobs into picturesque hamlets that are pleasant places for retirees and tourists, while the balance of the population live off servant-level, low-wage, zero-benefit jobs. Outcome: over 50 percent of the children in our schools are on state assistance. Technology, automation and politics are half the income disparity story. Killing industry is the other half.
The recruitment of white-collar employers is a good thing. But only industry creates a diversity of well-paying jobs that significantly includes blue-collar workers.
Hosting energy exports in our port will transform 300 to 500 local families from subsistence into self-sufficient, taxpaying, house-buying, working middle-class people with some cash in their pockets to buy things (more jobs) and some very needed dignity.