In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Vancouver Farmers Market back for 25th year; traffic cameras to replace 500 trees

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Cheers: Clearly, spring already has arrived in Clark County, with the tell-tale sign being the return of the Vancouver Farmers Market. The market, a mix of arts, crafts, fresh produce, prepared foods, and people watching, kicked off its 2014 season last weekend at Esther and Sixth streets in downtown Vancouver.This summer marks the 25th season of the Vancouver Farmers Market, and during that time it has grown into one of the city's signature events. Running each Saturday and Sunday from now until the fall, the market is certain to offer plenty of local flavor -- and not solely in the food that is available. The impact of the Farmers Market is demonstrated by the fact that an estimated 10,000 people visited last weekend, setting the stage for another successful year.

Jeers: Loggers soon will remove about 500 trees along Interstate 5 between Lakewood and Lacey in the Tacoma and Olympia areas, according to The News Tribune. The reason? Seven closed-circuit TV cameras are being installed, and the cameras need clear sight lines in order to operate properly, state Department of Transportation officials said. Live images from the cameras will be used to help manage traffic and to communicate real-time conditions to the public, and officials said that 500 saplings will be planted elsewhere along the freeway.

Traffic cameras can be somewhat helpful for the public, but we think that trees provide some benefits, as well. If there is room to plant 500 trees elsewhere along the freeway, why not do that and leave the others where they are? This is, after all, The Evergreen State.

Cheers: Members of the Sifton Neighborhood Association are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to homeless camps, organizing a cleanup that cleared trash, syringes, and human waste from an area off Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard near 124th Avenue.

Most homeless people manage to find a shelter or to stay with friends, but a small number remain unsheltered and exposed to the elements. That can cause concern for local residents, and for landowners who might not be aware that people are living on their property. As Erin Middlewood reported in The Columbian, such camps "manage to be both out in the open and invisible at the same time." People in the Sifton area are taking a proactive approach to maintaining their neighborhood.

Jeers: If spring has indeed arrived, then we won't need to worry about snowstorms and icy streets for a few months. But there will be concern about the remnants they leave behind — potholes. Ryan Miles, a manager in the city of Vancouver's public works department, said 628 potholes were filled between Feb. 10 and March 12, up from 337 potholes during that time the previous year.

This winter's freeze-thaw-freeze cycle put more stress than usual on streets, and officials throughout the county are now trying to catch up. Cheers for the workers attempting to make for smooth riding on streets in the region, but jeers for the potholes that provide unexpected jolts while you're driving.

Cheers: It wouldn't have been St. Patrick's Day without the Paddy Hough Parade. With a cavalcade of marchers and drummers and school children and a hay wagon, the parade enjoyed its 23rd incarnation Monday through Vancouver's Uptown Village.

Hough Elementary and the Hough Neighborhood are named for Patrick "Paddy" Hough, who was born in Ireland in 1846 and settled in Vancouver in 1883. The annual Paddy Hough Parade is sponsored by the Hough Foundation, which works with schools and community organizations to make Vancouver a better place to live.